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Music Faculty

Dr. Gregory D. Zielke - Professor of Music, Music Program Director

Dr. Greg Zielke is Professor of Music and Director of the Music Program at Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska.  He began teaching at Grace University in 1991.  He directs the Grace Chorale, the Masterworks Chorus, and the Women’s Choir. In addition, he teaches conducting, choral methods, church music, and private voice.  Under his direction, Grace choirs have performed across America and taken concert tours to Australia and Europe.  The latest tour to Australia came in 2008.  They have also performed with Soli Deo Gloria Cantorum, the Clarion Chorale, the Omaha Municipal Orchestra and the Omaha Symphony Chamber Orchestra.  Grace University choirs, under Dr. Zielke’s direction, have performed the Faure Requiem, Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Mozart Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vivaldi Gloria, the Rutter Gloria and Requiem, and Messiah by Handel.
Dr. Zielke has been conductor and Artistic Director for the Omaha Symphonic Chorus since their 2002-03 concert season.  He has prepared the chorus for performances with the Omaha Symphony of Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem for conductor Dr. Steven Zielke, Mass in B minor by Bach and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for Maestro Victor Yamplosky, Carmina Burana, Those Glorious Hollywood Musicals with conductor Jack Everly, and Porgy and Bess: Concert Version with Maestro Thomas Wilkins and Chorusmaster David Batter.
Dr. Zielke’s debut at Carnegie Hall occurred on June 09 as conductor of a performance of the Hadyn “Te deum.”  He conducted a chorus of 160 voices and the New England Symphonic Ensemble.  Participating choirs included Savannah State University Concert Choir, Auburn University Choir, Omaha Christian Academy Ensemble, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, Grace Chorale, Grace University Masterworks Chorus, Marist College Choir, and Emmaus High School Chorale.
Dr. Zielke received the Bachelor of Arts in Music Education (BA) from Tabor College, the Master of Music Education (MME) from Wichita State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting (DMA) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).  His conducting teachers included Dr. Harrison Boughton and Dr. Eph Ehly. His master classes were with Rene Clausen and Dale Warland.
In his role as church musician, Dr. Zielke enjoys conducting choral festivals and leading workshops on music and worship.  He serves as Director of Music and Worship at Community Bible Church in Omaha.  He also serves as chair of the Repertoire & Standards Committee for Music and Worship for the Nebraska ACDA.  In January 2010 he conducted the BOCK Festival Women’s Honor Choir at the Holland Center in Omaha NE.
His wife Tamara is an elementary music specialist for Millard Public Schools.

Jeffrey R. James – Director of Bands

Mr. James is an Associate Professor of Music, and has been at Grace since 1994.. Mr. James graduated from the University of Nebraska (B.M.E. in 1978 and M.M. in 1991). He taught high school instrumental music at Yutan Public Schools and later middle school music at Aurora public Schools. The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association has presented Mr. James with the Jack R. Snider Outstanding Young Band Director Award. He is also a recipient of the Outstanding Young Nebraska Band Director, Junior High Division presented by the American School Band Directors Association.

Mr. James teaches music theory, conducting, instrumental methods classes, arranging, applied low brass, and directs Concert Band. He also oversees all other instrumental ensembles, such as the Clarinet Quartet, Brass Ensemble, and Brass Trio.

Mr. James has 30 arrangements published, mostly with Mid-America Music Publishers and some with Light of the World Music. He serves as deacon chairman at Grace Baptist church in Omaha.

Jeff and his wife Pat have four children.

Joshua Austin - Applied Percussion

Mr. Austin is Director of Bands at Omaha South High School.

Talea Bloch – Applied Voice

Mary Bircher – Applied Harp

Mrs. Bircher is a harpist with the Omaha Symphony and teaches privately.

Mackenzie Dehmer - Music Theatre Courses

​Mackenzie has a BA in Musical Theatre from the University of Missouri Kansas City and is currently working on her Master of Arts in Theatre with Regent University. She has performed locally for the Rose, Opera Omaha, Grace University and started working as the director of the annual Winter Session Drama Workshop musical in 2009. She has been a professional performer and director in the Kansas City area for almost 10 years and has performed with Musical Theatre Heritage, The Chestnut Theatre and numerous community theatres. Her favorite roles include Jo in Little Women, Rosabella in Most Happy Fella and the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods. She serves as the Artistic Committee Chair on the Leawood Stage Company board and works part time as a “murder pro” with the Murder Mystery Company. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, Justin, and son, Lincoln.

Becky Gann - Applied Woodwinds

Mark Haar - Applied Double Bass and Bass Guitar

Matthew Harden - Choral Methods

Matthew Harden is the founder and artistic director of the adult chamber ensemble Madrigali et al. His collegiate experience includes positions at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, The University of South Dakota, East Carolina University, and Linfield College’s Portland Campus. Dr. Harden earned his PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Choral Music Education) from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, his master’s degree from Portland State University, and two bachelor’s degrees (Performance and Education) from Southern Oregon State College. His studies and degrees are in the areas of conducting, organ, music education, and voice. He has studied conducting with Bruce Browne, Eph Ehly, Eric Ericson, Gary Hill, and Charles Robinson, while in master-class settings he has worked with Harold Decker, Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Muray Sidlin, and Dale Warland. In addition, he has performed voice recitals for the Portland Opera Guild and the Astoria Arts Alliance.

Teri Heil – Applied Piano, Piano Pedagogy

Rick Hess - Applied Strings

Mr. Hess teaches cello lessons in Omaha.  His masters in cello performance is from the University of Texas.

Bobby Kunkle - Staff Pianist, Applied Contemporary Piano, Aural Skills

Bobby Kunkle is a pianist, composer, teacher, and worship pastor in the Omaha metropolitan area. He is employed by Overland Hills Church (Director of Worship and Music), Grace University (Adjunct-Music and Staff Pianist), and the Omaha Symphonic Chorus (Accompanist). Bobby tours as one of the principal keyboardists with the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour, having performed at venues in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Bobby is married to his lovely wife Sarah who graduated from the Teacher Education program at Grace.

Kristina Oreskovich - Applied Voice

Soprano Kristina Oreskovich joined the Grace University faculty in 2010 as an instructor in voice. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Hastings College, and a Master’s of Music degree in vocal performance from University of Nebraska—Omaha. Her collegiate experience includes positions at the Iowa Western Community College and was the voice graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska Omaha under the direction of Dr. Karen Kness. Mrs. Oreskovich is also the director of the PPASchool of Music in Omaha and actively performs with the Omaha Opera Company. Kristina is married and enjoys spending time with her two children.

Joyce Reimer - Applied Organ and Piano

Mrs. Reimer is organist at First Presbyterian Church in Omaha.

Jim Schultz - Applied Voice

Jim Schultz is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a church music, organ major. He received his BA in music from Sioux Falls University and earned a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He is currently an adjunct professor of voice at Grace University. He also sings with the Omaha Symphonic Chorus. He resides in Omaha with his wife Susan.

Rob Temple – Music Technology, Masterworks Chorus

Psalm 108:1 "My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul.

My greatest joy in education is encouraging creativity and helping students discover tools that allow them to explore. More than anything, I desire to help students explore the vast magnitude of God's artistic design and His desire to have us join with Him in the creative process.

Mr. Temple enjoyed teaching high school vocal music at Kansas City Christian High School and Shawnee Mission West High School in the Kansas City area.  As a clinician, he had opportunities to work with choirs at the ACSI National Convention in 2007,  the Paseo Academy for Peforming Arts in Kansas City,  the Olathe Unified School District Middle Schools Honor Chorus, and others.   He, along with his wife, Theresa, have been worship leaders and church musicians in Omaha and Kansas City for nearly two decades.

Some of Mr. Temple’s recent compositions have been performed by the Shawnee Mission East Choraleers & Chamber Singers, the Frontier Trails Middle School Honor Choir in Olathe, Kansas,  the First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Women's Chamber Singers at Grace University. Also, Rob says that he is very honored to be the assistant director of the Grace Masterworks Chorus!


M.M. (1996) UMKC, Conservatory of Music B.M.E. (1983) Hastings College

Cody Villarreal - Worship Band Director, Applied Guitar, Worship Courses

Cody is an Omaha based musician and worship pastor. He joined Grace University in 2009 as the Worship Band Director. He also instructs Applied Guitar and other worship courses. In his ministry career, Cody has experience as a worship pastor, church planter, technical director, and youth pastor, and he is currently the worship pastor for New City Church in Bellevue, NE. Along with other area worship pastors, Cody has created the Omaha Collective, a group of worship leaders gathering for worship, coaching, and collaboration. With the Omaha Collective, Cody has produced several recording projects including hymns and original worship songs. As a worship leader, Cody enjoys the opportunity to travel and lead worship for camps and retreats. In his free time, Cody plays in an Omaha based Christian rock band and teaches guitar with the 402 Arts Collective. He also enjoys being a husband and a father.

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