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Staff Spotlight: Kipp Cortez

By Christian Pridemore
On February 11, 2016

Kipp Cortez is the newest member of the Fine Arts Division and has big plans as the school's new Carollonist. 
Photo by Christian Pridemore


About a month and a half ago, Concord University employed a new Assistant Professor of Music and Carillonist, Kipp Cortez. Cortez is a fresh young face hailing from the Chicago suburb of LaGrange Park, Illinois. He studied at Valparaiso University in Indiana for his undergraduate degree, University of Michigan for his Master’s degree, and is currently finishing his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Michigan. For having an extensive history in the mid-west, Cortez, like many out-of-state people here, was attracted to Concord by the opportunity.

    Cortez said, “I heard about this job and saw that it was a combination of both organ and Carillon and that was very interesting to me. I saw it as a unique opportunity to bring both of those skills that I have here and to share these instruments with others.” Cortez has big plans for the carillon bells here at Concord, the first of which is fixing the mechanism by which they are played. Cortez says that the bells themselves are actually in beautiful shape, but that the keyboard used to play them is in need of repair. If all goes according to plan, Cortez plans to have the mechanism fixed during the summer to have the bells working by next fall semester.

    Cortez shares his excitement for the bells by saying, “The cool thing about the Carillon is that it’s an instrument that not only has music that is originally written for it, but you can arrange music that is originally for other instruments. You can arrange pop music, classical pieces…what I’ll be doing is a mix of original music and arrangements, and among them will be things that Concord students recognize.”

    Cortez’s love of playing music goes back to when he was 12 years-old, when he began playing the piano, and a year later at 13 when he began playing the organ. After that point, Cortez says that one experience came after another, until he decided that music was what he wanted to do with his life. In addition to playing the piano, organ, and the Carillon bells, Cortez has also taken voice lessons and plays the harpsichord. “There’s something that gives me a lot of joy in sharing music with others,” Cortez said.

    Cortez is indeed very new to Concord’s staff, so much so that he is still getting on his feet as far as figuring out what he enjoys most about being here. However, even in the short time he’s been here, it has been made evident to Cortez that the music department at Concord cares about its students. Cortez says, “The music department has a deep commitment to inviting students in to not only teach them how to play a specific instrument but our introductory courses are also very interesting at giving students a broad overview of everything in music, and I think those two things work very well, and those two things are not limited to music majors.”

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