NHCC MUSIC FACULTY

Dr. Kristian Anderson 

Guitar & Garage Band  

Kristian Anderson’s versatility as a musician has resulted in a thriving performing career, both in and out of the classical realm, covering a wide range of endeavors and accomplishments.  

He has performed from the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall…with the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra to the San Francisco Symphony…for the GFA Festival to the Iserlohn Guitar Festival…on National Public Radio to National Polish Radio. 

Kris is a founding member of the acclaimed Tantalus Quartet and is a gold medal winner of several solo classical guitar competitions. 

His expertise in various musical styles led directly to a successful career as a professional theater musician, culminating in approximately 400 shows a year throughout the Twin Cities. 

His students have become competition prize-winners and accepted into guitar programs throughout the U.S. 

He is an avid educator, a published composer, and an unabashed lover of noise rock. 

Judy Blomgren

Orchestra & Applied Strings

  

Judy Blomgren received her Bachelors in Music Education degree in 1976 from Mankato State University and her Masters of Arts in Education from St. Catherines University in 2003. Judy’s teaching career was in the Anoka Hennepin School district at Northdale Middle School, Jackson Middle School and Champlin Park High School. Judy was selected as one of the 20 “TOP” teachers in the Anoka Hennepin District in 2001. She was a finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the year in 2003. In 2009 the Champlin Park Orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall. Judy is on the board of Thursday Musical and Orchestra Director at North Hennepin Community College. Judy also serves as Organist at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in East Bethel. 

Dr. Grace Choi 

Piano & Ear Training  

Grace Choi earned her BM in Piano Performance at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea and received a full scholarship to continue her piano studies at New England Conservatory in Boston, where she studied with Gabriel Chodos and earned her MM in Piano Performance. She completed her DMA in Piano Performance at the University of Minnesota with Lydia Artymiw as a recipient of the Ude (full scholarship) and Centennial Fellowships. 

Grace has performed solo and chamber recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Jordan Hall and Williams Hall in Boston, Ted Mann Concert Hall and Ultan Recital Hall in Minneapolis, and Music Mansion Hall in Providence. She has also appeared in solo recitals at Tongyeong Art Hall at the Tongyeong International Music Festival in Korea and was featured on a live broadcast of Minnesota Public Radio where her performance was heard throughout the state of Minnesota. Grace is currently a member of the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College. 

Dr. Kevin Hobbs

Music Theory & Music History  

Kevin Hobbs is currently on the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College. He also teaches at Mount Calvary Academy of Music and has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Gustavus Adolphus College. 

Kevin earned his B.M. and M.M. from the University of Cincinnati, where he studied with Elisabeth Pridonoff and was the recipient of the CCM Honors Scholarship, the Reeves, Shockett, and McElroy prizes, and the first William Black Memorial Prize. He earned his D.M.A. from the University of Minnesota as a student of Lydia Artymiw and also holds a B.A. (Writing) from Johns Hopkins University. 

His awards include top prizes in the Venetia Hall Piano Competition, the Wyoming Music Club Competition, the Brevard Festival Piano Competition, and the International Young Artists Piano Competition. He has performed at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. as well as internationally in Barcelona, Spain and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. 

Kevin’s students have won top prizes in the Schubert Club, Thursday Musical, YPSCA, and LaCrosse Symphony Rising Stars piano competitions and have been featured on NPR’s “From the Top.” His students have been accepted to music programs at the Univ. of Minnesota, the Univ. of Wisconsin, Northwestern Univ., Berklee School of Music, and the Univ. of Cincinnati, CCM. 

Gary Ruschman 

Director of Choirs and Voice

Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “funny and fresh-voiced”, vocal artist, conductor, and composer Gary Ruschman works in a broad range of styles and musical traditions. 

Gary has concertized with the Kennedy Center, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Festival Musique en L’Île de Paris, Boston Pops, Urbino Early Music, and in hundreds of venues across the U.S. and Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and Cameroon. He was a member of the international-circuit vocal ensemble Cantus for a decade, has performed with members of OK Go, Wailin’ Jennys, and Lebanese oud master Marcel Khalife, and sung alongside jazz legends Bobby McFerrin and Doc Severinsen. He apprenticed at Portland Opera and has performed to critical acclaim in forty operatic and stage roles.

Ruschman’s compositions and arrangements have been featured on BBC Two and C-SPAN, and premiered at Madison Square Garden and Bodh Gaya, India in the presence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. An American Composers Forum grantee and co-recipient of Chorus America’s Education and Community Outreach Award, Gary recently co-wrote an oratorio with countertenor Ryland Angel, WILCO guitarist Nels Cline, and accordionist Ben Rosenblum entitled The Call.

In addition to teaching at North Hennepin Community College, he regularly directs ensembles across the Twin Cities, including Mixed Precipitation’s Pickup Truck Opera, St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Consortium Carissimi, Twin Cities Early Music Festival, and One Voice Mixed Chorus. 

Gary earned degrees with honors from Northern Kentucky University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His discography includes choral, art song, and alt-rock records, a dozen CDs with Cantus, and a series of solo albums.

Dr. Heather MacLaughlin

Piano, Fundamentals of Music, History of Rock and Roll, Music Appreciation  

Called “…one of the most talented and elegant pianists in the region” (composer David Evan Thomas), Heather MacLaughlin is one of the Twin Cities’ leading collaborative pianists. She comes from a musical family and has made four recordings with her father, tenor Tom MacLaughlin. She has collaborated with Pinchas and Arianna Zukerman, baritone David Malis, and violist Cynthia Phelps among others. MacLaughlin has been heard as both chamber musician and soloist on National and Minnesota Public Radio. She was awarded the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, and a travel and study grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations for travel to Hungary to study and perform the Bartok sonatas for Violin and Piano with violinist Leslie Shank; the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo released a CD of these works on the Centaur label. Together with her husband, classical guitarist Alan Johnston, she represented Minnesota on the Millennium Series at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University as a student of Enrica Cavallo-Gulli, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano as a student of Margo Garrett. A former member of the MacPhail Suzuki Talent Education faculty, she currently teaches at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park. MacLaughlin has taught and performed at Suzuki institutes and festivals in Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota and Lima, Peru. 

David Mantini

Band, Music Theory, Applied Brass, Winds & Percussion

David Mantini is a member of the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College where he directs the Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band and teaches music theory, instrumental music lessons and is the advisor for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two year colleges. 

Mr. Mantini is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, IA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Trumpet Performance and Anthropology. He attended the University of North Texas and received a Master’s of Music Education with concentrations in Jazz Studies and Music History. While in Texas, Mr. Mantini was a clinician in various schools, and performed as a guest artist with the Dallas Brass. He also toured professionally with the popular Christian band, Truth. After returning to Minnesota, he taught K-8 general music and 5-12 band in various schools, and performed with several bands. 

Mr. Mantini is very active in his church, having served as chair of the Administrative Council, Fun and Funding and the Stewardship committees. He is also a past board member of the Twin Cities Youth Chorale. Currently Mr. Mantini is the president of the Champlin Park Band Association. 

Mr. Mantini performs with the Elk River German Band, directs the Brooklyn United Methodist Big Band and the Brooklyn Community Concert Band. In addition, he free-lances across the Twin Cities and teaches instrumental lessons. He lives in Brooklyn Park with his wife and two sons.