Rick Piersall is the Department Chair for the Department of Music. Rick is a co-founder of the South Dakota Vocal Arts Festival and has directed operas at Stephen F. Austin State University, Houston Baptist University, and the University of South Dakota. He has appeared in leading roles with the Utah Lyric Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Longleaf Opera, El Paso Opera, Opera at Lehigh, Opera Fort Collins, Opera Iowa, Opera North, Amarillo Opera and the Abilene Opera Association. Among his roles are Mozart’s Figaro, Reverend Olin Blitch in Susannah, the title character in The Boor by Argento, Don Fernando in Beethoven’s Fidelio, and Tony in the musical The Most Happy Fella.
Samuel Cook is ACU’s Artist in Residence and has performed operatic and solo vocal repertoire throughout the United States and Europe. He attended the Johns Hopkins University Peabody Conservatory of Music and Indiana University and pursued advanced training with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Tebaldi in Busseto, Italy. Among Cook’s operatic roles are the Duke (Rigoletto), Nemorino (L’Elisior d’Amore), Narciso (Il Turoc in Italia), Count Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Sivilia), Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Alfredo (La traviata) and Don José (Carmen). Along with his operatic roles, Cook has performed internationally as a sensitive song and lieder recitalist whose programs encompass an intriguing and varied repertoire from Bach’s oratorios and passions to Liszt’s romantic Sonetti di Petrarca to a rich and heart rendering solo recital of Negro spirituals.
Jeffery Goolsby is Director of Choral Studies at Abilene Christian University, where he conducts the A Cappella Chorus, University Chorale, and Chamber Singers. He teaches courses in choral conducting and choral methods and supervises the choral music education program. Prior to joining the ACU faculty, he taught for ten years in successful high school choral music programs in the Dallas and Houston areas. He is in demand as a clinician, consultant, and adjudicator throughout the state and has served in numerous regional and state capacities with TMEA, ACDA, and UIL. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Abilene Christian University, where he was named a University Scholar; the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University; and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University. Professional affiliations include TMEA, TCDA, ACDA, NCCO, TMAA, and Pi Kappa Lambda.
Mike Rogers is Assistant Professor of music and serves as the music theory/ear training coordinator as well as the Director of Jazz Studies for the school of music. Rogers holds a PhD in music theory from the University of North Texas, a master’s degree in Music Education/Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Texas Christian University. Rogers has performed with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Pete Peterson and the Collection Jazz Orchestra, the Harvey Anderson Big Band among others. Before teaching music theory, Rogers was a Texas UIL Sweepstakes band director, having taught schools throughout central Texas. An active member of the Society for Music Theory and the Texas Society for Music Theory, he has presented papers at various regional music theory conferences across the United States. Dr. Rogers’s research interests include jazz tonality, jazz pedagogy, music theory pedagogy and ear training pedagogy. He serves as chief arranger, editor, and music director for the Acappella “Praise and Harmony” series.
Dr. Greg Straughn has taught music history and theory courses at Abilene Christian University since 2000. He holds a masters and doctorate in Musicology from the University of North Texas. In his professional career, he has performed as a cellist with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra and the Denton and Dallas Bach Societies. His scholarly work has centered on nineteenth-century opera, specifically Wagner’s Parsifal and the ensemble structures in the works of Jules Massenet. Since 2009, he has held a variety of administrative roles at ACU, including Honors Dean, Associate Provost for General Education, Interim Provost, and, currently, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Susan Teel joined the Abilene Christian University music faculty in 1997 where she serves as instructor of music education, musicology, and strings. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree with piano emphasis from Abilene Christian University and a Master of Music Education degree from The University of Georgia and joined the ACU faculty after teaching fourteen years in public and private elementary schools in Abilene. Mrs. Teel and her husband, Allen, have performed for thousands of area elementary students under the auspices of Young Audiences, Inc., a locally administered national organization that sponsors arts in the schools. Their duo, Strike Two, used a wide array of percussion instruments to teach students about musical styles from around the world. She also plays viola, violin, or piano in the ACU Orchestra as needed and is the accompanist for the Chorus Abilene Children’s Chorus.