randall wm. burghart, music director

Randall Wm. Burghart is an active conductor and music director, having served as associate conductor of the Evangelical Choral Society from 1995 to 2006, and after a year off, again in 2008 when the chorus became an independent organization. In 2009, he succeeded ECS founder, Dr. Richard N. Stewart, as Conductor and Music Director.

He has been music director for numerous theatrical productions, including The Gondoliers, Patience, and Iolanthe (West Michigan Savoyards) and Godspell (Calvin College). With Cornerstone University Theatre he has music directed shows such as Into the Woods, Meet Me in St. Louis, H.M.S Pinafore, Honk!, The Fantasticks, Jane Eyre, and the Grand Award-winning productions of The Secret Garden and The Pirates of Penzance. As both stage director and conductor, Burghart has presented Little Women, the Musical, and Cornerstone University's first-ever fully staged opera, The Old Maid and the Thief.

His production of The Greatest Song: in Critique of Solomon, an oratorio presentation of The Song of Solomon, was heralded by its creator, Calvin Seerveld, as the finest presentation of the work in its 40-year history.

Burghart served as assistant professor of Music at Cornerstone University, where he conducted the University Chorale and the vocal chamber ensemble, "Credo". He led the university's choral ensembles on tours to Chicago, Washington D.C., and Italy. Additionally, he taught Introduction to Fine Arts, ear training, ethnomusicology, Music and Worship, and conducting. After teaching courses at Grand Rapids Community College for a year, he is back at Cornerstone as an adjunct faculty member.

Burghart studied composition with Dr. Stewart and graduated in 1994 from Cornerstone University. In 1999 he earned his master's degree in choral conducting from Michigan State University, where he studied with Charles K. Smith.

Mr. Burghart, his wife Kristen, and their sons frequently open their home to students who enjoy home-cooked meals, lively discussions, and home-roasted fair-trade coffee.

Photo credit: © 2009 Jeff Dykehouse. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

richard n. stewart, music director emeritus

Choral conductor and composer Richard N. Stewart holds a bachelor of music in organ performance from Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio, and a Masters of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary, where he studied organ with Alec Wyton (Cathedral of St. John the Divine) and composition with Joseph Goodman. He stayed on at UTS for several years to study for his doctorate in Sacred Music until the closing of the school. During this time, he came to faith and put his trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.

In the fall of 1972, he was invited to join the faculty of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI, then known as Grand Rapids Baptist Bible College. In the fall of 1977, he founded the "Baptist Choral Society," which later became the "Evangelical Choral Society". He served as Professor of Music at Cornerstone University for 35 years (1972-2007) and as the Chairman of the Fine Arts Department for at least half of those years. He was inducted into the Cornerstone University Faculty Hall of Honor in 2003.

An active composer who holds a Ph. D. in composition from Michigan State University, Dr. Stewart has produced works which have been heard at conventions and concerts across the country and on National Public Radio. His "Benedictus Qui Venit" was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and both his "Psalm 102/Kyrie" and his "Te Deum" were nominated for the Grawemeyer Award, the most prestigious international award for a large scale new work.

Photo credit: © 2008 Cal Olson. All rights reserved. Used with permission.