Concluding the composition: chair of the music department to retire after 34 years

By Libby Koziarski

After 34 years of teaching, Dr. Jonathan Bruce Brown, Spring Arbor University’s (SAU) music department chair, is set to retire. 

His first encounter with SAU was 44 years ago on March 31, 1973, when his sister was married on campus. Ten years later, he heard about a job opening, “and the rest is history,” he said with a smile. 

Dr. Brown. From SAU’s website.

Dr. Brown has taught several classes at SAU, with some of his favorites being Intro to Fine Arts and Music Theory. He also started and directed the string orchestra, helped set up the computer music lab, and composed a brass piece for the kick-off dedication of the campus library in 2002. 

“It is a real blessing to be here [at SAU],” he said. “I just hope people feel like I tried to be helpful.” 

According to sophomore Rachel Lawrence, “Dr. Brown is just a really great guy to talk to… and he does such a good job laying down the basics and making complex concepts easy to understand.” 

Dr. Brown is not only an accomplished professor at SAU, but he is also a nationally-recognized composer. His performances have been showcased from Washington D.C. to Honolulu, Hawaii, garnering annual awards from the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) since 1992. 

34 years later, Dr. Brown’s career at SAU comes full-circle as he plans his farewell concert.  The concert is on April 27th, 7:00p.m., in the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church chapel.