Our Faculty

Jason Hiester holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice and Conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dr. Hiester, a tenor, performs on both sides of the baton, having begun his career on the stage before moving into the pit.  His professional singing credits include roles with the West Palm Beach Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Columbus, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and the Florida Grand Opera and concert work with the Miami Bach Society, Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Symphony, Columbus Bach Ensemble, Columbus Dance Theater, Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, and Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati.  He was a winner of both the Schloss Leopoldskron competition in Salzburg, Austria, and the West Palm Beach Opera Competition.
As a conductor, Dr. Hiester is well-versed in numerous genres, impressing audiences and musicians alike with the excellence he demands both from choirs and orchestras and generating vibrant performances with all levels of musicians. He is an Associate Professor of Music at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he is head of the choral department and Musical Director of the opera program, contributing his inventive musical ideas, which often include multi-discipline artistic productions.  Combining the forms of dance, opera, choir, visual art, and poetry is a passion of his, and Dr. Hiester takes every opportunity to produce new and innovative works of this kind through collaborations with professionals across Ohio.
As a member of the musical staff of Opera Columbus, Dr. Hiester serves as Associate Conductor and Chorus Master.



*Fall Registration Now Open!

Music Theory 1

Online Presenter: Emily Lapisardi

This course provides an overview of the foundational components of music including notation, intervals, key signatures, harmonic analysis and realization, and figured bass. Students will have access to ten weekly lectures on the course material. They will also receive individual feedback from the instructor on tests and quizzes and may contact the instructor as needed by email, phone, or Skype.

Start date: September 30, 2019

History of Sacred Music

Online Presenter: Emily Lapisardi

This course provides a survey of the historical role of music in worship from its roots in the Old Testament to the present day. Landmark repertoire will be explored within the framework of historical turning points in ecclesiastical history. While the class will focus primarily on Christian music in the western world, cross-cultural influences will also be explored. This is a ten-week course comprised of weekly lectures and music listening assignments; students are also required to participate in a minimum of three online discussions and will be evaluated through midterm and final examinations. 

Start date: September 30, 2019

*Also Registering for Organ, Voice, and Cantor Lessons

For more information and to register for any of these fall offerings, send an email to asacredmusic@gmail.com or fill out the contact form on this website.

Registration deadline Friday, September 20, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Make checks payable to Sacred Music Institute of America and send to the following address:

P.O. Box 55

Lewis Center, Ohio 43035

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Faculty and Staff


Dr. Jason J. Keefer, Program Director

Organ/Sacred Music Topics                                

Dr. Rebecca Abbott


Jeremy Bankson


Dr. David Baskeyfield

Organ/Organ Improvisation

Mari Kay Dono

Cantor Program Liaison/Basic Cantor Training

Dr. Richard K. Fitzgerald

Organ/Organ Improvisation

Dr. Jason Hiester


Emily Lapisardi

Music Theory/History of Sacred Music

Steven Nanni


Rachel Parfenchuk


Nicholas John Steltzer


Dr. Jennifer Whitehead


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