By Daniel Yae
Caleb Wenzel is currently an assistant professor and director of choral and vocal activities here at Grand Rapids Community College. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Saint John’s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano performance and composition.
Wenzel is active on and off campus because of his involvement in the music industry here.
“On campus I am in charge of anything that has to do with singing,” Wenzel said. “There are four current choirs at GRCC and I am personally in charge of three of them including the jazz choir.” He also teaches music theory and history at GRCC and is responsible for coordinating events for anything singing-related.
Kevin Dobreff, the head and program director for the music department is grateful for the opportunity to work with Wenzel.
“Dr. Wenzel is a wonderful musician and music educator,” Dobreff said.“His rapport with students and faculty alike is warm and disarming. I feel blessed to work with Caleb Wenzel and to know that our students are receiving such an excellent music education under his tutelage.”
Kelsee Brozek is a support professional for the music department who also enjoys working with Wenzel.
“Caleb has been an absolute joy to work with,” Brozek said. “He is an amazing colleague and has become a great friend! I have really enjoyed getting to know him, his vibrant and infectious energy.”
While Wenzel is comfortable in his career, his advice to aspiring artists is straightforward.
“Make time for it, nothing about music happens because you just love it,” Wenzel said. “You have to make time for it and be creative.
“It’s just my second year at GRCC,” Wenzel continued. “A little over a year and a half. I started in August of 2020. (I am) currently working on getting established in Grand Rapids.” Wenzel is currently working with a voice program partnership at Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University and Hope College. He is working with local pro companies and a project with Rockford High School.
Dobreff is keen to point out the improvements Wenzel has brought to the music and vocal department at GRCC.
“Dr. Wenzel has created a very safe environment for his students and colleagues to be themselves and create music,” Dobreff said. “His disarming personality and welcome humor make him very approachable. Students are very comfortable working with Caleb and our voice faculty are especially grateful for his leadership and guidance.”
Brozek, too, agrees that Wenzel’s contributions to the department have been numerous.
“Professor Wenzel is a passionate music educator and truly loves what he does,” Brozek said. “He cares about our students and their success. He pushes our students to be their very best and unlock potential they never knew they had. Caleb gets our students out of their comfort zones and pushes them towards scholarships and programs that they might not have attempted on their own.”
Wenzel counts himself lucky to be involved in the music scene of Grand Rapids. “Grand Rapids is a very vibrant city for performing music in the city,” Wenzel said.
Wenzel’s favorite instrument to play is the piano and his favorite thing to listen to is singers in general. When he’s conducting he loves to perform.
“Conducting work, I really love to do anything,” he said. “I want to do performances with projection artwork, lighting designs, and having dancers in the performances. I want to show visual concepts with the music being performed.”
Wenzel loves listening to live music and creating the music himself. He loved how music gave him a welcoming freedom in musical expression. Music is something that he has held onto since he was a kid and ended up pursuing.
“One of the reasons for coming here after coming from Notre Dame,” Wenzel said. “I really wanted to cultivate the craft of being a really good collegiate music teacher. I want to cultivate the craft of empowering people to pursue opportunities they didn’t know they had.”
As for personal goals, he wants to work on finishing and learning all the Bach keyboard works. He is also currently working on a multi-year project for performance.
The best way of contacting Caleb Wenzel is through his email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a website of calebwenzelmusic.com. The website provides his personal socials, schedule, contact information and more information.