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Dr. Ladd Faszold, Where Will Life Take Him Next?

Just days after coming home from the Grammy Awards in New York, Dr. Ladd Faszold, professor of music in the Fine Arts Division, sat down in his office with the sound of piano playing in the hallway to discuss where life has taken him.

Photo by Haley Sandvoss

Dr. Ladd Faszold has been at MBU for more than three decades, but did you know he’s performed on stage at Carnegie Hall six times? Or that he’s been to the Grammys as a voting member of the academy? Or that he’s flown into the Grand Canyon? Or that he collects stamps?

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Finding the office of Dr. Ladd Faszold takes visitors down a small hallway filled with sounds of pianos and vocal lessons in progress. Walking through the doorway, a man with a grin from ear to ear stood there and pulled out two chairs, ready to begin a conversation.

Faszold, a professor of music and also the accreditation and curriculum coordinator in the Fine Arts Division at Missouri Baptist University, first began teaching at MBU in 1987, first as an adjunct before moving to full time in 1994.

In 1970, Faszold went in to college planning to major in math, physics and music, however, as many college students are known to do, he ended up completely changing his mind.

Faszold earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from Southeast Missouri State University in 1974, then his master’s in church music in 1976 from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Faszold finally went to the University of Memphis to earn his doctorate in musical arts in 1993.

Faszold  teaches music history and music theory, and also works with curriculum changes and updates within the entire division, which includes departments in music, theatre and communications.

Faszold has been teaching for the past 31 years at MBU, however, teaching was not what he first aspired to do, which may sound surprising.

“When I was younger I did not see myself with the career I have today, I enjoyed research and really enjoyed science, plus in high school I took every math class I could possibly take,” Faszold said. “I enjoyed the science and I enjoyed the arts, I did not imagine myself being this far into music but I think it just progressed that way and it’s been a good ride.”

Every typical person has music in their life, some way, somehow. It’s why Faszold teaches, to bring students joy and understanding of this artistic form of expression.

“The most rewarding part of what I do here at MBU is seeing the lights come on, when a student comes to the point where they get realization and they go, ‘Ah ha,’ that’s a fun moment,” Faszold said. “When you see someone who takes a new idea and makes it their own, and see them create a new way to look at things. So many times students come in with these preconceived ideas and it’s fun to see when another idea takes hold.”

Faszold loves those times, and only wishes he had gotten to this profession sooner.

“A regret I have is not getting into teaching earlier, I do enjoy teaching and I feel that I would have liked to have done that earlier,” Faszold said. “It just seems with the circumstances I didn’t get to do it earlier and that’s just how life goes sometimes.”

Faszold started his career as a worship leader for  many years, serving in churches in Missouri, Illinois, Los Angeles, North Carolina and South Carolina, most of them being bi-vocational.

But he always wanted to teach, and when a part-time faculty position opened up at MBU he was glad to accept, and it became full time a few years later.

Faszold has also been involved with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus for the past three decades, enjoying as many passions as possible.

“I’ve gotten to perform some pretty amazing music,” Faszold said, including six times on stage at Carnegie Hall.

Faszold recently attended the Grammy Award ceremony due to being involved in the Symphony Chorus, an experience he has also enjoyed in the past.

“It was a wonderful overall experience. I had the opportunity to meet several artists the first time,” said Faszold, who added he heard live performances from artists like Paul McCartney, Elton John, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen.

The Symphony Chorus is a recording member of The Recording Academy (formerly the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, or NARAS), which allows Faszold to attend the Grammy Awards each year as a voting member of the academy.

As a voting member of the academy, Faszold said there are “about 12-15 different categories, since you’re limited of how many times you can vote. … So I get to listen to all of the music and then make my decision.”

This year’s Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York were the second for Faszold, with his first coming in 2012 in Los Angeles.

Faszold gets such a thrill singing for the Symphony Chorus; the places where he sings are places many can only dream of going to.

“Something really thrilling was the first time I sung in Carnegie Hall,” Faszold said. “I actually have creds in there, we did an opera and I had a non-singing role and I had my name right in the program, it was very cool, I really enjoyed that.”

Even though Faszold has an extensive background in music, he has a couple other passions in life.

His latest is stamp collecting, which Faszold has been doing for a few years now. While he has no idea how many stamps he actually owns, he really enjoys the artistry in the stamps.

Besides stamp collecting Faszold has a passion in his life that involves not only him, but his wife and children as well.

“I like to travel, I’m getting to the point where I can do it now, I’m going to go to New Zealand next Christmas holiday, and so my wife and I are going to go, it’s one of those bucket list type of things,” Faszold said. “There are a lot of places I would like to go and visit, we have a map at home of all of the different places we have been, we are currently in the process of putting up pins. I have been to 48 states as of now, only missing Vermont and North Dakota. I am hoping to get to both of them soon.”

Currently Faszold travels whenever the opportunity comes around. When he was younger there weren’t many opportunities to travel.

“When I was younger I didn’t get to take vacations because my dad was in the military,”  Faszold said. “So me and my wife were determined that when we would drive, we would take our children to the four corners of the country, so we got our kids to about 35 states and the rest they are on their own for.”

If Faszold could go to any place again he would go back to the Grand Canyon.

“When I was there, I actually got to take a plane ride and fly into the Canyon,” Faszold said. “Now they no longer allow that because the year we did that someone ended up crashing, so now they no longer allow that anymore.”

While the Grand Canyon would be a great place to visit again, there is another place Faszold really wants to visit.

“I would like to go to Japan, I would just like to visit the countryside,” Faszold said. “I feel like the Japanese culture is very interesting.”

Faszold has been traveling with his wife and children for many years, and now that the children are grown they travel on their own, and Faszold travels with his wife.

Faszold said he gets his dedication from his father and his sense of humor from his mother.

But the most influential person in his life?

“The most influential person in my life would have to be my Lord,” Faszold said. “Following his message and his planning, feeling his heart in my life.”

One of the hardest decisions Faszold ever had to make was when he was 14 years old and he gave his life over to Christ. It was such a hard decision to make, especially since he didn’t grow up in the church.

“Everyone goes through some type of challenges, I’ve had some physical challenges throughout the years and the Lord has blessed me and I am still here,” Faszold said. “Sometimes you just have to get up and keep on going.”

Faszold wants to see people move in a positive direction, and he hopes his students see him as a light.

“I would hope people say I would listen, be caring and try to be helpful,” Faszold said. “I would hope my students see that I am here to help them … accomplish what they want to accomplish.”

Cameron Tyler, who is one of Faszold’s students, related to what Faszold hopes his students actually see in him.

“He taught me it really is OK to ask questions,” said Tyler, a freshman musical theatre and music education major. “When I first saw him my first impression was that he was a really funny guy with lots of amazing stories and knowledge to share.”

Tyler Gruen, a junior theatre major, has been in a number of Faszold’s classes during the past three years.

“My first impression of him was that he was completely and totally hilarious,” Gruen said. “He’s super great at lifting up people’s spirits with his light-hearted humor. He taught me that asking questions and admitting that you don’t quite understand things even when everyone else does is nothing to be ashamed of.”

In the end of the interview Faszold wrapped things up with a few of his favorite words, or as he called them, “words of wisdom.”

“Be calm.”

“Take the time to prepare yourself.”

“If you give yourself time, you will accomplish what you want to do.”

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Haley Sandvoss

Haley Sandvoss

Haley Sandvoss is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline, with a major in public relations and a minor in broadcast media. Sandvoss enjoys being captain of the MBU cheerleading team, as well as singing in chorale and chamber singers. In her little free time you can find Sandvoss drinking coffee and taking photos all around St. Louis for her fashion Instagram page. Sandvoss hopes to eventually pursue a job in the public relations field at a theatre.

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