Alena Pagal

Piano Instructor

B.Mus., Bowling Green State University; M.Mus., University of South Carolina

Alena Pagal has served as Visiting Guest Lecturer in Piano Pedagogy, Community Music Program coordinator, and Group Piano area coordinator at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. She is involved in the Columbia music community as an MTNA member. She is a piano instructor for the Music Ministry studios of Riverland Hills Baptist church and has helped to adjudicate events for various local music organizations. Ms. Pagal is active as a collaborative pianist for various local school district events. She also serves as staff accompanist, applied piano area coordinator, and group piano instructor for USC Aiken. In addition to maintaining a private studio, Ms. Pagal currently teaches at the University of South Carolina, Columbia and Aiken Campuses, and at Columbia International University. Ms. Pagal is active in the community as a teacher, collaborative pianist, and adjudicator.

B. M. in Piano Performance, with emphasis in literature, collaborative piano, and piano pedagogy, Bowling Green State University (OH); M. M. in Piano Pedagogy, University of South Carolina; 2002 recipient of the Helen Lakofsky Piano Scholarship; 2003 collaborative pianist recipient of Marjorie Conrad Peatee Artsong Competition; 2004 recipient of C. Elizabeth Cobb Memorial Scholarship for collaborative piano.


Alison Branham

Voice Instructor

B.Mus., Columbia College; M.Mus., University of South Carolina; doctoral candidate, University of South Carolina

Lee Branham performs extensively around the Columbia area, and has in the past, performed international opera and oratorio through the University of South Carolina. She actively works to keep her students performing at the standards of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and she looks forward to introducing new vocal programming at CIU in the future. Outside of her singing career, she raises a family, participates extensively in her church choir and other local choir programs, enjoys reading, composing children's songs, and volunteers her musical abilities at nursing homes in the community.

B. M. in Vocal Performance and Sacred Music, Columbia College; M. M. in Vocal and Opera Performance, University of South Carolina. Mrs. Branham is in the process of pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education from Columbia International University; private studio teacher and music faculty: Riverland Hills Music Academy, 2005-2008; Carolina Music Academy, 2006-2007; private studio teacher, 1996-present; Adjunct Professor in voice, Columbia International University, 2008-present.


Chris Essig

Guitar Instructor

M.M. in Guitar Performance, University of South Carolina under the instruction of Christopher Berg; B.A. in Guitar Performance, Geneva College

Chris Essig has been teaching guitar for over nine years and enjoys teaching and performing in the Columbia area. Mr. Essig has given recitals at the University of South Carolina (USC), the Columbia Guitar Society, Geneva College, Columbia International University (CIU), and various weddings and events. Mr. Essig specializes in classical guitar and contemporary/traditional worship styles. His philosophy in teaching the guitar is to help students reach an in-depth understanding of the blessing and power of music through the study of guitar technique, music theory, interpretation, repertoire, and musicianship.

M.M. in guitar performance from the University of South Carolina (USC) under the instruction of Christopher Berg; B.A. in Guitar Performance from Geneva College. Guitar teacher, Carolina Music Academy (2004-present); adjunct faculty guitarist, Columbia International University (2007-present); guitar teacher, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School (2004-present); Worship Coordinator, Columbia Crossroads Northeast Church (2008-present); Worship Leader New Kirk Presbyterian church (2004-2008).


David Osterlund

Prison Initiative Program Director
(803) 807-5117

B.S., M.S., University of Wisconsin; Ed.D., University of Illinois

Dr. Osterlund has taught for 44 years - all ages - from kindergarten to seminary doctoral students. He has been a part of television and radio production and involved in Youth for Christ and Band Camping programs. But perhaps the most life changing time of his life was the four years Dave and his wife spent in Ethiopia, working with the Ethiopian, the European, and the American. He brings all of these experiences to his classroom, the choir, and to every cross-cultural class and worship discussion.

B.S., M.S., University of Wisconsin; Ed.D., University of Illinois; instrumental and vocal music in the public schools, Barnum, Minn. and Superior, Wis., 1958-66; music faculty, University of Wisconsin, Superior, 1966-69; director of music, American Community School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1969-71; director of music, Good Shepherd School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1971-73; music teaching assistant, University of Illinois, 1973-74; visiting lecturer in music education, University of Wisconsin, 1974-75; chairman, division of fine arts and department of music, Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minn., 1975-89.


Rod Lewis

A photo of Rod Lewis, CIU's Music Program Director.
Music Program Director
(803) 807-5190

B.A. in Music Education, Alderson Broaddus College; M.M. in Guitar Performance, University of South Carolina;n D.M.A. in Guitar Performance, University of South Carolina

Dr. Rod believes that as a Christian he is called to use his music in three ways: to worship, to reach non-believers with the gospel and to encourage other believers. The desire to participate in all these areas has led him to simultaneously explore diverse musical paths. Dr. Rod recognizes that the art of learning, creating, and making music is a parable for life, and specifically, the Christian life. He finds it difficult to separate music and art from any aspect of life; therefore, it is an expression of his relationship with Christ, a tool for evangelism, and an offering back to the Giver. As a teacher, his desire is to show students that music can be effective in all these areas and that there need not be a dichotomy between the Christian and secular aspects of life, or between calling and vocation.

B.A. in Music Education, Alderson Broaddus College; M.M. in Guitar Performance, University of South Carolina; D.M.A. in Guitar Performance, University of South Carolina; studio guitarist, Harvest Gospel Studio, 1985; teacher, Greencastle Antrim High School, 1986-88; private guitar lessons, 1981-present. 1990

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