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John Pfautz

John S. Pfautz

Professor of Music; Co-chair, Voice, Church Music, West African Music

Dr. John Pfautz is professor of music, teaching studio voice, African music, and church music.

He is also chair of the Division of Fine and Performing Arts, program chair for the Africana Studies program, and convener of the Center for Creativity committee.

In carving out his niche in the department and the college, Dr. Pfautz has been involved with maintaining the high standards that existed before his arrival in 1987, and has forged new territory with his commitment to providing the best possible opportunities for our students.  

Soon after his arrival on campus, Dr. Pfautz established an unusually aggressive opera program that has maintained a prominent presence within the Quad City fine arts scene, bringing quality productions of opera and musical theatre to the campus and the larger community. Upon election as division chair in 2014, the directorship of Opera @ Augustana has been passed on to the capable hands of colleague Dr. Michelle Crouch.

Africa: In 2005, Dr. Pfautz began teaching church music courses and directing sacred music drama at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomoso, Nigeria. His relationship with the Nigerian Seminary continued with short-term teaching experiences during breaks in the Augustana College academic schedule, including two sabbaticals.  

More recently, Professor Pfautz has been co-director of a number of study abroad programs in Ghana, and is now directing a Church Musicians Training Program in rural Kenya and Uganda. He brings the intercultural understandings learned on the continent to the Augustana classroom and the related on-campus programs.

As the newly appointed chair of the Africana Studies Program, Dr. Pfautz helps coordinate activities and recruit students to the major and minor.

The Center for Creativity has been a dream of Pfautz’ for a number of years. For the past three or four years, he has convened meetings of interested faculty members to development Augustana’s version of the creativity effort. The C4C was approved and funded in May of 2018 and the CATalyst LAB opened in fall of that year. In the absence of a director for the Center, the responsibility for oversight and planning falls to the committee and its convener.

Scholarship: John Pfautz actively teaches and researches church music in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya. Recent conference presentations focusing on church music in Africa have been made for the Africa Network, IAPCHE (International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education,) and Christian Congregational Perspectives: Local and Global, held at Ripon-Cuddesdon College, Oxford, England. 

Professor Pfautz is a regular presenter at the biannual Theological Education in Africa  conference held in East Africa. Additionally, he has created a three-year certificate program - Church Musicians’ Training — for local church musicians in Kenya who cannot attend university, Bible College or seminary, to study music and worship to better serve their congregations.   Pfautz teaches onsite for two or three weeks every six months, as well as maintains an online connection to student progress. He is in the process of writing the curriculum texts in preparation for handing off the teaching and leadership to local graduates of the program.

Dr. Pfautz is active in a number of professional organizations including the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the International Council of Ethnodoxologists and  Pi Kappa Lambda. He is a past board member for the Africa Network, and past president of the National Opera Association. Additionally, he serves on a number of departmental and campus-wide committees.

John is married to Lorelei. Together they have three grown children and nine grandchildren. He and Lorelei work together in directing a church music program at Christ’s Family Church in Davenport. If not in Africa, his office, or at church, you can probably find him playing hockey or running, biking and swimming.

Specializations: Opera, West African Music, Vocal music, Church music


  • B.S., Eastern Nazarene
  • M.M., Missouri
  • D.M.A., West Virginia