“What’s the difference between a sin and a transgression?” “What is iniquity?” These are not the usual challenging questions engineering students face during a typical academic year. But these are questions South Dakota School of Mines & Technology students had to face this academic year while studying a musical setting of the 51st Psalm for an elective course titled Concert Choir. The professor posing these questions was not teaching religion or philosophy. He was their choral conductor, and the school’s director of music, Dr. James Feiszli.
Even among singers, it’s not the typical way one begins studying a new work, but Jim is not your ordinary choral conductor. He has spent the past thirty-two (soon to be thirty-three) years teaching serious music to serious non-musicians. Non-traditional musicians, including engineers, physicists, computer science majors and mathematicians.