Three to be inducted into AHS Music Hall of Fame

Published 6:52 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

The AHS Music Hall of Fame has announced its newest three members for 2023: Sarah Johannsen, Matthew Penning and Jack Tedrow.  

Sarah Johannsen

The three inductees will be honored on Friday, May 19, at a dinner at the Hormel Historic Home at 5 p.m. and at the Austin High School Band Blast in Austin High School’s Knowlton Auditorium at 7 p.m. People interested in attending the dinner should contact Sue Radloff at 507-437-4940.  Deadline is May 12.

Johannsen, class of 1974, was active in choir, Austinaires, and in the Thespian Group and she had the lead role in “Kiss Me Kate.”

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She has a bachelor’s degree in voice from University of Kansas, and masters from the University of Illinois. She won an award in the Regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions and was in apprentice programs with Lake George and Michigan Operas. 

Johannsen moved to New York City in 1984, and sang leading roles with many small opera companies and then with regional companies like Miami and Kansas City Lyric. She got her first engagement in Germany in 1994, singing Donna Elvira with the Giessen Theater. 

She sang in several regional theaters and began singing German repertoire, including Elektra, all of the Brunnhildes, Isolde, Ariadne and Sentra. She has sung lead roles with many companies, including Lyric Theater of Verona, Rome Opera, and Opera Bastille in Paris. 

She currently lives with her husband, conductor Wolfgang Michel, outside of Frankfurt and Main, Germany.

Matthew Penning

Penning, class of 1990, discovered his love for music through his family, the Austin Public Schools, and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. He studied piano and organ with Janet Gilbertson and received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College and Master of Sacred Music from Luther Seminary in St.Paul. 

He has served churches in Minnesota, Oregon, and Iowa, and is currently serving at One Ancient Hope Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. His passion is to equip people through music and worship, particularly young people. He has organized children’s choral and handbell festivals and pipe organ encounters, and teaches private lessons. 

He also created and leads an internship program for university students, and coordinates the National Undergraduate Organ Competition in Ottumwa, Iowa. 

Penning was key in rescuing a three manual mechanical action Casavant organ after a major flood destroyed it. It is now regularly used at St. Andrew Presybyterian Church, where he served as director of music for 20 years. He resides in Iowa City with his wife, Tamera, and their two daughters.

Tedrow, class of 1944, studied and played under the direction of C. Vittorio Sperati. 

Jack Tedrow

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, then went on to receive his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education at Northwestern University. He taught in Bessemer, Michigan from 1951 – 53, then returned to Austin where he taught at AHS and Ellis until he retired in 1985. 

Proficient in all band instruments, Tedrow played in numerous dance bands such as the Rollo Sissell, Bobby Thompson, and Earl White Bands. He also performed with Austin and Rochester Municipal Bands, Austin and Rochester Symphony Orchestras, and was a charter member of the Sheldon Theater Brass Band in Red Wing. After retiring from teaching, he went to school for band instrument repair, and opened a shop in Lake City. He remained active in musical groups in Minnesota and Arizona for the rest of his life. 

The Music Hall of Fame was started in 2009 by Ken Jensen to honor people who have excelled in the field of music and are graduates of Austin High School. They must have achieved success in performance, education, or in the music industry.