Centre News

20 Questions with College Organist and Instructor of Music Zach Klobnak


October 3, 2013        
Zach Klobnak
1. Position at Centre?
Organist and Instructor of Music

2. Where did you grow up (and describe the place in one phrase or sentence)?
I grew up in Knoxville, Iowa. Knoxville is a small town in Southern Iowa surrounded by corn and soybean fields and known for the famed Knoxville Raceway, a sprint car racetrack, and the birthplace of the Iowa state flag.

3. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy running and am looking forward to my first half-marathon in the near future. I'm also a bit of a political junkie. I read a lot of political biographies—in fact, most of them are figures with whom I vehemently disagree. (It also makes for many confused looks when people browse the books on my bookshelf!)

4. What is your dream vacation?
Having spent two-and-a-half weeks this past summer in France, I have to admit that I fell in love with that country and would go back in a heartbeat. Of course, there is a rich history of organ music there, so I was completely "in my element," so to speak.

5. Favorite artist and/or work of art?
Jackson Pollock's works and life are pretty interesting.

6. Favorite novel or poem?
Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying

7. Favorite sport (to watch or play)?
I can't claim to be a sports player, but I do enjoy watching baseball. I idolized Kirby Puckett as a kid, and I still root for the Minnesota Twins.

8. Favorite TV show?
I don't watch a lot of TV, but The Big Bang Theory always cracks me up!

9. Favorite album?
I'm not sure, but I really love 80s pop music—so, something from that decade with lots of power ballads!

10. Favorite holiday?
My birthday

11. Favorite food?
Ice cream!

12. Most prized possession?
I'm not sure—perhaps my health. Lots of people deal with serious health concerns on a daily basis, and, thus far, I'm fortunate to be quite healthy.

13. Three people, living or deceased, whom you'd invite to the same dinner party?
As someone interested in American politics, I think it would be fascinating to see what figures like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy would have to say about the world we live in today.

14. Favorite aspect of your job?
Helping students experience the joy of making music from the keyboard.

15. Most memorable experience of your youth?
Spending a couple weeks of each summer during high school as a camp counselor for special needs adults. I learned a lot about helping all people maintain dignity in their lives. Those weeks always contained eye-opening moments for me, and I still look back on them with appreciation.

16. What would you be doing if you weren't working at Centre?
That's a good question—I'm not sure.

17. Educational experience that's been most helpful to you?
As an undergraduate, majoring in two areas that seemed unrelated at the time—music and accounting. It turns out, though, that I have used both disciplines in my career.

18. Fictional character in whose shoes you'd love to spend a day?
SpongeBob SquarePants—it would be pretty cool to live under water!

19. Favorite place on campus (and why)?
I really enjoy when I can find time to carve out a couple hours and practice/play the organs on campus. Both of them—the Taylor & Boody at the Presbyterian Church and the Casavant on Newlin Hall stage—are fun instruments, and both play different segments of the repertoire well.

20. Advice you'd give to a first-year college student to make success more likely?
Always be yourself, ask lots of interesting people lots of intriguing questions and understand that mistakes are inevitable!




Centre College, founded in 1819, offers its students a world of opportunities, highlighted by the nation's premier study abroad program and a faculty ranked #5 in the nation for "Best Undergraduate Teaching" at a liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. Centre graduates enjoy extraordinary success, with entrance to top graduate and professional schools, prestigious fellowships for further study abroad (Rhodes, Rotary, Fulbright), and rewarding jobs (on average, 97 percent are employed or in advanced study within 10 months of graduation).


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