Southeast Missouri State University

Christopher Goeke


Christopher Goeke, chair of the Department of Music, has been involved in music for as long as he can remember.

“Both of my parents were music educators, and I’ve always identified with music and how it can communicate with others,” said Christopher. “Most forms of music, especially live music, have a very profound and visceral effect on me.  I could not ignore this, and really had very little desire to do anything else with my life.”

Christopher was raised in Keokuk, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa, receiving a bachelor of arts degree in 1982, a master's degree in 1984 and a doctor of music arts degree in 1994. As a classically trained tenor, his main area of interest is the performance of the art song, opera, music theatre and in teaching those skills to others.

Since arriving at Southeast in 1992, Christopher said that his favorite memories have taken place on stage.

“Along with the enjoyment of interacting with talented students and faculty, the synergism and energy experienced in the performing arts is euphoric at times. The experience sparks a creative and intellectual growth that can only be experienced through live performance. Realizing that this experience is shared by artists from every walk of life in every country, I am motivated to help others learn about music and to experience the power of music on the human condition.”

When he’s not coaching students in Brandt Music Hall, you might catch him listening to Mozart or Rossini and spending time with his wife, Lori Shaffer, and his two wonderful daughters, Sarah and Cat (short for Catherine). Christopher also enjoys being inspired by the outdoors on hiking and biking excursions, unless he’s chasing after Jakob and Belle, his two dogs.

“I have spent the better part of my free time the last few years trying to find ways to keep them in the backyard without spending a fortune, or turning the backyard into a prison camp!”

Aside from his performances in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, Christopher has traveled as a teacher to Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Austria and France. However, he’s not finished traveling yet. 

“To be honest, I’d go just about anywhere and everywhere, if I could afford it. The more you travel, the more you realize how small the world is and how much we actually have in common with other cultures, no matter how foreign they may seem to be.”

Christopher currently teaches Applied Voice for vocal majors, Vocal Pedagogy and is co-director of the Opera Theatre Workshop with Dr. Leslie Jones. He also has taught UI-100, Vocal Literature and frequently serves as conductor for musicals and operas.

When asked if he had any advice for his students, he said, “Work hard, play hard, live life! If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen.”