Michael Sandvik, singer, conductor, and composer, teaches music at South Texas Christian Academy, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to this, he was the choir director at two Seventh-day Adventist academies.
Michael and his twin brother, Matthew, were born in Palmer, Alaska, the oldest of three sons of Randolph and Patti Ausmus Sandvik, both talented amateur musicians. Their father is a cornet and French horn player and their mother is a flutist, and both encouraged the three boys as they pursued music, starting them with piano lessons at an early age. Music was an important activity in the home and also in the extended Sandvik family, which includes several accomplished singers.
Michael attended Auburn Adventist Academy in Washington, where he sang in the choirs under John Neuman. He was inspired by that experience and later talked about the effect it had on him:
Growing up, there were three things I loved to do and those were writing, composing, and working in art. My activities in these areas varied from time to time, and once in a while I would get caught up in all three at the same time.
In high school I found that I just loved this choir thing, especially with the spiritual dimension that Mr. Neuman stressed. At first I thought I would like to compose for a living, and then I thought maybe I might be a conductor like Mr. Neuman. When I went to Walla Walla University after graduating from Auburn in 2000, I enrolled as a music education major.
Earlier, Michael had been intrigued by a blank music score page in the back of one of his beginning piano books and at age eight began writing short pieces. This activity led over the next few years to more serious efforts in composing, and by the time he had graduated from Walla Walla College, now University, in 2006 with a B.Mus.Ed., he had written several works for choir, twenty of which were performed by the college choirs, which he also conducted for three years as a student assistant director.
After graduating from WWC, he started his career teaching music at Skagit Adventist Academy in Washington state. In 2010 Sandvik married Heidi Corder, an accomplished pianist who had completed a B.A. degree in piano at WWC under Leonard Richter.
The Sandviks enrolled at Andrews University and completed graduate degrees in 2012, Michael earning an M.Mus. in choral conducting and Heidi an M.A. in piano. After a year at Shenandoah Valley Academy, he accepted a position at South Texas Christian Academy in McAllen, Texas, where he directs the choir and will also form and conduct a handbell choir.
Sources: Information provided by Michael Sandvik in 2007 and 2013; personal knowledge.