Sarah Mahler Kraaz is Professor of Music, Organist of the College, and Chair of the Music Department at Ripon College, where she has taught since 1989. She holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Olivet College and graduate degrees in music history and organ performance from the University of Colorado and the University of Kansas, respectively. She studied organ with Danford Byrens, Everett Hilty, and James Moeser. Dr. Mahler Kraaz has also taken classes from Marie-Claire Alain, Catherine Crozier, and Michael Radulescu. In July 2002 she appeared as a guest recitalist at the XVI Festival Internazionale Storici Organi della Valsesia in Campertogno (Piedmont), Italy, the only North American to do so. Since then, she has played recitals in California, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

College in 2002 enabled Dr. Kraaz to examine and play a number of historic organs in Germany, including the 1687 Schnitger organ at the church of St. Peter and Paul in Cappel. In July 2004 she traveled to Scotland to examine and play historic keyboard instruments in the Russell Collection at the University of Edinburgh. While there, she also played various church organs and wrote an article describing these instruments for an upcoming issue of The Diapason, an international journal of organ and church music.

Dr. Kraaz teaches piano, organ, and harpsichord, music history classes, counterpoint, women in music, and introductory music courses, and directs the Collegium Musicum at Ripon. She has performed annual solo recitals in addition to collaborative efforts such as the Baroque chamber music concert with violin, flute, cello, and trombone in the spring of 2002. She has edited the piano music of Veronika Cianchettini (neé Dussek) for ClarNan Editions and is a regular contributor of reviews and feature articles to The Diapason.

Dr. Kraaz holds the position of Minister of Music at the First Congregational Church in Ripon, where she directs the senior choir and plays for services. She founded and directed a children's choir there from 1992-2002.

Dr. Kraaz is also a member of the American Guild of Organists and The College Music Society. 

In January 2008, she was selected as one of six recording artists by the National UCC Worship & Education Ministry to record the entire New Century Hymnal on a CD set as a resource for parish churches. A featured artist (organ) with the Pine Mountain Music Festival in June 2008, she presented three recitals and a workshop on pedaling technique in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Most recently, she was a featured artist at Brevard College, where she played a recital on the 2008 Jaeckel organ at the Porter Arts Center. To listen to sections of the Brevard recital:
Dr. Kraaz has devoted much of her personal research to examining the connection between Renaissance and Baroque organs and music written for each. Thanks to various grants, Dr. Kraaz has taken a series of trips to Europe to study and play historic organs in Germany (the 1687 Schnitger organ at the church of St. Peter and Paul in Cappel), Scotland (organs, harpsichords and clavichords in the Russell Collection), and Italy. A recent sabbatical study took her to Tuscany, where she performed a recital on the 1793 Tronci organ at the Cathedral of San Zeno in Pistoia as part of the Giuseppe Gherardeschi Organ Academy Vespers series. Her resulting article, discussing Gherardeschi’s music and the 18th-century Pistoian organ, appeared in the November 2011 issue of The Diapason. Dr. Kraaz continued her research on Tuscan organs in the fall of 2012 while teaching as a visiting scholar on the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Arts of Florence program.
In an extension of her professional practice and research, Dr. Kraaz has composed a number of works for organ and choir. Her settings of Scottish folksongs and sea chanteys have been published by Alliance Publications of Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Her most recent anthem, The Bitter Winter, with text by Ralph Freeman of Neenah, Wisconsin, was premiered by the Ripon College Choral Union in April 2008.