2015 SYMPOSIUM PRESENTER BIOS
Jonathan Reed is Associate Professor of Music and Associate Director of Choral Activities at Michigan State University School of Music where he conducts the State Singers, the Men’s Glee Club and teaches courses in conducting at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In 1999, the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) presented him with the Outstanding Faculty Award. He is a contributing author to GIA’s The School Choral Program, and is series advisor for Boosey and Hawkes choral series entitled In Low Voice. Dr. Reed enjoys an active career as a clinician/conductor, conducting festivals and all-state choruses throughout the United States. He has conducted all state choruses throughout the United States, as well as honor choirs for the Northwest, Western, and Southern Divisions of The American Choral Directors Association. His choirs have performed at divisional and national conferences of ACDA. He has presented interest sessions at two national conferences of ACDA (1999, 2005) and at numerous state ACDA conferences. He has also served ACDA as a state newsletter editor, a state president, and divisional and national chair of the Repertoire and Standards committee on Male Chorus.
The Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble was formed with a vision of promoting excellent choral performance in the community with its first concert in June of 1991. The philosophical emphasis of the DMVAE is placed on individual commitment and dedication to quality choral music education, group dynamic responsibilities, and individual/ensemble professional development. The Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble seeks to be a positive part of a vibrant cultural life in the greater Des Moines area. DMVAE engages school and college students to share learning and performing experiences with internationally-known conductors such as Robert Sund, Ken Fleet, Sandra Snow, René Clausen, Matthew Oltman, and numerous others in Des Moines. Recently, the ensemble commissioned or premiered works by Ben Allaway, David Brunner, René Clausen, David Dickau, Stephen Lounsbrough, and Ken Malucelli. The DMVAE has also appeared with both the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Iowa in the past year.
Timothy A. McMillin is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Simpson College, where he serves as Chairman of the Music Department, directs two choral ensembles, is a member of the voice faculty, and teaches classes in conducting, music literature and choral studies. Before his appointment at Simpson College, Dr. McMillin directed choirs in Minnesota where he created and led award-winning high school programs. McMillin earned a doctoral degree in choral conducting from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and degrees in music education from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. In addition to his passion for academia, Dr. McMillin is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble, a competitively-auditioned chamber choir in the greater Des Moines community committed to excellence in choral artistry. He is called upon often as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator around Iowa and the Midwest. His professional affiliations include ACDA, where he has served as Repertoire & Standards Chair for Four-Year Colleges and Universities and Community Choirs for the Iowa Chapter (ICDA), NCCO, CMS and NATS.
Jeremy Fox, Grammy-nominated arranger, earned his B.M. degree in Piano-Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University, and his M.M. and D.M.A. in Jazz Composition from the University of Miami. For 8 years, Jeremy was a full-time instructor at The School for Music Vocations, conducting vocal and instrumental ensembles alongside renowned arrangers Phil Mattson and Jason Smith. He is active as a clinician, and has presented clinics and served as guest conductor of All-State and Honor choral and vocal jazz ensembles throughout the U.S. and Canada. The SWCC Vocal Jazz Festival that Jeremy revived (which brought in such artists as The Real Group, NY Voices, Rajaton, Mark Murphy, Nancy King, and m-pact) was renamed the “Fox Fest” following Jeremy’s departure. In 2015, Jeremy will coordinate the 12th Annual SMV Vocal Jazz Camps in the United States and Canada. (www.VocalJazzCamp.com). He also co-conducts a weeklong workshop each summer for choral directors called the Jazz Harmony Retreat (www.JazzHarmonyRetreat.com). Jeremy has received numerous rewards from Downbeat magazine. Jeremy’s charts are published with Sound Music Publications, UNC Jazz Press, and his own publishing company, Foxtrot Publishing.
Jennaya Robison is Assistant Professor of music at Luther College where she conducts Aurora, Cathedral Choir, and teaches classes in vocal pedagogy and conducting. She is in demand as a conductor and clinician throughout the United States. She specializes in the use of vocal pedagogy in the choral setting. She is active as a soprano and maintains an active career as a soloist in oratorio and opera.
Julie Schnieders, a native of Albert Lea, Minnesota, received her BA in Vocal Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and her MA in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Recently retired from 33 years of teaching, the past 31 years were in Indianola teaching High School choral music, 2 show choirs, annual high school musicals, DMACC accredited Music Theory and Music History classes to junior and senior music students, and voice lessons. Julie has been an active board member with Iowa Choral Director’s Association for many years. She has served as the SC-ICDA District representative from 2009-2013, the 9th Grade OPUS Chairperson from 2010-2011, the Treble Clef Repertoire & Standards Chairperson from 2013-2015, the 7-8th Grade SC-ICDA Treble Choir director in 2014, and is the 2015 9th Grade Opus Director. Julie adjudicates regularly for the Iowa High School Music Association sponsored Iowa All-State Festival, vocal solo, small group, show choir, and large group IHSMA State Contests. She also has a private voice studio, has been an adjunct music teacher at Simpson College in Indianola teaching future classroom teachers.
Bob Demaree currently serves as President of NCACDA and is feverishly preparing the conference entitled “The Conductor as Servant-Leader” which will take place in Sioux Falls, SD on Feb. 17-20, 2016. His “day job” is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he oversees a program with 5 choirs, 3 of which are under his direction. An active clinician and adjudicator, he also serves as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Dubuque Chorale.
Alan Greiner is currently serving his fifteenth year as Executive Director of the Iowa High School Music Association. In addition to his duties as Executive Director, Alan has served on the National Federation’s Citizenship, Ethics, and Integrity Committee, is reviewer for the National Federation Music Association Journal, and is the current chair of the National Federation’s Music Committee. Greiner received his B.S. M.E. from Iowa State University and his Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa.
Boardwalk Barbershop Quartet The phrase “This is not your father’s quartet” does not apply to Boardwalk! Created from a rich history of fatherly musical influences, Boardwalk combines great barbershop harmonies, creative instrumentation, and vintage folk music to create the unique and highly entertaining fusion they call barber-folk. Inspired by the music and fashion of the 1920’s, this group takes audiences on a journey back to a simpler time, where the songs of the day put a tap in your foot and a smile on your face. Hang on to your seats, as you are about to see what the Boardwalk experience is all about. Fun things happen here!
Brad Hine, tenor, is an alumnus of the University of Georgia where he started as a classical guitar major, and finished with a political science degree. An accomplished performer, he has sung with Zamboni Brothers and The Bungee Chords quartets and has never met a string instrument he didn’t like. He works for ETI Software Solutions, in Atlanta, GA.
David Calland, baritone, toured Europe and Mexico with the American Boy Choir Federation at age 11 and then was introduced to barbershop singing by his grandfather. He studied Music Education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. David is a 5-time international medalist quartet lead singer, and directs The Alliance of Greater Central Ohio, a 3-time international medalist chorus. He works as a Regional Director for Harmony Foundation International.
Mark Schlinkert, lead, began vocal training quite early as a boy soprano. His parents were barbershop harmony singers, so this exposure to singing and performing gave him a true love for the stage. Mark works as an Operations Manager for Mac Papers, a distributor of printing papers, packaging, and industrial supplies.
Jared Carlson, bass, was the tenor singer in BHS International gold medal comedy quartet Fred. His quick wit and penchant for comedy makes him a highly sought after coach for comedy work. Jared has a wonderful eye for costume fashion. He is a successful salesman for a staffing agency in Atlanta, GA.
Jayson Ryner is Director of Choral Activities at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Iowa. Mr. Ryner holds Bachelors of Arts and Masters Degrees in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa as well as a Masters in Business Administration from the New York Institute of Technology. As part of his duties at NIACC, Jayson directs the NIACC Concert Choir, Teaches Applied Voice, Aural Training and Sight Singing. He also directs the NIACC Singers, NIACC’s show choir which travels international every other year and is planning a Caribbean tour in 2016. Most noted for his passion for men’s music, Jayson has judged and led clinics for groups in over 35 states and Canada including the 2005, 2009 and 2014 International Barbershop Conventions in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. His arrangements have been sung nationwide.
The River City Chorus is a member chorus of The Barbershop Harmony Society, a society that has been in existence since April 11, 1938. The River City Chorus was founded on March 18, 1952 and is currently made up of over 70 members of all ages. The River City Chorus exists to advance the skills of the individual singer, to provide fellowship and entertainment to men of all ages, and to promote the pastime of singing in our community and world.
Joy Hesse, M.A. CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist with more than 25 years of experience. Ms. Hesse has worked in a variety of clinical settings and for the past 17 years with a large Otolaryngology practice providing evaluation and treatment for both pediatric and adult patients. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of the professional voice. She has lectured regionally and nationally and served as guest lecturer at several colleges and universities throughout Iowa.
Janet Alcorn is Associate Professor Emerita and Lecturer in Voice at Iowa State University. She is also a Licensed Andover Educator and Sponsoring Teaching for Andover Educators, the professional organization of Body Mapping teachers. She has taught the course What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body for singers, instrumentalists and conductors and works individually with performing artists. In addition Alcorn is a Certified McClosky Voice Technician.
Paul Wigley graduated from the University of Minnesota in Music Education (’77) and received his Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa (’93). Recently retired from teaching choral music, advanced placement music theory, and classical guitar at Lakeville (MN) North High School, Paul enjoyed numerous regional honors for his vocal jazz ensemble and toured extensively in Europe with the LNHS Chorale. He previously taught for the Algona (IA) Community School district, which was the recipient of the Iowa Exemplary Music Program Award in November of 1998. He has delivered lectures on vocal jazz and barbershop harmony to many colleges and choral directors associations throughout the Midwest. A popular clinician, Paul has worked with barbershop Youth in Harmony festivals in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, and is currently the director of the Minneapolis Commodores, who qualified for the International barbershop chorus contest in 2007 and 2009. He is currently Category Specialist in the Music category of the Barbershop Harmony Society judging system, and most recently served as facilitator for the BHS judging seminar in the United Kingdom.
Allen Hightower is Director of Choral Activites at Luther College, where he conducts the Nordic Choir and teaches conducting classes. Dr. Hightower gives leadership to a choral program that includes 4 choral conductors, 6 choirs, and over 500 student singers. He also serves as Artistic Director of Christmas at Luther.
Shelly Schaeufele is in her 22nd year of teaching and her 14th year at Waukee Community School District. She directs sixth choirs, seventh and eighth grade voice lessons and several ensembles including Waukee Revolution.
Bradley T. Barrett just completed his twelfth year as Artistic Director with the Chorale Midwest, Chorale Midwest Chamber Singers and the Pro Musica Women’s Ensemble. Dr. Barrett is a honor graduate from Missouri State University with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in voice/choral conducting. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona, with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting and vocal performance. Barrett taught choral music in the public schools for sixteen years with high student achievement, was on faculty at the University of Northern Iowa from 2002-2009, maintains an active voice studio of 65 private voice students, has held many repertoire chairs for ACDA and NCACDA, and was the 2008 Iowa Choral Directors Summer Symposium Chair.
Melody Easter-Clutter has been teaching vocal music for the last 29 years. She is currently the choral director at Indianola High School. She has taught in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, Des Moines and Winterset High School in Iowa. Melody received her Bachelor of Music Education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Melody has taken graduate courses at Arizona State University and University of Northern Iowa in music education. Melody has extensive teaching experience at the middle school level and was awarded the Teacher’s Golden Apple Award by Allied Insurance and Iowa’s News Channel 13. She is a curriculum writer for Alfred Music, which is the world’s largest educational music publisher. She has published two music teachers’ curricula: “Ready, Set, Rhythm,” which is a movement and rhythmic reading method, and “Class Room Playlist,” which is creative listening lesson activities that invite the student to experience, analyze, and reflect on a array of musical genres. Last year Melody taught with Michael Spresser of Alfred Publishing at NAFME National Convention at Nashville, Iowa Music Educators Association conference and Iowa Choral Directors Summer Symposium. She is also the South Central Iowa Choral Directors Association chair.
Timothy Takach, whose music is reviewed as “gorgeous” (Washington Post) and “stunning” (Lawrence Journal-World), has risen fast in the concert world. Applauded for his melodic lines and rich, intriguing harmonies, Takach has received over 80 commissions. His compositions have been heard on NPR and have been recorded by ensembles across North America. The 2007 Texas and the 2009 Florida All-State Choirs performed his piece “The Darkling Thrush,” and his arrangement of “What Child is This” was featured on the 2007 Boston Pops holiday tour. His arrangement of “Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” was included in a 2006 worldwide Christmas radio broadcast. Takach has received grants from the American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and yearly ASCAP awards since 2004. He is a co-creator of the theatrical production of All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914, by Peter Rothstein. The critically adored show has had over 100 performances since it’s premiere in 2006. He was also selected for the 2014 Nautilus Music-Theater Composer-Librettist Studio. Takach studied music composition at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, where he graduated with honors. He has frequent work as a presenter, clinician and lecturer for conventions, schools and organizations across the country. He has been Artist-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a featured presenter at Vassar College’s Modfest. He is a full-time composer and lives in Minneapolis.
Shelley Droe has taught music for 23 years, the first few years as a band director and the rest as an elementary music teacher in the states of CO, FL, and the last 10 at Lincoln Elementary in Cedar Falls. She is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Childhood Music, has received 3 levels of Kodaly training from The University of St. Thomas and two levels of Orff at Drake.
Sarah Fairfield earned a Ph.D. in Music Education at The University of Iowa. She has over 15 years of experience teaching in the Iowa City Community School District, and is also a faculty member at Coe College. She spent many summers studying a variety of music teaching methods, including Kodály, Dalcroze, and World Music Drumming, and has successfully completed Levels I, II, and III, as well as two Master Classes, in the Orff-Schulwerk philosophy. She recently finished serving as a Regional Representative to the National Board of Trustees of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association.
Sarah Van Waardhuizen is in her 11th year of teaching. Van Waardhuizen has taught choral education at all grade levels and is currently a Voice Instructor at Central College. Van Waardhuizen enjoys judging show choir and solo/ensemble contests, and working with teachers to empower their students in the classroom through autonomy-centered motivation. She has one more year of coursework at The University of Iowa, where she is working on a Ph.D. in Music Education.
Kris DeWild is a graduate of Central College with a B.A. in Music Education. She holds a graduate certificate in church music from Drake University, where she studied organ with Carl Staplin and Ruth Harris. She is the director of music, organist, and choir director (children and adults) at Second Reformed Church in Pella. At Central College she teaches a class in music education, gives private harp lessons, and accompanies the A Cappella Choir and Chamber Choir as well as vocal classes. A passionate advocate for lifelong music-making, she is active in a variety of music groups in the Pella area.
Sarah Jones, MME, has had the opportunity to teach vocal music at all levels from pre- kindergarten to senior citizens and is currently teaching PK-2nd-grade general music at Emerson Elementary in the Marion Independent School District. Jones received her MME in Choral Pedagogy from the University of Kansas and is currently pursuing an EdS in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies with a focus in School Curriculum and Assessment Policy through the University of Iowa.
Rebecca Gruber, DMA, is Choirmaster of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in downtown Des Moines, a post she has held for eleven years. She conducts the Cathedral Choir, administers the Cathedral Arts Series, and prepares choral evensong services with the professional choir in residence, the Howells Scholars. She received the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting at the University of Nebraska. She holds a Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology and a Master of Music in choral conducting from Southern Methodist University. Her undergraduate degree in voice/music education is from Simpson College. Rebecca is in her ninth year as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus. Rebecca has taught and conducted in summer arts camps, clinics, honor choirs and festivals in Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, and Maine. Her Orff-Schulwerk training is from the University of North Texas, and she is the author of a children’s music literacy curriculum for use in the church, called Stepping Stones. As a certified Kindermusik Educator, Dr. Gruber enjoys nurturing the children and parents in her classes at the Pied Piper Studios in Urbandale.
Kelly Truax teaches 7th, 8th and 9th grade men’s choir and 9th grade women’s choir at Prairie Point in Cedar Rapids. She is an active accompanist in the area and serves as Bass Clef R&S for ICDA.
Matthew Culloton is the Founding Artistic Director of The Singers. He holds degrees from Concordia College (B.M.) and the University of Minnesota (M.M. and D.M.A.). Aside from his duties with The Singers, Matthew is Choirmaster at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Saint Thomas, teaching in the Graduate Music Program. In 2004, Matthew received the MN ACDA Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year Award. In 2003, he received the VocalEssence/ACDA of Minnesota Creative Programming Award. He has been commissioned to compose for the Dale Warland Singers, Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, and the MMEA All-State Choir. He is co-editor of the Matthew and Michael Culloton Choral Series with Santa Barbara Publishing Company. He is also the editor of the Christmas with The Singers Choral Series published by MorningStar Music Publishers. Founded in 2004, The Singers organization is dedicated to giving world-class performances of the finest choral literature. The Singers, a professional choir of 40 members, exists to serve as artists, educators, and ambassadors of the choral art. Recognized nationally for their innovative programming, commitment to new music, and peerless artistic quality, The Singers made their debut at the renowned Ravinia Festival in June 2013 and followed that with a second performance in the summer of 2014. The Singers have premiered and commissioned over 70 new works by composers including Stephen Paulus, Abbie Betinis, Jocelyn Hagen, Joshua Shank, Craig Carnahan, and conductor Matthew Culloton. From 2004-2014, Betinis, Hagen, and Shank served as Composers-in-Residence with the ensemble. Seven CD recordings have been released in The Singers’ first ten seasons. The 2010 release, Lauridsen: Mid-Winter Songs is featured prominently in a documentary film, ‘Shining Night,’ about the life and works of internationally recognized composer Morten Lauridsen. Splendid Jewel: Choral Music of Stephen Paulus contains the world premiere recordings of ten works written by one of Minnesota’s leading composers. The Singers have performed at national conferences of Chorus America (2012), the American Choral Directors Association (2011), the American Guild of Organists (2008), and the National Federation of Music Clubs (2006). The choir has performed at regional and state conferences of the ACDA in 2012, 2010, 2008, and 2006.
WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY PRESENTERS
David Law is the retired 7-8th grade band director at Vernon Middle School in Marion, Iowa. Law has had articles published in a national music education magazine, 14 state music education journals and was a presenter at the National Music Educators Conference in Washington D.C. He is an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor throughout Iowa. David has taught instrumental music grades 5-12 in all sizes of schools in Iowa. He received his BA in Music Education from William Penn College and his MA in Conducting from Truman State University.
Barbara Sletto is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Heartland Youth Choir, a civic organization that serves over 300 central Iowa singers in seven ensembles and short term offerings. Prior to her work with the Heartland Youth Choir, Barbara was the Artistic Director of the Iowa Youth Chorus, the Des Moines Children’s Choruses, the Anderson Area Children’s Choir of Anderson, Indiana, and the Lakes Treble Choir of Minnesota. In addition, Barbara served as the director the Drake University Chorale from 2004-2012. Under her direction, choirs have performed for National Kodaly and Orff Conferences, regional Music Educators National Conferences, and American Choral Directors Association divisional and state conferences in Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. As a specialist in treble voices, Barbara frequently serves as a guest conductor for high school and elementary festival choirs and honor choirs. Barbara completed her Master of Arts in Music Education with a Kodaly emphasis from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is also trained in Orff and Dalcroze methodology. Barbara has fulfilled twelve commissioned works for treble choirs including commissions for Iowa and Indiana All-State choirs. Her compositions are published with Colla Voce Publishing, and Alliance Publishing Company.
Jason Rausch is director of vocal music at Decorah High School and artistic director of the Decorah Chorale, a community choir. He holds degrees from Waldorf College, Luther College, and the University of Iowa. Jason is president of the Iowa Choral Directors Association.
Carol A. Tralau served in public education for over twenty years and was honored to have conducted several NCACDA honor choirs and all-state choirs. While teaching at the high school level, many of her students were chosen for the Iowa All-State Chorus and invested greatly in this learning opportunity. She still serves as an All-State clinician for area schools and enjoys what this process offers students in vocal and ensemble development.
Tanya Rosenkranz is in her 18th year of teaching general music at Indian Creek Elementary in the Linn-Mar School District in Marion. Rosenkranz holds a Bachelor’s Degree in music education from Luther College and a Master of Music from the University of Northern Iowa. In addition to directing a choir of fourth and fifth graders at school, she is the Children’s Choir director at First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids.
Jill Wilson is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Luther College. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music education with a choral emphasis from St. Olaf College, a Master of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music education from Boston University. Dr. Wilson served as the Women’s Choir Repertoire and Standards Chair of ICDA from 2005- 2011 editor of the ICDA quarterly publication, The Sounding Board, from 2010-2015, and is now ICDA President-Elect.
Natalie Steele Royston is Assistant Professor of Music Education and Music Education Coordinator at Iowa State University. She teaches courses in music education and coordinates practicum placements and student teachers. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Music degrees in Trombone Performance and Wind Conducting from Ohio University and a PhD in Music Education from the University of North Texas.
Michelle Swanson is an Instructor of Music Education at the University of Northern Iowa. She teaches Elementary General Music Methods, Music for Childhood Education, Soundscapes, and supervises student teachers in elementary general music. Mrs. Swanson also conducts the University of Northern Iowa Children’s Choir (U.N.I.C.C.).
Joseph Tangen has been the Pella Middle School Vocal Music Director since 2002. In his position for Pella Community Schools, he directs the Sixth, Seventh, & Eighth grade choirs, PELLAdrenaline (Middle School Show Choir), Boys’ Choir, Girls’ Choir, and provides vocal lessons for about 180 choral students per week. Today the program he leads has close to 300 students involved in vocal music grades 6th through 8th grade. Joseph is the chair of the 2015 OPUS Honor Choir and is the R & S Chair for Middle School. He will be leading sessions for both roles that he is serving for ICDA.
Allen Chapman’s music education career spans 45 years teaching at all levels. His choirs have made numerous appearances at regional and national conventions through the years. Chapman has also been awarded the McCowen Award by ICDA and the National Federation Award of Merit from IHSMA. He continues to maintain an active schedule nationwide as clinician and adjudicator.
Sean Burton is Associate Professor of Music, The Gilchrist Foundation Director of Choral Activities, and Division Chair of Arts and Humanities at Briar Cliff University. He is also is the Music Director and Conductor of the Siouxland Youth Symphony and Coordinator of the Siouxland Youth Orchestras for the Leo Kucinski Academy of Music at Morningside College. His principal study of orchestral conducting was at Boston University with Maestro David Hoose with previous instrumental conducting engagements including the Boston Orpheus Ensemble, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Springfield (Mass.) Symphony Orchestra, Omaha Area Youth Orchestras’ Youth Symphony, Waltham (Mass.) Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others. He has led All-State choruses in Alaska and South Dakota and a number of festivals. As a scholar, he has more than fifty publications to his credit and he has presented or conducted at state, regional, national, and international conferences of ACDA, CMS, and NAfME.
Therees Tkach Hibbard has served as conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for numerous choral organizations throughout Great Britain, Europe and North America; as well as in Hong Kong and Oman. Her work as a vocal and movement specialist in the training of choral singers and conductors has created unique opportunities for her to collaborate with choirs and conductors from around the world. Her research on enhancing choral performance through movement training has led to the development of a comprehensive choral education philosophy of “BodySinging,” most clearly demonstrated through her work with the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy, the St. Olaf Choir, and the American Boychoir. She has been Associate Professor of Choral Music at the University of Nebraska Lincoln for the last ten years where she teaches conducting, choral literature, and directs the University Chamber Singers and the University Chorale. Therees will be joining the St. Olaf College faculty in the Fall of 2015 as director of the Manitou Singers and the Early Music Singers.
Aimee Beckmann-Collier is Director of Choral Studies and the Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of Conducting at Drake University. She is a frequent clinician and All-State conductor and has conducted Drake ensembles as well as serving as a guest conductor in China, England, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic. She is a former president of ICDA and ACDA’s North Central Division and has chaired the ICDA Summer Symposium, two NC ACDA divisional conferences, and has served as the assistant chair of ACDA’s 2015 national conference in Salt Lake City.
Mark Lehmann is an adjunct professor of voice at his alma mater, Wartburg College, where he has worked since his retirement from Waverly-Shell Rock High School. He taught for 36 years in Iowa schools, serving ICDA in many capacities including state president, and is a recipient of ICDA’s McCowen Award. He was on the executive boards of the Iowa High School Music Association, the Iowa CMP, and is currently a member of the board of the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE).
Roger Henderson holds a BA from Luther College and a Masters in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Mr. Henderson is a founding member of Iowa Comprehensive Musicianship Project Team and has led various sessions including demonstration rehearsals for multiple professional development sessions for music teachers. He served as a regional teacher-team leader for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, developing teacher assessments for national certification in music education. Subsequently, he continues to train assessors reviewing candidate submissions for the National Board Certification in music.
Gary R. Schwartzhoff is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he conducts Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, The Singing Statesmen and teaches conducting. Schwartzhoff received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central College and a Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Iowa. A recipient of the Helen Kemper Doctoral Fellowship Award, he received a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Conducting at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, where he studied conducting with Dr. Eph Ehly. In 2015-2016, Schwartzhoff marks his forty-second year as a music educator. He has been active throughout his professional career in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) where he served as President of the North Central Division from 1992-94. Schwartzhoff has presented choirs on twenty-seven conventions before the state, divisional and national levels of ACDA and The National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In 2009 and 2013, he conducted the President’s Day Choral Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Schwartzhoff has a choral series in print with Colla Voce Music, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. Schwartzhoff is a contributing author to the 2015 book entitled Brothers, Sing On!, published by Hal Leonard. In addition to conducting The Master Singers, Schwartzhoff serves as Director of Music at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire, where he conducts the Chancel Choir.
The Chorale Midwest boasts an eighty-member-strong auditioned chorus, two smaller, more selective ensembles—Chamber Singer and ProMusica Women’s Ensemble—, and an annually ambitious performance schedule including three concert series, performances with Orchestra Iowa, and international tours. The organization was founded in 1996 by a group of passionate singers who wanted to master and perform choral works, and also create a welcoming community of musicians in the Cedar Rapids area and has been under the direction of Dr. Bradley T. Barrett since 2003.
Brent Peterson is a vocal director for the Waukee Community Schools. Entering his 25th year of teaching, he has spent most of the last 20 years primarily with students in grades 7-9 and has an extensive show choir background. When not with his own groups, he is a frequent show choir clinician, IHSMA adjudicator, and coaches track and volleyball for the district.
Amy Hall recently completed her fifth year as the Head of Choral Activities at Waukee High School; Amy has been a part of the High School Vocal Program since 1999. A graduate of Simpson College with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance, she studied under Dr. Robert Larsen and Anne Larson. Upon graduation, she pursued additional choral training from Iowa State University. Additionally, Ms. Hall holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Drake University. As a supplement to public school teaching, she has been involved in church music as well as civic youth choruses including the Ames Children’s Choir, Des Moines Children’s Choruses and Heartland Youth Choir.
Andrew Last is an Assistant Professor of Music at Luther College where he conducts the Collegiate Chorale and the first-year men’s ensemble Norsemen as well as teaches conducting. Last holds a DMA in choral conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a MM from Northern Arizona University and his Bachelor of Arts in music education and voice from Luther College. His high school teaching experience includes positions at both Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids as well as Tipton High School in Iowa.
Mark A. Babcock, a native of Iowa, received a Bachelor’s degree in music education from Central College, Pella, Iowa. He holds a Master’s degree in choral conducting and organ performance from the prestigous Westminster Choir College - Princeton, New Jersey. He has pursued doctoral studies in organ and choral conducting at the University of Iowa. Currently, Professor Babcock is in his seventeenth year of teaching at Central College. He is the Chair of the Music Department and the Director of Choral Activities. As the director of the select Central College A Cappella Choir, his recent tours have included locations such as the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, China, Italy, and Brazil. He was awarded the M. Joan Farver Endowed Professor of Music at Central College in 2011. Professor Babcock is active in the church music and music education fields. In addition to his work at Central College, he has been the Dean of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, was the chair for the AGO Region VI Convention held in June of 2011, was elected to the AGO National Council as Councillor for Conventions in the summer of 2012, is on the ICDA Board as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Music and Worship, and is the Organist at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. He provides consultation, festival leadership, and music training in a variety of settings.
Peter A. Eklund was recently named one of the elite national quarter-finalists for the first-ever GRAMMY® NATIONAL MUSIC TEACHER OF THE YEAR (out of over 30,000 nominees). Active as a conductor, guest lecturer, and editor/arranger, his concertizing/clinician schedule averages 60 national concerts annually throughout North America and Europe. His academic choirs have performed on numerous ACDA regional and national conventions where their frequency of performance set unprecedented national records (over 30 MENC—now NAfME—and ACDA regional and national invitations). Eklund has conducted his choirs in many of the world’s greatest performance venues. He studied conducting and score-study with James A. Dixon, William Hatcher, and Don V Moses.