Andy Beck received a bachelor's degree in music education from Ithaca College and a master’s degree in music education from Northwest Missouri State University. Andy currently is the Director of Choral Publications at Alfred Music.
A prolific composer and arranger, he has over 450 popular choral works, vocal resources, and children’s musicals currently in print, including the highly regarded method books Sing at First Sight, Foundations in Choral Sight Singing and Vocalize! 45 Vocal Warm-Ups That Teach Technique. Andy is in demand as a guest conductor, choreographer, adjudicator, and clinician for educators and students throughout the United States and beyond.
BRUCE CHAMBERLAIN, professor emeritus of music at The University of Arizona, retired in May 2018 after 41 years as a Director of Choral Activities in higher education. This legacy includes Trinity University (TX), Murray State University (KY), the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Arizona’s Fred Fox School of Music, where he also served as the Associate Director. During his distinguished career he has conducted choirs with numerous international orchestras in the world’s finest concert venues, including the Musikverein in Vienna, the Rudophinum in Prague, the Liszt Academy in Budapest, The Art Hall in Seoul, Jerusalem Theatre in Israel, Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center and New York City’s Carnegie Hall. His choirs have given performances at national and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, the American Guild of Organists and the National Association for Music Education. Since arriving at the University of Arizona in 2000, his graduate students have been finalists and/or winners of the ACDA National Conducting Competition seven times in row. He has over 65 DMA/MM students conducting and teaching in colleges/universities, secondary schools, churches, professional and community choirs in the United States and on 5 of the 7 continents.
His distinguished teaching career has been recognized by The University of Arizona as the winner of the Fred Fox School of Music Maestro Award recognizing outstanding student achievement, the College of Fine Arts James R. Anthony Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching and the University of Arizona Humanities Seminars Program’s Shirley and Ted Taubeneck Outstanding Teacher Award for his course on the Russian ballets of Igor Stravinsky which led to sold out performances of LES NOCES with the UA School of Dance. This record of outstanding pedagogy has led to summer faculty appointments at the Varna International Academy in Bulgaria and the International Conducting Institute at the Westminster Choir College.
Professionally Bruce has been the Music Director of the San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers, the Monroe Symphony Orchestra (Louisiana) and continues as the director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus which he founded in 2003. The TSOC has given critically acclaimed performances of MESSIAH, Beethoven SYMPHONY NO. 9 and MISSA SOLEMNIS, Berlioz LA DAMNATION DU FAUST, Mozart REQUIEM, Brahms EIN DEUTSCHES REQUIEM, Bernstein KADDISH and Orff CARMINA BURANA. He has also collaborated with virtually every major arts producer in Tucson including UA Presents, ARTIFACT, TSO and landmark performances of Martin’s MASS, Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH and a blockbuster Verdi REQUIEM with True Concord. Bruce and his wife Peggy enjoy traveling, but always look forward to returning to their home in Oro Valley and spending time with their adult children and granddaughter.
Mary Citta graduated from West Monona High School and earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She retired in 2007 after 33 years of teaching secondary music at Valley of Elgin, Wapsie Valley and then McKinstry Junior High, Central High School and West High School, all in Waterloo. Mary was the All-State Chorus Chair in 2006-2012 and continues to serve each year as a lead auditor for the festival.
In 2001 Mary conducted the All-Iowa Women’s Community Honor Choir at the ICDA Summer Symposium. She serves as an ICDA mentor for 1st and 2nd year teachers and accompanies for various schools in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro area.
Mary continues to work as the liturgist, music coordinator and choir director at St. Patrick Church in Cedar Falls.
In 2019, Mary was inducted into the Central High School Chargers Hall of Fame by the Waterloo Central High Alumni Association.
Mary is married to Steve Citta and are the parents of Stephanie and Joe and proud grandparents to Eva and Eli.
Kevin Droe, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Northern Iowa, where he teaches music education, modern band and audio engineering. Kevin founded and coordinates the UNI Spectrum Project, a music, movement, drama and art program for children with differing abilities. His research focuses on special populations, progressive music education and social justice, and has appeared in all the major music education research journals. Kevin was a recipient of a Modern Band Higher Education Fellowship sponsored by Little Kids Rock and is past-president of the Iowa Music Educators Association.
Michelle Droe teaches general music and Chorus to grades K-6 at Lincoln Elementary in Cedar Falls. This marks her 306h year of teaching and she’s taught in Colorado, Florida, and Iowa. She graduated with a BA in Music Education from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD and an MM in Horn Performance from the University of Northern Colorado. She has completed 3 levels of training in the Kodaly Method and has two levels for Orff Training, one level of Modern Band and conducts several Honor Choirs around the state of Iowa.
Ms. Droe was one of the 10 Finalists for the Grammy Music Educator Award in 2018. She is the Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Iowa Choral Directors Association and the Northeast Iowa Representative for the Iowa Music Educators Association. Ms. Droe is a member of the Iowa Fine Arts Team at the Department of Education.
Dr. Zachary Durlam serves as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, artistic director of the Master Singers of Milwaukee, and choir director at Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton, Wisconsin. At UWM, Durlam leads multiple choirs and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and choral literature. He previously taught at Fresno Pacific University where his Concert Choir performed at the California Music Educators Association Conference and he was awarded the university’s 2013 Faculty Distinguished Service Award. Prior to that, Durlam taught high school vocal music for twelve years – including nine at Iowa City West where his Chamber Choir was chosen to perform at the North Central American Choral Directors Association (NCACDA) conference and the music department was one of seven programs in the nation named a Gold Signature School by the Grammy Foundation. He received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College, master’s from the University of Iowa, and doctorate from Michigan State University. Durlam was awarded 3rd place in the college/university division of the 2018-2019 American Prize for Choral Conducting, and the UWM Concert Chorale and UWM combined choirs and orchestra were named national finalists in the same competition. The UWM Concert Chorale under his direction has been featured at the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association (WCDA) and Wisconsin Music Educators Association state conferences and the 2020 ten-state Midwestern ACDA conference. In fall of 2021 they performed with Andrea Bocelli during the Milwaukee stop of his “Believe” tour, and in 2015 they performed with the Rolling Stones at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. Durlam has presented at state and regional conferences of ACDA and the National Association for Music Educators, and he frequently works as a guest conductor and clinician, recently conducting or presenting in California, Oregon, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin where he directed the 2019 Wisconsin Honors High School All-State Mixed Choir. Durlam currently serves as president of WCDA, and his research on Handel and Mendelssohn is published in ACDA’s Choral Journal.
Director of Education, Emerita
Indianapolis Children’s Choir
Ruth E. Dwyer is internationally recognized as a treble and children’s choir specialist and Kodály educator. She has been the guest conductor for the OAKE National Children’s Choir, numerous ACDA All-State Choirs and NAfME. She is the Founder of the Hoosier Hills Choral Festival in Southern Indiana. She founded and directed Philanthropy Through Song, which presented choral festivals supporting anti-drunk driving education. Mrs. Dwyer is a frequent guest conductor with Texas International Choral Festival, MidAmerica Productions, the New England Symphonic Wind Ensemble and guest lecturer in São Paulo, Brazil where she conducts the GRAN FINALE Festival Nacional de Corais Infantis e Jovens. Mrs. Dwyer is the Director of Education, Emerita of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC) where she mentored music educators and conducted for 34 years. Though “retired” Dwyer continues to volunteer for ICC as a teacher mentor, substitute director, alumni association event conductor and composer. In retirement she continues to be a guest speaker, conductor, clinician for high-schools, colleges, universities and professional non-profit music organizations. While with the ICC she also held the positions of Composer in Residence and Founder and Artistic Director of the Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir, a co-operative effort of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Her ensembles have performed for the Indiana Music Educators Association, the AOSA National Conference, in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, across North America and throughout Spain and Central Europe. She has prepared ensembles for performances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Butler Ballet, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Indianapolis Opera and numerous other organizations. Mrs. Dwyer served the State of Indiana for 19 years as a public school music educator. Her teaching experiences include all levels of music instruction from 3 year olds to post graduate students. She has received the Organization of American Kodály Educator’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Golden Baton Award, the IMEA Elementary Music Teacher of the Year, the Hoosier Musician Award and the Indianapolis Public Schools’ Rising Star award. She is an accomplished choral composer, arranger and the editor of the Ruth Dwyer Choral Series with Colla Voce Music, LLC (https://collavoce.com/ ) distributed by Canticle Distributing Company. Mrs. Dwyer has authored and published three curriculum books for ICC and is a frequent guest author for the Hal Leonard choral textbooks series. Mrs. Dwyer also continues to work as a studio conductor for a variety of national and international music publishers. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Ruth E. Dwyer is a graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She enjoys traveling, reading, crochet and gardening.
Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Distinguished Associate Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He earned a BME from Arkansas State University, a MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a DMA in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, where he was awarded the prestigious University Enrichment Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Fox has taught at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels. His conducting experiences have included singers from upper elementary choirs through collegiate and community choirs. In 2021, He was awarded the Bryan R. Johnson Service Award by the Nebraska Music Educators Association.
Dr. Fox has conducted all state choirs, led international, national and regional choral concerts/residencies and presented professional development workshops across the United States and internationally. His professional workshops focus on assessment in the choral classroom, building classroom community, rehearsal strategies, choral conducting techniques and shape note singing in the African American community. Dr. Fox has held teaching residencies at the Latvian Academy of Music and Syracuse University, led performance tours through Lithuania and Estonia. His recent engagements include presentations in Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, New York, South Carolina, North Dakota, Missouri and Florida; as well as conducting the Hawaii All State Choir, Alabama All State Choir, New York All State MS/JH Choir, the Wisconsin Collegiate All State Choir and the 2019 National ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir. He recently traveled to South Africa as a 2019 ACDA International Conductor Exchange Fellow where he led choral workshops and rehearsals in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Potchefstroom.
As a baritone soloist, Dr. Fox has collaborated with various organizations; among them are the Arkansas Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Columbia Chorale, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Webster University and the Espaço Cultural (Brasilia, Brazil). He can be heard singing selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on the compact disc In This Hid Clearing, available on the Naxos Classical Music label.
As an author, Dr. Fox has written articles for many organizations and was a contributing author in the Hal Leonard/McGraw Hill choral textbook Voices in Concert. His compositions and arrangements are published by Hal Leonard and Brilee Music. His book, Yes You Can: A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Choirs is published by Carl Fischer. He launched The Derrick Fox Choral Series with Music Spoke to publish works by and about marginalized and minoritized people. He created the Professional Choral Collective (PCC) to collect and create learning activities and teaching strategies for choral music educators around the world to use during the 2020 Coronavirus virus pandemic and beyond. He also partnered with the Country Music Association Foundation to create the Unified Voices for Music Education Initiative which provides learning activities for instrumental and elementary music educators.
Dr. Fox serves on the advisory board for the Sound Spirit, a research lab and publishing initiative promoting collaborative engagement with the songbooks that sound America’s musical landscape. He is also a member of the advisory board for the Choral Singing in America documentary series. https://www.drderrickfox.com/
Mrs. Jodi Friest received her Bachelor’s of Music from the University of Northern Iowa. In 2016, she obtained her Master’s in Music with a specialization in Music Education through Colorado State University. Jodi is a nationally Kodály certified educator through the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE). She is in her 14th year of teaching and has a passion for elementary music and laying strong music literacy foundations for her students. She believes that music literacy is the right of every child regardless of school size.
She currently lives outside of Roland, Iowa with her husband and teaches K- 6 general music and choir at Roland-Story Community School District. Jodi just finished serving four years as the Iowa Choral Director’s Association’s central district chair. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her adult children, cook Italian food, play piano, and watch her daughters on the softball field.
Baritone, Joshua Glasner, M.M., Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Music at Clarke University where he teaches voice lessons (CCM, Musical Theatre, and Western Classical styles), music history, musical theatre repertoire, and voice pedagogy. He also serves on the summer faculty at Westminster Choir College’s Summer Voice Pedagogy Workshop, and has served as guest faculty for the Acoustic Vocal Pedagogy Workshop at New England Conservatory. His multidisciplinary research involves broad-ranging topics ranging from historical voice pedagogy and digital signal processing to the perception of the singing voice and teaching efficacy. Dr. Glasner’s scholarly work has been presented at various national and international conferences, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Voice.
Dr. Glasner holds degrees in voice performance and voice pedagogy from the University of Delaware and Westminster Choir College, a certificate in vocology from the National Center for Voice and Speech, and a research doctorate from New York University. In Summer 2021, he was chosen to participate in the prestigious NATS Intern Program, where he interned with master teacher Theresa Brancaccio.
More information can be found on his website at http://joshuaglasner.com.
Alan Greiner is currently serving his 21st 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 past chair of the National Federation’s Music Committee. He is a frequent presenter for the National Federation Summer Meeting and the National Federation Music Supervisor’s Conference and is was heavily involved with the development of National Federation courses on U.S. Copyright Law designed for music educators, cheer and dance coaches, and activities directors. The NFHS Course, Understanding Copyright and Compliance, has been unanimously endorsed by the National Music Council and is recognized as the preeminent course in copyright education for music educators in the United States. Alan has also served on the committees to develope the NFHS’ latest courses Band Safety; NFHS Copyright Course for Theatre, Speech, and Music Adjudication.
Mr. 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. He began his teaching career at Northwest Webster Community Schools where he taught for two years. He then moved to the Prairie Valley Community School District where he taught for 14 years.
Mr. Greiner has served as a guest conductor for the Iowa State University Wind Ensemble, University of Iowa All-State Music Camp, the Iowa State University Cyclone Honor Band, the NCIBA 9-10 Grade Honor Band, the NWIBA Junior High Honor Band, and the Calhoun County 8th Grade Honor Band. He has served as a guest clinician for several high school and middle school bands around the state.
He is the first recipient of the Iowa State University Outstanding Music Educator Award, is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, is the recipient of the 2011 Iowa Music Educators Association Outstanding Music Educator Award, and was the 2018 National NFHS Citation Award winner for contributions to Music Education. He loves to read, camp, travel, boat, and scuba dive.
His wife, Becky, is the former high school band director at Greene County. They have two children, Amanda, who is the Event Planner for EMC Insurance in Des Moines and Ryan, who, along with his wife Lydia, serve as band directors at Mediapolis. Amanda and her husband Andrew Chapman have two children, Carson, age 5 and Aurelia, age 3.
David Haas is the Director of Choral Music at West High School in Iowa City, Iowa, Director of Music at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Founder and Artistic Director of "Vocal Artists of Iowa," a semi-professional choir based out of the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area and PhD. student in Music Education at the University of Iowa. At West High, Mr. Haas directs Bass Choir, Treble Choir and Iowa City West Singers.
Prior to his tenure at Iowa City West, Haas held church choir and public school teaching positions in Iowa, South Dakota and Florida. Haas holds a B.A. in Vocal Performance from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and a M.M. in Choral Conducting from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he served as Graduate Teaching Assistant for Undergraduate Conducting as well as Assistant Director for the Tallahassee Community Chorus and the FSU Men’s Glee Club. David resides in North Liberty, Iowa where he lives with his loving wife Sarah, daughter Cadence, son Dawson and his faithful dogs, Luther and Martin.
Areas of interest
Voice, including singing and professional voice; dysphagia (swallowing disorders); head and neck cancer; craniofacial anomalies (velopharyngeal insufficiency/hypernasality)
B.A from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Iowa ENT Center, PLLC
Ms. Hesse graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1989 with her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She began her career in the acute care setting at Mercy Hospital Medical Center in Des Moines, and was instrumental in the development of the modified barium swallow program at the hospital. Ms. Hesse then worked at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines in the outpatient rehabilitation department focusing on outpatient voice therapy and dysphagia therapy. In 1998 she joined a group of Otolaryngologists in West Des Moines where she established a thriving voice and swallowing clinic. Joy is passionate about teaching and is a regular lecturer to the Iowa Chapter of National Teachers of Singing, the Iowa Speech and Hearing Association and Pedagogy Classes at several universities. She has also lectured at the American Speech and Hearing Association on FEES, for Cross Country Education on Voice and Resonance Disorders and has consulted with SEC Medical Speech Pathology training both FEES and Videostroboscopy providing in-house training for speech pathologists. Presently, Joy is consulting with Tactile Medical telling her experiences with the Flexitouch pneumatic compression device with her head and neck cancer patients.
Jason E. Heitland is a graduate of North Iowa Area Community College (AA), and the University of Northern Iowa (BME, and MM). For over 27 years, Jason has taught vocal music to all levels of students from Pre-K through College. Jason has held teaching assignments at Greene Comm. Schools, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura Comm. Schools, was an adjunct professor at NIACC, and is currently teaching at Clear Lake High School.
Jason has conducted at multiple festivals and honor choirs including the 2002 7-8 Grade Boy’s Opus Honor Choir and the North Central District of ICDA Honor Choir. In the summer of 2006, Jason was an adviser/conductor for the Iowa Ambassadors of Music European Tour, and had the opportunity to conduct the men’s choir in seven counties with the highlight of performing in St. Mark’s in Venice, Italy. In 2013 Jason directed the North Iowa Voices in a European tour performing/conducting in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Jason has also taught many music technology workshops including being a featured presenter for the North Iowa Technology Fair, AEA 15, and ICDA. Jason was also an ESS Clinician for SmartMusic and Finale. Jason is an approved Adjudicator for the Iowa High School Music Association and served as Chairperson for the North Central District of ICDA, and currently serves as the Iowa All-State Chorus Chair. Jason is also a Tour Representative for Good News Tour and Travel and enjoys supervising various school music tours.
In his spare time Jason likes to spend time outdoors golfing, fishing, water skiing, and going for a “Lake Lap” with his wife and/or children in his classic 1968 Chevelle Convertible that he restored.
Robyn Starks Holcomb
Robyn Starks Holcomb has over 20 years of experience throughout the Midwest as a motivating teacher, musician, actor, choreographer and clinician. The head vocal director at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, SD, Starks Holcomb has been conducting choirs in the high school, middle school and elementary school levels, spanning public and private schools as well as community chorus and church settings for 25 years. At Roosevelt since 2011, Starks Holcomb watched the program grow from 250 singers to 600 singers in her first seven years, serving four academic choirs, three choral ensembles, jazz choir, and four show choirs. In 2022, in the midst of the global pandemic and a district boundary shift that split Roosevelt in to two high schools, she finds herself refocusing and redefining the program all over again.would Under Starks Holcomb’s direction, the Roosevelt Concert Choir has performed in the 2016 and 2020 Midwest Region ACDA conferences, and the advanced mixed show choir, Executive Suite, was selected to perform at the 2019 National ACDA conference. Passionate about programming and repertoire, Starks Holcomb is proud to be a part of a department that engages in relationships with living composers and commissioning new work on an annual basis.
Outside of Roosevelt High School, Starks Holcomb spends time in demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, clinician, musical director, and choreographer for choral festivals, vocal contests, competitions and regional projects. At the Midwest Regional ACDA level, she has served as Senior High Honor Choir Chair, Collegiate Honor Choir guest speaker, Senior High R&R Chairperson, reading session presenter, and the presenter on a session encouraging Inclusivity in choral programming. At the state ACDA level, Starks Holcomb has served as the SD Southeast Representative, and a presenter for the IA ACDA summer conference. Summer of 2022, she will return to IA ACDA as a presenter, as well as music director of the All Iowa Show Choir. Internationally, Starks Holcomb spent three weeks conducting in
Aix-en-Provence, France, as a selected conducting scholar with the University of Delaware's 2017 Choral Symposium, as well as a conductor with the 2019 Midwest American Honor Choir touring France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany. Recognition for her choral work and teaching have included: 2019 CMA Teacher of Excellence, 2019 and 2016 SD ACDA Encore Award, 2019 and 2014 Roosevelt High School Director of the Year, 2017 Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Honor, 2015 Sioux Falls Teacher of the Year Nominee, and 2013 Roosevelt High School Positive Impact Award.
A well rounded artist, Starks Holcomb held a faculty position at the Dance Gallery of SD, a prominent school of dance, for 13 years. In addition, she toured as a professional Artist in Residence through the South Dakota Arts Council’s "Artists in Schools and Communities" program, teaching thousands of students annually as well as serving as a clinician for faculty in- services, workshops and collegiate lecture/demonstrations. A musical theater expert, Starks Holcomb has directed, performed and choreographed over 54 theatrical productions and toured the Midwest playing musical stage roles with both professional and amateur companies. In January, 2015, BroadwayWorld.com Regional Theater Awards announced Starks Holcomb as Best Music Director for her work with Sioux Empire Community Theater on Little Shop of Horrors.
Robyn Starks Holcomb received a portion of her undergraduate study at Augsburg University, Minneapolis, received her
B.M. in vocal music education from the University of MN, Minneapolis and earned an M.A. Ed. from Augustana University, Sioux Falls. She is blessed in life by her husband and three daughters, four canine fur babies, tremendous friends, an amazing work family, and the inspiring Roosevelt humans who love to sing.
Jon Hurty is Director of Choral Activities and Henry Veld Professor in Music at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He directs the Augustana Choir, the Augustana Chamber Singers, serves as the conductor of the Augustana Oratorio Society and teaches conducting. He is also Co-director of Music for Augustana Campus Ministries and is the Conductor and Artistic Director of Augustana Choral Artists. Before coming to Rock Island he was Director of Choral Activities at Concordia University in Irvine, California.
Active as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad, he has served in this capacity in All State, State, and Regional festivals of the American Choral Directors Association, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, National Association for Music Education, and many colleges and high schools. He has guest conducted the Tian Kong Choir and served as Guest Professor at Huazhong Normal University in Wuhan, China. He has conducted his choirs in concerts throughout the United States as well as Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. He has done significant work on free improvisation with choirs and has published an Apple iBook on the subject.
He completed his undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, his master’s degree in Choral Conducting from California State University, Northridge, and his doctorate in Choral Conducting and Literature from the University of Illinois. He has studied conducting with John Alexander, Don Moses, Chet Alwes and Ann Howard Jones.
Will Lopes holds a master’s degree in Music (Conducting) from the University of Northern Iowa, a bachelor’s degree in Sacred Music from Brazil’s Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Diploma in Piano Performance and Music Theory from the Music
Conservatory of the FS State University, also located in Brazil. In his home country of Brazil, he has worked as assistant director, music faculty and vocal coach for several institutions including CUCA (University Center for Culture and Arts), Pernambuco Federal University, Northern Baptist Seminary, Pernambuco Music Conservatory, and the British Council ELT in Recife.
As a jazz/pop singer, Lopes had the opportunity to perform in venues like the Dakota Jazz Club-MN and other jazz festivals in the United States and in Brazil.
Lopes has worked in several studio recordings, as a producer, soloist, backup singer, vocal coach, arranger, and has recorded jingles for companies like Coca-Cola/Brazil and Levi’s Jeans. His unique versatility has allowed him to enjoy a wide range of opportunities including traveling in an US national tour with the Dove Award winner – the Continental Singers as one of their soloists.
As a classical musician, he has also performed in venues ranging from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis to the Covent Garden Theatre in London. While living in Minnesota, Lopes was a section leader for the MN Chorale (official choir for the MN orchestra) and appeared in operas such as Don Giovanni, Carmen, and Rosenkavalier. He has also appeared as soloist (tenor/countertenor) in performances of Handel’s Messiah, Bach B Minor Mass, and Bach’s St. John Passion.
Lopes is a published arranged/composer, and his pieces can be found under the catalogue of Hall Leonard, Hinshaw Music, and G. Schirmer Music. Recently, he has written a Brazilian–style Liturgical mass entitled “Gloria” and also a children’s musical entitled “Bee Attitudes” which are now under revision, soon to be published.
He has worked an adjunct professor at the University of Northwestern (St. Paul, MN) and Palm Beach Atlantic University (West Palm Beach, FL), and remains active conducting seminars and workshops throughout the USA and Brazil.
He is a member of ACDA (American Choral Director’s Association), ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and currently works as the director of vocal music at the Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, IA.
Recognized in both the jazz vocal and instrumental worlds, Darmon Meader is a highly respected vocalist, arranger and saxophonist. Darmon has achieved international recognition as the founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, producer, saxophonist, and vocalist with New York Voices. As a member of New York Voices, he has released numerous recordings on the GRP, RCA/Victor, Concord and MCGJazz labels. Most recent NYV projects include their long awaited Christmas CD “Let It Snow” (Five Cent Records) and the high energy live collaborative CD “New York Voices, Live with the WDR Big Band” (Palmetto Records), both released in 2013. In addition to Darmon’s vocal and sax performances, both recordings feature his exemplary vocal arrangements, and the Christmas project features Darmon’s extensive orchestration skills. In the fall of 2007, New York Voices released their long-awaited MCGJazz release "A Day Like This," and in January of 2008, Darmon released his much anticipated debut solo CD, And So Am I. Darmon's solo project is a collection of jazz standards and original works, which reflects his varied interests and skills as a singer, saxophonist, writer and arranger. Although the entire project is steeped in the jazz tradition, the CD includes a wide variety of styles, orchestration approaches and concepts.
In 2015, Darmon joined forces with Amy London, Holli Ross and Dylan Pramuk on the critically acclaimed “Royal Bopsters Project” CD (Motéma), which is a nod to the vocalese tradition. In addition to the quartet’s lush group sound, the recording features legendary vocalists Mark Murphy, Annie Ross, Jon Hendricks, Sheila Jordan and Bob Dorough, and includes a number of Darmon’s arrangements. Allen Morrison (Downbeat) wrote: “Extraordinary…The Royal Bopsters Project vividly makes the case for a revival of the art of vocalese.”
With New York Voices, Darmon has collaborated with a variety of artists including Ray Brown, Bernadette Peters, Don Sebesky, Nancy Wilson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jim Hall, Paquito D'Rivera, Ivan Lins and the Count Basie Orchestra. He has toured internationally, performing at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and Blue Note Jazz Clubs (New York and Japan).
In addition to Darmon's NYV touring and recording commitments, he is increasingly busy as a soloist, sideman, studio musician and composer. In addition, Darmon is actively involved in music education, working as a clinician and guest artist at both the high school and university levels. Darmon is currently a member of the Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music Jazz Vocal department, and from 2009 to 2013, he was a member of the Manhattan School of Music jazz faculty. He has been the guest conductor for numerous All-State Jazz Ensembles including New York, California, Colorado, Arizona, Illinois and New Jersey, and has made artist-in-residence appearances at numerous schools, including Northwestern University, University of Louisville, American River College, Humber College and University of Georgia. Darmon has also taught at numerous domestic and international music workshops including the Inzigkoven Vocal Jazz Workshop in Germany, various IAJE Teacher's Training Institutes, and the annual New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camps (US and Europe). Many of Darmon’s choral, vocal jazz, and instrumental arrangements are available through the following publishers: Carl Fischer Music, Shawnee Press, Hal Leonard, Edition Ferrimontana, Alfred Music, Belwin Mills and UNC JazzPress.
Collette McClellen just completed her 20th year teaching at Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman. She teaches two curricular choirs, Mixed Choir and Lyrica, and one extracurricular Madrigal Choir. Collette is also the vocal director for the yearly musical production, and Fine Arts coordinator for the district. She was the district chair of Southeast Iowa for the ICDA for five years and greatly appreciated learning about all that ICDA provides for its teachers. Collette very much enjoys being a guest director for honor choirs, and was the 2019 7th/8th Treble OPUS director.
Born and raised in southeast Iowa, Collette attended the University of Iowa and graduated with Honors in Music and with High Distinction. She was awarded with the Rhodes Dunlap Scholarship, and was designated a Collegiate Scholar, as well as being inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Collette received her Master of Education degree through Graceland University with an emphasis in Technology Integration.
Collette lives outside of Wellman with her piano-tuning husband Matt, and their four children: Colin, Logan, Fiona, and Adric. The border collie, Shadow, spends her days herding the dozen chickens and two cats Snowball and Gary.
Coty Raven Morris
Coty Raven Morris is a proud alumnus of Texas State University- San Marcos where she studied with Drs. Lynn Brinckmeyer, Jonathan Bacock, and Joey Martin. She received her Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University in the Spring of 2020 under Drs. David Rayl, Jonathan Reed, and Sandra Snow.
She is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Choir, Music Education, and Social Justice at Portland State University. Prior to this, she was the Director of Choirs at Crosby High School in the Houston area and has served as the Outreach Choir Director at the MSU Community Music School and Music Director at Grand Ledge United Methodist Church. Her choirs received consistent Sweepstakes & Division I ratings at UIL and choral festivals.
Morris was the recipient of the Hays CISD Linebarger Academic Recognition Award for 2013 & Galena Park ISD's Dazzling Diamond Award in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 for outstanding mentorship and leadership in her field.
Morris is a sought after clinician across the country. She has recently served as the Clinician and Headliner for Florida ACDA and Minnesota ACDA. Her future engagements in 2022 include Washington Music Educators Association, University of North Florida Conducting Symposium, and the Iowa Choir Directors Association. Morris has been a choir member of the South Texas Vocal Artists, and has devoted over a decade of summers to working as a camp director at the Texas State University, Northwestern University, and Lamar University Music Camps.
Coty Raven Morris the Founder of Being Human Together, a budding music education community striving to normalize difficult topics in our field through conversation and connection. BHT seeks to discuss traditionally taboo topics like mental health, systemic oppression, diversity, and inclusivity.
Dr. Lee Nelson holds the Patricia R. Zahn Chair in choral conducting and serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Nelson conducts the Wartburg Choir and Ritterchor (tenor/bass choir) and teaches choral literature, beginning conducting and advanced conducting courses at Wartburg College. He also serves as the artistic director of the acclaimed Christmas with Wartburg concerts, which celebrated 75 years in 2021. Wartburg College recognized Nelson’s work as an educator by awarding him the John O. Chellevold Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service.
Under Dr. Nelson’s direction, the Wartburg Choir has performed at multiple conferences of the American Choral Director’s Association, most recently at the 2022 Midwestern Regional Conference, the 2017 National Conference, and a performance at both the White House and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The Wartburg Choir was honored as the national winners of The American Prize, College/University Choir Division in 2017. Internationally renowned composer Morten Lauridsen praised Nelson and the Wartburg Choir’s performance of his “O Magnum Mysterium” stating: “It was in the top echelon of any performance of that piece by any choir that I have ever heard.” Nelson tours annually with the Wartburg Choir throughout the United States, as well as international tours every three years. On the most recent international tour, a television production of “The Wartburg Choir in Germany: Celebrating 500 years of Reformation” was taped and is being shown worldwide.
A highly sought-after conductor, clinician and adjudicator, Nelson has conducted at Carnegie Hall on multiple occasions and has directed all state and honor choirs throughout the United States and internationally. Earlier in his career, Nelson won the National ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition in Los Angeles, and he received the Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year, awarded by ACDA of Minnesota.
Dr. Lee Nelson is a distinguished conductor and educator of collaboration, leadership, and intentional empowerment of others. He seeks to embody the mission of Wartburg College and dedicates his teaching to service, leadership, faith, and learning. He is passionate about providing successful and meaningful musical experiences that enrich and empower students to lead lives of unselfish service to others, challenging them to be responsible and knowledgeable citizens of the world. A champion of contemporary music, Nelson regularly commissions and performs new works of choral literature. ECS Publishing distributes the Lee Nelson Choral Series both nationally and internationally.
Kyle Pederson is a Minneapolis-based composer, lyricist, pianist, and educator.
He enjoys working at the intersection of the sacred and secular, and his lyrics and music invite the choir and audience to be agents of hope, grace, and compassion in the world. Kyle was awarded the American Prize in Choral Composition in 2019, and the ACDA Genesis Prize in 2020. Kyle has an undergraduate degree from Augustana University, a Masters Degree in Education from University of St. Thomas, and an MFA in Music Composition from Vermont College of Fine Art. Before composing full time, Kyle was a middle school geography teacher and entrepreneur (founder of Learner’s Edge, a MN-based education company). In addition to composing, Kyle serves on the worship arts team at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN, where he works with the choir and helps plan a variety of worship services. Additional information and links to Kyle’s music can be found at kylepederson.com.
Lori Potts is the director of Choral Activities at North Scott High School, Eldridge, Iowa. She is in her 28th year at North Scott High School, Eldridge, Iowa and 34th in K-12 public education.
She is also the director of STAMVOJA (St. Ambrose University Vocal Jazz Ensemble) St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Lori is the former director of the Quad City Singers and St. John’s Methodist Chancel Choir. Lori is not a stranger to the performance stage as she has most recently performed with the Nova Singers under the direction of Dr. Laura Lane. The ensemble performs numerous bi-state concerts in Iowa and Illinois as well as state and regional ACDA conventions.
At North Scott, Lori gives leadership to 4 curricular choirs and 3 jazz choirs with over 160 participants. North Scott Choirs have consistently received high marks at state contests. In 2017, the North Scott Choir made their mark on the allstate scene with having 19 students accepted and averaging 15-19 ever since!! The program was featured on KWQC TV covering the success of the program. North Scott Singers, the premier ensemble has performed in Chicago, New York City, Toronto and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.
Lori holds bachelor's and master’s degrees in music education from Cornell College and Western Illinois University.
Dr. Jennaya Robison is the Raymond R. Neevel/Missouri Professor in Choral Music and Director of Choral Studies in the Conservatory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she conducts the Conservatory Singers and leads the graduate program in choral conducting. She is in demand as a conductor, clinician, and soprano throughout the United States She has held previous positions at Luther College, the University of Arizona, and the University of New Mexico. Additionally, she was the Artistic Director of Scottsdale Musical Arts, a multi-generational organization composed of a professional orchestra and choir as well as children’s choirs and youth orchestras. She has taught in public schools in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Dr. Robison has presented lectures and workshops at national, regional, and state ACDA conferences and state NATS conferences. She has been an invited conductor and clinician at numerous festivals including All State Choirs in Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, Wisconsin Middle Level Honors Choirs, Alabama Collegiate Honor Choirs, Texas Collegiate Women’s Honor Choir, Montreat Music Conference Festival Choir (North Carolina) and various regional and state honor choirs throughout the United States. She will serve as guest conductor of the Consort Chorale, San Francisco in 2021 and make her Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 2023.
She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona, the Master of Music in conducting and voice from the University of New Mexico, and the Bachelor of Arts in music from Luther College. Her choral series is published with Pavane Music and serves on the editorial board for Galaxy Music. Additional arrangements and compositions are published by Kjos Music, Morningstar Music, and Galaxy Music.
Lexi Robson is originally from Ankeny, Iowa. She began dancing at the age of 3 and has lived and performed in Oklahoma City, Dallas, Chicago, and New York City, but currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lexi attended Oklahoma City University on scholarship where she graduated with a Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance.
Since graduation, Lexi has completed two contracts with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line dancing through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and the Bahamas on the Navigator of the Seas and as the Dance Captain on the Enchantment of the Seas.
Lexi is a full-time freelance choreographer, clinician, and adjudicator working with over 30 high school and college show choirs across the country and teaching at many performing arts camps. Her groups consistently achieve high placements and have won numerous awards for best choreography, design, and visual effect.
After growing up intensely training and studying the art of dance, Lexi is thrilled to share her passion and knowledge with equally passionate kids and directors all over the country.
Jake Runestad is an award-winning and frequently-performed composer of “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald) musical works that have been featured in thousands of performances worldwide and earned a 2020 GRAMMY award nomination. Having collaborated with leading ensembles and organizations around the globe, Jake has a versatile and prolific career creating works for orchestra, wind band, chorus, chamber ensembles, and opera. His visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, guest-conducting and speaking engagements, establishing him as “one of the best of the younger American composers” (Chicago Tribune).
Steeped in a belief that music has the power to initiate positive change, Jake creates musical works that are socially conscious and explore authentic human emotions and experiences. Conductors, performers, and audiences continue to praise his music for its ability to connect with the head and the heart. As a result, Jake was one of the youngest composers ever awarded the coveted Raymond W. Brock Commission from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in 2018 — the foremost commission available to composers of choral music in the USA. For this honor, Jake wrote the groundbreaking work “A Silence Haunts Me” which conducting legend Dale Warland hailed “a masterpiece.”
Considered a “choral rockstar” by American Public Media, Jake is one of the most frequently performed and commissioned composers of choral music in the world having “…a particular knack for marrying powerful music to texts that speak to some of the most pressing and moving issues of our time” (Star Tribune). The first full album dedicated to Jake’s choral music, “The Hope of Loving,” was released in 2019 by Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare and subsequently received a GRAMMY award nomination.
In-demand as a guest conductor, Jake Runestad has worked with professional, community, and student ensembles around the world. Recent engagements include New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, as well as residencies with ensembles and institutions across six continents.
Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts, in addition to formative mentoring from acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. For more information, please visit JakeRunestad.com
G. Phillip Shoultz
G. Phillip Shoultz, III is the associate artistic director of VocalEssence and the founding director of The Singers Of This Age. Phillip uses the power of the spoken word and song to foster community and inspire action among people of all ages and abilities. Phillip conducts festival choirs and leads workshops across the United States and beyond. He serves on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas and guides the ministries of worship, music, and the arts at Westwood Lutheran Church. The Minnesota Orchestra regularly engages Phillip to host their Young People’s Concerts and his online presence continues to grow as his pandemic livestream, Take 5 with GPS, rapidly approaches the 450 episode milestone. The winner of numerous honors, including the ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition and multiple Teacher of the Year awards, Phillip founded “Table for More” in the summer of 2020 to help organizations address issues related to innovation, equity, and belonging in the arts. Phillip lives in St. Louis Park with his wife, Michelle, and their two children (Malachi and Lydia Grace).
Mr. Paul Skyles is a completely nomalish, middle aged man, who sometimes does his job to a competent level as the Vocal Director at North Scott Jr. High and Assistant Vocal Director at North Scott High School. He has been very lucky to be married to the same woman, Jill, for the past 20 years.....most of them happy. He is the very proud father to three very special, incredible, and completely average children Tabitha, Gabriel, and Ezekiel (more commonly known as Tabby, Gabe, and Zeke). During his more than 20 years of existence as an educator after graduating from the Conservatory of Music at University of Missouri-Kansas City, he has harassed students into the vocal music program at NSJH and has had moderate success convincing them that events such as Opus, group festivals, school musicals and honor choirs might be worth their time in between sporting events. Mr. Skyles then made an unfortunate decision to get his MSED (master of education in education leadership) and thought he might want to be a principal. He then rethought his life and had the good fortune to be heavily influenced during his professional growth by Mrs. Lori Potts and Dr. Carol Krueger into the semblance of a functional choral musician and director. He also understands how very blessed he is to be who is and where he is........just a too cranky guy in a beautiful small town of Eldridge, IA in the good ole US of A.
Joseph Svendsen is the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he conducts the ﬂagship ensemble, the UNLV Singers, and the Early Music Ensemble. He teaches graduate coursework in conducting and choral literature and serves as an advisor to graduate students seeking the MM in Choral Conducting.
Svendsen is the Chorus Master for Opera Las Vegas, a position he has held since 2017. He was named Artistic Director of the Las Vegas Master Singers, the chorus-in-residence for the Las Vegas Philharmonic, beginning in the 2021-2022 season. In August 2022 he will serve as conductor-in-residence at St. Albans Cathedral in Hertfordshire, England. Other professional engagements include singing tenor with Anúna and the San Antonio Chamber Choir. He has served as an invited conductor and clinician in California, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin and has presented at recent conferences of the Nevada Music Educators Association and the American Choral Directors Association. Svendsen’s research and artistry focus on sacred choral music. His most recent article, “Healey Willan: Crafting Plainsong” is published in CrossAccent, the journal of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.
Svendsen serves in leadership positions in the American Choral Directors Association and the Nevada Music Educators Association. He holds a Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University, a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Bachelor’s degrees from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He started his teaching career at Fort Dodge Senior High School in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Brandon Waring is a young and excited music educator. After graduating from Iowa State University with a double emphasis in voice and saxophone, Brandon taught 5-12 band for over two years at North Linn CSD. When given the opportunity to work with his former band teacher, Brandon started teaching 6-12 choir at Iowa Falls-Alden CSD and directing the school musicals in 2020. In 2021, Brandon graduated with his Master’s in Music Education from the University of Kansas.
Robert A. Williams is the Director of Choral Activities at Liberty High School in North Liberty, Iowa. Liberty High School opened its doors in the fall of 2017 and is one of three high schools in the Iowa City Community School District. Mr. Williams founded the Liberty Vocal Music Program and he currently directs the entry level bass clef choir, the top curricular mixed ensemble, and two extracurricular vocal jazz ensembles. In addition to the vocal ensembles he directs, Mr. Williams serves as the assistant director for two extracurricular show choirs, directs the Storm Sirens show band, conducts the pit orchestra for the Liberty High School musicals, and provides individual voice lessons for every student enrolled in his curricular ensembles.
Under his direction, the Liberty curricular ensembles have earned consistent Division I ratings at IHSMA Large Group Festivals and are well respected for their musicianship and artistry. The Liberty show and jazz choir programs have seen tremendous growth during his tenure; earning awards at competitions and festivals across the midwest. His jazz choirs have consistently been ranked among the very best in the state of Iowa, where he has had an ensemble represented at the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships, year after year, for over a decade. In 2019, he started the Liberty Vocal Jazz Invitational to provide vocal jazz programs in Iowa an opportunity to perform for, and receive a clinic from, nationally renowned vocal jazz educators; a service we hope to bring back again in February of 2022. The Liberty Voltage Jazz Ensemble was recently selected for the 2022 National Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas where they had the opportunity to perform alongside high school, collegiate, and professional ensembles from across the country on one of the main conference stages.
Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University. In 2009, he was a semi-finalist in the National ACDA Undergraduate Conducting Competition and a member of the National ACDA Collegiate Honor Choir. He has served as the Iowa Choral Directors Association All-State Jazz Choir Co-Chair from 2011-2015 and the Vocal Jazz Repertoire and Resources Chair from 2016-present. He is a sought after clinician and adjudicator, and has had multiple arrangements published for both Jazz and Show Choir. He lives in Coralville, Iowa with his wife Dana, his daughter Victoria, and his son Benjamin.
Originally from Chicago, mezzo soprano Gretchen Windt channels her strong presence and engaging personality into compelling performances in opera and operetta, symphonic repertoire, art song recitals, and musical theater. She has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Idaho, Ohio Light Opera, Opera Southwest, and Sarasota Opera, among others. She has been invited to present at the National NATS Conference, Southeast Regional NATS Scholar and Artist Series, Sam Houston State University Art Song Festival, Alabama Music Educators Association, and Darkwater Festival at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She has earned degrees from North Park University (B.M.E.), University of Cincinnati--CCM (M.M.), and University of Utah (D.M.A.), and she is currently the Director of Vocal Studies and Assistant Professor at the University of North Alabama.
As Director of Choral Activities and head of the vocal division at St. Ambrose University, Dr. Nathan Windt brings professional choral and solo singing experience with leading professional choirs in the United States, including the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He has numerous operatic roles to his credit, and is also a frequent recitalist, with an enthusiasm for German and English art song. Dr. Windt has taught at the elementary, middle school, and collegiate levels, including general music courses, studio voice, and humanities courses in American Popular Music, and is in demand as a singer, conductor and clinician throughout the United States. His choirs have toured domestically and internationally to critical acclaim. He is the recipient of two teaching awards, including 2016, when he received the Faculty Member of the Year Award, given by the St. Ambrose University Student-Alumni Association and nominated by students of St. Ambrose. His teaching responsibilities at St. Ambrose include private voice, conducting, choral methods, vocal diction and pedagogy, and conducting the University Chorale and Chamber Singers.