Who is Barbara Retzko?
Effective July 1, 2020, I retired from the position of full-time Director of Choral Activities at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA where I led the award-winning Ridge Chorale, Concert Choir and A Cappella Choir Honors. From 2000-2002 I served as Choral Director at the International School of Düsseldorf, Germany where my singers performed in Honor Choirs in Den Hague, Netherlands; Stavanger, Norway and Berlin, Germany. In May 2002, May 2006 and May 2019, I was chosen as Guest Conductor for International Honor Choirs in Zurich and Basel, Switzerland. From 2006-2013, I served as Associate Professor at Rutgers University (Douglass College campus), directing the Voorhees Choir.
Stateside, I served as Guest Conductor for the 1991 New Jersey All-State Mixed Chorus, the 1998 New Jersey Region II Mixed Chorus, the 2002 Independent School Choral Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina, the 2008 Sussex County Chorus, the 2009 Region II Women’s Choir, the 2011 New Jersey All-State Women’s Chorus and the 2017 All-Eastern Treble Honors Choir. I received the Governor's Teacher Award for Teacher of the Year at Ridge High School in 1998 and the first Excellence in Arts Education Award from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission in 2005. In 2008, I was named Master Music Teacher by the New Jersey Music Educators Association and received a Distinguished Leadership and Service Award in 2015 from the same. I traveled with and served as conductor for the American Music Abroad RED tour to Europe during the summers of 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2011. In 2018, I received the Mayor’s Arts Award for excellence and commitment to the arts in Bernards Township.
I am committed and dedicated to the Choral education of all singers. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Trenton State College, New Jersey and my Master of Arts, Summa cum laude, in Choral Conducting from the same.
I was a member of the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) and I served on the state board of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) representing Repertoire & Standards – Senior High School and Women’s Choirs. In retirement, I will continue to serve the New Jersey All-State Choral Procedures Committee as Audition Registration Manager and Historian. I live in Bernardsville, New Jersey with my amazing husband, Rick.