Courtesy of Jeffrey Allen Murdock

Throughout the month of February, I will highlight a different Black choral conductor each day. I'll begin the month by honoring the Black trailblazers in the field, followed by those Black conductors who are well known and continuing to make us proud. To round out the month, I will share the names of some conductors who are doing great work that you may not know, and close with up-and-coming Black conductors. Hopefully, over the next 28 days, you'll get to know some high quality Black conductors to bring for your honor choirs, symposia, and the like! I hope you'll join me on this journey!

*Disclaimer* - There are only 28 days in the month. I will only be highlighting conductors that I've seen conduct an honor choir, or conductors with whom I have significant, personal familiarity with their work!

The Inspirational Chorale

University of Arkansas

Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock is internationally known as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. He currently serves as Associate Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Arkansas where he conducts the Inspirational Chorale, the Razorback’s Chorus, and teaches courses within the choral music education curriculum. He is a 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, a 2018 Golden Tusk Awardee, and the 2019 Faculty Member of the year for the University of Arkansas. He is also a finalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year.

Dr. Murdock appears regularly in concert, recital, and stage performances, having previously conducted the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the (Mississippi) Gulf Coast Symphony and has also performed as a soloist with the Memphis Symphony, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the Southern Mississippi Opera. Dr. Murdock’s love of scholarship and performance has led him to study and perform around the world. As a music educator, he loves to invest his knowledge and experience in the next generation of young musicians through clinic opportunities with secondary choral programs, conducting honor choruses, and mentoring choral music educators. Recent highlights include performances in New York, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, and Lisboa. In 2013, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Millington Chorale in a well-received concert of diverse repertoire.

While Dr. Murdock is an accomplished classical musician, he is also a skilled Gospel musician. He currently serves on the conducting staff of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and has collaborated with Gospel recording artists, including Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood, Mary Mary, Marvin Winans, Marvin Sapp, Lisa Knowles, and Kathy Taylor.

Dr. Murdock’s research interests include cultural hegemony in choral music education, social justice in music education, culturally responsive pedagogy in music education, and music in urban schools. He has presented at the National Research Conference for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) as well as the World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) – Glasgow, U.K. Dr. Murdock is also a frequent research presenter at local and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA) where he serves as president-elect of the Southwestern Division, past president of Arkansas ACDA, and serves on the national sub-committee for diversity initiatives.

Dr. Murdock holds both Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Conducting degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Education from the University of Memphis. In addition to NAfME and ACDA, his professional memberships include the ASCAP and the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

DAY #1 - TRAILBLAZER Dr. Anton Armstrong is the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Chair in Music, Professor of Music at St. Olaf College and Conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, a position he assumed in 1990. He came to this position following ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he served on the faculty of Calvin College and conducted the Campus Choir, the Calvin College Alumni Choir and the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus. A graduate of St. Olaf College, Anton Armstrong earned a Master of Music degree at the University of Illinois and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. He holds membership in several professional societies including the American Choral Directors Association, Choristers Guild, Chorus America, and the International Federation for Choral Music. He also serves as editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers.

Dr. Armstrong is widely recognized for his work in the area of youth and children’s choral music. He served for over twenty years on the summer faculty of the American Boychoir School, Princeton, New Jersey and held the position of Conductor of the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75 voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981-1990. He is the founding conductor of the Troubadours, 30-voice boys’ ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs since 1991. He currently serves as a member of the the Board of Chorus America. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy.

Anton Armstrong has conducted the St. Olaf Choir in critically acclaimed solo concert performances at the 59th National Conference of the Music Educators National Conference in April 2004, the Sixth World Symposium on Choral Music in August 2002, and at the 1999 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Chicago, Illinois. In February 2005, The St. Olaf Choir shared the stage with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square in presenting the finale concert for the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association at the new Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, California.

In January 2006, Baylor University selected Anton Armstrong from a field of 118 distinguished nominees to receive the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. He spent February-June 2007 in residency at Baylor University as a visiting professor. In March 2007 Anton Armstrong was the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the American Boychoir School and in October 2009 he received The Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University. In June 2013 Dr. Armstrong received the Saltzman Award from the Oregon Bach Festival. The festival’s highest honor, the Saltzman Award is bestowed upon individuals who have provided exceptional levels of leadership to the organization. In the Fall of 2014, The St. Olaf Choir and Dr. Armstrong received a Regional Emmy for the PBS television program Christmas in Norway with The St. Olaf Choir.

DAY #2 TRAILBLAZER Dr. Andre J. Thomas is the recently retired Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University. He was appointed Professor of Choral Conducting and Interim conductor of the Yale Camerata 2020-2021. A previous faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Thomas received his degrees from Friends University (B.A.), Northwestern University (M. M.), and the University of Illinois (D.M.A). He is in demand as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs throughout North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and Africa.

Dr. Thomas has conducted choirs at the state, division, and national conventions of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). His international conducting credits are extensive. They include conductor/clinician for the International Federation of Choral Musicians’ summer residency of the World Youth Choir in China and the Philippines. He was also the conductor of the winter residency of the World Youth Choir in Europe, and a premier performance by an American Choir (Florida State University Singers) in Vietnam.

He has been the guest conductor of such distinguished ensembles as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, the Berlin Radio Choir and the North German Radio Choir in Germany, the Netherlands Radio Choir, The Bulgarian Radio Choir and Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, China’s People’s Liberation Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Since 1988, he has also served as Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus.

Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. Hinshaw Music Company, Mark Foster Music Company, Fitzsimons Music Company, Lawson Gould, Earthsongs, Choristers Guild, and Heritage Music Company publish his compositions and arrangements.

Dr. Thomas has produced two instructional videos "What They See Is What You Get" on choral conducting, with Rodney Eichenberger, and "Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice" on adolescent voices, with Anton Armstrong. His recent book "Way Over in Beulah Lan’. Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual" has quickly become a major source in this area of study.

Thomas has been recognized by various musical organizations. The African Diaspora Sacred Music honored Dr. Thomas as a Living Legend. In 2011 Thomas’ dedication to and accomplishments in the choral arts were recognized by his peers in Chorus America when that organization presented Dr. Thomas with its Distinguished Service Award. In March of 2017 ACDA presented Thomas with its highest honor, The Robert Shaw Award, and in November of 2017 NCCO (National Collegiate Choral Organization) presented Thomas with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In January 2019 he was inducted into the Florida Music Educator’s Hall of Fame.

He is a past president of the Florida ACDA and the past president of the Southern Division of ACDA, and the current Vice President of National ACDA and the artistic Chairman of the 2021 National Convention.

DAY # 3 Composer, arranger, conductor, pianist, scholar, researcher, teacher, and #TRAILBLAZER Dr. Roland M. Carter is the UTC Holmberg Professor of American Music. During his 23-year tenure at The University of Tennessee Chattanooga, Professor Carter conducted choirs, taught classes, accompanied recitals, arranged music, funded concerts, fostered inter-departmental productions, chaired the department, mentored and recruited students, and effectively promoted affirmative action.

Carter has presented and performed concerts in the nation’s most prestigious venues and with major orchestras; lectures, workshops, master classes, and festivals for schools, churches, colleges, and universities, and national associations throughout the country. His compositions and arrangements are performed by music organizations throughout the world. Carter has produced, appeared on, and served as consultant for national and international radio and television programs. He is in constant demand as guest conductor and lecturer and maintains a very active schedule of workshops and performances.

For his notable contributions to the performance and preservation of African American music, Carter's biography and list of compositions are included in Our Musical Heritage, a catalog published jointly by Carl Fischer Music and the National Association of Negro Musicians; his bio also appears in International Dictionary of Black Composers and the soon to be released updated edition of The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. He has received national awards from, and has been recognized by the National Association of Negro Musicians, the National Black Music Caucus, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Sigma Iota Theta Music Fraternities. He was selected to conduct the inaugural concert of the African American Music Series at Carnegie Hall. He has received the Tennessee Governors Arts Award and his contributions have been recognized by universities throughout the country including an honorary doctorate from Shaw University in Raleigh, NC. Carter shares with Robert Shaw and Leonard DePaur the honor of being one of only three musicians ever to receive honorary membership in the Morehouse College Glee Club.

In addition to teaching and performing, Carter has an outstanding record in arts advocacy and service. A life member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Carter has served on its Board of Directors, Chair of the Committee on Choral Standards, and national President. He is a life member of the American Choral Directors Association. Carter has served as a member and co-chair of the NEA Music Advisory Panels for Choruses. He has held seats on several national, regional, and local including the Chattanooga African American Museum, the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association, Allied Arts of Chattanooga (ArtsBuild), Tennessee Arts Commission, National Association of Arts Agencies, Southern Arts Exchange, the League of American Symphony Orchestras and SPHINX. He is founder and CEO of MAR-VEL, a publisher specializing in music by African American composers and traditions.

DAY #4 TRAILBLAZER Robert A. Harris, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music (Evanston, IL), served as Director of Choral Organizations and Professor of Conducting at the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music from 1977 to 2012. Prior to Northwestern, Dr. Harris taught at Michigan State University, where he served as Director of Choral Activities from 1970 to 1977, and at Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan) from 1964-1970. He also has held visiting professorships at Wayne State University, the University of Texas (Austin) and the University of South Africa in Pretoria.

Dr. Harris is active as a conductor, choir clinician, and adjudicator, having appeared in these capacities throughout the United States and abroad. Dr. Harris served as Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus for the 2016-17 season.* In June 2016, he served as guest conductor of the Carolina Coast Festival Chorus and Orchestra’s Spring Festival. Performances of the Faure “Requiem” and Sacred Music of 20th and 21st century American composers were held in New Bern and Jacksonville, North Carolina. In November 2016, Dr. Harris served as guest conductor with the Wayne State University Choral Union and Symphony Orchestra (Detroit, Michigan) in a performance of the Brahams “Ein deutches Requiem.”

Internationally, Dr. Harris served as one of two guest conductors and clinicians for the Taipei Philharmonic Choral and Conducting Workshop in the Republic of China. He also served as guest conductor for Korea's premier professional choir, the Inchon City Chorale, guest conductor of a Choral Festival Youth Chorale in Hong Kong, and presented lectures and conducting master classes throughout South Africa on two separate occasions. In Argentina, Dr. Harris presented lectures and master classes on African American spirituals. In March 2013, he presented master classes on spirituals for the American Cantat VII Music Festival.

As a composer, Dr. Harris has been the recipient of over forty commissions from schools, churches and musical organizations. His compositions, especially those of the choral genre, have been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Hong Kong, and in South Africa. His published works currently appear in the catalogs of Oxford University Press, Morning Star, Boosey and Hawkes, Walton Music, Alliance Music, Mark Foster and J.S. Paluch.

Awards and honors for Harris include an Alumni Arts Achievement Award in Music from Wayne State University and the 2000-2001 Northwestern University School of Music's Faculty Exemplar Teaching Award. Harris was one of three University professors to receive a Northwestern University Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award for the 2001-2002 academic year. Harris served for three years as a member of the Choral Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts and twice functioned as the Panel's co-chair. Biographical entries include Who's Who Among Black Americans, Men of Achievement (London), and Who's Who in America. A video Oral History interview of Harris has been made a permanent part of the History Makers Collections at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Dr. Harris received his education from Wayne State University in Detroit, the Eastman School of Music, and earned his doctorate from Michigan State University in composition and theory. He has been active as a church music director throughout his career, currently serving Winnetka (IL) Congregational Church as Director of Music and Choirmaster. He is a life member of the American Choral Directors Association and an active member of Chorus America.

Day#5 TRAILBLAZER Dr. Peter Bagley, Professor Emeritus of Music and former Special Assistant to the Dean of the School of Fine Arts at The University of Connecticut, received his B.S. in Music Education at the Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, and his D.M. in Choral Conducting under Julius Herford at Indiana University. He taught public school music in Greenwich, Connecticut, and prior to his appointment as Director of Choral Activities at UConn, was Professor of Music at the State University of New York, College at New Paltz.

Dr. Bagley has been invited as guest conductor and choral clinician for numerous festivals and all-state choirs throughout the country. Among many engagements, he recently conducted the M.E.N.C. All-Eastern Division Chorus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and launched his international career as choral clinician for various choirs in a ten-city tour of New Zealand sponsored by the New Zealand Choral Federation. Other engagements include an appointment to the faculty of the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, an appointment for the Artist-in Residency Program in Portland, Maine, and an invitation to conduct at the International Honor Band and Choir Festival hosted by the International School at The Hague and an appointment to the faculty of master conductors for the Dennis Keene Choral Festival in Kent, CT., and Artist in Residence at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music. Together with the University of Connecticut Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Dr. Bagley made his Carnegie Hall debut June 1997 conducting Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem. For the millennium celebration he conducted the Men’s Honor Choir at the ACDA Eastern Division Conference, Baltimore, 2000.

Dr. Bagley is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, and was honored in October 1990 by the Connecticut chapter as “… the Connecticut Choral Educator of the Year .”

Day#6 “a bubbling stream of a voice, remarkably smooth down into a resonant, rich low register” (SF Chronicle), #TRAILBLAZER Dr. Ollie Watts Davis earns superlatives wherever she sings. Since her New York debut at Carnegie, she has appeared with many of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the San Francisco, Minnesota, Houston, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Dallas Symphony orchestra; in opera with the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival; the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Des Moines Metro Opera; Opera Theatre of Springfield; and Illinois Opera Theatre; and internationally for performances and classes in North, Central, and South America; Europe; Africa; and Asia.

Dr. Davis is passionate about performances of historic significance, and has performed in prestigious venues in Pakistan, Costa Rica, France, and throughout the United States. Recent presentations include I’m a Stranger Here Myself, as part of the exhibit, With Firmness in the Right: Lincoln and the Jews at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield (IL), where she also presented The Concert that Shook the Establishment, a re-creation of Marian Anderson’s 1939 Easter morning concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. She completed a residency at the University of Arkansas as a performing artist and master class clinician and was featured in the PBS documentary The Caged Bird Sings, on the life and music of African American composer Florence Price. She has released two recordings as conductor and soprano with the Black Chorus at the University of Illinois and is featured on Rootsongs, with the Jupiter Quartet. These come in addition to her solo recording of spiritual arrangements, Here’s One, which was featured on National Public Radio.

Recent creative activity includes presenting at the National Association of Teachers of Singing 75tth Anniversary Transatlantic Pedagogy Tour to Germany, in addition to concerts and classes in West Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, and Chicago. In 2019, she directed the 14th Black Sacred Music Symposium and the 3rd Black Chorus at Illinois Summer Youth Music camp at Illinois. Current year engagements include guest artist appearances in Chicago, Peoria, and Indianapolis; and as Master Teacher for the National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program at the University of Dayton (Ohio).

In addition to her concert career, Dr. Davis uses her voice for important work as the writer of the mentoring curriculum, Talks My Mother Never Had With Me, and as a passionate mentor for young singers with StudiO: the Ollie Watts Davis Institute for Vocal Arts.

Ollie Watts Davis is the Suzanne and William Allen Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Illinois and serves as Professor of Voice, Provost’s Fellow, and Music Director and Conductor of the Black Chorus. In 2019, she was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award; her second Campus Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014; the Illinois Student Senate Teaching Excellence Award in 2012; and was named a University Scholar in 2008, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois. Other awards include the UI College of Fine and Applied Arts Outstanding Faculty Award, a Recognition Award from the UI Alumni Association, and the Bronze Medallion of Honor by the UI Women’s Association, where she was recognized as a woman who through example and service has used her talents to enrich the lives of others.

Additional awards include the Charles E. Walton Award presented by the Vivian G. Harsh Research Society of the Chicago Public Library for her inestimable contributions in 2016 ; the “Key to the City” for her musical contributions to the cultural life of Champaign, Illinois in 2015; the National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music National Award in 2013; and the 40 North Lifetime ACE Award in 2012, which honors her accumulated successes for continued, outstanding support of the arts in the Champaign-Urbana community. Dr. Davis is a national honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota; and holds honorary membership in the National Society of Arts and Letters, and Phi Theta Kappa.

Day#7 William C. Powell serves as the Charles W. Barkley Endowed Professor of Music and director of choral activities. He conducts the Chamber Choir, Men's Chorus, Concert Choir, and Gospel Choir, and he teaches choral-related courses.

Powell has guest conducted and has taken the AU Choirs on tour through various parts of the United States and abroad, including Ireland, Australia, Italy, and Eastern Europe. He serves as a frequent adjudicator for choral festivals such as Festival Disney. Powell has given lecture-presentations for conferences affiliated with the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Intercollegiate Men's Choruses, College Music Society, Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, and the National Society of Music in Technology.

Since 2018, Powell contributes choral music reviews for Ala Breve, the official publication of the Alabama Music Educators Association. His own choral arrangements are published by Hal Leonard Corporation, Gentry Publications, and Oxford University Press through which he and his wife, Rosephanye Powell co-edited a collection entitled Spirituals for Upper Voices. Additionally, he is editor for “The William Powell Choral Series” published by Gentry Publications.

Powell serves on the National Board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) as a southern region representative. He is also an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, having held past positions as the Repertoire and Standards Chair of the Committee on Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives for the both the southwestern and southern divisions. He also holds memberships with the National Association for Music Education, and the American Society of Composers and Publishers. He and his wife, Rosephanye, have two daughters: Camille and Kaitlyn.

Sunday Feature -1 (Highlighting Black conductors who have largely been known for their conducting or research work in the GOSPEL arena, but are equally capable in the arena of Classical Choral Music. Call these folks for your honor choirs, symposia, etc. They will BLESS YOU and your constituents! )

The INCOMPARABLE Trey McLaughlin was born in Augusta, GA on March 30, 1984. He graduated from John S. Davidson Magnet School in 2002. While in high school, Trey was a member of the non-profit, performing arts organization, Creative Impressions, serving as both President and Student Director of the organization from 1999-2002.

Trey is a 2008 graduate of Columbus State University (The Schwob School of Music) in Columbus, GA. During his time at CSU, Trey was a member of its University Singers and Chorale. Trey is a member and past president of the professional music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and he is a former director of G.E.N.E.S.I.S. -- the Columbus State University Gospel Choir. In May of 2008, Mr. McLaughlin attained a Bachelor of Science in Music Performance with an emphasis in Vocal Pedagogy.

In 2014, Mr. McLaughlin began his international career, conducting a Master Class and performing at the L’Opéra de Massy in Massy, France. Since then, he has served as the guest clinician for several workshops abroad. In October of 2015, Trey conducted a 300-voice choir in Krakow, Poland, as the guest clinician of the annual 7x Festival. Trey was also afforded the opportunity to conduct a workshop and perform in Menorca, Spain; Rajadell, Spain; and Aarhus, Denmark. At home, Trey has been extended the honor of serving as the guest clinician for Honor Choruses throughout the state of Georgia.

Trey is a passionate solo vocalist -- recognizing the beauty of, and fusing together an eclectic mix of musical genres for all those who encounter his artistry. He composes and performs original works and prolifically arranged covers with his own recording ensemble, The Sounds of Zamar. Presenting what is known as “The Zamar Experience” Tour this Fall & Winter throughout various regions of the United States, the group has recently returned from a national tour coast, ministering to diverse audiences in Davis, CA; Berkely, CA; Stanford, CA; Portland, Seattle, WA; Boston, MA; Tampa, FL; and Jacksonville, FL.

Trey currently serves at Tabernacle Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia. As Director of Worship and Arts, Mr. McLaughlin stewards and oversees 12 ministries and approximately 250 ministry volunteers. Mr. McLaughlin has taught as adjunct faculty at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, teaching graduate level courses where he continues his passion for writing and arranging music, teaching piano, and conducting classes in vocal technique.

As a performer, composer and arranger, clinician, educator, mentor and arts advocate, Trey McLaughlin is ambassador for the Augusta Arts community. As such, he was recognized by the Augusta Arts Council as its 2018 Artist of the Year. His international, national and local work in the arts continues to provide rich cultural, artistic experiences for all who encounter his programming.

Sunday Feature -2 Since 1989, Dr. Leo H. Davis, Jr. has served as the Minister of Worship at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Memphis, Tennessee, the largest African American congregation within this denomination in the United States. As the Minister of Worship, he incorporates a wide variety of musical genres such as traditional and contemporary gospel, African American spirituals, anthems, and classical selections into the worship experience. This versatility has enabled him to successfully connect with multiple generations, cultures and ethnicities through worship music that inspires many people.

His educational background includes a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Church Music and Conducting from the University of Memphis; a Masters of Music in Organ and Choral Conducting from the University of Massachusetts; and a Bachelors of Music with a concentration in Organ from Roosevelt University College of Music. He has served as the Resident Artist in Sacred and Classical Music with the Carr Center of Detroit, Michigan, Chorus Master for the "Too Hot To Handel" performance at the Orpheum Theater of Memphis, and as a consultant for several churches nationwide.

Through his “No Gimmicks” Worship series, he has supported pastors, trained music ministry teams, lectured and conducted workshops across the country. His widely acclaimed book, No Gimmicks – Relevancy, Commitment and Excellence in Worship Ministry, was published in 2016, followed by No Gimmicks 2.0, with a companion workbook released in October 2019. He has also written music and worship resources for a number of recent publications including GIA Publications and the African American Lectionary.

In addition to his role as Minister of Worship at Mississippi Boulevard, he also currently serves as the Interim Director of the University Singers at the University of Memphis, and is an adjunct professor at Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Davis is always grateful for the opportunity and ability to honor, glorify and serve through gifts of music.

Sunday Feature -3 Isaac Cates is an award winning musician, producer, entrepreneur, band leader, composer, educator and singer-songwriter of contemporary Gospel / Christian music.

In life there are many talented individuals whose musical gifting and expressionism appears effortless to audiences. Some are born with these gifts while others are trained to become great minstrels and psalmists. However, there are those who are exceptionally blessed to marry their natural gifting with their learned skills to become known as “masters” of their craft! Having been compared to Oscar Peterson, Thomas Whitfield and Richard Smallwood, Isaac S. Cates immerges on the gospel music scene as an artist with an astonishing musical knowledge, skill and unparalleled creativity that places second, only to his passion for ministry.

Born in Kansas City, Kansas and affectionately known as a child prodigy, Isaac has always shown a great interest in music. With a strong spiritual foundation laid by his parents, Isaac’s participation in the music ministry at his local home church began at a very young age of four, as did his formal training. Trained in piano performance, writing and composition, having studied piano performance and Choral conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in his short life. He has won numerous accolades in local, state, regional and national competitions earning him various awards and recognitions as one of the most skilled and talented musical gifts to the world.

Isaac has served as workshop clinician abroad, teaching vocal diction and serving as adjudicator for several vocal, instrumental and composition seminars and competitions. In 2004, Isaac partnered with a colleague; Anthony M. Harvey to form a small music ensemble of skilled vocalists whose musical diversity and remarkable vocal ability would set them apart as premier trendsetters in the national gospel music industry. In a short time this group of singers (known as “Ordained”) has accomplished great things. Collectively, Isaac Cates and Ordained have appeared in concerts and been featured alongside many gospel artists including: Kevin Bond, (producer), Pastor Kevin Bond, Vashawn Mitchell, Rodney Bryant, Melonie Daniels, Richard Smallwood, James Bignon, DeWayne Woods, James Fortune, Tobbi White-Darks, Tommie White, Chrystal Rucker, Kim Burrell, Professor James Hall, Byron Cage, Darnell Davis, George Huff, Oscar Williams, Gary Mayes, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Angela Spivey, Lillian Loyd, Lejeune Thompson, Cedric Thompson, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Mark Hubbard, Kirk Whalum, Nolan Williams, Bobby Watson, the late Rev. Timothy Wright, Pastor Shirley Caesar and others.

In 2006, Isaac Cates and Ordained released their independent debut project entitled “Take My Life”, which received substantial airplay on Christian/Gospel radio stations around the nation. In November 2007, Isaac Cates and Ordained recorded their second LIVE project (a CD/DVD recording) “Amazed ” at the First Family Church which features Tobbi White-Darks and Tommie White of Donald Lawrence & Company, Melonie Daniels and other great industry gifts. Presently, Isaac is writing and appearing on numerous gospel and instrumental recordings, frequently traveling and ministering across the country while still managing to serve as Full time Minister of Music at Concord Fortress of Hope Church (Kansas city, MO) and continues to maintain an active schedule as an educator, conductor, composer, director and Producer.

Isaac was recruited as one of the Teaching Artists at the Community School of the Arts, a private school sponsored by Kansas City Young Audiences (, to teach music theory and songwriting, Vocal music teacher at A.C.E high school and in 2010 Served as Music Director Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Keep your ears and eyes open, your heart ready to receive, and your soul prepared to embrace the anointed, skillful and highly sought-after music ministry of Isaac Cates and Ordained!

Sunday Feature - 4 Alisha Lola Jones, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University (Bloomington). Dr. Jones is a graduate of University of Chicago (Ph.D.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.), Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) and Oberlin Conservatory (B.M.). Dr. Jones' is a council member of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s (SEM) council and the co-chair of the Music and Religion section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Additionally, as a performer-scholar, she consults seminaries and arts organizations on curriculum, programming, and content development.

Dr. Jones’ forthcoming book Flaming: The Peculiar Theo-Politics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance breaks ground by analyzing the role of gospel music making in constructing and renegotiating gender identity among black men. Dr. Jones' research interests include musical masculinities, gastromusicology, global pop music, future studies, ecomusicology, music and theology, the music industry, musics of the African diaspora and emerging research on music and future foodways in conjunction with The Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley, CA.

In spring 2016, she received a College of Arts and Humanities Institute (CAHI) grant to expand upon research on music of the African diaspora to the Pacific islands, focusing on Pacific African Americans' musical responses to the #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName movements in the United States territory of Guam. Among her lectureships at schools of music, seminaries, and churches this year, Dr. Jones is slated to train interfaith leaders on the merits of music and wellness at the United Nations.

Among the awards Dr. Jones received this year, she was named an innovator in community organization by the Harvard Divinity School (December 2016); she was inducted into the esteemed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College (March 2017); and the University of Chicago Divinity School recognized her with an award for her contributions to womanist religious research and public engagement (April 2017).

Dr. Jones has received academic acclaim and support for her research with fellowships from Andrew W. Mellon; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality; Martin Marty Center; and the Franke Institute for the Humanities, among others. As a performer-scholar, Dr. Jones has lectured on her research throughout the world at institutions such as Oxford University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Yale University, Hampton Ministers Conference and Musicians Guild, Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, Spelman College, Howard University, Boston University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)

Her writings on African American religious music, gender and sexuality in ethnomusicological research appear in various publications. She has been featured in Liner Notes magazine, The Afro-American newspaper, Black,,, and She is a contributing writer for HEED magazine and

Training theologians and researchers to turn their research and faith into innovative entrepreneurship, Dr. Jones is an inaugural thought-leader for the Forum for Theological Exploration’s entrepreneurship incubator. Dr. Jones has unveiled her award winning Genius For Men Conference (GFM). GFM is a men’s empowerment conference that celebrates community between men and women, male achievement, and transcendence within one’s profession. Also, Dr. Jones has founded Move And Shake Women: Academic Women Connecting in the Journey. With the support of a University of Chicago GSA Innovation Grant Move and Shake focuses on training high achieving women in work-life balance. In addition, Dr. Jones has served on the board of several faith-based and arts focused organizations such as the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) and the Black Gents of Hollywood.

A seasoned cultural ambassador as an emerging operatic soprano, Dr. Jones has also had the distinct honor of performing throughout the world and with many luminaries in events and venues such as Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center Honors and The Washington National Opera at Constitution Hall, the observance of the United Nation’s Day of Peace at Carnegie Hall in New York, The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, The Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and at the Centro Studi Italiani in Urbania, Italy.

Sunday Feature - 5 Bishop Chantel R. Wright is an internationally celebrated choir director and the founder of Pneuma Ministries International. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Bishop Wright started her career as an award-winning choral conductor and received her formal education at Vander Cook College of Music, where she earned her BA degree in Music Education. As part of her undergraduate studies, Bishop Wright had the privilege of studying in London, England, with Ian Pleeth and traveled throughout Europe as a soloist. She started her professional career in Atlanta, Georgia, where she served on the music staff of Ebenezer Baptist Church — home of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – and as an educator in Dekalb County Public Schools. After seven years of service, Bishop Wright relocated to New York City and hit the ground running as the new Director of the Girls’ Choir of Harlem. Bishop Wright lent her talents to working with the youth of Queens, New York, as the Artistic Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra Youth Gospel Choir, an honor bestowed on few women.

Chantel gained valuable experience as an orchestral conductor, which then inspired her to establish her own non-profit organization, Songs of Solomon: An Inspirational Ensemble, Inc. Almost immediately, Songs of Solomon flourished and was soon featured on major television networks and went on to win at competitions often times competing against adults. The Songs of Solomon ensemble also had the privilege of sharing the stage with American Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia Barrino and served for five years at the US Tennis Open. Under Chantel’s leadership, The Songs of Solomon ensemble also performed with award winning recording artist, Elton John at Radio City Music Hall, sang with opera great, Jessye Norman at the Greenbrier Country Club. Jessye Norman was also the curator of the Honor Choral Music Festival conducted by Dr. Craig Jessop at the world famous Carnegie Hall, where today, the Ensemble is a mainstay. The ensemble has worked tirelessly over the past eighteen years under Chantel’s guidance and has garnered national and international acclaim.

Songs of Solomon was the featured chorus for the musical “Violet” on the Tony Awards. Songs of Solomon was selected to be a part of the inaugural Lip Sync Battle with Jimmy Fallon on network television. Having recently completing their recording project, “Variations of the War Cry,” Songs of Solomon is actively engaged across the United States and abroad as ambassadors of love. The Ensemble has been selected to present the work of 22nd Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, I Will Tell You the Truth from her book of poetry, Wade in the Water. The letters that were written by slaves and former slaves will be debuted at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Being totally committed to the spiritual, intellectual and artistic growth of today’s youth, Chantel knows that the only way to shape a generation of spirited, world class musicians is to work in conjunction with the education system. She then went on to establish The Songs of Solomon Academy for the Arts – an organization that directly serves New York City students in leadership, instrumental, vocal music appreciation. Since its inception, the program has given an impressive number of students from the Tri-State area, performance opportunities that rival professional artists around the world. The Academy maintained an artistic partnership with Professional Performing Arts School, the Harlem School of the Arts and now serves students at the elementary school level. As part of Chantel’s love for young people, she has also been actively involved in secured detention centers in the New York area and has continued to work with Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections project for youth in detention centers. For the past four years, Songs of Solomon have been consistently awarded the Neon Arts grant through the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice and Probation. Through “Let’s Burn: Culinary Arts Explosion, Debutante Cotillion and Songwriting Workshops, justice involved youth are equipped with real time experiences that better equip them to move back into the community. Chantel’s Songs of Solomon Academy for the Arts plans to implement The Sounds of Hope Chorale — a trial choral program aimed at fostering an appreciation for music and creating a safe haven for detained youth in secured and unsecured detention centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. The Chorale is poised to roll out the program nationally. Bishop Wright is often times found at the table when conversations are taking place that shape the most viable outcomes for the underserved and justice involved.

Bishop Wright has been sought out as a choral clinician nationally and internationally. For two consecutive years as the choir master for the Harare International Festival of the Arts in South Africa, as well as the Roma Gospel Festival in Rome, Italy. Chantel is a mainstay at the Ithaca Gospel Music Festival and is now presenting the Gospel at colleges and universities in the United States. As an initiative for aspiring artist, the government of the island of Bermuda engaged Chantel to do a series of workshops and a culminating festival. Most recently, Bishop Wright served at the Fede Gospel Festival in Barcelona, Spain.

Chantel is a recipient of the New York Times Teachers Who Matters Most Award, The Ebony Ecumenical Ensemble Community Service Award, and the Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Community Service Award and is a member of the Riverside Club for Education. Recipient of a service award from The Administration for Child Services.

Chantel remains committed to building a literate music community, and also lends her time to the vocal music department of the Steinhardt School of Music at the New York University since 2008. She has recently joined the team at SAG-AFSTRA as the East Coast Sight-Singing Director, and continues her efforts to lift students and music teachers through her work with Metropolitan Opera. Moreover, she serves young people nationally and internationally through the arts organization partnerships, her uncompromised passion to see humanity win.

The highest calling in her life is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a licensed and ordained Bishop, within the Christ Centered Ministries Assembly, she is responsible for Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Utah. Bishop Wright has established Pneuma Ministries, International where peoples’ lives are being changed. She was anointed by the late Kenneth H. Moales Sr. and opened the church and preached her first sermon simultaneously. In addition to her work in Harlem, she is a minister for the nations with the Wednesday night Pentecost Service where worshipers from all over the world converge for a blessing from God. Bishop Wright facilitates Safe Conversations workshops all over the country to enable dialogue that yield solutions to deep conflict. She is a Choral Union president of the Thomas Dorsey National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses where she is on the national board of directors, and can also be found on WLIB as the host of “The Hour of Power.” Bishop Chantel R. Wright resides in New York City.

Day#8 - A two-time Michigan Emmy Award winner, a 2017 Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient, and a 2015 GRAMMY® Award nominee, Eugene Rogers is recognized as a leading conductor and pedagogue throughout the United States and abroad. In addition to being the founding director of EXIGENCE, Dr. Rogers is the director of choirs and an associate professor of conducting at the University of Michigan. Recently, he was named as the fifth Artistic Director of the two-time GRAMMY® Award-Winning Ensemble, The Washington Chorus (Washington, D.C.).

At the University, Rogers leads the graduate choral conducting program, conducts the chamber choir, and administers the program of over eight choral ensembles. His choirs have toured throughout China, South Africa, the United States, and have appeared at national and regional conferences. In December 2017, Musical America named Rogers one of the top 30 “Movers and Shapers” professionals in North America. His past appointments include being the director of the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota), the Boys Choir of Harlem, Waubonsie Valley High School (Aurora, Illinois), and Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choir). In 2016, Rogers’ passion for issues of social justice and music was featured in the award-winning documentary Love, Life and Loss which highlights Joel Thompson’s powerful Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, and in 2013, he co-managed the production of the joint CD Ye Shall Have a Song with the Michigan, Yale, and Harvard Glee Clubs, a collaboration celebrating America’s three oldest collegiate choirs.

In 2015, Mark Foster Publishing began the Eugene Rogers Choral Series, a series featuring emerging composers who specialize in contemporary classical and folk music traditions, and the EXIGENCE Choral Series in 2018 which features folk and contemporary works by Black and Latinx composers. In 2011, Rogers traveled to and studied the choral traditions of East Africa (Tanzania).

Rogers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in choral music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from U-M. He currently serves on the board of Chorus America and is the former national chair of the Diversity Initiatives Committee for the American Choral Directors Association.

Day#9-With a love of music as big as his last name, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu has been sharing joy and a vision for equity and justice through song for over a decade. Through a triumvirate of teaching, conducting, and performing, he has found a way to transform both students and audiences and to reach those seeking resolutions of peace, equality, and respect … through music.

Tesfa Wondemagegnehu serves as the conductor of the Viking Chorus and the Chapel Choir at St. Olaf College. He also served as the guest artistic director of one of North America's Largest LGBTQ+ choirs, Minnesota's One Voice Mixed Chorus. Tesfa maintains an active voice studio and teaches Music & Social Justice with the goal of helping bridge the gap of social injustice through music, dialogue, and inspiring participants to take action in their communities. Wondemagegnehu previously served as the Director of Choral Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis, where he co-founded the Justice Choir movement with noted composer Abbie Betinis. In the summer of 2018, Tesfa served as guest conductor of the children’s choir at the Aspen Music Festival, leading them in a week-long journey on the Justice Choir Songbook. In 2019, Wondemagegnehu was named artist-in-residence for the Harvard University Glee Club where they co-created and executed the truth-telling W.E.B. DuBois Musical Project. And most recently, American Public Media's Julie Amacher and Tesfa collaborated on several nationally-distributed radio programs on Black Music.

Born and raised in Memphis, with an impressive collection of opinions on barbecue, Tesfa learned early on from one of his mentors that “Excellence is never an accident.” And, consequently, he has not left much to chance. Through the love and dedication of music teachers with whom he has studied, and an abundance of grit and determination, Tesfa has risen to be one of the most sought-after conductors and educators in the country and is on the cutting edge of music-related social justice movements throughout the United States.

Tesfa has conducted and given masterclasses, workshops, and clinics both nationally and internationally. In the fall of 2019, he conducted the National Association for Music Education’s national high school honor choir in Orlando, Florida. In 2017 he co-led the American Choral Directors Association’s national high school honor choir, working collaboratively with Eric Whitacre. In June of 2017, he was named the composer-in-residence for Choirs of America at Carnegie Hall, where he had the opportunity to conduct and lift over 600 voices in singing the world premiere of his composition May the Road. Wondemagegnehu made his Severance Hall debut in 2017, co-conducting with Cleveland Orchestra Chorus Master Dr. Lisa Wong a choir comprising high school students from the Cleveland area, and in 2016 he worked with Los Angeles Master Chorale artistic director Grant Gershon, co-conducting their 1,000 student honor choir in the majestic Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Tesfa holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance from the Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performing from the University of Memphis. While teaching high school, Tesfa was named Orange County Public School Teacher of the Year and received the Macy’s National Magic of Teaching Award. This award celebrated an innovative voice program started at Freedom High School in Orlando, where the class participants, who received free voice lessons and vocal coaching, obtained over $3 million in college scholarships from some of the most prestigious music schools in the country.

Tesfa’s time in Minneapolis began as the Assistant Artistic Director of VocalEssence while concurrently serving as the Manager of the Choral Works Initiative and the Choral Stream™ at American Public Media. During his tenure at APM, he was named founding artistic director of The Radio Choir from American Public Media.

Wondemagegnehu is the curator and editor of a new choral series with Hinshaw Music Publications and is celebrated as an accomplished arranger and composer. Many of his compositions have been performed by regional choirs and all-state choirs throughout the country.

Tesfa has been inspired by all of his students throughout his career. His latest prodigy, daughter Aïda Hope, born in 2017, is influencing him daily with new developments, all the while wrapping him around her tiny finger. It is still to be determined whether she will be a world-famous opera singer, a renowned conductor, or the ultimate grill master, but, nevertheless, she will be fierce.

American Public Media’s Vaughn Ormseth has this to say about Tesfa: “He believes choral music transformed his life, saved him, so his passion for it is on a cellular level. He loves the formal tradition of the art form, but plugs his own kind of electricity directly into it. He has a millennial’s impatience with systems.” And so, with music’s undeniable power and potential to save lives, and the impatience to wait for others to make change, Tesfa will continue to transform the world with his vision and determination in education, justice, and joy.

Day#10-Dr. Jeffery Redding currently serves as the Director of Choral Activities at University of Central Florida in Orlando. He and his choirs have earned first place awards at competitions nationally and internationally. One of four conductors for Walt Disney World's Candlelight Processional, he is also the Founder and Artistic & Executive Director of the Orlando Choral Society, Inc., which includes the Garden Community Choir, a professional level chamber choir called Voci del Cuore, and Jubilate, an Outreach Choir. He is also the Worship Arts Director at Tuskawilla First United Methodist Church.

Dr. Redding is invited to conduct and adjudicate on the world's finest stages for choral festivals, competitions, and Masterworks. He has been featured as a guest conductor at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, and Orchestra Hall on numerous occasions. In 2019, he will be the inaugural conductor for the Young Adult Honors Choir at the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Recognized for his achievements from the classroom to the stage and his service to the profession, Dr. Redding was awarded the R. Wayne Hugoboom Distinguished Service Award for “dedicated service, leadership, and excellence” by the Florida Chapter of ACDA (2015) and is a recipient of the GRAMMY Music Educator Award (2019).

Dr. Redding has been an invited lecturer for national conferences, workshops, and was honored to give the prestigious TEDx Talk. His creativity, passion, and lively speaking style keep him in demand for keynote addresses. Using his dissertation research and vast professional experience, he engages and empowers his audience of leaders in "Creating a Motivating and Inspiring Environment."

Day#11-Jason Max Ferdinand is a Full Professor, Chair of the Music Department, and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University where he conducts the Aeolians of Oakwood University. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts degree in piano from the Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland. As a doctoral student, Dr. Ferdinand was privileged to have studied under the heedful eyes of Dr. Edward MaClary who is a protégé of the late Robert Shaw and also studied and collaborated with Helmuth Rilling, Margaret Hillis and Robert Page.

During his time at the university, he served as co-director for the University Choir and was an assistant conductor for the Chamber Singers and the Maryland Chorus. In addition, he taught undergraduate conducting classes. In the summer of 2006, Ferdinand was selected to lead the Summer Choral Festival Program at the University of Maryland. Jim Ross, a former pupil of Kurt Masur and Leonard Bernstein served as his orchestral conducting teacher. The late Dr. Nathan Carter at Morgan State University changed the life of Dr. Ferdinand in a potent way. He served as graduate assistant to Dr. Carter and it was here that a true and clear vision for his life work was formed.

Dr. Ferdinand attained his undergraduate degree in piano performance at Oakwood University. He studied piano with Dr. Wayne Bucknor. Dr. Lloyd Mallory was his choral director and he was afforded the opportunity to serve as student conductor, student accompanist and had his arrangements performed.

Under Dr. Ferdinand’s baton, the Aeolians of Oakwood University have graced stages the world over. Their repertoire of choral music which ranges from the Baroque era to the 21st century has been sought after and performed at venues throughout the USA, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Russia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hungary. Capping off a successful 2011 – 2012 Concert Series which saw the Aeolians visiting Moscow, Russia as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, they made their inaugural entrance at the 7th World Choir Games held in Cincinnati, USA, resulting in the choir earning gold medals in all three categories of entrance and the overall championship for the Spiritual category.

In October 2015, Ferdinand made his debut at Carnegie Hall conducting the Aeolians, the Altino Brothers Concert Chorale and the Beyond Boundaries Symphony Orchestra. Later that month, Ferdinand directed the Aeolians as they accompanied the world acclaimed soprano, Kathleen Battle at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in her, “Underground Railroad: A spiritual Journey” Concert Series. In January 2016, Ferdinand directed the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as they accompanied the Aeolians in a collaborated annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

The summer of 2017 was a highlight in Dr. Ferdinand’s career. Having attended the LLangollen International Musical Festival, in Wales, UK as a doctoral student with the University of Maryland in 2007, he returned as the director of the Aeolians of Oakwood University and won the coveted “2017 Choir of the World” award along with the event’s first ever “Most Outstanding Director” award. In 2018 his choir won three gold medals in the 10th World Choir Games held in South Africa. Additionally, they were the overall champions in both the University Choir and Spiritual categories.

Ferdinand maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator and guest conductor for high schools, collegiate, and church choirs throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. He is a former board member of the Alabama American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). A choral series bearing the name of Jason Max Ferdinand is now in circulation by Walton Music publishers. He continues to actively compose and to mentor up-and-becoming composers. His greatest passion is watching those who he has mentored as conductors and composers, become conductors and composers in their own right.

In February of 2019, his ensemble, the Aeolians of Oakwood University, presented a performance at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) that was dubbed as, “They broke the ACDA”. They wee also selected as the featured choir at the 2019 Conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in College Park, MD.

Day#12-Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Before moving to Omaha, Dr. Fox was Assistant Professor of Choral Conducting and Music Education at Ithaca College in New York. 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.

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, Oakland Symphony 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.

Dr. Fox serves on the National ACDA Diversity Subcommittee, the Missouri Music Educators Association Diversity Council. As an author, he 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/minoritized people. He created the Professional Choral Collective to collect and create learning activities and teaching strategies for choral music educators around the world to use during the 2020 Coronavirus virus Pandemic. He also partnered with the Country Music Association Foundation in the creation of the 2020 Unified Voices for Music Education Initiative.

Day#13 - Dr. Gary Packwood-Recognized as an inspirational and motivational conductor, pedagogue, and lecturer, Gary Packwood has appeared throughout the United States as well as in Brazil, Italy, Malaysia, France, Austria, and The Czech Republic. During the 2017-2018 academic year his engagements included guest conducting in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Dr. Packwood was honored to conduct the 2018 Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir during the Eastern Region American Choral Directors Association conference in Philadelphia. His 2018-2019 conducting schedule includes all-state choirs in Delaware, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Tennessee, and honor choirs in Florida, Texas, and Alabama. Notable guest conducting/teaching appearances include the International Music Festival of Piaui, the Federal University at Uberlandia, thrice for the International Music Festival of Campina Grande, and Professor-in-Residence at the Sultan Idris University at Tanjung Malim, Malaysia.

Dr. Packwood is currently program administrator and director of choral studies at Mississippi State University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, and conducts all four of the University’s choral ensembles. His administrative duties also include serving as the coordinators for music education and graduate music studies. Dr. Packwood has held similar appointments at the University of Montevallo, Louisiana State University, Citrus Cove Elementary, and William T. Dwyer High School.

Dr. Packwood made his Carnegie Hall debut on Easter Sunday in 2012 conducting the Mississippi State University Singers and the New England Chamber Orchestra. The MSU Singers has quickly garnered a stellar reputation, as evident through invitational performances at The White House for the Holidays Open House (2016), three successful European tours (2006, 2014, 2016), Louisiana ACDA State Conference (2013), Southern Region ACDA Conference (2014) and the Mississippi Music Educators Association/MS-ACDA State Conferences (2013, 2014, 2019).

A Lifetime member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Dr. Packwood is currently President of Southern Region of ACDA. He was the President-elect of the Alabama Choral Directors Association, and Repertoire & Standards Chair for Multicultural Music Perspectives for Southern Region. A member of the National Association of Music Educators: Music Educators National Conference Dr. Packwood served as Vice-President of the Higher Education Division for the Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA), and is also a member of the Texas Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Teachers of Singing.

In 2017 Santa Barbara Music Publishing began the Gary Packwood Choral Series, which features compositions that specialize in music for developing and advanced young voices. He also has additional music publications through Dr. Packwood has published articles in the Choral Journal, Teaching Music, the 2nd Edition of the AmeriGrove Dictionary, and is currently working on a project with GIA Publications. He is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Pi Kappa Lambda. Dr. Packwood has given two separate interviews discussing his life and choral music for Mississippi Public Broadcasting Station and has been awarded the Outstanding Music Alumnus from the Department of Music at Southeastern Louisiana University, 2008 Outstanding Faculty from the Dean of College of Fine Arts at the University of Montevallo, and the 2015 Lucinda Rose Teaching Award from the Dean of the College of Education at Mississippi State University. Dr. Packwood earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, the Master of Arts degree from Florida Atlantic University, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting and literature from Louisiana State University.

Day#14-Over the past 20 years, Dr. Anthony Trecek-King has cultivated an international reputation as a choral conductor, scholar, pedagogue, and media personality. He is passionate about cultivating artistically excellent ensembles that explore socially relevant issues through emotionally immersive programs, challenging both artists and audiences to feel and think. Dr. Trecek-King has recently been appointed as both an Associate Professor of Choral Music and Director of Choral Activities at The Hartt School, University of Hartford and a Resident Conductor with the Handel and Haydn Society.

Trecek-King’s performances have been heralded as “moving” and possessing a “surprising range of dynamics and depth of expression.” He enjoys cultivating all levels of vocal and instrumental musicians, from youth through professional, using a collaborative rehearsal style. His skill lies in bridging the gap between high art and humanity, drawing audiences into deeply moving performances through acute shaping, expression, and stagecraft, all without compromising sonic quality.

As a conductor and clinician Trecek-King has worked with a variety of artists and ensembles including Leslie Odom Jr., Melinda Doolittle, Seraphic Fire, Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Simon Halsey, Yo Yo Ma, Roomful of Teeth, Cindy Blackman-Santana and NFL star Patrick Chung. He has led performances in world-renowned venues including Boston Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall in New York City, Royal Albert Hall in London, and the Sydney Opera House. Ensembles under his direction were integral to projects that have won a Pulitzer Prize (Madam White Snake, Zhou Long), received a Grammy (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Boston Modern Orchestra Project), and earned the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Presidential Committee on the Arts (Boston Children’s Chorus).

Trecek-King has earned international recognition working with choirs and orchestras throughout the world, including the University of Cologne Chamber Choir, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, members of the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, the Juvenil Schola Cantorum, the University Simón Bolívar, and Polifonija, a state chorus of Lithuania. He spent a semester in residence at the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany as a guest conductor of both the choir and orchestra. In 2005 and 2006 Mr. Trecek-King was the only American selected to participated in both the Eric Ericson Masterclass (Netherlands), and the Eric Ericson Award, an international conducting competition (Sweden).

In addition to Trecek-King’s conducting work he hosted the choral music radio program “Together in Song” which aired on WCRB classical New England and WQXR radio in New York City and he has presented two talks and performance (2012 & 2014) for TEDx Boston. He is best known as host and coach for the Emmy nominated WGBH television series “Sing That Thing”, which can be watched online.

He holds a B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from the Florida State University, and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the Boston University. He currently lives in the Boston area with his partner Melanie and two cats.

Sunday Feature - 1 (Highlighting Black conductors who have largely been known for their prowess as composers, but who are also quite adept on the podium and bring wonderful experiences to conferences and the like. Call these folks! They will BLESS YOU and your constituents! )

Dr. Brandon A. Boyd is the Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Missouri, where he conducts the MU Glee Club and Concert Chorale. In addition to his conducting duties, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral conducting and choral music education. Boyd appears regularly as a conductor, clinician, composer-in-residence, collaborative pianist, and presenter for All-States, conferences, conventions, collegiate choirs, church choirs, and choral festivals.

As an active composer and arranger, his music is sung regularly by ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. He was recently appointed the editor for Gentry Publications. He is also the curator and editor of the "Brandon A. Boyd Choral Series," a new choral series with Hinshaw Music Publications helping promote exciting and innovative works composed by both established and new composers and arrangers. His music also appears in GIA Publications and Kjos Music Press catalogs.

In 2017, he was invited by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale to serve as Composer-in-Residence and Community Engagement Leader for their program Giving Voice to the Voiceless. The Chorale premiered a work commissioned by the SFDC, I Search, during their 35th Anniversary of the Summer Justice Concert Series, where he served as assistant conductor, pre-concert lecturer, and guest pianist. He set to music a text written by "Poet V," a young participant in the Voces de Libertad program at the Santa Fe County Youth Development Center. His duties also included organizing and conducting the Interfaith Community Shelter Street Choir, thus creating a safe place for men, women, and children experiencing homelessness within the Santa Fe community. Other commissioning partners include the Carnegie Hall's Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs, Southwestern Adventist University, Florida State University/Tallahassee Community Chorus, New Mexico Music Educators Association, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

As a proponent of choral singing to build community, his research interests include organizing choirs for the homeless, identifying the social and physical effects of choral singing on senior citizens, and creating authentic field experiences for music therapy and choral music education students. For three years, Dr. Boyd co-directed three choral community partnerships in Florida: The Tallahassee Senior Choir, RAA Middle School Partnership Choir, (university students and middle school singers), and the MTC Women's Prison Glee Club (university students singing with women housed in a correctional facility).

He holds two degrees from Florida State University (Ph.D. in choral music education and M.M. in choral conducting) and earned a B.S. in music education (emphasis in piano) from Tennessee State University. He is a proud member of the American Choral Directors' Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), American Guild of Organists (AGO), and Chorus America.

Sunday Feature - 2 Dr. Rosephanye Dunn Powell has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music. She has an impressive catalogue of works published by some of the nation’s leading publishers, including the Hal Leonard Corporation, the Fred Bock Music Company/Gentry Publications, Oxford University Press, Alliance Music Publications, and Shawnee. Dr. Powell is commissioned yearly to compose for university choruses, professional, community and church choirs, as well as secondary school choruses. Dr. Powell’s works have been conducted and premiered by nationally-renowned choral conductors, including, but not limited to, Anton Armstrong, Philip Brunelle, Bob Chilcott, Rodney Eichenberger, Tom Hall, Albert McNeil, Tim Seelig, and André Thomas. Her work has been auctioned by Chorus America and her compositions are in great demand at choral festivals around the country, frequently appearing on the regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as Honor Choir festivals. Dr. Powell’s compositions include sacred and secular works for mixed chorus, women’s chorus, men’s chorus, and children’s voices. Dr. Powell serves as Professor of Voice at Auburn University. She holds degrees from The Florida State University (D.M. in vocal performance, University Fellow), Westminster Choir College (M.M. in vocal performance and pedagogy, with distinction), and Alabama State University (B.M.E., summa cum laude). Dr. Powell served on the faculties of Philander Smith College (AR) and Georgia Southern University prior to her arrival at Auburn University in 2001.

Recent commission and premiere highlights include: Love Will Make A Way (SATB) premiered by the Metropolitan Youth Chorale of New York at Lincoln Center, NY; Get Busy (SATB) premiered and conducted by the composer at Carnegie Hall, NY; A Christmas Medley (SATB), commissioned and performed by multi-Grammy award-winning Chanticleer; When I Sing (SSA), commissioned by the American Composers Forum CHORALQUEST series; I Want to Die While You Love Me (SSAA), composed for the ACDA Women’s Choirs Commission Consortium; Gospel Trinity (SATB), commissioned by the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts/Fuller Theological Seminary (CA) and premiered at the Lincoln Center, NY; With What Shall I Come (SATB), composed for the St. Olaf Choir celebration of the 25th anniversary of Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor, and premiered at Carnegie Hall; and The Cry of Jeremiah, a four-movement sacred work for narrator, chorus, organ and orchestra, commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, premiered at the Lincoln Center, NY; Arise Beloved, commissioned by OurSong (Atlanta, GA) one of four works premiered as part of the group’s choral cycle “And Nature Smiled,” performed at the internationally-acclaimed Spivey Hall; Christmas Give, a suite of five songs for SATB and orchestra, composed for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society Christmas CD “Christmas at America’s First Cathedral” released by Gothic Records; and Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit, arranged for The Sofia Chamber Choir “Vassil Arnaudov”- Bulgaria, Southeastern Europe.

An accomplished singer and voice professor, Dr. Powell’s research focuses on the art of the African-American spiritual and voice care concerns for voice professionals (specifically, music educators, choral directors, and choral singers). She travels the country and internationally presenting lectures, song demonstrations, and serving as a workshop clinician, conductor, and adjudicator for solo vocal competitions/auditions, honor choirs, choral workshops and festivals. Recent commitments include Melbourne International Singers Festival (AUS); the New York State School Music Association (Rochester); the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference (Savannah); Middle Tennessee Vocal Association Treble Honor Choir (Nashville); the World Choir Games (Cincinnati, OH); the Italian Feder Gospel Choirs Workshop (Milan, Italy); Alabama Music Educators Association High School Honor Choir (Montgomery); Samford University (Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts) (Birmingham, AL); South Carolina Music Educators Association State Conference (Charleston); AGO National Conference (Nashville, TN); Summer Sing Choral Workshop and Tuning at Tahoe Music Directors Workshop (Lake Tahoe, NV); and Capital Area Music Association (Harrisburg, PA).

As a researcher, Dr. Powell’s recent articles include Keeping the “Choir” in Showchoir published in the American Choral Directors Journal; William Grant Still: His Life and His Songs and The African-American Spiritual: Preparation and Performance Considerations both published in the prestigious NATS Journal of Singing. She served as the editor and wrote the introduction for William Grant Still: An Art Song Collection which is published by William Grant Still Music.

Dr. Powell has received numerous awards including the “Living Legend Award” presented by California State University African Diaspora Sacred Music Festival in Los Angeles. She was listed in the first edition of the international publication Who Is Who in Choral Music. And, she has been included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and Outstanding Young Women in America in recent years. Dr. Powell is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the College Music Society (CMS), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC).

Sunday Feature - 3 A Virginia native, Marques L. A. Garrett (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Glenn Korff School of Music. His responsibilities include conducting the auditioned Chamber Singers and non-auditioned University Chorale (soprano-alto) as well as teaching graduate choral literature and undergraduate conducting. Before earning his PhD in Music Education (Choral Conducting) at Florida State University, he was the Director of Choral Activities at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, he holds an MM from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA from Hampton University.

An active conductor, Dr. Garrett serves as a guest conductor or clinician with school, church, community, and festival/honor choirs throughout the country. In addition to his conducting classes at UNL, he leads conducting workshops at other universities and conferences. His formal conducting studies were with Dr. André J. Thomas, Dr. Carole J. Ott, Dr. Carl G. Harris, Jr., and Mr. Royzell Dillard.

A versatile voice that performs both as a baritone and countertenor, Dr. Garrett has sung with several community, church, and university groups as both a chorister and soloist. He was the baritone soloist for the Germantown Concert Chorus’s performance of Haydn’s Missa in Augustiis. His premiere as a countertenor in Dan Forrest’s Jubilate Deo served as the work’s European premiere in Limerick, Ireland. Additionally, he performed the role of Lil Lud in Bernstein’s White House Cantata with the Tallahassee Community Chorus. Currently, he sings with First-Plymouth Congregational Church (NE) and Festival Singers of Florida.

Dr. Garrett is an avid composer of choral and solo-vocal music whose compositions have been performed to acclaim by high school all-state, collegiate, and professional choirs including Seraphic Fire and the Oakwood University Aeolians. GIA Publications, Walton Music, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Hinshaw Music, G. Schirmer, Beckenhorst Press, and Carus-Verlag have published several of his compositions.

As a researcher, his most advantageous topic is the non-idiomatic choral music of black composers. His lectures at state and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and at other local and national venues afford him the opportunity to showcase this underrepresented area of music.

Dr. Garrett holds membership in the American Choral Directors Association; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; National Collegiate Choral Organization; and Pi Kappa Lambda. With the National Association of Negro Musicians, he currently serves as the national scholarship chair.

Sunday Feature - 4 Dr. Zanaida Stewart Robles is a fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education and performance. Authentic interpersonal connection and relationship-building are core principles of her teaching and performance methods. Born, raised, and educated in Southern California, she is in demand as a vocalist, conductor, clinician and adjudicator for competitions, festivals, and conferences related to choral and solo vocal music. She serves on the national board of the National Association of Negro Musicians and is chair of the board of directors of Tonality, a non-profit organization that promotes peace, unity, and social justice through choral music performance in Los Angeles. Zanaida holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music, a Master of Music degree from CSU Northridge, a Bachelor of Music degree from CSU Long Beach, and she is a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

As a performing arts instructor at Harvard-Westlake Upper School in Studio City, CA, Dr. Robles conducts the Chamber Singers, Jazz Singers, Bel Canto Treble Choir, and Wolverine Chorus for tenors and basses. She is also the director of music at Neighborhood Unitarian

Universalist Church in Pasadena, CA where she oversees the Neighborhood Chorus, Neighborhood Bells, and the new Neighborhood Youth Choir. Dr. Robles served for 5 years as music director for “Project Messiah” with Street Symphony – an organization that engages communities directly affected by homelessness and incarceration in LA County through performances, workshops and teaching artistry. While studying at the University of Southern California (USC), she conducted the USC Thornton University Chorus for two years. Prior to this, she worked at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) for 7 years where she was the director of classical choirs and taught vocal fundamentals, sight singing, and music theory. Under her direction, the LACHSA Classical Choirs performed for numerous festivals, concerts, and special events at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and in other venues throughout Southern California.

As a concert soprano soloist, studio vocalist for film and television, and professional ensemble singer, Dr. Robles has sung throughout the United States, and in parts of Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. Her film, television, and video game credits include “Glee,” “Tinkerbell: Pirate Fairy,” “Godzilla,” “Minions,” “Creed,” Lego Movie,” “Despicable Me 3,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Venom,” “Smallfoot,” “Frozen 2,” “Underwater,” “Mulan,” and “Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War.”

Sunday Feature - 5 Victor C. Johnson, a native of Dallas, Texas, is the School Choral Editor for SING!, the educational publishing division of Choristers Guild. A prolific composer and arranger, he has over 350 choral works, vocal solo books, and keyboard collections currently in print.

Mr. Johnson attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he majored in music education with a concentration in organ. While attending UTA, he served as student conductor of the university’s choral ensembles and opera workshop accompanist. From 2000-2018, he was the choral director at the Ft. Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWAFA). At FWAFA, Victor directed the Academy Singers, Academy Men’s Choir and was Artistic Director of the Singing Girls of Texas and Children’s Choir of Texas.

Victor is in demand as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for music educators and students throughout the United States. He has conducted All-State and Regional Honor choirs in Texas, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Oregon, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Nevada, and Kentucky. His own choirs have performed at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in 2011 and 2014 as well as the American Choral Directors Association- Southwest Division conference in March, 2016.

Victor currently serves as Minister of Worship and Arts at Shiloh Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, a position he has held since 2007.

His professional affiliations include: American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Texas Choral Directors Association, ASCAP, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Inc.

Sunday Feature - 6 Carl W. Haywood, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, is a cum laude graduate of Norfolk State University and a recipient of the Master of Sacred Music (organ) and Master of Music (choral conducting) degrees from Southern Methodist University. Dr. Haywood who also received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California is recognized as a superb choral conductor/organist with superior musical acumen. His matriculation at SMU afforded him opportunities to study composition, arranging, and conducting with Lloyd Pfautsch while also serving as associate conductor-organist for the SMU Chapel under Dr. Robert Anderson and Dr. Pfautsch. It was during this tenure that he composed, arranged, conducted, and sustained the Chapel's tradition for excellence in music. At USC, his principal teachers included Charles Hirt (choral conducting), Halsey Stevens (composition), and Ladd Thomas (organ).

Dr. Haywood, is the former Director of Choral Activities at Norfolk State University, and was a devoted teacher and friend of students and young musicians. As Professor of Music, he was known not only for this thorough, and vigorous teaching style in the areas of conducting, theory, and organ, but for his untiring efforts to inspire all under his voice to reach their fullest potential. Professionally, Dr. Haywood frequently serves as a clinician, adjudicator, guest conductor, and lecturer for schools, colleges, and churches throughout the country.

In Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal published by the Church Publishing Company of the Episcopal Church, Dr. Haywood who served as the Service Music Editor arranged/composed twenty-nine compositions. He is also the leading contributor to Wonder, Love, and Praise (supplement to the Episcopal hymnal.) His latest congregational compositions appear in the new hymnal supplement, Voices Found. Dr. Haywood's music is also included in the following hymnals: This Far By Faith (Lutheran),The Faith We Sing (Methodist), African American Heritage Hymnal (Catholic), Worship In Song (Friends), and Sing the Faith (Presbyterian). Other compositions include anthems, spirituals, arrangements, and the NSU ýAlma Mater.ý

Dr. Haywood is one of the leading church musicians in the field. For twenty-six years he served as organist/choir director at Grace Episcopal Church, Norfolk and has served on the Liturgical Commission for the Diocese of Southern Virginia, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for the Episcopal Church of America and as Director of Music for the Union of Black Episcopalians.

He conducted the I. Sherman Greene Choraleýa semi-professional civic chorus in Norfolk for twenty-six years. A lover of Negro spirituals and masterworks, Professor Haywood has led the Chorale in successful performances of Haydn's Creation, Brahms' Requiem, The Ordering of Moses (Dett), The Lord Nelson Mass (Haydn), Scenes from the Life of a Martyr (Undine Moore), and Messiah (Handel)ýall with orchestra.

Dr. Haywood is a recipient of the Roy E. Woods Outstanding Teacher Award from Norfolk State University and has received commendations from the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia for his cultural contributions to citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has also received awards from the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the NAACP, and the National Association of Negro Musicians for his musical contributions and promotion of the music of African Americans.

Dr. Haywood is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, The American Guild of Organists, The Association of Anglican Musicians, The National Association of Negro Musicians, The Music Educators National Conference, Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda, & the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Sunday Feature - 6 Dr. Mark Butler-composer, conductor, pianist, baritone and music educator. Butler received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from Florida A&M University. He holds a M.M.E degree from Florida State University and a Doctoral degree (DMA), in Choral Conducting from The American Conservatory of Music in Hammond, IND.

Dr. Mark Butler is Director of Choral Activities and Studies at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. He also serves a choral consultant and as an adjudicator for NATS vocal competitions, and conductor for varies Choral Music Festivals & Concerts.

Recently, October 2018 Dr. Butler was selected to present at the Florida ACDA on the topic "Performing the Concert Spiritual and in April of 2018, he served as clinician and Conductor for the Miami / Dade High School Honors Chorus. In the Spring of 2017 Dr. Butler served as choir master for a performance of Verdi's Requiem with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra along with the Florida A&M University Concert Chorale and Tallahassee Community Singers. He has also conducted major works by Handel, Vivaldi and other great composers.

In 2015 Butler was commissioned to serve as Composer in Residence and Vocal Consultant at the Grady Rayam Vocal Competition and Master Class series in Orlando, FL. Dr. Butler has served as Guest Conductor of the AASCA Music Festival in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and as a Conductor at the Florida Music Educators Conference with the FAMU Concert Choir presenting a performance and topic demonstration "Gospel Performance in the Choral Setting".

As a published composer, his compositions have quickly grown to popular fame and are in performance demands at National and International music events such as the American Choral Director's Association, Music Conferences and Festivals. The internationally acclaimed Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem performed his arrangement "Glory Hallelujah to the New Born King" on The Good Morning America Show. Dr. Butler has conducted the Perdido Symphony Orchestra and the FAMU Concert Chorale in a performance of “Handel’s Messiah” as well as other masterworks of great composers.

He is a member of the American Choral Director's Association, Music Educator's National Conference, NATS, American Composer's Forum and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Dr. Butler continues to serve as guest conductor /choral consultant and composer in residence for State and National Choral Events, Church Workshops, and other Musical involvements throughout the United States.

Sunday Feature - 6 Dr. Brandon Waddles, a Detroit native, is no stranger to the city’s rich legacy of vocal music in schools. An alumnus of Renaissance High School, he was a member of the Renaissance High School Varsity Chorus, under the direction of renowned music educator Nina Scott. Waddles credits Scott and the late Dr. Brazeal Dennard as founding influences on his work in choral music. He went on to receive his B.A. in Music from Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) and an M.M. in Voice Performance & Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (Princeton, NJ). Dr. Waddles earned his Ph.D. in Music Education with a Choral Conducting emphasis at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL). Before pursuing his doctorate, he served on the Conducting and Sacred Music faculty at Westminster as conductor of the Westminster Jubilee Singers.

As a composer, conductor, educator and music director, Dr. Waddles enjoys a multifaceted career spanning the musical gamut. His choral compositions and arrangements have been published and performed by choral ensembles around the world, including the Morehouse College and University of Michigan Glee Clubs, Oakwood Aeolians, Westminster Choir, Brigham Young University Singers and the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir. In 2019, he was awarded as the inaugural recipient of the ACDA Diverse Voices Collaborative Grant. For years, Dr. Waddles has worked as a transcriber of Black gospel music for numerous choral octavos, hymnals and hymnal supplements published by GIA, including his recent work as a contributor editor for the One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism hymnal. He recently released Just In Case You’ve Forgotten, the first selected compendium of works by the late Thomas Whitfield, the subject of his dissertation.

Dr. Waddles has worked with a diverse array of artists, most recently serving as music director for Grammy-nominated recording artist Ledisi, collaborating with the celebrated singer on multiple occasions, including her Nina & Me concert series and the LEDISI: THE LEGEND OF LITTLE GIRL BLUE show-run at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

At the heart of Dr. Waddles’s work is his unwavering passion for Black sacred music, instilled within him at a very young age by his father, Alvin Waddles, one of Detroit’s most beloved musicians. His areas of research focus on Negro spirituals, the evolution of contemporary gospel music, and the life and work of Thomas Whitfield.

Day#15 - Maestra D'Walla Simmons-Burke serves as Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Winston-Salem State University (North Carolina). Simmons-Burke is the founder of four of the five choral ensembles currently existing within the Music Department - (Winston-Salem State University Singin’ Divas; Schola Cantorum; Complesso Voce' and the renowned Burke Singers). The Winston-Salem State University Choir (aka Singing Rams) is one of the first student organizations founded at the university. The WSSU Choir has performed with the Gateways Symphony Orchestra; Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra, D'Vorak Symphony Orchestra, Colour of Music Festival Symphony Orchestra and the New England Symphony Orchestra and is well sought after for its performances of master choral works (i.e…Haydn's Creation; Handel's Messiah; Fauré’s Requiem; Rossini’s Stabat Mater; Orff's Carmina Burana; Mozart's Requiem; and Berlioz’s Te Deum), spirituals and world music. Maestra Simmons-Burke has conducted Gabriel Fauré's Requiem with the New England Symphony and Symphony Chorale at Carnegie Hall. She returned to Carnegie Hall to conduct the Winston-Salem State University Choir in a mini concert. Simmons-Burke has also performed internationally with her choral ensembles and as a guest conductor/lecturer in Prague, Czech Republic; Nassau, Bahamas; Accra, Cape Coast & Kumasi, Ghana - West Africa; and Pilanesberg, Cape Town and Johannesburg – South Africa. Maestra Simmons-Burke has conducted The 105 Voices of History Concert Choir as a National Conductor at The John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center and in Nassau, Bahamas. She is a recipient of the 105 Voices of History Kennedy Center Performing Arts Award. During her time with the 105 Voices of History, Simmons-Burke was the National Choral Coordinator and one of three conductors who lead the 105 Voices of History Concert Choir in their inaugural performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

Maestra Simmons-Burke's choirs have recorded and produced nine compact disks (In Silent Night; Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing; I Wanna Be Ready; Hold Fast To Dreams; Pieces of A Dream; Joy To the World; 20th Anniversary Celebration In Honor of D'Walla Simmons-Burke; My God is a Rock; The Gift of Peace). She has also produced three DVDs – Collaborative DVD with Singin' Black and White (Shout Hallelujah!: A New South Gospel Christmas); From Racism to Grace+ism and Stony The Road We Trod: Lifting Every Voice…Celebrating the Music of Roland M. Carter.

Under Simmons-Burke's baton, her choral ensembles have performed for and/or with such regional and national and international dignitaries as President George W. Bush; Kweisi Mfume; Susan Taylor; former North Carolina Governor James Hunt; Maya Angelou; Dick Gregory; Patti Austin; Harry Belafonté; Madame President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Pope John Paul II, to name a few. Her exceptional and diverse vocal and choral pedagogies are continuously demonstrated through the outstanding students she has produced. As a result, Simmons-Burke has been the recipient of several teaching awards such as the Winston-Salem State University Patterson Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, Winston-Salem State University Cedric Rodney Service Award and The John F. Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts 105 Voices of History National Conductor's Award. Formally, the Recording Academy, in partnership with the GRAMMY Foundation nominated Simmons-Burke for the Grammy's Music Educator of the Year Award. Simmons-Burke has also been the recipient of many community service and performance awards for her achievements in music.

Maestra Simmons-Burke is listed in Outstanding Young Women of America and has held memberships in many other organizations such as the Music Educators National Conference; the American Choral Directors Association; the National Association of African American Studies; the National Association for the Study and Performance of African-American Music; National Association of Negro Musicians; The Intercollegiate Musicians Association; the National Associations for African American, Asian, Hispanic, and Latino Studies; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Moles, and The Links, Inc.

Simmons-Burke has performed leading roles as a soprano in operas, such as Lost in the Stars; LaTraviata; Amahl and the Night Visitors; The Telephone; and The Old Maid and the Thief. She has also made numerous guest appearances as a conductor and adjudicator for high school and middle school All-State/All-County festivals, collegiate choral festivals and workshops. She is often sought after as a sacred music, social justice and multicultural music clinician/lecturer and soprano.

Day#16Dr. Jan Taylor, educator, pianist, singer and choral conductor, is Director of Choral Music Activities at Prairie View A&M University. A native of Houston, Texas, she received the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Houston, the Master of Arts degree from Prairie View A&M University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Houston.Prior to her appointment at Prairie View, Taylor taught general music, piano, and trained choirs in elementary, middle, and high schools in the Houston Independent School District. She has served as adjudicator and choral clinician for numerous choral competitions, festivals, and regional choirs across the state of Texas. As an authority on the African-American spiritual, Taylor frequently lectures on the performance practices and preservation of the genre.

She is the founding director of Intermezzo, a professional vocal chamber ensemble, and has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a singer with such premier professional choral ensembles as the Houston Chamber Choir and the Houston Chorale. As Assistant Conductor of the Houston Symphony Chorus from 2003 until 2006, she assisted in preparing the chorus for world-class conductors in performances of such choral-orchestral works as Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, the Verdi Requiem,and Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish Symphony. She has prepared choruses and collaborated with such renowned conductors and composers as Barbara Baker, Roland Carter, Nathan Carter, Moses Hogan, and Adolphus Hailstork. For the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, she coaches and accompanies singers, and conducts the Guild’s Chorus in performances of spirituals, African-American concert music, and operatic works. Dr. Taylor has conducted the “105 Voices of History” HBCU National Choir in performances at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN, the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Under Dr. Taylor’s direction, the Prairie View A&M University Concert Chorale and PV Chamber Singers have performed to critical acclaim throughout the United States and abroad, including performances at the Texas Music Educators Association convention, and the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans, a prestigious music festival for choirs and orchestras in Poland. Her choirs have performed with the Houston Symphony, the Acadian Symphony, and have collaborated with several professional and community choruses in the Greater Houston area.

Taylor is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Chorus, and holds memberships in the Texas Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women.

Day#17Dr. Merrin Guice Gill is the Director of Choral Activities at Bethel University. Dr. Guice Gill directs the Bethel Choir and Chamber Singers. She also teaches private voice. Dr. Guice Gill has previously taught on the campuses of Buena Vista University, The University of Wisconsin, and Miami University Ohio, Hamilton Campus. Her choral work has led her to conduct throughout the United States as well as in Canada and Europe. She was selected as one of ten International Conductors to participate in the Sarteano, Italy Choral Conducting Workshop with Simon Carrington and Brian O'Connell where she directed a choir of professionals. Along with choral work Dr. Guice Gill has significant experience conducting orchestras. She was the assistant conductor for the Agnes Scott Community Orchestra in Georgia, worked as a conductor with the Stoughton Opera Company in Wisconsin, and was awarded a young artist award for Conducting by the Madison Symphony Orchestra, which she subsequently led in performance.

Dr. Guice Gill's ensembles are given a vast array of valuable experiences. Her university choirs have toured throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. They have worked with composers Morten Lauridsen and Stacey Gibbs at College Honor Choir presentations. She has led her choirs in receiving National and International awards and recognitions, including: first and second place prizes in the "Riva Del Garda International Choral Competition", Silver Medal at the "World Choir Games" and as finalists in the "American Prize for Choral Performance". Dr. Guice Gill has conducted at the Liechtenstein Palace in Prague, various venues in Italy, The Arnoff Center in Cincinnati, and her choir has performed under. Guice Gill's direction at Carnegie Hall in New York. She is a frequent guest clinician at high schools and colleges for both voice and choral studies.

Dr. Guice Gill's scholarship, which focuses on 20th century text setting, has been presented at both regional and National Conferences and published in various journals including the National Collegiate Choral Organizations publication, The Choral Scholar. She was the recipient of the Rockefeller Brothers Education Grant and Curriculum Award and several other grants in education and research.

As a trained soprano Dr. Guice Gill has performed with several opera companies and in a variety of venues including: Cincinnati Opera, "Mostly Mozart Festival" at Lincoln Center, Madison Overture Center and most recently as a soloist for a debut concert for composer Stacey Gibbs at Carnegie Hall. Dr. Guice Gill frequently performs lecture recitals and maintains a successful vocal studio. Dr. Guice Gill's students have gone on to acceptance at selective graduate programs for voice, conducting and directing including University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign, Arizona State, and University of Texas Austin and James Madison University.

Dr. Guice Gill is a member of American Choral Director Association, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Phi Beta Kappa International Honor Society, and National Collegiate Choral Organization, in which she is a National Board Member.

Day#18Dr. Lynnel Joy Jenkins is Artistic Director of the Westrick Music Academy and choral teacher at the Timberlane Middle School of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District in Pennington, New Jersey. Dr. Jenkins’ varied conducting and teaching experience ranges from the elementary to collegiate level. Previous to these appointments, she served as Assistant Professor of Music Education at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Conductor of the Resident Training Choir at the American Boychoir in Princeton, New Jersey. She has also served as Associate Music Director of the Temple University Children’s Choir in Temple University’s Music Preparatory Division and music specialist at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

Jenkins is a choral music educator of international stature, having lectured and conducted in China, Hong Kong, Iceland, South Africa and Switzerland. She has conducted honor choruses for one national, four divisional and several state conferences for the American Choral Directors Association, two national conferences for the Organization for American Kodály Teachers, numerous all-state choruses and choral festivals, and presented interest sessions and reading sessions for these professional music associations.

She has developed and implemented choral programs inspired by the pedagogy and philosophy of Kodály. Her approach to choral pedagogy is shared in a chapter she wrote for the “School Choral Program: Philosophy, Planning, Organizing, and Teaching” published by GIA. Jenkins has served on the teaching staff for Kodály Certification Programs at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas and Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

Jenkins was inducted into the Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame and presented the Alumni Merit Award by Westminster Choir College for her contributions to the field of music education. She earned degrees from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (B.M.), Temple University (M.M.) and University of Arizona (D.M.A.), and at the first two institutions was awarded the Elaine Brown Conducting Award. She holds a certificate in Kodály pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and level two Orff-Schulwerk certification.

Day#19Dr. Melissa Morgan is the Assistant Professor of Choral Music in the department of Media, Arts, and Performance at the University of Regina. Her responsibilities include conducting the auditioned, Chamber Singers, and the non-auditioned Concert Choir in addition to teaching courses in vocal diction and choral conducting.

An active conductor, she is frequently asked to serve as a clinician, adjudicator, and guest conductor with high school, children’s choirs, and church choirs throughout Canada. Previous to her appointment at the University of Regina, Dr. Morgan was the Pfeifer Memorial Chair of Music at Luther College High School and the founder and artistic director of the former community ensemble, Prairie Chamber Choir.

As a researcher and scholar, Dr. Morgan has contributed articles to Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, Vol. 5. She is also published in the Canadian Music Educators Journal, and the American Choral Directors Association monthly publication, Choral Journal. She has done significant work to promote choral art music by Prairie composers. Her recording, Wake the Grain: Choral Art Music from the Prairies, which was created to celebrate and honour composers from the Prairie region with a hope to encourage and support new Canadian music, can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.

In October 2017, Dr. Morgan was named as one of CBC Saskatchewan's Future 40 under 40 recipients. Her choirs have won numerous awards including, receiving second place in the Choral Canada National Competition for Amateur Choirs, chamber choir category. On several occasions, she has prepared choirs to perform with the Regina Symphony Orchestra. In addition, her choirs have received invitations to perform on the stage of Lincoln Centre, and at events including, the Association of Canadian Choral Communities, Podium Conferences, and several provincial and national music festivals and ceremonies.

Originally, from Regina, Saskatchewan, Dr. Morgan holds a Doctorate of Music Performance in Choral Conducting from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music Performance in Choral Conducting from the University of Western Ontario, a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Regina. She is also an Associate of the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT) in piano, voice, and flute.

Day#20 - Dr. Kellori Dower is the Dean of Fine and Performing Arts at Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California. She was the director of two award-winning high school choral music programs prior to serving as Director of Choral Activities at the collegiate level. Past appointments have also included High School Principal, Asst. Principal and District Arts Administrator positions.

She was the 2016 recipient of the Outstanding Music Educator Award for the California Music Educators Association Southeastern section. Artistically, she has written several published choral works including performances of her work with the San Diego Symphony. Her most recent choral publication, Spiritual Songs, was published by Hal Leonard in the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Series. Her choral ensembles have performed in some of the most distinguished venues in the country, including Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall and New York’s Lincoln Center.

Dr. Dower is an active choral adjudicator and clinician has conducted All-State and regional High School Honor ensembles across the U.S. She is a National board member and presenter for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) and is a member of the California Arts Council grant review committee. Her work and research regarding culture and music lead to the creation of collegiate courses in Rap and Hip Hop, Gospel Music and African-American folk compositions.

She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a former mellophone player and drummer in the Marching Storm Band at Prairie View A & M University.

Day#21Dr. Felicia Barber is the Director of Choral Activities at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA, where she conducts the University Chorus, Chamber Chorale and teaches courses in conducting and choral methods. Dr. Barber's research interests include choral teaching strategies, repertoire selection, diversity initiatives, as well as the performance practice of African American Spirituals. Her research has led to presentations across the United States and Canada.

She often serves as a clinician for high school and community ensembles, as well as presents professional development to choral music educators in Massachusetts & and throughout the northeast. Dr. Barber has presented at regional and state conferences, as well as a presentation at the Phenomenon of Singing, an International Conference held in Newfoundland, Canada. With additional presentations at the Massachusetts Music Educators Conference, Florida Music Educators Conference, Eastern Division ACDA Conference, Massachusetts Summer ACDA Conference, Connecticut ACDA, and the Westfield University Summer Institute for Music Educators. Dr. Barber is a member of National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) currently serving as the Higher Ed Representative for the state of Massachusetts. Also, she is an active member of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA); serving on the National Diversity Committee, as well as the Eastern Division & Massachusetts boards.

Dr. Barber holds a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Oral Roberts University, an M.M. in Music Education from Mansfield University, and a Ph.D. in Choral Music Education and Choral Conducting from The Florida State University.

Sunday Feature - 1 (Highlighting Black conductors who are teaching in our public and private Middle, Jr. High, and High Schools who are doing phenomenal work. These K-12 music educators have had choirs perform at state, regional, and national conferences, and are truly making waves in the field. Call them for your honor choirs. They WILL NOT disappoint!)

Larry Dunn is currently in his 14th year of teaching in the Magnolia Public School District, where he directs the Magnolia High School Chamber Choir, Bel Canto and Concert Men. In addition, he serves as chair of the district’s strategic planning committee & Director of Performing Arts. Larry holds a Bachelors of Music Education (2007), Masters of Education (2010) and has completed additional coursework required for certification in Educational Administration & Supervision from Southern Arkansas University—Magnolia. Magnolia’s students have consistently earned placement in Arkansas’ All-Region & All-State honor choruses. Choral ensembles under Dunn’s direction have consistently earned superior ratings at regional, state, invitational and national choral performance assessments. Most notable, the Magnolia High School Chamber Choir were featured performers at Carnegie Hall in 2019. Dunn has adjudicated choirs in Arkansas & Louisiana and has served as a clinician across Arkansas. He was named Region III Choral Director of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018) and the Arkansas Choral Director’s Association Distinguished Director Award recipient (2015). Dunn has been named Magnolia Junior High Teacher of the Year, Magnolia School District Teacher of the Year, regional finalist for Arkansas State Teacher of the Year, Southern Arkansas University Distinguished Young Alumnus and Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year. He currently serves as President-Elect for the Arkansas Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association.

Sunday Feature - 2 Dr. William George-Twyman currently serves as the Head of Choral Studies at the world-renowned Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas ISD. He teaches Varsity Chorale, 910 Choir, Meistersingers, and Music Theory, as well as being the Assistant Music Conservatory Director over curriculum and instruction. William has led choirs at the middle and high school levels as well as stints at the collegiate, semiprofessional, and liturgical levels. He has served as pit conductor for numerous musical theater productions including “Coram Boy” in partnership with the University of Oklahoma where he also completed his Doctor of Musical Arts. Dr. George-Twyman was the recipient of the Outstanding Choral Leadership Award in 2016 from the University of Oklahoma. He holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Butler University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Transylvania University. A fierce advocate for racial equity in music education, Dr. George-Twyman recently presented a session on Anti-Racism in the Choral Classroom for Dallas ISD choir directors and was a featured presenter at SWACDA virtual conference in 2020. He’s the current (2020-2022) Repertoire and Resources chair for High School Mixed for SWACDA, and serves on the ACDA National Diversity Initiatives Committee Task Force.

Sunday Feature - 3 Jesse Cannon II began teaching in 2011 and is currently the Director of Choral Activities/Secondary Choral Coordinator at Duncanville High School. Mr. Cannon holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Dallas Baptist University and a Masters in Music Education with an Emphasis in Choral Conducting from Mississippi State University.

He has served in various capacities in Region 20, most recently as Vocal Chair and President, and has been a member of several TMEA committees. He has also served as the Southwest ACDA Repertoire & Resources Chair for High School Mixed Choirs. He has been the recipient of several grants and scholarships for study and arts advocacy initiatives.

Under his direction, choirs have consistently earned superior ratings at regional and state contests, have been named Overall Outstanding and Grand Champion in choral competitions throughout Texas, and have rapidly expanded in enrollment to become one of the largest choral programs in the area. The Duncanville A Cappella Men’s Choir was invited to perform at the American Choral Director’s Association 2021 National Conference.

He is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.

Sunday Feature - 4 David A. Richardson is a respected choral conductor, educator, singer, and keyboardist in the Charleston Tri-County area. The 2020-2021 school year will mark Mr. Richardson's 12th year in Dorchester School District Two as Director of Choral Activities at Summerville High School. He taught in the Berkeley County School District as a band director prior to his tenure in DD2. Before becoming Director of Choral Activities at Summerville High School, he was Director of Choral Activities at Rollings Middle School of the Arts and Fort Dorchester High School. His choirs at both Rollings and Fort Dorchester earned consistent superior ratings at festivals and adjudicated events and Festivals. Mr. Richardson’s passion for Choral Music Education reaches beyond the public school classroom as Adjunct Professor of Music Education at The College of Charleston where he teaches courses in Elementary Music Methods, Secondary Music Methods and Choral Literature.

Mr. Richardson currently serves as Minister of Music at Providence Church on Daniel Island, where he oversees the Music Ministry and ensembles. He served as music director and resident conductor of the Charleston Gospel Choir and Spiritual Ensemble for 5 seasons where he lead performances honoring The Spiritual, Black Gospel Music and other sacred works with orchestra. Mr. Richardson was the inaugural chorusmaster and conductor of The Color of Music performance of Mozart’s Requiem in 2012 with The Color of Music Festival Orchestra.

As choral clinician and guest conductor, Mr. Richardson has conducted numerous county choirs at all levels throughout the Carolinas. Mr. Richardson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education with a major in Voice from Charleston Southern University and the Master of Music degree with a concentration in Music Education from Kent State University. Accomplishments include: Charleston Southern University Alumni of the Year, South Carolina Music Educators Association Young Music Educator of the Year, and 2016 Dorchester School District Two Honor Teacher of the Year. Mr. Richardson is currently President Elect of The South Carolina Music Educators Association division of Choral Music.

Sunday Feature - 5 Dr. Edryn J. Coleman currently serves as choral director at Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, MD. There he teaches Chamber Choir, Vocal Ensemble, Concert Choir, and Piano. Edryn has taught music successfully at every level - elementary, middle, collegiate, and now high school. It was always a personal and professional goal of his to teach students at each academic level before retirement. During his time in middle school his choirs from Hyattsville Middle (Prince Georges Country, MD) performed for the Maryland Music Educators Association State conference. During his collegiate teaching, his choir at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania auditioned and was selected to perform for the state ACDA Fall Conference. With a plethora of guest conducting, judging, and conference presentations to date, Dr. Coleman is looking forward to presenting a session at the upcoming National ACDA conference for the second time!

Dr. Coleman currently serves as the President Elect for the Maryland Choral Educators Association and the Encompassing Genres Repertoire and Resource Choir for the Maryland/DC ACDA Chapter. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, he holds a BA in voice from Stillman College, an MME from Florida State University, and his DMA from the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music at Shenandoah University. Dr Coleman lives by the motto “They’ll never care how much you know until they know how much you care!”

Sunday Feature - 6 Christopher T. Leysath is Director of Choirs at North Augusta High School, where he leads three choral ensembles and teaches AP Music Theory and Class Piano. Mr. Leysath holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees, as well as the Performance Certificate in piano from the University of South Carolina.

Under his leadership, the North Augusta Choirs have consistently earned superior ratings at adjudicated festivals and assessments and enjoy an evergrowing presence in South Carolina All-State Choruses and ACDA Honor Choirs. Mr. Leysath has served as clinician and conductor for honor choirs at the elementary, middle and high school levels throughout South Carolina and Georgia. For two seasons Mr. Leysath was artistic director of Bound to Sing, a pre-adolescent boychoir based in Aiken, SC. An experienced church musician, Mr. Leysath has served churches throughout South Carolina and Georgia, and currently serves as Choirmaster and Organist at Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta. As collaborative pianist Mr. Leysath has taken part in performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and numerous ACDA conventions. He presently serves as collaborative pianist for the Columbia-based chamber ensemble, Limited Time Only (LTO). Mr. Leysath’s research interests include the shape-note and “lined-hymn” traditions, the use of traditional Negro dialects in the concert spiritual, and continuing education for choral directors. Service-learning and research opportunities have taken him to the Caribbean, South Africa, and have led to presentations for the SC Music Educators Association as well as SCACDA. An advocate for music education, Mr. Leysath serves as Repertoire-Specific Committees Coordinator for SCACDA, Multicultural Committee Chair for the South Carolina Music Educators Association, and as a member of the South Carolina All-State Chorus Committee.

Sunday Feature - 7 Kristin Claiborne, a Valparaiso, Indiana native, is in her ninth year as choral director at Blythewood High School in Blythewood, South Carolina. She directs four levels of choir & the acaBengals, the area’s premier pop/jazz a cappella group, while also serving as the lead teacher for secondary choral directors in Richland School District Two. Each year, her choirs consistently earn a superior with distinction rating in choral performance assessments, & her students earn spots in the South Carolina All-State Choir & ACDA state, regional, & national honor choirs. Her choirs have traveled both domestically & internationally, including tours in Italy, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, & Orlando. In 2019, the BHS Concert Choir was selected to perform at the 2019 South Carolina Music Educators Conference. Ms. Claiborne has served as a guest clinician in various settings, most recently including Lexington School District One & Richland School District One, as well as in the midwest for Valparaiso Community Schools. She has also served as a guest lecturer for music education courses at the University of South Carolina.

Ms. Claiborne has a passion for supervising and mentoring preservice & induction level teachers. In addition to coaching music education interns, she serves as a mentor for elementary & secondary, induction-level teachers through the UofSC’s College of Education. Similarly, she is a supervising teacher for ChorTransform, a choral initiative focused on preservice teacher development beyond the podium. In July 2019, Ms. Claiborne had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan with LTO, where they toured & taught as faculty members for the “Voice of the Light” music workshops. She has had other opportunities to teach overseas, including her work as a guest faculty member with the International Partnership for Choral Music Education (ICPME), where she assists in the creation & facilitation of workshops in music literacy, conducting, & vocal pedagogy in South Africa.

As a performer, Ms. Claiborne is a member of Limited Time Only (LTO), a semi-professional, Columbia-based chamber choir. In April 2019, she performed as the featured soprano soloist at Lincoln Center in New York City for Will Todd’s world-renowned jazz work, “Mass in Blue.” Locally, she has portrayed Deena Jones in Trustus Theatre’s 2015 production of “Dreamgirls.” She can often be found performing jazz & broadway standards with friends around the Columbia area.

Ms. Claiborne holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education with an Emphasis in Choral Studies and a Master of Educational Administration, both from the University of South Carolina. She began doctoral work in January 2018 and is currently in the dissertation writing process as a candidate for an education doctorate in teacher leadership from Concordia University Chicago. Over the span of her young career, Ms. Claiborne has had the chance to work in many leadership roles in a number of professional organizations. She has been most active in the Southern Region of the American Choral Directors Association, having served as the registration chair for the past four Southern Region conferences. She has also previously served as the membership chair for the Southern Region ACDA.

Aside from choral directing & performing, Ms. Claiborne currently serves as the Interim Head Coach for the Blythewood High School 5A boys basketball program, making her the first female head coach of a boys program in the history of South Carolina high school basketball. Lastly, Ms. Claiborne is a proud, active member of the Richland County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Day#22Dr. Jabarie Glass is an assistant professor of music and the associate director of choral studies in the School of Music at the University of South Carolina. At UofSC, he conducts two choral ensembles, University Chorus and Women’s Chorus, and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting and music education. His varied conducting experiences have included working with university, secondary, community youth, festival, and church ensembles.

Glass is a champion of the music of Black American composers past and present. In collaboration with African American song literature scholar Louise Toppin, he conducted an all-student cast and orchestra in the 2019 University of Michigan premiere of William Grant Still's opera, Highway 1, USA. Most recently, he conducted Jeffrey Scott's A Pioneer's Opus, a chamber work commissioned by the UofSC woodwind faculty to commemorate Richard T. Greener's legacy as the University's first Black professor and the first Black graduate of Harvard College.

Glass's scholarship focuses on conducting pedagogy, choral pedagogy, and music literacy. He has given guest lectures and presentations on these topics with university choral programs, at professional development workshops, and at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. His article on the intersection of literature selection and choral pedagogy was recently published in the February 2021 issue of the Choral Journal.

For nine years, Glass was the director of choirs at Southaven High School and Southaven Middle School. During his tenure, the Southaven High School Chamber Singers received numerous awards and honors, most notably giving invitational performances at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference and the Mississippi-ACDA State Conference. He was also the founding conductor of CoroFuente, the tenor-bass chorus of CoroRio, a community youth and adult choral organization for which he currently serves on the board of directors. As a proponent for access to quality musical education, Glass is passionate about sharing the knowledge gained from these experiences with current and future choral practitioners. Furthermore, he continues to invest in the musical growth of young choral musicians through clinics with secondary choral programs and conducting honor choruses.

A native Mississippian, Glass earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Mississippi. There he was named the Department of Music's Undergraduate Choral Music Education Student of the Year. In the same year, he was inducted into the University's Student Hall of Fame, a university-wide honor bestowed upon only ten seniors annually based on leadership, scholarship, service, and potential for success after graduation. Glass went on to earn a master's degree in music education from the Florida State University College of Music. He earned a doctoral degree in conducting from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. At Michigan, he studied conducting with Jerry Blackstone, Eugene Rogers, and Michael Haithcock and voice with George Shirley. He pursued additional conducting studies as a conducting fellow with the Chorus America Conducting Academy and the Yale-Norfolk Chamber Music Festival Choral Conducting Workshop.

Day#23 – Southern California native, Dr. Rayvon T. J. Moore, is a conductor, baritone, and educator. He has been lauded for his expertise on conducting gesture, concert programming, and musical interpretation. Moore serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Friends University. At Friends, Moore oversees the choral program which consists of four choirs and conducts the internationally renowned Singing Quakers. He also teaches courses in conducting, choral pedagogy, and applied voice.

Along with his work at Friends, Moore also serves as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Wichita Chamber Chorale and the Director of Music Ministries at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Graduate Equity Fellowship at California State University, Fullerton, the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation's Foncannon Choral Conducting Grant, and the Elliot and Kathleen Alexander Memorial Scholarship from Pacific Chorale for excellence in choral conducting. Moore has participated as a conducting fellow in several workshops including Chorus America’s Conducting Academy, the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s Conducting Fellowship program, the University of Michigan’s Choral Conducting Symposium and others.

Being a versatile performer, he has sung back up for The Rolling Stones, Barry Manilow, Patti Austin, Andrea Bocelli, Kathleen Battle and Deborah Voigt. Moore can be heard on the album “John Williams & Steven Spielberg: The Ultimate Collection” recorded with Sony Classical singing with the University Singers of CSUF. He has sung under the baton of Helmuth Rilling, John Williams, Jeffery Kahane, Carl St. Clair, James Conlon, Grant Gershon, Marvin Hamlisch and others. As a conductor and soloist, he has premiered works by composers such as Gwyneth Walker, Christopher Tin, Stacey V. Gibbs, Seth Houston and many more.

Rayvon is sought after as a guest conductor, clinician, speaker, and adjudicator. He has been invited for residences teaching conducting masterclasses and giving lectures on translating the score and talks on his personal journey as a black conductor. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Choral Music from the University of Southern California, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from California State University, Fullerton, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music. He is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and National Association for Music Education.

Day#24Dr. Christopher Harris, native of Fort Worth, Texas, is a music educator, conductor, performer, and choral composer. In August 2017, Harris joined the faculty at Arkansas Tech University as the Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music. He conducts the ATU Choral Artists, University Singers, and University Men’s and Women’s Choruses, and teaches courses in Choral Methods, Special Methods in Music, Choral Conducting, and Choral Arranging. He received his PhD in Choral Music Education from Florida State University, his Master’s in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College, and his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Texas Southern University. Prior to entering graduate school, Harris enjoyed several years of successful public school teaching in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Harris is quite active as a clinician, adjudicator, and presenter, having presented numerous sessions at state conventions including Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Georgia, and at the 2020 Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conference. His compositions have been performed internationally by mixed, tenor/bass, and treble choirs of varied ages and abilities. Most recently Harris was honored through the selection of his music for performance by the 2018 Texas All-State Mixed Choir, the 2018 Southwest American Choral Directors Association Men’s Honor Choir, the 2018 Arkansas Intercollegiate Choir, and the 2019 Arkansas All-State Mixed Choir and New York All-State Mixed Choir.

ATU Choirs under the direction of Christopher Harris have received high honors and recognition. The ATU Choral Artists performed with Arkansas Baroque Music, Inc. in October 2019, as an invited choir at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference in November 2019, as the invited collegiate honor choir at the Arkansas All-State Music Conference in February 2020, and as a demonstration choir at the Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conference in March 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Singers debut performance at Carnegie Hall has been postponed from May 2020 to sometime during 2022 and 2024, tentatively.

Day#25 - Dr. Phillip Shoultz-Known for fostering community and inspiring action among people of all ages and abilities, G. Phillip Shoultz, III, enjoys a multifaceted career as conductor, educator, singer, and speaker. Phillip is the associate conductor and director of learning and engagement of VocalEssence where his most visible impact is seen through his visionary leadership as founding conductor of the VocalEssence Singers Of This Age and through his engaging Take 5 with GPS daily livestream and series of instructional videos.

Phillip serves Westwood Lutheran Church as Cantor for Music, Worship, and the Arts. He is the principal Host for Young People’s Concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra and frequently appears throughout the U.S. as a guest clinician, adjudicator, and consultant.

Expanding boundaries and creating wider access to the choral arts is one of Phillip’s passions. Each year, he serves as mentor to educators through classroom visits and as an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Music Education program at the University of St. Thomas. Additional post secondary teaching experiences include work at the University of Minnesota, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia while he completed his studies.

The winner of the 2015 American Choral Directors Association Graduate Student Conducting Competition, Phillip appeared as a Conducting Fellow with the Oregon Bach Festival, Chorus America, Choral Music Experience Institute and several other summer programs. He has prepared choirs for performances in Canada, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, and Russia. In 2017, he was named as an ACDA International Conductors’ Exchange Program Participant.

His service as a public school educator in Georgia garnered multiple Teacher of the Year honors. While there, he also served as Artistic Director to an adult community choir (Gwinnett Choral Guild) and a youth organization (Atlanta Institute for Musicianship and Singing), founding director of the Georgia Young Men’s Ensemble, a part of the Grammy Award–winning Gwinnett Young Singers, and the Assistant Director for the professional chamber choir, Coro Vocati.

Phillip enjoys biking, boxing, and all things related to sports and food. A proud Board member of the VoiceCare Network, Phillip believes every person can experience great joy through singing and passionately encourages exploration of body, mind, and voice through corporate singing experiences. Phillip lives in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with his wife, Michelle, son, Malachi, and daughter, Lydia.

Day#26 - Dr. Reginald Houze is driven as a conductor to do and not just to preside. His early access to music melded with life’s work has formed in him an arsenal of experience and largesse from which to call upon when at the podium. Whether working with orchestras, choruses, or both, the music he elicits is intuitive and expressive, charismatic and precise. He is at ease interpreting a repertoire of eclectic styles and genres that include the wide range of orchestral standards, operas and oratorios, works for chamber winds and the modern wind ensemble, jazz, and full-scale musical theater productions.

As a young boy growing up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he received the gift of piano lessons from his mother and a love of live performance from his grandmother. With her he attended regular symphonic performances and devoured every public television and radio broadcast of the Boston Pops, New York Philharmonic, and Metropolitan Opera that he could.

Those early encounters created a lifelong passion and calling, which Houze answered at a young age. He founded and conducted the Hattiesburg Junior Pops Orchestra while still only a student. Funded by the city, the ensemble gave youth from a tri-county area access to an unparalleled opportunity for artistic exposure and expression. He also conducted orchestras made up of professional musicians for local theater productions.

In 1995, Houze shared the stage with and received early encouragement from Emmy Award-winning conductor Ian Fraser at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC, for Disney’s American Teacher Awards. Later, Houze would also be recognized by The American Prize for excellence in the arts in Conducting.

Houze moved on to earn bachelor and master’s degrees in music from Southern Mississippi and New York University. He earned his doctorate in conducting from the University of South Carolina, with additional study in conducting with Maestro Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, as well as conducting study at the Eastman School of Music, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Hartt School of Music. Houze’s education and experience prepared him for time spent on conducting faculties at Clemson, Southern Mississippi, and other educational institutions.

Maestro Houze uses music as a vehicle to inspire, and as an art form to be experienced by all. From his grandfather, The Reverend Sam Hall, Houze inherited a deep consciousness of social justice and advocacy. Rev. Hall was one of 14 witnesses in United States v. Lynd, a lawsuit won by President John F. Kennedy’s Justice Department in 1961 that granted black citizens of Forrest County, Mississippi, voting rights, and served as a model for other changes in the South and influenced the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In his 2010 Carnegie Hall debut, Houze drew upon that consciousness when he journeyed with a group of talented Title I student musicians from the Creative and Performing Arts School in Memphis, Tennessee. He led them, many of whom had never left Tennessee, in works ranging from Mozart to Walton. He attended to and motivated the musicians as individuals and as an ensemble—a remarkable feat. Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum joined the group for a featured performance. All told, their performance was lauded for both its refined agility and sonic grandeur, and Whalum enthused that Maestro Houze’s “musicianship, as well as his positive and motivational impact on the players, was evident for all to see.”

In 2018, Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad recruited Maestro Houze to be Music Coordinator for Workshops in Open Fields, the summer literacy program at historic Brainerd Institute in Chester, South Carolina. There he introduced an array of music and song through stories and the oral tradition to children, working to ignite sparks of curiosity and a love for the arts in a new generation.

Audiences have declared “His music is life to your heart and soul!” Whether through performances given at Edinburgh Festival Fringe or at historic Mechanics Hall, listeners find themselves moved by Houze’s dramatic interpretations and dynamic musicianship, even if they do not recognize its source.

Musicians who work with Maestro Houze and follow his baton, experience a conductor of intelligence and clarity of vision. He doesn’t challenge, he inspires. With a twinkle-in-the-eye wit, he leads musicians to perform at strata that reach for the sublime. Douglas Yeo, the former Principal Bass Trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offered this remark after collaborating with Maestro Houze: “He seemed to bring the best out of the [musicians] and had a palpable and professional enthusiasm that was clearly evident to me.”

As a rehearsal technician, Maestro Houze is uncompromising. His technique is superb—succinct, expressive, and well-studied. His experience as an instrumentalist and vocalist gives him true insight into the profundity of any composition, for his musicality is second to none. There are few better. He is the Maestro Profundo.

Day#27- Dr. Frank Watkins is associate professor of music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. A native of Omaha Nebraska, Watkins taught secondary choral music in Texas for six years. He holds degrees in piano performance from Jackson State University (BM), the University of Arkansas (MM), and choral conducting from Northwestern University (MM) and Michigan State University (DMA).

Watkins is in demand as guest conductor and clinician. Recent engagements include the 2013 Mid-Michigan Honor Choir, University of Nebraska Omaha Collegiate Choir Concert Series (2014), Dunn St. Croix Honor Choir (2015), Lakeland All-Conference Honor Choir (2015), University of Nebraska Omaha Middle School Honor Choir (2016), Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra (2016), Red Cedar Honor Choir (2017) and the Big Nine Festival Honor Choir (2017). Future engagements include the Great Northern Conference All- Conference Choir (2017), Cloverbelt All-Conference Honor Choir (2018), and the 2018 Men’s Choir Festival in Stillwater, MN. He has presented workshops on choral methods for the International Music and Christian Arts Conference, Michigan State University, and the Ohio State University. In 2015 he presented at both the Wisconsin Music Educators State Convention and the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference.

In 2016 Dr. Watkins completed a summer research trip to Corsica studying ancient Corsican polyphony. In 2017, Watkins will lead an International Fellows Trip to Dakar, Senegal to study the use of hip-hop and rap as a form of non-violent political protest. Watkins' research interests include the intersectionality of race, class, and gender in the music of African American Women in the 21st century.

Watkins joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2014. In 2016, he was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. A dynamic young conductor, Watkins’ love and passion are teaching. He believes that in order to educate, you must first inspire! It is his goal to make an impact…not just an impression on the lives of those that follow his baton.

Day#28 – A native of Baltimore, Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout is the Director of Music and Worship at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Ann Arbor, MI.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in voice from Vanderbilt University, a master’s and a doctoral degree in conducting from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Glen Thomas is the winner of the 2013 National Student Conducting Competition. He has conducted the University of Michigan Chamber Choir, the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, and the Manhattan Chorale—a professional ensemble of New York City. He served as assistant conductor for the University of Michigan Chamber Choir in the Grammy-nominated recording of Darius Milhaud’s opera trilogy, L’Orestie d’Eschyle.

His recent international conducting schedule has included engagements in Perú, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Russia, Spain, Andorra, and France. Glen Thomas served the University of Michigan Chamber Choir as assistant conductor during its 2014 tour of New Zealand and Australia.

Glen Thomas has served First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor since August 2007. His essay Prodigal Songs: Reclaiming Our Voice has been published by the Church of the Larger Fellowship. He conducted the GA choir and co-led Sunday morning worship at General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, in 2016.

Glen Thomas’s work as a singer includes engagements with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, University of Michigan, the University Musical Society, and the Star-Spangled Music Project. In June 2016, Glen Thomas served as guest vocalist for the investiture of United States federal court judge Judith E. Levy. Glen Thomas is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network, Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

Sunday Feature - 1 For my #SundayFeature, we look toward the future. We've looked at the past and present in this series *BLACK CONDUCTORS AND CLINICIANS YOU NEED TO KNOW*, but now, I'll focus on young men and women who are destined for greatness. These are the people to watch! Yes, we honor our history and our present and I hope to help pave the way for those young Black women and men who are the FUTURE of our profession!

American bass-baritone Dr. Marques Jerrell Ruff has performed across the globe, gracing countless stages including: the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Weiner Musikverein in Vienna, the Rudolfinum in Prague, and the Mariinksy Theater in St. Petersburg. As a soloist with the Hartford Symphony, Hartford Chorale, and VOCE, Inc., he has distinguished himself as a versatile, dynamic performer who excels in oratorio works, musical theater and the music of the African-American tradition. A former member of the Grammy® award-winning ensemble, Chanticleer, Mr. Ruff has traveled to dozens of countries, concerti sing with the ensemble across the globe, as well as presenting numerous vocal and conducting masterclasses. He has been the featured soloist on several recordings, most recently a world premiere by the talented young American contemporary classical composer, Nico Muhly, entitled ‘Three Moon Songs,' and ‘Sure on this Shining Night’ with famed American composer Morten Lauridsen. The Hartford Courant marveled, “ Ruff has a voice that has power, clarity and brilliant shades of color.” Following an international debut at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland, GoldenPlec Music Magazine wrote, “his voice [is] powerful, acrobatic, and full of soul.” Additionally, Mr. Ruff recorded a song cycle entitled ‘Guided Imagery' by composer and Staff Sergeant Daniel J. Campolieta (available on all music media platforms). Equally at home on the musical theater stage, common to his repertoire are the roles of Tom Collins from RENT, Black from The Wild Party, and Coalhouse Walker, Jr. from Ragtime. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University, Mr. Ruff was the University Singers Scholarship recipient, under the direction of Dr. Pamela J. Perry. He also holds dual Master of Music degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia in Choral Conducting (R. Paul Crabb) and Voice Performance (Christine Seitz).

Sunday Feature - 2 VINROY D. BROWN, JR. has credits in conducting, sacred music and music education. He is a member of the conducting, organ and sacred music faculty at Westminster Choir College, where he conducts the Westminster Jubilee Singers. A church musician, he is director of music & worship arts at Elmwood United Presbyterian Church. Maintaining an active conducting schedule, he is founder and artistic director of Elmwood Concert Singers and is artistic director and conductor of Capital Singers of Trenton.

Recent seasons included performances of Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem in D Minor, Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert, Undine Smith Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, Rosephanye Powell’s The Cry of Jeremiah and Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living. Ensembles under his direction have been featured in radio broadcast at Princeton Theological Seminary, performed at the historic Playhouse at Rodney Square and members of his ensembles at Carnegie Hall and at the Centennial Convention of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois.

During the 2019-2020 season, he will conduct Margaret Bonds’ Ballad of the Brown King, spirituals and hymn arrangements in concerts across the tri-state with the Elmwood Concert Singers; with Capital Singers of Trenton, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Robert Ray Gospel Mass; and with the Westminster Jubilee Singers will commemorate their 25th anniversary with performances of Adolphus Hailstork’s I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, R. Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee and a world premiere. As clinician, he will also headline the Voices United Choir Festival for the New Jersey chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Harlem Classical Music Festival in New York.

A noted baritone, Brown has sung on concert and opera stages across the country, as both soloist and chorister. Among his most notable engagements were the filming two PBS specials with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. He made his New York Lyric Opera Theatre debut at Carnegie Hall performing scenes from Massenet’s Manon and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. The world premiere of David Lang’s The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock marked his debut with the Mile-Long Opera Company and he is currently workshopping a new opera on the life of Omar Ibn Said composed by Rhiannon Giddens with Spoleto Festival USA.

Professor Brown holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, American Choral Directors Association, National Collegiate Choral Organization and the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., for which he is Eastern Region Executive Director. He holds the Master of Arts in Practical Theology degree from Regent University, and Bachelor of Music degrees in Sacred Music and Music Education from Westminster Choir College.

Sunday Feature - 3 Dr. Rod Vester is a pianist, conductor, music educator, researcher, entrepreneur, and passionate leader who, for the past 15 years, has helped working professionals, musicians, and students reach their full potential. As a passionate leader and problem solver, Rod helps musicians develop an entrepreneur mindset by equipping them with skills and strategies to become successful beyond their instrument.

One of Rod’s greatest passions is to use music to enrich the lives of others and this has happened in a number of settings including college/university, church, music industry, and arts administration.

When Rod discovered the piano at the age of five, his fascination for the instrument, and later the organ created a lifelong passion for music theory and music education. Rod has served as an accompanist for a plethora of national recording artists and continues to work in the music industry as a composer, arranger, and producer. Rod’s music has been published in the Total Praise Hymnal, by GIA Publications, and Lifeway.

Rod has spearheaded vision and execution of various business operations, developed and directed organizational strategies, business plans, policies, strategic marketing plans, sales objectives, established and improved strategic alliances globally, developed and introduced new products, curricula, and has scaled, to great size, church music departments including launching dynamic concert series.

Rod currently serves as Executive Director for PRIZM Ensemble, Inc., a nonprofit classical music organization that builds diverse community through chamber music education, youth development, and performance.

Rod holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Counseling, a master’s degree in Musicology, and a Ph.D. in Music Education.

Sunday Feature - 4 CamRyn Stillman, of Little Rock, Arkansas, is the associate director of choirs at Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. CamRyn teaches Piano I and Musical Theatre in addition to directing and assisting the various choirs at Parkview. Before joining the music staff at Parkview High School, CamRyn was a music teacher at Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge, Virginia. From 2016 to 2019, CamRyn was the director of choirs at Pinnacle View Middle School in Little Rock, Arkansas. While at Pinnacle View, CamRyn was tasked with building a brand new choral music program and was a part of the inaugural staff upon opening the school in 2016. Upon departing, Pinnacle View's choirs grew to 170 students; placed several students in the All-Region Choir; earned ratings of "superior" and "excellent" in performance and sight-reading at Invitational Festival, Region Choral Performance Assessment, and Junior High Honors Festival; and actively performed around Central Arkansas often collaborating with the other fine arts at Pinnacle View as well as other schools in the Little Rock School District. In addition to his teaching duties at Parkview, CamRyn is currently pursuing graduate studies as a master of music in music education student at George Mason University. CamRyn graduated magna cum laude in 2016 from Henderson State University where he earned a bachelor of music in choral education degree. CamRyn is an active pianist and choral singer in the Central Arkansas area singing with and accompanying the Art Porter Singers and accompanying the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Gospel Chorale. CamRyn is a member of Alpha Chi national college honor society, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia of America fraternity, and the American Choral Directors Association. CamRyn is excited to be directing one of the Arkansas All-Region Choirs (Region 2 Jr. High Treble Chorus) in Fall 2021

Sunday Feature - 5 Adrian Maclin, director of choirs at Cordova High School in Cordova, TN, is a product of Memphis City Schools. It was in middle and high school that he was inspired by directors, Pamela Williams and the late Dr. Lulah Hedgeman, to become a music educator. After high school, Adrian attended Philander Smith College where earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with emphasis in vocal performance. Adrian began his teaching career as a middle school choral teacher before arriving at Cordova High School. Since his time at Cordova, the program has reached much success and maintains a rigorous performance schedule. The program has grown from 80 students to over 180 students. The choirs at Cordova High School under Maclin's direction consistently receives excellent and superior ratings at local and national festivals. Recently, the Men’s Chorale and Chamber Singers won their respective divisions Ole Miss Choral Festival. The Men’s chorale won best overall choir at the Music in the Parks Festival in Williamsburg, VA in March of 2017.

Cordova's choirs have reached viral status on social media, most notably receiving over 9 million views on Choir Buzz's Facebook post of their performance of Nathan Carter’s “If I Can help Somebody." Maclin and the Cordova Choirs participated with Choirs of America in a well-received concert in Carnegie Hall and has won other competitions and conducted festival choruses across the United States.

Adrian works hard to not only produce outstanding performing ensembles, but he is also committed to educating and cultivating the total student musician. Cordova has seen an increase each year with students declaring music as a major after high school. In building young musicians, Maclin stresses the importance of academics as well, with many of the choir students enrolled in advanced level academic courses. Each student must maintain no lower than a C average in all of their courses in order to perform with the ensembles.

Maclin also serves his district as a mentor for new teachers. This is another passion of Maclin’s as he knows that every child should have access to a strong music education. Maclin currently serves the Shelby County School district on the Music Leadership team as the High School choral chair. He also serves as President-Elect on the executive boards for the West Tennessee Vocal Music Educator Association and regional membership chair for the Tennessee Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association. . Maclin has served faithful over 17 years as the Minister of Music for the Mount Moriah-East Baptist Church. Maclin recently was recognized by the Country Music Association Foundation as one of their 2020 Music Teachers of Excellence award. Maclin has two daughters, Madison and McKenzie, who are the apples of his eye.

Sunday Feature - 6 Born in Pittsburgh, PA and raised in Chicago, IL, Julian J. Goods is a second year masters student studying Choral Conducting at the University of Michigan, where he also received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education (Choral) with Honors in 2019. At the University of Michigan Mr. Goods currently serves as one of the co-directors for the University of Michigan Chamber Choir. He also was a member of the Men’s Glee Club, served as Director of the Michigan Gospel Chorale, and worked as a liaison to the Dean of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, where he focused on ways to make classrooms and teaching more diverse both in population and the music being taught. In 2018, he traveled to South Africa where he learned about the South African choral music tradition, found ways to incorporate South African music in the classroom, and served as a guest clinician for many choirs in the cities of Pretoria and Soweto.

Outside of the University of Michigan, Mr. Goods serves as the Assistant Conductor for the Austin Neighborhood Choirs of the Chicago Children’s Choir, servicing students grades 4-8. He also serves as organist at the historic Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, MI. As a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. he serves as President of the Collegiate Board, Co-Convention Chairperson, and Recording Secretary for the Central Region.

As an organist, Mr. Goods has appeared in recital at the University of Michigan Organ Conference and has served as organist for many major work concerts, including Handel’s Messiah under the direction of Dr. Eugene Rogers. As a vocalist, he performed in the cast of the University Musical Society’s Porgy and Bess: Opera in Concert in 2018.

A recipient of several awards, Mr. Goods most recently received the Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award from the North Campus Deans of the University of Michigan for his commitment to social justice, diversity, and inclusion. He also received the Earl V. Moore Award from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance for exemplifying the highest level of artistic achievement in the Music Department, and was named one of the members of the Diapason Magazine’s 20 under 30 Class of 2019 for his devotion to the Organ, the Harpsichord, Carillon, and Church Music. In 2017 and 2018, Mr. Goods was a member of the James Abbington Church Music Academy of Hampton University. Mr. Goods holds memberships in National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the American Guild of Organists.

Sunday Feature - 7 Demetrius Robinson currently serves as the Director of Choral Activities and Music Department Chair at The Soulsville Charter School in Memphis, TN. Prior to his post at Soulsville, Demetrius served as the Director of Choral Activities at Hattiesburg High School and N.R. Burger Middle School in Hattiesburg, MS. Demetrius received both a bachelor's degree in vocal and instrumental music education and a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Southern Mississippi. He also completed an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership at William Carey University. Demetrius is currently a Ph.D. music education student at The University of Memphis. Demetrius is in demand as a gospel music clinician, church choir builder, and Hammond B-3 organist throughout the Southeast region. Demetrius has presented workshops at various conferences including the Mississippi ACDA Summer Conference (2017), Know Your Impact Summer Conference, Mabank, TX (2018), and Tennessee ACDA Summer Conference (2018).

In 2018, Demetrius founded Robinson Music Enterprise LLC, a versatile music company, to provide music consultations, instruction (private and group lessons), and publishing services. Highly regarded as a versatile music educator, conductor, tubist, and vocalist, Demetrius has performed with the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Gulf Coast Civic Chorale, the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, and the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra. His professional memberships include the National Association for Music Education, ASCAP, Phi Mu Alpha Music Sinfonia, and the American Choral Directors Association, where he serves on the Diversity and Initiatives Committee Task Force for Guidance on Regional and State Chapters.