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Monty Bishop

Despite Monty’s many professional achievements, his student teacher supervisor in 1980 evaluated him as not possessing the necessary skills to be an effective teacher.  Discouraged, but equipped with his love of God, family, music and youth he entered the Gospel music industry as a performing artist.  Monty worked in the Gospel music industry as a songwriter and performer for ten years.  In 1986 he was recognized by Gospel Music News as Michigan Male Gospel Vocalist of the Year and in 1989 won the GMA Gospel Music in the Rockies vocal competition as part of the duet Calhoun and Bishop. 

Desiring to stay closer to his home and family, in 1989 Monty returned to complete his teacher certification at Albion College under the tutelage of Melvin Larimer. His first placement was at Benton Central High School in Oxford, Indiana with a choir of nineteen girls. Under his direction the Benton Central Junior/Senior High School Choirs grew in number to over three hundred students, and were each recognized as one of Indiana’s top ten choirs in 1993.

Desiring to be geographically closer to family and home, Monty accepted the choral position at Holt Public Schools in June, 1993 where he is employed today.  Under Monty’s direction the Holt vocal music program has grown from one high school and two junior high choirs to four high school and three junior high choirs. His Holt Choirs have toured Europe, Hawaii, the Bahamas, Florida, Washington D.C.; New York, and Chicago.  While at Holt his ensembles have consistently received the highest evaluations at District and State solo and ensemble; and choral festivals.  Holt students are perennially represented in large relative numbers at MSVMA Regional, State, and All-State Honors Choirs; and Holt has been represented at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival as part of MSVMA Vocal and Ensemble Recital. In addition, Holt Choirs have been selected to perform in MSVMA Choral Hour as part of the Michigan Music Conference. Monty’s has served the MSVMA Full Board as Region B Honors Choir Supervisor, State SATB Honors Choir Supervisor, and has served as State Choral Festival South Host and Supervisor for the past decade.  He has hosted numerous MSVMA Adjudication Clinics, and has hosted the District 8 High School and JH/MS Choral Festivals for the past 14 years.  He serves as MSVMA adjudicator for district and state solo and ensemble festivals as well as district choral festivals.  In addition, Monty shares his love of youth and passion for music traveling across Michigan serving as MSVMA clinician. One of the greatest honors of his career was to be asked to fill in as 2011 Region B Honors Choir Director.

Monty has directed twenty plays and musicals during his career.  In addition, he was personally awarded Riverwalk Theater’s Barnie Award in 2003 for Best Lead Actor in a Musical for his role in Songs for a New World.

Monty was elected as Pennfield Schools’ Board of Education Trustee in 2000, and as such was involved in planning the new Pennfield High School, as well as the beginning stages of the Pennfield Educational Foundation.

Currently, Monty enjoys touring with the Southern Gospel Group The Thurstons, and will be recording his thirteenth album this year.  He tutors twenty students in his private voice studio, and works at creating and facilitating online coursework.  His online Humanities course is used as part of  Holt High School’s curriculum. Monty’s pride and joy are his children; son Justin, a Detroit attorney; and his daughter and son-in-law Morgan and Anthony, who perform opera in Chicago; as well as his new granddaughter Josephine Elizabeth. 

Monty considers the book of life to be filled with “chapters.” God has blessed Monty with many glorious chapters for which he is humbled and thankful; not the least of which is the opportunity to be recognized as a good teacher and share the good things that follow commitment to God, family, youth, and music.

Kevin Cornwell

Kevin Cornwell graduated from Olivet College in 1988 with a Bachelors of Music Education degree. He is currently working on his postgraduate degree in Educational Leadership at Concordia University.

Mr. Cornwell is the director of choirs for both Avondale Middle and High School. He directs three-to-four choirs at the middle school such as, 7th Grade Choir, 8th Grade Choir, 8th Grade Treble Chorus, and an afterschool glee club. At the high school, Mr. Cornwell directs five choirs which are Concert Choir, Women of Concert Choir, Men of Avondale, Women’s Chorus and Mixed Chorus.

Mr. Cornwell is in his twenty-fourth year at Avondale School District. He created and started the vocal music program for both schools. Year-after-year, both schools participate in the Michigan School Vocal Music Association District and State Choir Festival and they have consistently receive first divisions, superior and excellence ratings at both the middle school and high school level. His choirs also participates in district and state solo and ensemble as soloists, duets, and ensemble members and many of his students receive first divisions, superior and excellent ratings at all levels. He’s also had multiple students be selected in the MSVMA 6-7-8-9 State Honors Choir along with the High School Regional Honors Choir, the State Honors Choir, and All-State Honors Choir.

During his tenure at Avondale, he’s had the privilege to work with the incomparable, Moses Hogan along with having his choir perform under his direction at Carnegie Hall. Concert Choir got the opportunity to perform with Kenny Rogers in his Christmas Special at the Palace of Auburn Hills! His choirs have also been selected to perform at such amazing venues as the Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, Pontiac Silverdome, and Comerica Park. His choirs also got the unique privilege to perform in the “Celebrate America” PBS special for five years straight.

Along with all of his duties at Avondale, he is also an adjudicator for the Michigan School Vocal Music Association and has been a state honors choir director for the Middle School/ Junior High SATB Honor Choir in 2005. In January 2006, his 8th Grade Choir was one of the 1st middle school choirs to perform at the DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Michigan Music Conference. In January 2010 a few years later, his 8th Grade Treble Chorus was selected to perform for the Michigan Music Conference too. His advanced choir name Concert Choir was selected as one of two high school choirs in the state to be selected as the 2017 “Most Outstanding” choir award for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival.

To continue to create excitement for his choir program, Mr. Cornwell has taken multiple choirs both middle school and high school to the “Music in the Parks” festival and has received various awards such as “The Best Over All Choir” award, multiple “1st Place” Superior Choir Award, along with the most coveted award the “Esprit Corps. Award”.

He loves being a role model and a father figure to his students. 

Mandy Mikita Scott

Mandy Mikita Scott is in her tenth year teaching at Rockford High School, where she is Director of Choirs and teaches over 200 students in four ensembles. She previously served as Director of Choirs at Grosse Pointe North High School from 2003-2008. Her choirs consistently earn Excellent ratings at district and state MSVMA events.

 Mandy has conducted her ensembles at ACDA-Michigan (Advanced Treble Ensemble, 2016) and the Michigan Music Conference (Treble Chorus, 2012). She has conducted her ensembles as part of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Recital seven times since 2004. In January 2014 she conducted the Michigan High School SSAA State Honors Choir. In July 2014 she conducted the Rockford Choirs on an acclaimed European Tour, with ten concerts in four countries, culminating in Gold Medals at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia.

Mandy earned a Bachelor of Music Education at Western Michigan University, where she sang with Dr. Joe Miller and Dr. Steve Zegree. She holds a Masters degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Miami (Florida), where she studied with Jo-Michael Scheibe. 

Mandy recently completed a four-year term on the MSVMA Executive Board as the Director of Sight Reading and Music Selection, prior to which she served on the Full Board as HS Repertoire Chair. She previously served as Vocal Jazz R&S Representative for ACDA-Michigan. She is the 2012 recipient of the MSVMA Carolyn Leep Scholarship. She is in-demand statewide as a clinician and regularly presents at conferences, with a particular interest in the intersection of choral music, mindfulness, and self-care.

Mandy lives in Rockford with her husband Jed and their three sons, Owen, Julian, and Daniel.


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