State Choral Festivals Adjudicators
Ryan Beeken proudly serves as director of choral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His choirs have performed at State, Regional, and National ACDA Conventions and most recently at the 2018 Eastern ACDA, 2018 PMEA, and 2017 Eastern NAfME Conference. Beeken is regularly engaged as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States; since 2013, his engagements include more than 45 All-States and Honor Choirs in fifteen states and a similar representation of invited presentations for symposia across the United States and in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Prior to his appointment at IUP, Dr. Beeken taught elementary, middle school, and high school vocal music for sixteen years.
Meredith Bowen is the Director of Choral Activities at Radford University in Virginia. Her current scholarship interests include restoring, publishing, and performing music written by 17th-century women and the impact of socially-conscious programming. She is an inaugural member of mirabai, a professional-level women’s ensemble, and is on faculty for the Choral Music Experience Institute and the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. Previous to her appointment at Radford, Bowen taught high school choir in Lansing, and was the Artistic Director of multiple ensembles in Michigan including: Sistrum - Lansing Women’s Chorus, Holland Chorale, and the Battle Creek Girls Chorus. Bowen holds a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University and an M.M. and a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University.
American conductor and tenor, Matthew Brady is in his first year as head of the Choral Department at Cal State, San Bernardino where he conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and teaches conducting, choral literature, and group voice. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Music in Education from Western Michigan University, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting with honors, from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Arts in Choral Conducting with distinction, from the University of Birmingham (UK), and is completing a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas.
Dr. Judith Burns
Dr. Judith Burns has taught at the university and secondary levels of music in Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Washington and Ohio, including Central Washington University, Northern Illinois University and Baldwin-Wallace University. In these positions, Dr. Burns served as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Education. She taught courses in Conducting, Choral Music Methods and Literature, and Group Vocal Techniques as well as conducting choral ensembles. Her collegiate and high school ensembles have been invited to perform at ACDA, Music Educators National Conference (National Association for Music Educators), MSVMA, and Washington Music Educators Association, state and regional conferences. She frequently serves as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator and has conducted regional and state Honor Choirs in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, and Montana. Dr. Burns was the conductor of the acclaimed Steiner Chorale, Lansing Michigan and has served as guest conductor of the Seattle Symphony Chorale and the Whatcom Chorale, Bellingham, WA. She received the Bachelor of Music Education from Central Michigan University, Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from Michigan State University. Currently, Dr. Burns lives in Phoenix, AZ.
Robert Cindric is in his 39th year of teaching and his 18th in the Saline Area Schools where he has taught the Middle School Choirs and K-4 General Music. Prior to coming to Saline, he taught in the Milan Schools for 21 years as high school and middle school choir director, and 7th grade head football coach. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Bob has served MSVMA in many capacities. He served for 13 years on the executive board, as director of the Summer Workshop, President and Executive Board Director for State Events. Bob was on the faculty of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for 6 years, the Oakland Hills Music Camp for 14 years, the Summer Music Youth Camp of the University of Maryland for 4 years, the Baldwin-Wallace Summer Choir Camp, and the All State Program at Interlochen.
An accomplished conductor, Brian Clissold has had great success working with choirs, and more specifically, specializing in Children’s choirs throughout the Midwest. Mr. Clissold recently served as the Artistic Director of The Celebration Singers (Cranford, New Jersey). As a baritone, he is a founding member of the professional New York based ensemble, Manhattan Chorale. He performs regularly in renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall and has sung numerous roles in oratorios, masses, and operas. He boasts frequent appearances with the Battle Creek (MI) Symphony Orchestra and Butler University (IN) Symphony and is sought after as a clinician and adjudicator in Michigan, Indiana, New Jersey, and New York. Clissold was recently named Conductor-in-Residence with Manhattan Concert Productions. Prior to moving to the Northeast, Brian led the Vivace Youth Singers of Fort Wayne (IN), the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, and the Fort Wayne Youth Symphony. From 2008 to 2010, Brian worked with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, establishing and conducting the Lebanon (IN) Regional Satellite Choir and working closely with Henry Leck and Ruth Dwyer. For 11 years, he served the Music Center of South Central Michigan as conductor of both the Battle Creek Girls’ Chorus and Community Chorus where he prepared numerous choral-orchestral works for performance. Clissold holds a BM in Music Education from Western Michigan University and a MM in Conducting from Butler University.
Jeffrey Cobb holds a M.M. in Choral Conducting from Oakland University and a B.A. in Music Education from Western Michigan University. He is currently the Director of Music Programs and Choirs at Northwestern Michigan College, Artistic Director of the NMC Children’s Choirs, and Director of Music at Traverse City Central United Methodist Church. Choirs under his direction have toured throughout Michigan, Texas, Chicago, New York, Salzburg and Vienna and have been invited to perform at State and National Conferences including the Michigan Music Conference, the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, the ACDA Michigan Conference, and the ACDA National Convention. In addition to his work as a conductor, Jeffrey is also a regularly commissioned composer. His pieces have won several awards including honors from the Ithaca Choir Composition Contest, the New York Virtuoso Singers Choral Composition Contest, the Measure for Measure Choral Competition Contest, the Vanguard Premieres Choral Composition Contest, the Summit Chorale’s Composition Contest, the Outside the Bachs International Choral Music Competition, the C7Prize, and the Composition Competition of the Chiayi City (Taiwan) International Band Festival. His choral works are published through G. Schirmer, Santa Barbara Music, Walton Music, Colla Voce, and Roger Dean Publishing.
Amon Eady presently serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Central Michigan University, where he conducts four ensembles and teaches choral conducting. Dr. Eady taught at both the middle school and high school level for nine years in the White Station Community of Memphis, Tennessee, where he also served as a mentor teacher in musical literacy instruction in the urban environment. In addition to this area of concentration, Dr. Eady has presented at state, regional, and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education on developing the male chorus, the building of a comprehensive choral program, and new and diverse methods of teacher training. Dr. Eady’s choirs have also performed at state and regional conventions of ACDA, including a performance by the White Station High School Men’s Choir at the 2014 Southern Division ACDA Convention. Dr. Eady was also recognized by the Tennessee Music Educators Association as Music Educator of the Year in the Spring of 2014. His research interests include the comprehensive development of the teacher/conductor, the history of the terminal conducting degree, and the rehabilitative impact of choral singing on incarcerated individuals. Dr. Eady holds the bachelor of music education degree and master of music degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, as well as the doctor of philosophy degree in choral conducting and music education from Florida State University.
Patricia P. Fleitas, D.M.A.
Dr. Fleitas is professor of music and director of choral and vocal studies at Florida Atlantic University. She is on her fourth season as artistic director and conductor of the Delray Beach Chorale and the DBC Chamber Ensemble. At FAU, she conducts the University Chamber Singers and ¡Cantemos!, an ensemble that specializes in the music of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. It is the outcome of Dr. Fleitas’ continuing research in the choral music of these regions. Her ensembles have performed throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. Under her direction, the FAU Chamber Singers have performed for the Florida Music Education Association (FMEA) State In-service Conference and the Florida American Choral Directors Association Conference. Most recently, ¡Cantemos! performed at the FMEA 2016 conference in January and she present a session at the 2017 conference titled, “Latin American Choral Music for All!” Fleitas was the 2001 recipient of the Florida Atlantic University Faculty Talon Award in recognition of exceptional leadership, commitment, and service to FAU students. She is also a recipient of the 2003 -2004 award for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the 2011 Lifelong Learning grant for continuing her research in Colombia. She served as President of the Florida Collegiate Music Education Association from 2015 – 2017.
Prior to joining the music faculty at Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Fleitas was associate coordinator of choral programs at Texas A&M University, College Station. While at Texas A&M, she founded the Texas Collegiate Women’s Choral Festival, an annual event that remains active at the state level. Dr. Fleitas received a Master of Musical Arts and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Performance from the The University of Texas at Austin under the tutelage of the late Dr. Morris J. Beachy. In addition, she holds bachelor and master degrees in music education. She is an active choral clinician, adjudicator, chorus master and guest conductor. Dr. Fleitas has conducted the FAU Symphony Chorus with the Palm Beach Symphony in performances of Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Mass in C minor, Puccini’s “Gloria” from his Mesa di Gloria, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, and Bruckner’s Te Deum. In the spring of 2016, as part of the Delray Beach Chorale’s season, she conducted Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C in a performance featuring the Delray Beach Chorale in collaboration with the FAU Chamber Singers and members of the Lynn Philharmonia. The Delray Beach Chorale’s season will present a Holiday Concert at Olympic Heights High School featuring Schubert’s Magnificat and Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noël framed by portions of the composer’s Te Deum, among other inspiring holiday music, under Fleitas’s direction. The DBC 2017 – 2018 includes collaborations with the FAU Chamber Singers, the FAU Jupiter campus Long Life Learning, the Palm Beach Symphony, and other community organizations. Also under her baton, the season will close with a concert titled, In Praise of Peace, on April 20, 2018 at St. Joan of Arc, Boca Raton. This conclusion to what promises to be an exhilarating season will feature Benjamin Britten’s Cantata Misericordium (based on the parable of the Good Samaritan) and Joseph Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli (Mass in Time of War).
Norma Freeman, Voices Valiant director, enjoyed a 40-year eclectic K-12 music teaching career in Illinois, Colorado, Texas, and most recently, Michigan, where she served as the director of choral music at Saline High School. Norma also directed the Intermediate choral music program at the Interlochen (MI) National Music Camp for 13 years. She has guest conducted and presented workshops in 10 states on choral repertoire, integrated arts curriculum, middle school music, opera education, sight singing, and solo singing in the choir classroom. Norma was a member of the author team for the popular choral textbook series, Experiencing Choral Music (© 2005 Hal Leonard / McGraw-Hill) and is a co-author for the general music resources, Aaron Copland: The Music of an Uncommon Man (© 2012 Hal Leonard) and Cenerentola: A Curriculum Guide ©1993 Dallas Opera. The Michigan NAfME (National Association of Music Educators) and MSVMA (Michigan Vocal Music Association) have both honored Norma as a Teacher of the Year. In 2017, Norma was one of ten national recipients chosen for the Stephen Sondheim / Kennedy Center Inspirational Teacher Award.
Trey Jacobs is Director of Choral Studies at Nashville School of the Arts. Previously Mr. Jacobs was Director of Choirs at Head Middle Magnet Prep. Jacobs has completed his coursework on a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University in East Lansing, a Master of Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from East Carolina University in Greenville. At Michigan State University, he was the conductor of the Michigan State University Women’s Glee Club, and was the graduate teaching assistant with the Michigan State University Chorale and Choral Union. Prior to moving to Nashville, Jacobs served as the Artistic Director for the Turtle Creek Chorale from 2011 to 2014. The Turtle Creek Chorale, a 225 voice men’s chorus have performed extensively in the United States and Europe. They have performed at 3 National A.C.D.A. Conventions and have over 30 recordings. Before arriving in Dallas, Mr. Jacobs was Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities for four years at Eastern Michigan University. While at Eastern Michigan University his choirs performed at the Michigan A.C.D.A Convention and for the Michigan Music Educators Conference. Mr. Jacobs is a three-time CMA Music Teacher of Excellence recipient for 2016, 2017, and 2018. He is an active member of ACDA, NAfME, NATS, and MTVA and has served as Chair of the MTVA Elementary Honor Chorus, and on the board of MTVA, and Tennessee ACDA Repertoire and Standards Chair for Middle School Choirs.
Robyn Reeves Lana
Interpreting choral music for diverse audiences in a way that is relevant to young people while maintaining the highest standards of music education and performance sums up the work of Artistic Director, Robyn Reeves Lana. When not leading the Cincinnati Youth Choir over the last quarter of a century, Mrs. Lana has served as conductor and clinician across the United States and at internationally acclaimed venues such as The Forbidden City Concert Hall (Beijing), The World Expo (Milan), St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City), Minatomirai Hall (Yokohama), and in Malaysia. Closer to home, she has been a featured guest conductor at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Lana is a member of the choral faculty at Xavier University and has been a guest professor in CCM’s choral department. Lana is the editor of a choral series with Santa Barbara Music Publishing. Her book, Voices in Harmony, published in 2017, is a collaborative effort which celebrates many successful philosophies in choral education. She also has been published in Chorister Guild’s The Chorister, Chamber Music America’s CMA Matters, and ACDA’s Choral Journal. Lana regularly prepares her choirs for collaborations with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, the Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, and CCM choirs and orchestras. She prepared CCC for two Telarc label recordings with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Erich Kunzel. She holds Level III Orff-Schulwerk Certification. She also has studied at Butler University. Ms. Lana’s work has earned many awards including CCM’s Distinguished Alumna Award (2012), a gold medal in the World Choir Games (2012) placing first in the United States, the American Prize for Choral Performance (2015), the Chorus America ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming (2016), and CityBeat’s Best Local Vocal Arts Group (2015 and 2017).
Shirley Lemon retired from Grand Haven Area Public Schools in 2013 after a glorious thirty-three-year teaching career in choral music. She is currently on faculty at Grand Valley State University as conductor and music content supervisor. She has conducted the Michigan School Vocal Music Association’s 7-8-9 SATB, High School SSAA and SATB Honors Choirs. Ms. Lemon was selected for the Grand Haven Excellence in Service Award in 1990, the MSVMA Vocal Music Teacher of the Year in 1995, and the Michigan Music Educators Association’s Award of Merit in 2014. She serves Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp as Choir Department Consultant and conducted the 2016 and 2017 International Choir. Ms. Lemon serves as a mentor for many teachers and is in constant demand as a clinician.
Betsy Graham Marsh
Betsy Graham Marsh, MSVMA Emeritus, conducts the Macomb Children's Chorus Troubadours, the St. Paul's UMC Epworth Choir, and is Associate Director of the Madrigal Chorale. She has directed three MSVMA State Honors Choirs (most recently in 2014), and accompanied a fourth. During her 36-year career, both junior and senior high choirs under her direction received top ratings at district and state events, and performed at the MMC and the summer workshop. She was twice honored as the Rochester Middle Schools Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for MSVMA Teacher of the Year. A frequent adjudicator/clinician, she also maintains a private voice studio. She served MSVMA as a district manager and ACDA as editor of Michigan's Bella Voce as well as Central Division Junior High Repertoire and Standards Chair. Mrs. Marsh holds a BA in music from Albion College, and a MM in Choral Conducting from Oakland University, where she studied with Dr. Michael Mitchell. She also did extensive work in voice performance at Eastern Michigan and Millikin Universities.
CENTRAL, EAST, WEST
Dr. Michael G. Martin
Dr. Michael G. Martin is the Director of Choral Activities at Hilliard Darby High School. As former assistant conductor and accompanist of The Ohio State University Men’s Glee Club, Dr. Martin’s passion continued to grow deeper and resulted in the development of numerous choral groups within the educational and community environment. Dr. Martin pursued a college career at The Ohio State University, earning a Bachelor, Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in choral music education and conducting. He has studied conducting with Craig Jessop, Robert Ward, Russel Mikkelson, Marshall Haddock, James Gallagher, Hilary Apfelstadt and Maurice Casey, and the late Robert Shaw. While at Ohio State, Dr. Martin had the opportunity to study with and served as accompanist for Robert Shaw, as well as an invitation to study at the Robert Shaw Choral Festival Chorus in France in 1994. He has also performed and conducted major concerts throughout Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, and France and performed on the BBC network. Dr. Martin has conducted the Hilliard Darby Symphonic Choir on tours of England, Ireland and the United States, which included performances at St. Paul’s Cathedral and at Carnegie Hall, New York for a performance of Durufle’s Requiem in 2006. Martin has prepared choirs for notable conductors such as Mr. Robert Shaw, Dr. Eph Ely, Dr. Craig Jessop, Dr. Ann Howard Jones, Dr. Donald Neuen and composer/conductor Eric Whitacre. His compositions are published with Alliance Music, Houston, Texas, Lawson Gould and Alfred Publications, Miami, Florida.
Dr. Robert C. Oster
Dr. Robert C. Oster retired in 2009, after a 35-year career as a Michigan public school choral conductor. His teaching experience included both junior high/middle school and senior high. Bob taught grades 7-12 choral music for Lakewood Public Schools in Lake Odessa, 1974-2000, and for Jenison Public Schools, 2000-2009. He conducted state honors choirs in 1987, 1996, and 2014, and is active as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician throughout Michigan. MSVMA honored him as their teacher of the year in 2004 and as an emeritus member in 2010. Earning his DMA in choral conducting from MSU, he currently serves as artistic director and conductor of the Lakewood Area Choral Society, a 100-voice adult choir he founded in 1986.
Jonathan Reed is Professor of Music and Associate Director of Choral Programs at Michigan State University School of Music where he serves on a dynamic choral faculty that includes David Rayl and Sandra Snow. He conducts the State Singers, the Men’s Glee Club and teaches courses in conducting at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In 1999, the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) presented him with the Outstanding Faculty Award. Dr. Reed is also Director of Music at the Peoples Church of East Lansing. He is a contributing author to GIA’s The School Choral Program, and is series advisor for Boosey and Hawkes choral series entitled In Low Voice. Dr. Reed enjoys an active career as a clinician/conductor, conducting festivals and all-state choruses throughout the United States. Recently he has conducted all state choruses in Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Georgia, and Iowa as well as honor choirs for the Northwest, Western, and Southern Divisions of The American Choral Directors Association. His choirs have performed at divisional and national conferences of ACDA. He has presented interest sessions at two national conferences of ACDA (1999, 2005) and at numerous state ACDA conferences. He has also served ACDA as a state newsletter editor, a state president, and divisional and national chair of the Repertoire and Standards committee on Male Chorus.
Jennifer Sengin is a DMA Student in Choral Conducting at Michigan State University where she directs the Women's Glee Club and assists in the undergraduate choral methods course. Previously, Jennifer served as the Director of Choirs at East Brunswick High School in NJ and on the faculty of the Ithaca College Summer Music Academy. She is an active guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and presenter. She has contributed to articles in the Choral Journal and Tempo Magazine. Additionally, she served as R&S Chair of Ethnic and Multicultural Repertoire for NJACDA. Jennifer earned a MM in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College.
Bruce Snyder is a veteran musician. He taught choral music in secondary schools for 35 years and has been a church musician for over 40 years. He values his education, learning under and working with talented mentors and colleagues. He has been active in Michigan where he served the MSVMA as district manager, festival host and as part of the executive board. He is a past president of the MSVMA and has twice directed one of the MSVMA Honors Choirs. He was named Teacher of the Year in 2008. Bloomfield Hills School honored him with both a Master Teacher and a Distinguished Service award. In retirement he is active as a clinician, a vocal coach, an accompanist and still serves in his local church.
Dr. Brandon Ulrich
Dr. Brandon Ulrich has taught at Stoney Creek High School and Hart Middle School (Rochester) since 2002. He also serves as Artistic Director of the Madrigal Chorale, Director of Music Ministries at Northminster Presbyterian Church, and Choirmaster at Congregation Shaarey Zedek. Dr. Ulrich holds degrees from Southern Oregon University and Michigan State, currently serves on the MSVMA Executive Board as Repertoire and Sight Reading Chair, and frequently presents at conventions. His ensembles have performed at the MMC, ACDA State and Central Division Conventions and MYAF; frequently perform with the Detroit Symphony and the Detroit Chamber Winds; and tour internationally every other school year. His compositions and scholarly editions are published through Boosey and Hawkes, MusicSpoke, Colla Voce, and Musicatus Press.
Amy Voorhees-Hall is a University Distinguished Fellow in her final year of DMA studies in Choral Conducting at Michigan State University. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Simpson College and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Drake University. Amy has diverse experience as a teacher, accompanist and stage performer. Prior to her studies at MSU, Amy taught public school for seventeen years holding appointments at the elementary, middle school, high school and collegiate levels. She has worked with the Des Moines Children’s Chorus, Iowa Youth Chorus, Heartland Youth Choir and Ames Children’s Choirs. Additionally, she has had an active voice studio for over twenty years. Her most recent appointment was as the Director of Choral Activities at Waukee High School and in 2015, earned her an invitation to perform at the ACDA National Conference in Salt Lake City with the Waukee High School A Cappella Choir. She is active as a clinician, conductor, and accompanist. At MSU, Amy conducts the Campus Choir and is the Graduate Teaching Assistant for Undergraduate Conducting for Performance Majors and the Women’s Chamber Ensemble. Hall currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan State Vocal Music Association as Coordinator of the Student Advisory Board.
Dr. Brandon Williams
Dr. Brandon Williams is an assistant professor of choral music and choral music education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He conducts the Voorhees Choir and teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses related to choral music education. As a secondary vocal music educator, Dr. Williams amassed a decade of middle and high school teaching experience in St. Louis, Missouri, where he also served as a conductor with the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, the St. Louis Children’s Choirs, and as an adjunct faculty member at Maryville University. He holds degrees from Western Illinois University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Michigan State University, and an Artist Teacher Diploma from the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education.
Lindsay Sea Wills is passionate about inspiring and awakening the human spirit through the gift of song. This calling manifests itself in Lindsay's life as a private voice instructor and as an adjudicator/clinician for the Michigan School Vocal Music Association. Lindsay has previously served as the Choral Director at DeWitt High School and Junior High, Traverse City West Senior High and Traverse City West Middle School. Lindsay has presented at the Michigan Music 2013 Convention (MMC) and at the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) 2013 and 2016 Conventions. In the fall of 2012, she served as a vocal solo clinician at the MSVMA adjudication clinic. Lindsay directed the Michigan Regional Honors Choir in 2016 and is looking forward to conducting the MMC SA Michigan State Honors Choir in 2019. Lindsay holds her B.A. in Vocal Music Education from Michigan State University and her M.A. in Counseling from Western Michigan University. An authenticity advocate, Lindsay's other professional interests include counseling, speaking, teaching and writing, which she embarks on through her company, Live True. Lindsay was recently a TEDx Traverse City finalist, where she shared about living a courageous, compassionate, resilient and awakened life. Residing in Traverse City, Lindsay has two beautiful children, enjoys canoeing, camping, and spending time with her friends and family.
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