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ART THAT RESONATES

Schedule and Presenters

Wednesday, October 23rd

8:00pm-10:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Concert | Isaac Cates and Ordained
Isaac Cates

Thursday, October 24th

9:00am-9:30am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Community Sing
Maria A. Ellis | @Girlconductor

9:30am-10:30am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Conference Welcome | An Introduction to Self-Work, Homework, and Hard Work
Arreon A. Harley-Emerson | Elevate Vocal Arts

10:40am-11:40am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Interest Session | Take it From My Mouth: Odetta, Black Orality, and the Radicalness of Black Folk Culture
Dr. Tammy Kernodle | Miami University

11:50am-12:50pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Interest Session A | Allyship & Accompliceship
Dr. Whitney Covalle | Montclair State University
Penelope Cruz | White Plains High School
11:50am-12:50am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Interest Session B | Navigating Higher Education
Dr. Rollo Dilworth | Temple University
Dr. A. Jan Taylor | Prairie View A&M University Emeritus
Dr. Felicia Barber | Yale University

2:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Panel Discussion | Black Women in Music
Dr. Felicia Barber | Yale University
Jasmine Fripp | The Compassionate Black Educator
Dr. Suzanne Hall | Temple University
Dr. Tammy Kernodle | Miami University
Dr. Chantae D. Pittman | Georgia College & State University
Dr. A. Jan Taylor | Prairie View A&M University Emeritus

3:10pm-4:10pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Interest Session | Reimagining an Inclusive Music Education
Dr. Suzanne Hall | Temple University

4:20pm-6:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Rehearsal | Conference Choir
Arreon A. Harley-Emerson | Elevate Vocal Arts
*The Conference Choir is made up of conference attendees and will learn and perform idiomatic and non-idiomatic works of Black composers

8:00pm-10:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Concert | Philadelphia Heritage Chorale
Dr. J. Donald Dumpson | Diverse Arts Solutions

Friday, October 25th

8:30am-9:00am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Community Sing
Maria A. Ellis | @Girlconductor

9:00am-10:00am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Interest Session | Our Thanks to Thee: Julia Perry at 100
Vinroy D. Brown Jr. | Westminster Choir College

10:10am-12:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Rehearsal | Conference Choir
Arreon A. Harley-Emerson | Elevate Vocal Arts

12:15pm-1:15pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Concert | Virginia State University Concert Choir
Dr. Craig Robertson

2:00pm-3:20pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Masterclass | Graduate and Undergraduate Conducting
Dr. A. Jan Taylor | Prairie View A&M University Emeritus

3:40pm-4:40pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Reading Session
Dr. Chantae D. Pittman | Georgia College & State University

4:50pm-5:50-pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Panel Discussion | "Ask Me Anything" with the OGs
Dr. Felicia Barber | Yale University
Dr. Rollo Dilworth | Temple University
Dr. A. Jan Taylor | Prairie View A&M University Emeritus

8:00pm-10:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Concert | Elevation
Arreon A. Harley-Emerson

Saturday, October 26th

8:00am-9:00am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Interest Session | A-Quired Spaces: Exploring the ins and OUTs of the LGTBQ+ community chorus
Kimberly Waigwa | One Voice Mixed Chorus

9:00am-9:45am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Conference Choir | Sound Check
Arreon A. Harley-Emerson

9:50am-10:40am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Panel Discussion | Professional Music Organizations
More Information Coming Soon!

10:50am-11:50am
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Reading Session
Vinroy D. Brown Jr. | Westminster Choir College

12:00pm-1:00pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Concert | St. Thomas Gospel Choir
Minister Waltier Blocker

3:30pm-5:30pm
Location: Grace United Methodist Church
Honor Choir Concert 
Arreon A. Harley-Emerson | Conference Choir
Dr. Jillian Harrison-Jones | Intergenerational Honor Choir
Coty Raven Morris | Junior Honor Choir
Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. | Senior Honor Choir

Isaac Cates & Ordained

In 2004, Isaac Cates 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 the past 18 years, this group of singers (known as “Ordained”) has accomplished great things. Collectively, Isaac Cates and Ordained have toured Switzerland, performed for the 2019 ACDA conference, appeared in concerts and been featured alongside many incredible artists including: Trace Adkins, Lyle Lovett, Vashawn Mitchell, Rodney Bryant, Bebe Winans, Marvin Winans, Saundra Crouch, Richard Smallwood, DeWayne Woods, James Fortune, Kim Burrell, Jonathan McReynolds, Edwin Hawkins, Byron Cage, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Julian Vaughn, Tech N9ne, the late Rev. Timothy Wright, Pastor Shirley Caesar and Icon Oleta Adams. Ordained recently collaborated with Irish choral group, Anúna and Michael McGlynn for the Tampere vocal music festival recording the song “Maalaulu”. Isaac Cates and Ordained released their new Album “Amazed” in 2022 which was considered for a Grammy Nomination

Dr. Felicia Barber

Dr. Felicia Barber (Pronunciation IPA: /fʌlɪsə/; or Phonetic: [falissa]) is the Associate Professor, Adjunct, of Choral Conducting at Yale University and conductor of the Camerata. In addition to teaching graduate-level choral conductors and aspiring undergraduate conductors, Dr. Barber is developing a new initiative designed to prepare Yale students to work with young musicians on choral music in school and church settings. Previous to her appointment at Yale, Dr. Barber served as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA, where she conducted the University Chorus, Chamber Chorale, and Gospel Choir; as well as taught courses in conducting and choral methods for nine years. In addition to her position at Westfield, Dr. Barber also served as Choral Lecturer for the summer master’s program at Gordon College for five years. There she taught courses in Choral Conducting and Choral Music Education for the MME degree. Dr. Barber, whose research interests include effective teaching strategies, fostering classroom diversity and incorporating equity and justice initiatives in choral curricula, and the linguistic performance practice of African American spirituals, has contributed to such periodicals as the American Choral Directors Association’s Choral Journal and is the author of A New Perspective for the Use of Dialect in African American Spirituals: History, Context, and Linguistics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021). An active member of American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), she has presented her research at state, divisional, and national conferences. Dr. Barber has also served the organization on the National Diversity Committee, the Eastern Division 2020 Conference committee, and is the current President of the Massachusetts ACDA board. In addition, she is regularly engaged as a guest conductor for youth and community festivals around the country; including several All-State ensembles including Vermont, Oklahoma, California, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island; she will conduct at the ACDA Eastern Division Conference and a Carnegie Hall Festival in 2024. Dr. Barber earned a BM in Vocal Performance from Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, OK, a MM in Choral Music Education from Mansfield University, in Mansfield, PA, and a Ph.D. in Music Education and Choral Conducting from The Florida State University.

Dr. A. Jan Taylor

A. Jan Taylor, educator, pianist, singer, and choral conductor is a native of Houston, Texas. Dr. Taylor 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 conducting from the University of Houston. She served as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Prairie View A&M University from 1996 until her retirement in 2022. 

As an educator, Dr. Taylor has 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 throughout the United States. Taylor frequently lectures on the performance practices and preservation of the Negro Spiritual. 

Dr. Taylor has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a singer and conductor, is former Assistant conductor of the Houston Symphony Chorus, serving under Charles Hausmann, and has prepared choruses and collaborated with renowned conductors and composers. For the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, she has coached and accompanied singers, and has conducted the Guild’ Chorus in concerts of spirituals, African American choral art 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, the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and in Memphis for the performance on the nationally televised MLK50 Commemoration event presented by the National Civil Rights Museum. 

Under Taylor’s direction, the Prairie View A&M University Concert Chorale and PV Chamber Singers have performed throughout the United States and abroad, including performances with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, international music festivals in Poland, Germany, and in South America. Taylor holds memberships in the Texas Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity or Women. 

 

Waltier Blocker

Waltier Blocker is the co-minister of music with his Creative and Performing Arts classmate, Dr Jay Fluellen where they serve together at the Historic African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas in Philadelphia. Walt is celebrating 32 years at St Thomas.

Walt attended both Westminster Choir College and the University of the Arts and studied Church music, Opera and Music Education. 

Walt Blocker is a classically trained singer and is a well-known music director, recording producer, song writer, vocal coach, and stage play actor. He often writes music for The Philly Pops Orchestra, The Washington National Cathedral, national music conventions, churches, and choirs around the country.

Walt Blocker has performed and worked with music directors, singers and musical artists of all kinds all over the United States and Europe. His infectious calming smile and attitude is a direct result of being an ordained minister in the Baptist Church at the age of 12.

Walt is known for DEMANDING EXCELLENCE. Walt's deep passion for music combined with years of various genres of music, experience, knowledge and most of all, love of God, brings out the best in everyone he works with.

Dr. Tammy Kernodle

Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle currently holds the rank of University Distinguished Professor of Music at Miami University (OH). She is a recognized musician and scholar whose research focuses on African American music, gender studies in music, and race in American popular culture.  Her scholarship has appeared in numerous journals, reference books and anthologies, and has also appeared in numerous award-winning documentaries including Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band, Girls in the Band, and Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool.  She has written for and consulted with The American Jazz Museum, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Walker Art Center, NPR, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, BBC, Smithsonian Folkways, and Carnegie Hall. Kernodle is the Past President of the Society for American Music and currently curates the I Dream a World Festival, multi-year initiative with New World Symphony that celebrates the legacy of Black composers. 

Arreon A. Harley-Emerson

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Arreon A. Harley-Emerson graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, with bachelor’s degrees in Music Theory & Composition and Vocal Performance (opera). There he studied piano with Dr. Lisa Weiss, voice with Mrs. Betty Ridgeway, and conducting with Dr. Elisa Koehler. He received master’s of music degrees in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance from the University of Delaware School of Music, studying Choral Conducting with Dr. Paul Head and Voice with Dr. Noel Archambeault. Mr. Harley-Emerson is a doctoral candidate and university fellow at the Boyer School of Music and Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia. He has had the opportunity to conduct in venues such as St. Peter’s  Basilica in Vatican City, The Kimmel Center for the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

 

Mr. Harley-Emerson has held a number of teaching and artistic director positions. He served as Director of Music and Operations of the Choir School of Delaware from June 2013 through December 2022. In this position, he was responsible for the musical components of the renowned Choir School program as well as serving as Executive Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. An avid researcher and presenter, Mr. Harley-Emerson has contributed a chapter to The Oxford Handbook for Choral Pedagogy entitled “The Gang Mentality of Choirs: How Choirs Have the Capacity to Change Lives.” He also has a TEDx Talk that bears the same title and contributed to the research literature regarding culturally responsive choral and classroom practice.

 

Committed to the principles of  Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Restorative Practice (ADEIBR), Mr. Harley-Emerson has established a thriving consultancy, Equity Sings, to assist arts and culture nonprofit organizations in remaining relevant in the 21st century. His work includes longitudinal studies, strategic planning, Board Excellence training, resource and asset development, and board diversification. Mr. Harley-Emerson currently serves as the National Chair of the American Choral Directors Association’s Diversity Initiatives Committee. An active member of the Wilmington, Delaware community, Mr. Harley-Emerson is on the Delaware Arts Alliance’s Board of Directors, where he serves as President of the Board and chairs the Advancement Committee, which is tasked with fundraising, membership development, and DEIB.

 

In addition to conducting and performing classical and operatic works, Mr. Harley-Emerson is an avid lover of musical theater. When not performing, you can find him indulging in his true passion…potatoes! He has never met a potato that he did not eat!

Maria A. Ellis

Maria A. Ellis is a passionate music educator and conductor. She is the owner of Girl Conductor LLC, which specializes in diverse music education resources and serves as the Artistic Director of The Sheldon’s All-Star Chorus and the University of Missouri-St. Louis Voices of Jubilation Ensemble. Maria is a highly sought after clinician, adjudicator and presenter throughout the United States and abroad. She holds a B.M. in Music Education emphasis on Voice (K-12 Certified) Degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis, Level 3 Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts Degree with emphasis on Choral Conducting from Webster University. Maria is the host of the Award-Winning Radio Show "Bach and Beyoncé" and "American Gospel with Maria A. Ellis" on Classic 107.3, The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis. This past June Maria made her Carnegie Hall Debut as a conductor and was awarded The St. Louis Arts and Education 2023 Arts Innovator Award as well as the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association 2023 Merit Award Winner. Maria is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Music Educators where she is the Chair Elect for Choral Music Education Council, Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, where she is chair of the RIDE (Race, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity) Committee and a member of the Chorus America Board. Maria is the wife of Marion Ellis and the mother of Aria, Kendal and Noah Ellis.

Dr. Whitney Covalle

Dr. Covalle is a singer, researcher, and choral music educator. Her research focuses on music education in the city, the aural-oral tradition, and the intersection of race and teaching music. Her dissertation research on Philadelphia experts teaching Black Gospel music was recently published in Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education (2022). She is a Postdoctoral Teaching and Learning Fellow in Music Education at Montclair State University. She was a choir director in public schools and community music organizations in urban settings for seventeen years, primarily in Chicago at Jones College Prep High School and Chicago Children’s Choir.

Jasmine Fripp

Jasmine Fripp is a Grammy-nominated music educator and the founder of The Passionate Black Educator. With almost a decade of teaching experience in public and charter schools, she has built award-winning choral programs and provided Black and Brown students various opportunities to excel within and outside the music world.

 

As The Passionate Black Educator, Fripp encourages and empowers music educators of all cultural backgrounds to create student-centered classroom environments that promote anti-racism, culturally-responsive pedagogy, and healing-centered teaching.  Additionally, Fripp’s ability to fuse hip-hop, choral music, student-centered dialogue, and creative teaching strategies has led to her being heavily sought after as a clinician by universities, school districts, and professional organizations worldwide.

Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz has taught vocal music at all grade levels, conducted school, community children’s, and honor choirs, and sung professionally in Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York. Since 2003, she has been the choral conductor at White Plains (NY) High School.

She was President of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA)  Eastern Region from 2020-2022. From 2016-2020, she was co-chair of the inaugural National ACDA Diversity Initiatives Committee, through which she made contributions to the Choral Journal and was a part of an ad hoc committee on audition guidelines for honor choirs and auditioned choirs. She served as the Assistant Conference Chair for the 2023 ACDA National Conference and as program chair for the Eastern Region ACDA 2016 and 2020 conferences and Honor Choirs Chair (2012 and 2014), where she initiated the Latino Repertoire and Chinese Repertoire Honor choirs. Cruz was NY State ACDA President (2014-2015) after serving as a Repertoire and Standards chair for both Women’s Choirs and Multicultural and Ethnic Perspectives. She has presented various workshops, aimed to bring quality repertoire to every situation, and fostered diversity of all kinds. Through this work, she has fostered systemic changes and championed wider viewpoints, resulting in more meaningful and relevant organization and profession. 

In a wish to contribute to the field of music education, Ms. Cruz was a writer on the Arts Standards Revision Committee for the New York State Education Department. Penelope Cruz is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and earned the Masters of Music degree from Eastman School of Music. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Vinroy D. Brown, Jr.

Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. holds credits in conducting, sacred music and music education. He is a member of the choral studies, music education and sacred music faculty at Westminster Choir College, where he conducts the Westminster Jubilee Singers and previously taught African American Choral Literature and in the Baccalaureate Honors Program. He was most recently a Lecturer of Music in the College of Communication & Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University where he developed coursework related to music and social justice. 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.

Dr. J. Donald Dumpson

Dr. J. Donald Dumpson, President/CEO of Diverse Arts Solutions and Minister of Arts at Arch Street Presbyterian Church, is the founding conductor of the Westminster Choir College Jubilee Singers, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) Community Chorus and presently the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale. He has taught at the Westminster Choir College, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, elementary general music and at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. 

 

Dr. Dumpson conducted the Black Diaspora Immersion Choir at the ACDA National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio 2023. Recent collaborations include a PEW Foundation project with composer Ari Benjamin Meyers, Curtis Institute of Music and Drexel University as well as projects with the Trinity Wall Street Downtown Voices and Bucks County Choral Society, Christmas in a Time of Isolation which aired on PBS in December 2020. A Soulful Christmas at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts 2011–2023, Chorus America 2019 convention closing concert, WXPN’s The Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul 2019, and The Movement Revisited by bassist Christian McBride. He made his Carnegie Hall choral debut in 2001, when the WCCJS performed Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess under the baton of the legendary Skitch Henderson. Dr. Dumpson has prepared choruses for several Philadelphia Orchestra performances including the Marian Anderson Awards, Julius Rudel conducting Florence Quivar; Porgy and Bess conducted by Bobby McFerrin and several Hannibal Lokumbe premiers Crucifixion & Resurrection: Nine Souls a TravellingOne Land, One River, One People Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; and Can You Hear God Crying with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, later released on Naxos ArkivMusic. 

 

He has conducted the NJSO and prepared the Community Chorus for performances of Mahler’s Symphony #2, Holst’s The Planets, and Al Jarreau and Peabo Bryson. He also prepared the NJSO chorus for Hannibal Lokumbe’s God, Mississippi, and a Man Called Evers and African Portraits. He has collaborated with Opera Philadelphia, Kathleen Battle’s The Underground Railroad and Breaking the Rules with Denyce GravesPatti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, and Take 6, and Porgy and Bess with Jason Tramn and the New Jersey State Opera. 

 

His board affiliations are the ACDA Eastern Division Community Choirs Coordinator and Board Member (ACDAEAST), Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB), PHLDiversity of the PCVB Adviser. His committee service includes the College Music Society (CMS) Committee for Community Engagement, VOCES8 Foundation Advisory Board. Dr. Dumpson’s memberships include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America (CA), College Music Society (CMS), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Life Time Member (NAACP), National Association for the Study and Performance of African American Music (NASPAAM), National Association for Negro Musicians (NANM).

Dr. Suzanne Hall

Suzanne Hall is Associate Professor of Music Education at Temple University where she teaches courses in general music and introduction to music education. Her previous teaching experiences include elementary general music (K-5) in Florida and Tennessee. Before arriving at Temple University, she served as the music education program coordinator for Augusta University and was an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida.

 

Dr. Hall’s primary research interests focus on pre-service music teacher training, music and language arts connections, general music and comprehensive musicianship. She is a frequent presenter at conferences and presents professional development workshops on music and literacy integration strategies for school districts across the country. She is co-author of Teaching Elementary Music: Integrative Strategies between Music and Other Subjects and General Music: A K12 Experience.  Her articles can be found in various journals including General Music Today and the Journal for Music Teacher Education. Dr. Hall is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), College Music Society (CMS) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA).   She also serves on the advisory board for the International Journal of Education and the Arts as well as the Cultural Inclusion Committee for the College Music Society.

 

Dr. Hall holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in music education from  University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL) and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Music Education from University of Memphis (Memphis, TN).

Dr. Rollo Dilworth

Rollo Dilworth is currently Vice Dean and Professor of Choral Music Education in the Department of Music Education and Therapy at Temple University’s Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He has served on the faculty since 2009. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in choral music education, Dilworth serves as Conductor for the Temple University Singing Owls Campus/Community Chorus, as Artistic Director for Singing City, and as Conductor for the School District of Philadelphia High School All-City Chorus. 

 

Over 200 of Dilworth’s choral compositions and arrangements have been published, and many are part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with the Hal Leonard Corporation.  He is an active clinician and frequent guest conductor of all-state, honors, festival, community, church and professional choirs.  He has researched, lectured, and presented extensively on various topics including African American choral music, composing/arranging for choirs, social justice, social emotional learning, cultural appropriation, urban music education, community engagement, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

 

Dilworth serves on the national boards of Chorus America, the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), and the Presser Foundation; he is an active life member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He also holds memberships with several other organizations, including the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Dr. Jillian Harrison-Jones

Jillian Harrison-Jones, from Rochester, NY, is the Music Director of MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting. She also has earned degrees and certifications from Lincoln University (PA), Roberts Wesleyan College (NY), and the University of Connecticut (CT). While in Connecticut, she held appointments as the Assistant Conductor of the Willimantic Symphony Orchestra as well as the Assistant Director of the UConn Women’s Choir. Jillian is currently a Professor of Music at Butler & Ball State Universities, and serves as Director of Choral Music at the historic Witherspoon Presbyterian Church (IN).

 

Jillian’s background is rooted in the African American Gospel experience, a tradition of jubilant and vibrant performance practice, which actively and consistently engages in hand clapping, choreography, soul-stirring song selections and audience participation. She is also a classically trained singer and choral conductor, anchored in formal training, technique and theory. She is very well-versed in choral music of various styles, genres, and complexities and has vast experience in leading large and small choral groups. Jillian has performed as a singer, conductor, and clinician with the Cincinnati Youth Choir and the Jeremy Winston Chorale in many countries around the world, including Japan, Ireland, the Czech Republic, South America, and France.

 

As a lyric soprano, vocal coach, conductor, educator, and published author, Jillian’s research interest is in the performance practice and scholarship of African American Spirituals and Gospel Music, and devotes her career to redeeming the forgotten and lesser known choral works of African American composers such as Glenn Burleigh, Undine Smith Moore, and more. Jillian is married to the Rev. Dr. Winterbourne Harrison-Jones, who serves as the Senior Pastor of the historic Witherspoon Presbyterian Church (IN) and Board President of the Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis.

Dr. Chantae D. Pittman

Dr. Chantae D. Pittman is the Director of Choral Activities at Campbell High School in Smyrna, GA in the Cobb County School District, and adjunct professor at Georgia College and State University. She has obtained degrees from Tennessee State University, VanderCook College of Music, and The University of Georgia.  During her 14-year career in choral music education she has taught students from elementary through high school. Due to that experience, and her demonstrated commitment to excellence in performance, she is highly respected as a choral clinician, music education consultant, instructor, grant writer, and adjudicator. She is very active as a soprano soloist and choral musician as a member of the Grammy award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Atlanta Women’s Chorus. Having performed with orchestras, choirs, and small vocal ensembles throughout her career as a musician, Dr. Pittman proudly continues to learn, grow, and develop as a musician and pedagogue. 

 

Elevation

The Delaware Academy of Vocal Art's flagship, all-professional performing ensemble, Elevation, is Delaware’s only professional vocal ensemble. Elevation performances fuse traditional, classical choral music with jazz, hip-hop, R&B, storytelling, and spoken word. Unique to our model and our repertoire, we consider the vocal arts to be more than just singing and are inclusive of the many ways the human voice is used in creative and artistic expressions.

Elevation self-produces performances throughout Delaware annually. Performances are produced in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County. In addition to these self-produced concerts, Elevation is presented by colleges and universities, arts and culture venues, and houses of worship.

More than just performers, Elevation’s Vocal Artists mentor our Vocal Arts Apprentices and support Delaware arts educator professional development and school-based residencies.

University of Delaware Wind Ensemble

The University of Delaware Wind Ensemble (UDWE) is the premier wind band at the University of Delaware and is comprised of approximately 50 of the finest woodwind, brass, and percussion student performers in the School of Music. 

The UD Wind Ensemble is dedicated to presenting a wide variety of repertoire—both full ensemble and chamber, from 17th century through the present day, established works in the band repertory to cutting edge contemporary literature. The ensemble is committed to artistic collaboration, and regularly works with School of Music faculty artists, guest performers, composers, and conductors, as well as non-musician artists and scholars. Additionally, the ensemble dedicates significant effort to the support of secondary school musicians, regularly inviting student groups to join the UDWE for side-by-side rehearsal and performance experiences. 

The UDWE is committed to supporting the continued development of quality literature for winds, having led and participated in numerous commissions by a diverse collection of composers. Recently, the UDWE completed a successful performance tour of Spain, giving concerts to sold-out audiences in Barcelona, Valencia, and Granada, as well as an invited performance at the 2019 Úbeda Festival of Music and Dance. 

The ensemble was selected to perform at the 2020 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Eastern Division Conference, and recently gave an invited performance at the 2022 World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Conference in Prague. The UDWE is honored to have won second place in the 2021 American Prize for Band/Wind Ensemble Performance College/University Division.

Virginia State University Concert Choir

The Virginia State University Concert Choir first achieved musical eminence under the leadership of J. Harold Montague. So effective and successful was he introducing and developing an a cappella tradition that the choir soon came to be known on the tour circuit as the Virginia State A Cappella Choir. This love for artistic unaccompanied singing was nurtured by Montague’s successors, Mozart Frazier, Aldrich Adkins, Oscar Henry, Eugene Simpson, and Carl Harris, Johnnella L. Edmonds, and Patrick McCoy.
 
The choir frequently collaborates with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in the presentation of such major works as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms and Verdi Requiems, Bach’s Magnificat, and Undine Smith Moore’s Pulitzer Prize nominated oratorio Scenes from the Life of a Martyr. The VSU Concert Choir has augmented its live performances with Yuletide presentations on the CBS affiliate, WTVR, Richmond, Virginia and has recorded various choral works by Hall Johnson (Eugene Simpson, conductor), and Undine Smith Moore (Carl Harris, conductor). This ensemble has also performed for the Virginia Music Educators Association Annual Professional Development Conference, the National Black Music Caucus Conference, and the Southern Region Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. 
 
Under the recent leadership of Craig L. Robertson, the VSU Concert Choir continues its choral legacy. This regeneration of this ensemble has afforded them opportunities to present performances for the VMEA All-Virginia Chorus, Bent Not Broken Music Conference, and a future performance at the University of California-Los Angeles. 

Kimberly Waigwa

Kimberly Waigwa is a thinker of thoughts, meower of tunes, and educator dedicated to intentional music making at the intersections of racial justice and queer advocacy.

Waigwa has served as a facilitator and clinician to the choral department at Temple University and the Choir School of Delaware. Recently, they contributed to a GALA Choruses webinar focused on programming and performing music of the global majority, as well as participated in the inaugural Chorus America Choral Executive Leadership Academy. 

As a conductor, Waigwa was selected for the National ACDA Conference masterclass both as an undergraduate and graduate student. They received their masters of music in Choral Conducting from Temple University and is now the artistic Director of One Voice Mixed Chorus. 

When they aren’t waving their arms, they sing as a vocal artist with Elevation of Elevate Vocal Arts. They are a lover of Star Trek, oil pastels, long walks, and podcasts. 

 

Coty Raven Morris

Coty Raven Morris is a proud alumnus of Texas State University- San Marcos and Michigan State University where she attained a Masters in Choral Conducting.

Along with her work at Portland State University as the Professor of Choir, Music Education, and Social Justice, she is also the Founder of Being Human Together (BHT), a community rooted in music education striving to normalize difficult topics in our field through conversation and connection. She also serves as the Community Choir Chair for the NW American Choral Directors Association and the Choral Chair for the National Association for Music Education. 

Prior to this, she was the Director of Choirs at Crosby High School in the Houston area and has served as the Outreach Choir Director at the MSU Community Music School and Music Director at Grand Ledge United Methodist Church. Her choirs received consistent Sweepstakes & Division I ratings at UIL and choral festivals. A newly published author, composer, and Host on All Classical Radio, Morris is a sought after clinician, artist, and speaker across the country. Her most recent acknowledgments include being a nominee for the Portland State University George C Hoffman Faculty award as well as a Finalist for the 2024 Music Educators Grammy!

Catherine Dehoney

As President and CEO since 2015, Catherine Dehoney brings a wealth of experience in arts management and fundraising. Prior to this role, she served as the executive director for development at the Castleton Festival. Before the Castleton Festival, Dehoney was the chief development officer at Chorus America for over ten years. Prior to that, she was senior director of development at Gallaudet University. During her nine years there, she served as a member of the president’s management team and the institutional advancement team. Her other experience includes capital campaign management, development consulting for a variety of arts nonprofits, and fundraising positions at the League of American Orchestras, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the Friends of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance Board and the Development Advisory Committee for SMU-DataArts.  Dehoney received her BA in music from the College of William and Mary and continues to be an avid singer, having sung professionally in church choirs and with a jazz band.

Robyn Hilger

A seasoned non-profit executive, Robyn Hilger brings a wealth of experience in administration, fundraising, grant writing and strategic innovation to her work. She graduated with high honors from Oklahoma City University with a bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education. Robyn has a master’s degree in School Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher and was named the Teacher of the Year for the State of Oklahoma in 2007. She is an adjunct professor in the Masters of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership program at Oklahoma City University.

 

Robyn began her career as an instrumental music teacher. In 2007, she joined the staff of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools as the Chief Programs Officer. In 2014, she was named Executive Director of El Sistema Oklahoma. El Sistema Oklahoma facilitates the development of empowered youth who use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. Before joining ACDA, Robyn served as the Director of Community Engagement for ReMerge of Oklahoma County. ReMerge is a leader in developing solutions in criminal justice reform specifically focused on women facing felony offenses who are mothers. Robyn joined ACDA as the National Executive Director in September 2021.

St. Thomas Gospel Choir

The A. E. Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir is a Christ centered music ministry that spreads the gospel and edifies Jesus Christ through music. 
The St. Thomas Gospel Choir's members currently consist of 40 spirit filled, energetic, and anointed musicians and singers. With evangelism being a very important factor in the choir's music ministry, the St. Thomas Gospel Choir shares their music at over 50 services, programs, concerts, and celebrations every year. 
STGC has traveled to many cities throughout the United States and as far as San Jose and Limon in Costa Rica. The STGC had several performances throughout Rome, Venice, and Florince Italy in July of 2018. 
The music ministry of STGC has already reached thousands of thirsty souls and continues to reach many more. STGC released full music compilation CDs in 2003 "Worship & Praise", 2006 "The Anointing Makes the Difference", 2009 and re-released in 2015 "Glorious Is Thy Name", 2015 "Jesus", and their 5th released in 2018 "The Jubiland Sounds of Christmas."

Darryl Taylor

Darryl Taylor’s performances have been noted for their compelling artistry and authority. His is an international career highlighted by performances of art song, opera and oratorio. His repertoire extends from Bach to Britten, and beyond.

Recent performance highlights include singing the title role in Phillip Glass’Akhnaten for Long Beach Opera; L.A. Opera’s groundbreaking production of Dido and Aeneas; Pergolesi and Vivaldi Stabat Mater with Lyra Baroque Orchestra of St. Paul, Minnesota; performances with the Carmel Bach Festival; the Bach Collegium San Diego under Richard Egarr, and performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Havana, Cuba, and Shanghai, China.

Founder of the African American Art Song Alliance, his recordings on Naxos and Albany record labels have received lavish praise.Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams was a Number One Critic’s Choice for American Record Guide for the year 2001. Complete Solo Cantatas by Rosanna Scalfi Marcello (Naxos Records) was named a Critics Choice by Opera News Magazine.

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