One of the hottest topics of discussion online in the last few weeks in the choral world has been the topic of cultural appropriation. Who should be allowed to perform, compose or arrange which kinds of music? Where do we draw the line? Does intent matter? What should a conductor do if they are worried about how a performance will be interpreted? In our chat, Brandon and I make no attempt to define what is or is not appropriation. That is not our focus. Instead we center on the WAY we should communicate about this important topic as professionals and as fellow human beings.
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 Concert Chorale Men’s Ensemble. In addition to his conducting duties, he teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in conducting, choral arranging, and choral music education. He appears regularly as a conductor, clinician, composer in residence, collaborative pianist, and lecturer for conferences, conventions, collegiate choirs, church choirs, choral festivals, and workshops.
As a proponent of choral singing to help build community, his research interests include organizing choirs for the homeless, social and physical effects of choral singing on seniors and field experience for music therapy and choral music education students. For three years, he co-directed three community choral partnerships: The Tallahassee Senior Choir, RAA Middle School Chorus, and the MTC Women’s Prison Glee Club. He was recently invited by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale to serve as the composer in residence and community engagement lead for their Giving Voice to the Voiceless program. The Chorale premiered his commissioned work, “I Search,” during their 35th Anniversary Summer Justice Concert series where he served as assistant conductor, pre-concert lecturer, and guest pianist. Boyd used a text written by “Poet V,” a participant in the Voces de Libertad program at the Santa Fe County Youth Development Center, to set to music. His duties also included organizing and conducting the Interfaith Community Shelter Street Choir, creating a safe place for men, women, and children experiencing homelessness within the Santa Fe community.
An active composer and arranger, his music is sung regularly by ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. In 2018, the “Brandon Boyd Choral Series” was launched as a division of Hinshaw Publishing Company. His music also appears in GIA Publications’ catalog.
He holds a Ph.D. in choral music education and M.M. in choral conducting from Florida State University, where he studied with Drs. André J. Thomas and Judy S. Bowers. He 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.