Episode 122: The Problem of “Racializing” Music with Contraband

On this episode you will get to listen in to a portion of an episode I recently recorded for the Contraband Wagon. Contraband is a podcast that hosts exclusively conversations about race and racism. Will Fullwood, the host of the show invited me on to share some the experiences that I have had in conversations with colleagues who may be “missing the point” when they try to connect certain types of music and certain musical practices to a skin color, or the social construct that is “race.” One of those topics of course, is music literacy. Is “centering literacy” akin to “centering whiteness? or “white supremacy.” I say no, but Will and I discuss what those terms mean. We also explore the examples of Opera and its history of exclusion and racism, while ALSO remembering that it is not a “white” art form. Will’s own background as a classical and jazz musician who ALSO spends hours a week discussing race and racism make this an interesting and insightful conversation.

Chris Munce and Will Fullwood on Contraband Wagon
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Episode 122
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I try to give people grace in this space because so many people are new to it.

“Contraband”
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Related Episodes

Episode 113: Are We Doing Anti-Racism Wrong? with Dr. Sheena Mason

*Racism* is the social construction that necessitates our continued & (mostly) blind belief in & upholding of “race” ideology & its correlated languages/practices. We just continue to fool ourselves into thinking that “race” is *just* “skin color,” phenotype, DNA, or culture.

Dr. Sheena Mason

With the rise of anti-racist discourse and initiatives, many people are unintentionally promoting racist ideas and missing opportunities to identify and celebrate functional diversity, or diversity of thought over perceived diversity based largely on phenotype and social constructions. Dr. Sheena Mason earned her PhD from Howard University. She is now at SUNY Oneonta in Oneonta, NY, as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in African American literature. Dr. Mason has been thinking about and working on ways to discuss race and racism in a way that she believes can move us in the right direction as a human race. Sheena and I discuss the ways these ideas could be the next evolution of race deconstruction in education and in culture. We also discuss how this can be accomplished WITHOUT ignoring the injustice that has flown from the belief in race.

Dr. Sheena Mason

The core tenets of the Theory of Racelessness are as follows:

  • Race does not exist in nature.
  • Race does not exist as a social construction.
  • Everyone is raceless.
  • Racism includes the belief in race as biological or a construction and the practice of racialization.
  • Racism is not everywhere and is not the cause for every perceived “racial” disparity or negative interaction.
  • Racism can be overcome.
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Episode 113

While not rooted in biology or science, she explains how the concept of race continues to be naturalized and viewed as something “of nature.” The camouflaging of racism as race remains, in large part, why many people and institutions have failed to partially, entirely, or meaningfully address racism even when actively participating in anti-racist efforts. Once liberated from race(ism), you will feel lighter, uplifted, seen, and valued.

Signs that Some Race Activism May be Misguided (If the shoe fits)

  • Does it insist that racial categories are real, useful, or impossible to rid ourselves of? (Making it seem as if the way a person looks is the most important part of their contribution.)
  • Does it seem to shy away from the celebration of progress?
  • Does it treat the world as if it is a fixed pie through the use of reductionist racial category quotas? (Black, White, Brown, Indigenous) or even worse, a racial binary? (white, non-white.)
  • Does it confuse or conflate real phenomena such as culture, class, ethnicity, and ancestry with the fiction of race? (Like co-equal humans, or as “avatars” for a racialized group?)
Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Theory of Racelessness educates organizations & institutions on how racism masquerades as race in society.

PREORDER THE BOOK

Dr. Sheena Mason earned her Ph.D. in English literature “with distinction” in May 2021 from Howard University. She joined the faculty at SUNY Oneonta in Oneonta, NY, in August 2021, as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in African American literature. She has taught at the College of William and Mary, California Lutheran University, and Howard University. Her book titled Theory of Racelessness: A Case for Philosophies of Antirace(ism) is scheduled to be released by Palgrave Macmillan on September 23, 2022. Additionally, she co-authored “Harlem Renaissance: An Interpretation of Racialized Art and Ethics,” a chapter of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art examining what, if anything, is the proper role of race in the aesthetic productions of or about members of racialized populations.

Dr. Mason works actively to improve and free our language and, therefore, our thoughts. In “No Malcolm X in My History Text” (2018), she examines the iterations of the folklore figure Staggerlee, the figure’s relation to the public sphere, and racism. Ultimately, she concludes that Staggerlee persists in the American imagination and is a simultaneously and paradoxically subversive and stereotypical figure, highlighting the pervasiveness of racism and society’s response to racism. In her scholarship, Dr. Mason consistently and unwaveringly works to promote anti-racism through her publications and teaching.

Vist Dr. Mason on YouTube

Episode 106: If Every One Agrees, We Can’t Have the “Difficult Conversations” with Micah Horton

Many people think they are speaking truth to power, but they are really just preaching to the choir. This episode deals with the role of political discourse in the lives of all citizens, and educators in particular. The future of education is hanging in the balance right now as I see it, based on the highly charged political rhetoric related to public or state school governance, as well how these issues intersect with “the culture wars.” We can’t afford to oversimplify, or “Meme-ify” issues of Educational Equity, and access for students to high quality education. Micah Horton came in person to the studio, which always makes for an easier conversation. Often times, we buy in to the incentives of social media and signal our positions, rather than actually engaging in conversations about solutions. And sadly, the next generation sees our refusal to engage, and may be modeling it.

Micah Horton
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Episode 106

Micah Horton is the director of choirs at Olathe North High School and serves as the Director of Worship Music at Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City. Micah holds a Masters of Music Education from the UMKC Conservatory, where his research focused on Demographics & Perceptions of Racial Diversity in Middle & High School Choir Programs. He also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Music Composition and Psychology from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts. As a performer, he has been featured at state & national conventions, and has appeared on numerous recordings as both a vocalist and instrumentalist. He frequently gigs & accompanies on guitar, electric bass, and mandolin. Micah currently sings tenor with Te Deum and with the Tallgrass Chamber Choir. He has served on numerous building, regional, and state-level committees relating to DEI, teacher retention, and choral literature selection/performance practice. From 2017-19, Micah served as the Resource Chair for Multicultural Perspectives for the Missouri Choral Directors Association, and was the 2021 Prelude Award recipient for MCDA. He is a New Jersey native, proud husband & father, and a Philadelphia sports fan.

The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com
Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com

Episode 128: The Strange Relationship between Choral Music Ed and Vocal Ped with Dr. Sharon Hansen

One of the oddest things about Vocal Music Education as a profession, is how little we are required to learn in our schooling about the voice. Vocal Pedagogy courses are often the purview of voice performance majors, which is very odd considering how many more students will be impacted with vocal instruction by a person with a Music Ed degree.

Episode 104: Don’t Abandon the Canon! With Dr. Anika Prather

Dr. Anika Prather

Like many topics in education, we have strains of the same philosophical divides in music education as we do in other areas of education. This week, my guest Dr. Anika Prather is the perfect person to address and offer a bridge to one of those divides. She has a background in both Music Education as well as Theater and Literature. In this episode we discuss educational philosophy related to the “Western Canon” in both literature and in music. Trying to make sense of the various approaches that range from “Classical Education” to the “Decolonize the Classroom” movement. The discussion centers around the idea that both extremes when taken as wholly sufficient philosophies miss some very important aspects of history. Maybe a hybrid approach is needed.

“If we are properly decolonizing education, it should change HOW we teach, not WHAT we teach.”

Dr. Anika Prather

No teacher can teach ALL of the repertoire from all of the cultures, and we shouldn’t lose sleep over it. What matters is that we instill curiosity in our students to go out beyond our classrooms and seek more.

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Episode 104
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Dr. Anika T. Prather earned her B.A. from Howard University in elementary education.  She also has earned several graduate degrees in education from New York University and Howard University.  She has a Masters in liberal arts from St. John’s College (Annapolis) and a PhD in English, Theatre and Literacy Education from the University of Maryland (College Park).  Her research focus is on building literacy with African American students through engagement in the books of the Canon and self-published her book Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African American Students Reading Great Books Literature recently.  She has served as a teacher, supervisor for student teachers, director of education and Head of School.  Currently she teaches in the Classics department at Howard University and is the founder of The Living Water School, located in Southern Maryland.  The Living Water School is a unique Christian school for independent learners, based on the educational philosophies of Classical Education and the Sudbury Model.  She is married to Damon M. Prather an engineer and has an MBA (Wisconsin-Madison). He also serves as the financial manager of the school.   She and her husband Damon, have three young children, and they reside in the DC metropolitan area.

The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Anika is also a performing artist and incorporates, music, drama and storytelling into most of her presentations. She has produced and written the songs for her 2 jazz albums and her music can be heard at https://soundcloud.com/anika_tene .

Visit Dr. Prather’s YouTube channel
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Episode 103: Finding My Voice with Brittney E. Boykin

In Collaboration with Oxford University Press to Bring You Great Conversations

B.E. Boykin

In the next edition of the Oxford Series, I am excited to bring you a new voice in their catalog, Brittney E. Boykin. I had an open and refreshing conversation with her about her journey through the choral world as a conductor, teacher and then composer. Navigating life in the choral world as a Black Woman, cultural sharing vs. appropriation, the sea-change that was 2020, work-life balance and more. “When I think of diversity within the classical music world, there is diversity within sound, within ensembles, within colors.” – BE Boykin

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Episode 103

Find Brittney on Graphite Publishing

When I think of diversity within the classical music world, there is diversity within sound, within ensembles, within colors.

B.E. Boykin

Find Brittney’s Publishing Company, Klavia Press

The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

B.E. (Brittney Elizabeth) Boykin is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and comes from a musical family. At the age of 7, she began piano lessons and continued her studies through high school under the tutelage of Mrs. Alma Sanford. Mrs. Sanford guided her through various competitions, such as the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition where she garnered 1st place for 3 consecutive years in the local competition, as well as being awarded The Washington Post “Music and Dance Award” in the spring of 2007.”

Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!

Boykin then pursued her classical piano studies at Spelman College under the leadership of Dr. Rachel Chung. After graduating Spelman College in 2011 with a B.A. in Music, Boykin continued her studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. During her time at Westminster, she was awarded the R and R Young Composition Prize just a few months shy of graduating with her M.M. in Sacred Music with a concentration in choral studies in May, 2013.

Enter Choralosophy at Checkout for a 5% discount when you shop for folders, robes and other gear for your choir program! www.mymusicfolders.com and www.mychoirrobes.com

Boykin’s choral piece, “We Sing as One,” was commissioned to celebrate Spelman College’s 133rd Anniversary of its founding at the 2014 Founders Day Convocation. She has also been featured as the conductor/composer-in-residence for the 2017 Harry T. Burleigh Commemorative Spiritual Festival at Tennessee State University. Boykin has been commissioned and collaborated with several organizations, including a number of ACDA divisions, the Minnesota Opera and the Kennedy Center. She obtained her PhD from Georgia State University with an emphasis in Music Education and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Episode 125: Making the Case for Choir with Tom Metzger

Advocacy Episode! Our jobs as music educators, sadly, MUST include the ability to persuasively and passionately make the case in our communities that group singing opportunities are crucial. That includes keeping choirs in our churches and in our schools and community organizations. It includes having conversations with local leaders, fundraising and more. But, what makes …

Episode 124: Teaching in a Famous Classroom with Myles Finn

So, what happens when you post a video on the internet from inside your classroom and it goes viral with millions and millions of views?! It’s up to you! This happened Myles Finn and he decided to use his powers for good, creating a TikTok account with approaching SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND followers that shows life …

Episode 124: Teaching in a Famous Classroom with Myles Finn

So, what happens when you post a video on the internet from inside your classroom and it goes viral with millions and millions of views?! It’s up to you! This happened Myles Finn and he decided to use his powers for good, creating a TikTok account with approaching SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND followers that shows life …

Episode 98: You Are Your Story with Brent Morden, Michelle Pollino and Angel Eduardo

A New Initiative from a New Organization: FAIR in the Arts is a program from the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism

We have to think about group identity and immutable characteristics, and how they shape our experience as humans in the world. We can’t ignore those things. But they are not the only things. We need to have a conversation about what we LEAD with in these conversations. Do we lead with the things we can’t choose about ourselves, or do lead with our common humanity. To me, it’s a question of seeing the human across from in our classrooms, our teacher’s lounges, or even on social media as complex and deeper than their appearance. My recent ChoralNet blog goes addresses this as well.

It is not enough to attack injustice. We have to cultivate justice. This STARTS with patience, humility and grace.

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Episode 98
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

On the Choralosophy Podcast I have spent a good deal of time and energy discussing the topic of “identity” in the arts, through a special category called “Choral Music: A Human Art Form” and how differing philosophies impact how the topic is discussed. In my view, there are major problems in the world stemming from philosophical illiteracy. Namely, what seems to be a lack of awareness that there are different ways to discuss societal problems, and how to move competently between them. As leaders of diverse groups, I see this is a non-optional skill for choral directors. We need to recognize that the centering of one’s immutable characteristics as the primary feature of one’s identity, is but one of many philosophies of finding or describing the “self.” Some find identity most strongly with their culture, nationality, religion, profession, school of thought, or even with the rejection of group identity itself. And that’s ok.

Episode 96: “Real Men” Sing? with Braeden Ayres

Dr. Braeden Ayres is a teacher, conductor and composer with a passion point related to concepts of masculinity in choral music. What stereotypes are we stuck too, what challenges to we face when discussing it, and what are the best ways to engage young adolescent boys in our school choral programs? We discussed some of the findings from his dissertation research on this topic as well as brainstorming ways to recruit and retain boys, without pandering to pre-conceived ideas of masculinity. Join us for this important discussion, and add your own thoughts on the Choralosophers Facebook page.

Episode 96
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Braeden Ayres

Find Braeden

The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Dr. Braeden Ayres (“Bray-den Airz”) is a composer, conductor, and music educator who believes that music and singing are for all people. Dr. Ayres currently teaches music at Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois, and is the choir director at First Christian Church in Macomb, Illinois. As an artist, teacher, and conductor, his mission is to empower people, explore the human experience, and celebrate the human voice as a tool for self-expression. As a composer, his works vary widely in style, with pieces written especially for changing voices, high school choirs, and collegiate, community, and professional ensembles. Dr. Ayres frequently writes original texts for his work as well.

Dr. Ayres’s music has been performed at national and state-level ACDA honor choirs, all-states, and at local choir concerts across the United States. His music is published with MusicSpoke, Carl Fischer, Hal Leonard Music, and Augsburg Fortress. In 2021, he was named the winner of the “Emily Crocker Emerging Composer Competition,” sponsored by the Texas Choral Director’s Association and Hal Leonard Music. Dr. Ayres holds a Ph.D. in Choral Music Education from Florida State University, where his doctoral dissertation studied the history and repertoire of choral compositions for changing male voices. Dr. Ayres also holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Northern Colorado and a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Baylor University.

A look back to a related topic. “A Voice in Transition” with Theo Wren

http://www.ryanmain.com is a great source of Sheetmusic on demand. Enter Choralosophy at checkout for 10% off!

Before completing his doctorate, Dr. Ayres served on the vocal faculty at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, teaching 6-12 grade students with a team of exceptional educators. In his time at DCC, the campus’s choral program tripled to over 500 students; over 100 singers were accepted into various Middle School All-State, High School All-State, and ACDA National Honor Choirs; and the Performing Arts Department was a finalist for the “Thomas S. Crawford Team of the Year Award.” Dr. Ayres also served as the Assistant Artistic Director of “Out Loud: The Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus” and was an inaugural board member of the Colorado Middle School All-State Choir. Dr. Ayres is proud to bring his passion for education into his work as a composer and choral clinician.

Episode 94: Singing High, Singing “Us” with Patrick Dailey

Patrick Dailey

An episode inspired by the Oxford Handbook of Vocal Studies by Dr. Alisha Jones called “Singing High: Black Countertenors and Gendered Sound in Gospel Performance.” The article dropped into my email box and I immediately thought, THIS is a podcast. I was so right. Patrick’s story is not only fascinating, but his experience is emblematic of the intersectional concept. Namely, that Patrick’s race AND sexuality impact the way audiences receive him. The perceptions constantly swaying between “singing high like a woman” to presenting as the “Good Baptist Man.” You also appreciate the in depth discussion of the history of music in the Black Church in America. Join me for this enlightening conversation as Patrick shares his story, and reflects on the article.

The fact of the matter is that you are already gonna present something—even if it
is in the classical audience—you are already gonna present something to them
that might be foreign to them already. You don’t wanna turn them off at the very
beginning.

Patrick Dailey (Quoted in the paper by Dr. Jones)
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Episode 94
Celebrating Black History Month

Patrick Dailey has been described as possessing “a powerful and elegant countertenor voice” (Los Angeles Daily News) and a “VOCAL STANDOUT” (Boston Classical Review). His artistry was identified early through the national NAACP ACT-SO Competition (2005 and 2006), the NFAA ARTS, and Grady-Rayam Prize In Sacred Music of the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. Dailey made his professional operatic debut with Opera Saratoga as the first countertenor member of the company’s Young Artist program and was the first countertenor invited to Opera New Jersey’s Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist program. Operatic repertoire includes Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Belize in Eötvös’ Angels in America. He performs regularly with Harlem Opera Theater, ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (NC), Soulful Symphony, Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. On January 19, 2009, Mr. Dailey sang a featured duet with Aretha Franklin as the finale for the annual Let Freedom Ring Celebration at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Additionally, he has been a featured artist with Cook, Dixon, and Young (formally Three Mo’ Tenors) since 2012. 

The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Mr. Dailey his west coast operatic debut as Satirino in Cavalli’s La Calisto with Pacific Opera Project of Los Angeles in 2014. The following year, he debuted with Opera Memphis in their historic first production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and ‪won first place in Opera Ebony’‬s 1st Benjamin Matthews Vocal Competition. Later that year, Mr. Dailey performed the opening invocation for the ‪2015 Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, GA, ‬the invitation of Trumpet Foundation founder/CEO and Civil Right legend, Xernona Clayton. 

YouTube version

In the summers of 2015 and 2016, Mr. Dailey was a young artist with the American Bach Soloists. Soon after he sang the world premiere Frederick Douglas: The Making of an American Prophet composed by Grammy Award winning country songwriter Marcus Hummon and debuted with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Moody. Additionally in 2016, Mr. Dailey made international debuts in the UK and Brazilian premieres of Hasse’s Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra with the Woodhouse Opera Festival and Il Festival de Ópera Barroca de Belo Horizonte and he made his Subculture NYC debut at the invitation of Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown as a part of Brown’s broadway cabaret residency. In the spring of 2017, he debuted with Opera Louisiane as Telemaco in Michael Borowitz’s world premiere jazz-gospel orchestration of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and debuted with the Grand Rapids Symphony singing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms under the baton of Michael Christie. Soon after, Mr. Dailey returned to the U.K. that fall for the international premiere of Soosan Lolavar’s I.D. Please in the Tete a Tete New Opera Festival in London. In the fall of 2018, he sang the role of Mini-B/Boris the Boar in the world premiere of Dan Visconti and Cerise Jacobs’s Permadeath: A Video Game Opera with White Snakes Projects in Boston, MA to great acclaim. Mr. Dailey became the first countertenor to appear with Shreveport Opera singing Kyle in Robert Paterson’s Three Way: Masquerade in 2019. The remainder of his 2018/2019 season included debuts and appearances with the Austin Baroque Orchestra the IRIS Orchestra of Memphis, TN, Music By Women Festival, and Boston Early Music Festival. Since then, Mr. Dailey made debuts with the Chicago Philharmonic and Missouri Symphony, was a featured soloist at the 2020 ACDA Southern Regional Conference, and debuted at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Find Patrick on Social Media

Mr. Dailey is featured in Fatherhood, a documentary directed by award winning London based director, Ben Gregor, which premiered on FUSE TV in 2019. He is also a featured on recording projects such as the debut album of acclaimed duo and super producers Louis York (Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly), American Griots (2019), Adrian Dunn’s Redemption Live in Chicago (2020), and the self-titled release from The Aeolians of Oakwood University under the direction of Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand (2020). 

The William Crimm Singers

Growing in his reputation as a scholar, Mr. Dailey was invited to the Center for Black Music Research’s inaugural Black Vocality Symposium in 2013 giving a performative presentation entitled “The Anatomy of the Black Voice: Peculiarities, Challenges, and Regional Differences”. Since that time, he been Artist-in-Residence, masterclass clinician, and guest lecturer at Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, the University of Arkansas, and Vanderbilt University among others. Mr. Dailey was lead soloist and vocal music curator of the official MLK50 Commemoration at the National Civil Rights Museum in 2018 in Memphis, TN. In the fall of 2019, he presented at the inaugural Harry T. Burleigh Week organized by the Burleigh Legacy Alliance of Burleigh’s hometown of Erie, PA and regularly presents lectures and programs in conjunction with the organization. In June 2020, Mr. Dailey curated and presented a virtual clinic and webinar entitled “A Stirring in My Soul: The Negro Spiritual and Social Justice Movements” presented by the National Museum of African American Music. 

Mr. Dailey is a 2012 graduate of Morgan State University and received his master of music from Boston University. He currently serves on the voice faculty of Tennessee State University where he established the Big Blue Opera Initiatives (BBOI) and the annual Harry T. Burleigh Spiritual Festival. Additionally, he is the founding artistic director of the W. Crimm Singers (aka Wakanda Chorale), professional ensemble in residence of BBOI, and is a co-founding member of historically informed progressive, crossover ensemble, Early Music City. 

Mr. Dailey serves on the boards of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, the International Florence Price Festival, Nashville Rep, and the Artistic Planning Committee of the Nashville Symphony. He also serves as community project curator with Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble and arts and creative arts coordinator of the NAACP-Nashville Branch. A passionate advocate for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, he is a consultant on HBCU initiatives with Opera America, Early Music America, and New Music USA and is an artist ambassador of the Music Inclusion Coalition. He is on the faculty of the Narnia Festival of Narni, Italy leading a program on African American Concert and Sacred Music, and is the program director of the Nashville Opera- Big Blue HBCU Fellowship, an HBCU initiative of the the company in partnership with TSU. Most recently, Dailey was named to the 2020 class of the Nashville Black 40 Under 40 and he was recognized for Outstanding Service from the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts of Washington, DC. Additionally, he is a 2020 recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

Mr. Dailey holds membership in the National Association of Negro Musicians, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, inc

Episode 93: Togetherness Activists with Micah Hendler

The Third Anniversary Episode of the Choralosophy Podcast!

The serendipity of having this episode ready to publish this week, on the third anniversary of the show is incredible. After all, three years ago I was motivated to launch this show because I saw a need stemming from how divided we were becoming as a nation. In the music world, we are more polarized than many due to political alignments and loyalties.

Episode 93

Micah Hendler is the director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, whose mission is the bringing together of Palestinian and Jewish children together to make music and make connections. He is also a member of the music team at Braver Angels, which is a non-partisan organization that creates events and content designed to bring Republicans and Democrats together. His entire musical identity has been built around the idea that music CAN bring people together that often think they will never reconcile.

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Micah Hendler
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Micah Hendler (Forbes 30 Under 30 for Music) is a musical changemaker working to harness the power in each of our voices to make a difference.

Micah is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project featured for its innovative musicianship and integrity of purpose and process from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to the New York Times. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, the chorus empowers young singers from East and West Jerusalem to speak and sing their truths as they become leaders in their communities and inspire singers and listeners around the world to join them in their work for peace, justice, inclusion, and equality.

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Micah is a Founding Partner of Raise Your Voice Labs, a creative culture transformation company that helps organizations, companies, and communities realign and reengage around a shared vision and build cultures of resilience, adaptability, inclusive leadership, and supportive accountability. In the Lab, any team can unleash their creative and collaborative abilities, as they work together to reimagine what is possible and create a stunningly honest and inspiring video that can serve as a musical north star in their pursuit of that future.

Micah has founded, directed, sung with, or played with dozens of musical ensembles of varying global styles, including the Yale Whiffenpoofs. He has studied Community Singing and CircleSinging with GRAMMY-winning composers Ysaye Barnwell and Roger Treece, and uses these two methodologies and others to open up the concept of what a chorus can do and who should be in it.

Micah has also been involved in dialogue work for more than 15 years and has written and presented in many local and global forums about his work with the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, including sharing the keynote presentation of the East-West Philosophers’ Conference with leading Palestinian intellectual and peacemaker Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, as they explored together how sound can be used as a tool to create shared spaces in Jerusalem.

Micah writes for Forbes.com on music, society, and social change in a global context and serves in volunteer leadership capacities in both the Justice Choir and Braver Angels grassroots movements. He currently lives in Washington, DC.

Episode 91: Music is My Culture with Trevor Weston

You need to create music that reflects you. Start with who you are. I tend to tell students not to filter out aspects of their lives from their music. If you start with who you are, then you are the only one who can come up with the best solutions.

Trevor Weston
Trevor Weston

Trevor Weston is a singer, organist, composer and professor of composition and African American Music History at Drew University. We discussed how music, culture and society intersect, as well as the importance of making distinctions between race and culture in the context of music. Often times, our musical experiences, our backgrounds, and our education creates our culture. We share more of that that we realize with more people than we realize. One of Trevor’s learned life lessons involves recognizing the power music has to connect to our common humanity and experiences. Don’t miss this insightful and uplifting episode.

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Episode 91
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Trevor Weston’s music has been called a “gently syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling.” (Detroit Free Press) Weston’s honors include the George Ladd Prix de Paris from the University of California, Berkeley, the Arts and Letters Award in Music and a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and residencies from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the MacDowell Colony and a residency with Castle of our Skins at the Longy School of Music. Weston co-authored with Olly Wilson, chapter 5 in the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington, “Duke Ellington as a Cultural Icon” published by Cambridge University Press. Weston’s work, Juba for Strings won the Sonori/New Orleans Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition. Trevor Weston won the first Emerging Black Composers Project sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Symphony. 

YouTube version

A list of ensembles performing Trevor Weston’s compositions include Roomful of Teeth, The Boston Children’s Chorus, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue Choir, The Starling Chamber Orchestra, Mallarme Chamber Players, The Providence Singers, Chicago Sinfonietta, Seraphic Fire, The Tufts Chamber Chorus, Ensemble Pi, The Amernet String Quartet, The UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus, The Washington Chorus, Trilogy: An Opera Company, and The Manhattan Choral Ensemble. In addition to his creative work, Weston completed the re-orchestration of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto for the Center for Black Music Research in 2010.

Episode 88: Music is Inherently Raceless with Theron Jenkins

Episode 88: Theron Jenkins

When discussing how music and education intersects with race, gender and culture, I find that we are often pretty quick to apply reductionist labels to the idea or concept. For example, phrases I have come across too often include “That’s a boy’s song,” or “Choral Music is an inherently white art form,” or “sight reading is a European value in Music Education.”

If we label these things based on their past origins, are we sending unintentional signals to students about who is welcome NOW?

Now, it’s possible I spend too much time reading through comment threads in Facebook groups, but it raises the issue of the unintended consequences for students and educators when they see or hear such blatant essentialism, though often well intended. In the latest addition to my Choral Music: A Human Art Form thread, Theron Jenkins and I discuss this issue in hopes of bringing some alternative discourses to light for the purpose of making choral music more accessible and inviting to people from every background. After all, Choral Music does not inherently have a race, nor is group singing European. Music is INHERENTLY human. From all to all.

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Episode 88 audio

Episode 86: All Students DESERVE Music Literacy with Odell Zeigler IV

An Unconventional Approach to the Urban Choral Classroom

I believe one of the biggest goals is getting the students interested in singing choral music before we start trying to operate out of formality. How do we get students interested in something they are not familiar with?

Odell Zeigler IV
Episode 86

Recently, I came across a shining light of logic, compassion and advocacy in the form of a ChoralNet article by Odell Zeigler IV. The article was shared far and wide, and it became clear to me right away that these ideas needed to be amplified on the show. I encourage you to read his short article, linked above, and THEN listen to this episode. I believe that this topic is critically important right now as we continue to grapple with what it really means to move the music education world in a more equitable direction. Are we focused on processes and root causes leading to improved outcomes later? Or are we focused on outcomes now while glossing over the processes? I appreciated Odell’s take as I read with excitement because he brings process solutions to the table, which is what we desperately need. Do you have students that aren’t comfortable using solfege, or singing with certain vowel formants? Don’t give up on them, or worse fall into the trap of “this isn’t for them!” They deserve a rich education, and all of its inherent challenges and opportunities for growth.

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Episode 86
Tune in!

He has since dedicated his life to inspiring the next generation of young music educators. As a music teacher himself, he understands the impact his words and actions have on a new class of great musicians and hopes to pass along his empathetic approach to education.

Odell wouldn’t be here if he didn’t live and breathe music, but his true passion lies in building leaders for tomorrow. From every live performance to his work in the classroom, Odell works to move others forward so they can one day do the same.

Episode 82: Are Merit-BasedStandards Racist? With Angel Eduardo

Author of the Newsweek article “Why Calling Merit Racist Erases People of Color.”

One of the raging debates today in education centers around the ways in which we can expand access to fruits of high quality education to more students. And that is a wonderful debate to have, and an important one. However, a troubling strain of that song is the tendency to take the easy path toward equality: Attempts to include by EXCLUDING things. Headlines abound about school districts removing or lowering testing standards, or gifted programs citing the lack of equitable outcomes. In the music world, we talk of eliminating blind auditions or auditions all together. There are TONS of fair criticisms of standardized tests, or audition and screening practices for example, but those are problems that could be addressed to simply make a better, fairer, but still rigorous test. Where is that conversation? What if our focus was “how do I raise more people to the bar?” rather than implying without actually saying “we need to lower the bar or remove it?”

I say this is “taking the easy way out” because it absolves the institutions, and even worse, the politicians that oversee the budgets, of doing the HARD work of finding and solving the true barriers of access allowing more students to benefit from these programs. Cancelling the program is simply easier, leading to an appearance of equality, and makes no one actually better off.

Angel Eduardo

“We need to devise and develop other paths to prosperity, more robust social safety nets, and better education systems. We need to talk about solutions that will truly uplift those being harmed by our meritocratic obsession. But calling merit racist is not the way to do it. Meritocracy is a kind of tyranny, but merit still matters.”

Angel Eduardo

In this episode, my guest, Angel Eduardo takes the argument a step further and says the easy way out also erases the talents and merits of students of color. Giving voice to the often unexpressed concern of how young people might interpret hearing the implication that “the standards might be too high for you. So we are lowering them.” What types of long term impact may that have on the psyche?

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Episode 82

Episode 81: Can Auditions be Inclusive? With Kirsten Oberoi

One of the foundational principles of this show is that we, as humans AND as colleagues don’t have to agree about everything. In fact I will take it a step further: we NEED disagreement and dialogue in order to learn and grow. This episode is based on that principle. I recently came across Kirsten Oberoi during a Facebook disagreement and thought it would make a great podcast conversation. The disagreement centered around our philosophies related to choir auditions and what it means for a program to be “people centered.”

There is room in the choral community for all kinds of philosophies.

Chris Munce
Episode 81: Kirsten Oberoi

Kirsten made a splash recently with her new podcast Choral Connectivity and her blog called “No Auditions Ever!” She is making a valuable contribution to the conversation, but I only agreed with about 82.7% of it, so I thought we could chat to hash out some of the disagreements and also find where our common ground lies.

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Episode 81
Episode 81 on YouTube!

View on YouTube!

Kirsten Oberoi is the Founding Artistic Director of the South Shore Children’s Chorus based out of Quincy, MA – her hometown. Kirsten taught public school for several years – high school in California for two years and middle school in Massachusetts for 5 years. She is now full-time in the non-profit music world at SSCC, as well as the General Manager for the Greater Boston Choral Consortium. Kirsten strongly believes in the mission of people-first music making, and shares this philosophy on her podcast Choral Connectivity.

www.southshorechildrenschorus.org

Episode 78: The Only White Guy in the Room with Maria and Chris

This special episode is something a bit different, in that it is a recap of a shared experience. All the way back on Episode 17, Marques Garrett challenged me to intentionally find an opportunity to be an “only” in the room. I had reflected in that conversation that, as a white guy, I don’t think I’ve ever been the “only one” in a room. “I don’t know what that feels like.” Marques suggested that he thought that might be good for me to experience. I agreed. Then Covid happened and the “live on air” challenge had to be tabled for a bit.

Episode 78

Enter my friend Maria Ellis to the rescue. (Find Maria’s past episode 29 pt. 2) I had seen Maria’s great videos about her church, and thought that as a musician, there was no better way to experience a cultural growth moment than in Maria’s music rich church in St. Louis. So, we set it up! Off to St. Louis I went, and wow did I have a great time. I learned so much! While I can’t know everything there is to know about Maria’s cultural experience in one day, I now have a frame of reference. I real life, shared experience that can put future interactions in a perspective that I did not have before.

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Episode 78

Episode 74: Is the Choral Ecosystem a Political Monolith? With Reginal Wright

Over the past year, I began to notice a breath of fresh air in the online choral discourse in the form of Reginal Wright. Like many of you, I have used Facebook to network with other choral directors that I don’t know in real life. This has benefits for me as a Podcast host, but can be a challenge on a personal level. Reginal, however, stood out to me because of his frequent posts inviting polite disagreement and creating a platform for multiple views to be expressed and treated with respect. So, I had to speak with a kindred spirit. In the course of this conversation, he and I talk about our approach to political discussions within professional spaces, in our classrooms, as well as the need to put our differences as choral directors aside in order to support each other, advocate for each other and build each other up.

Episode 74
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Reginal Wright

Reginal Wright was born in Henderson, Texas. His life as a musician began in his middle school band as a trombonist. As a 20 year educator, Reginal has earned many awards including Outstanding Teacher, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and a nomination for the UIL Sponsor Excellence Award. Reginal also earned the 2018 Educator of the Year Award for the Mansfield School District.​Reginal has performed music in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria as well as Munich, Germany and throughout the United States. As a conductor, he is a sought after clinician in both Gospel and Classical genres. He has enjoyed the opportunity to conduct Honor Choirs for many school districts throughout the United States.

The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

He also serves as a clinician in many Texas All State Choir camps and All State Choirs.Reginal is also an aspiring composer, writing music that caters to school and church choirs.Reginal received both his Bachelor and Masters of Music Education Degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He is currently the head choral director at Mansfield High School. His choirs are consistent sweepstakes winners in both concert and sight reading contests.

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Choirs under his direction also earn “Outstanding in Class” awards at National Music Festivals. In 2012 the Mansfield High School A Cappella Women’s choir was honored as SWACDA honor choir. In 2018 the Mansfield Varsity Men’s Choir performed at the prestigious Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio. He is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, American Choral Directors Association and served as Vocal Chair for TMEA Region 5 from 2014-2017. Reginal resides in Arlington with his wife Renetta, son Gabrien, daughter Reece and Yorkie Cooper

Episode 73: Love Supreme with Professor Teodros Kiros

Executive producer and host of the television program African Ascent, W.E.B Du Bois fellow at Harvard, Professor of Philosophy at Berklee College of Music, Author

“I try to argue that they can become better musicians if they become philosophically trained. They will become sensitive to aesthetics in their lives, to the role that art plays in their lives.”

Dr. Teodros Kiros

I feel like I caught lighting in a bottle with this episode. We are all incredibly fortunate to have the chance to absorb wisdom from Professor Teodros Kiros. Dr. Kiros and I discuss the many connections between philosophical training and musical training. I was spellbound many times throughout this conversation hearing about how inseparable music and philosophy SHOULD be. We discuss the common humanity that is unearthed through the sharing of musical and philosophical ideas throughout history, the most scholarly unpacking of cultural appropriation I have yet encountered, as well as Coltrane’s “Love Supreme” and why, with in that one piece of music, we can find a unifying theme for our life and for our music. Don’t miss it.

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Episode 73

Podcast Referenced With Cornell West and Glenn Loury

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Professor Kiros Books on Amazon

See more of Professor Kiros’ books on Amazon

Teodros Kiros is considered a leading authority on moral philosophy and a leading voice in African philosophy. He has been a W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University for the past 20 years and has been nominated three times for Berklee’s Distinguished Faculty Award. Kiros is the producer and host of the internationally acclaimed television program African Ascent, which continually gives visibility to Berklee faculty and includes interviews with President Roger H. Brown and Provost Larry Simpson. He is also an essayist for leading websites and has published hundreds of articles in refereed journals and online. He’s also a columnist for leading newspapers.

Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.
The best sight singing tool on the market. A must have for any band/choir or orchestra teacher and their students. In class and at home tools to build their literacy at their own pace. Enter “choralosophy” at checkout to get 10% off every time you renew at http://www.sightreadingfactory.com

Career Highlights· Philosopher and novelist· Has had short stories and an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Cambridge Days, featured on Bridgeportword.com·

Author and/or editor of 17 books including Towards the Construction of Political Action; Moral Philosophy and Development; Self-Construction and the Formation of Human Values: Truth, Language and Desire; Explorations in African Political Thought; Multiculturalism; Zara Yacob: Rationality of the Human Heart; Philosophical Essays; Ethiopian Discourse; Hirut and Hailu and Other Short Stories; and Cambridge Days; and the forthcoming Self-Definition: A Philosophical Inquiry from the Global South and Global North· W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University·

Executive producer and host of the television program African Ascent· Professor of Africana Philosophy at Harvard UniversityAwards· Winner of the 1999 Michael Harrington Book Award—Author for Self-Construction and the Formation of Human Values: Truth, Language, and DesireEducation

Episode 67 Part 2: Growing Access in a Greenhouse with Vince Peterson

I am very unlikely to to give much credence to a person who is critical of the music education practices of colleagues, if they have nothing better to point to. Criticizing is easy. Building something better is hard. Show me your program and how your ideas have shown results, then I am more likely to listen. I appreciate what Vince is doing here. His criticism is that the Conservatory is not diverse enough. Ok, I hear you. What do you plan to do about it? Tune in to hear Vince’s idea for a NEW model.

Picking right up from where we left off in part one, Vince and I get our hands dirty discussing what we see as one of many important “paths forward” in improving the way music education, and CONSERVATORY education in particular is delivered in terms of philosophy, entry barriers, technology and everything in between. Don’t miss it.

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Episode 67 part 2

Vince Peterson is a respected choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher of music in the United States. His 20-year hybrid career spans the worlds of choral music, theater, sacred music, and music education. He has, however, established himself most prominently in the world of choral music, notably having founded the “shape-shifting” vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon in 2008. Under his leadership, Choral Chameleon has premiered more than 150 works since its nascence and has won critical acclaim in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Concert Review, I Care If You Listen, The Examiner, and other publications. In 2015, the ensemble was awarded the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. In 2017, the group was named the first vocal ensemble artist-in-residence at NYC’s undisputed new music hub, National Sawdust.

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In 2003, Peterson earned the BM in Composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of celebrated vocal music composer Conrad Susa. He has also studied composition with David Conte, Elinor Armer, and Philip Lasser. In 2007, he earned a Double MM in Composition and Choral Conducting from Mannes College of Music where he studied under pioneer conductor Mark Shapiro as well as the composer David Loeb. Upon receipt of his Master’s Degree, he was also awarded the singular Music Teacher’s League Award for 2007.
As a prolific arranger, Peterson has received seven commissions to date from the multi-Grammy® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, whose YouTube videos of his work have garnered over half a million views. Several of his choral arrangements and original compositions have become staples for choirs across the United States. Distinguished performance venues include Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall, among others.


A recognized thought-leader in the music world, The New York Times called Peterson “authoritative beyond his… years,”and The Brooklyn Eagle praised his work as “a stunning symphony of the spiritual and secular,” while hailing him as a solo performer “with depth and vigor” who “provided a universal context which resonated with his audience.”

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!


In 2018, Vince Peterson was awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal by Chorus America, a lifetime distinction he shares with only sixteen of the most influential choral musicians in the United States.
In addition to his work with Choral Chameleon, Peterson is overjoyed to serve as Artistic Director of Empire City Men’s Chorus, which he has recently ushered through its 25th Anniversary Season.

Find the TOP of the line Resonance Singers mask as well as all of your choir folders, choir supplies as well as choir robes at MyChoirRobes.com. Use Choralosophy at checkout to get a 5% coupon every time you shop!
Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.

Learn More About Vince at His Website

Vince on Insta

Greenhouse Music

Episode 67 Part 1: How to Create your Musician’s Credo with Vince Peterson

One of my biggest pet peeves in Music Education reform conversations is what I see as an outsized focus on discussion of what is wrong with Music Ed when compared to the amount of time spent suggesting solutions. Contrary to popular belief, criticism by itself doesn’t solve problems. Criticism is easy. Building something better is hard.

We must take the next step. Vince Peterson is taking steps. Often, the most important step is the one we take is an internal one. In this episode we learn how to create our own “Musician’s Credo.” An exercise developed by Vince for his students, that I found to be profound and beyond that of a “philosophy of education.” So, in many ways, as Vince is asking me the questions in his worksheet, I am being psychoanalyzed on my own show! You will hear me engage in this work in real time. I highly recommend listening to Part 1 of this talk, downloading the PDF below, and doing this assignment for yourself.

Then, be sure to tune in to Part 2 next week, as Vince discusses his brainstorm that is “Greenhouse Music” and why he thinks some of the problems with music education, and educator training need real solutions by rethinking the model, the access and the outcomes.

Episode 67 Part 1

Vince Peterson is a respected choral conductor, composer/arranger, and teacher of music in the United States. His 20-year hybrid career spans the worlds of choral music, theater, sacred music, and music education. He has, however, established himself most prominently in the world of choral music, notably having founded the “shape-shifting” vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon in 2008. Under his leadership, Choral Chameleon has premiered more than 150 works since its nascence and has won critical acclaim in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The New York Concert Review, I Care If You Listen, The Examiner, and other publications. In 2015, the ensemble was awarded the prestigious ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. In 2017, the group was named the first vocal ensemble artist-in-residence at NYC’s undisputed new music hub, National Sawdust.

https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/choralosophy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/ep-67-part-1-1.mp3


In 2003, Peterson earned the BM in Composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of celebrated vocal music composer Conrad Susa. He has also studied composition with David Conte, Elinor Armer, and Philip Lasser. In 2007, he earned a Double MM in Composition and Choral Conducting from Mannes College of Music where he studied under pioneer conductor Mark Shapiro as well as the composer David Loeb. Upon receipt of his Master’s Degree, he was also awarded the singular Music Teacher’s League Award for 2007.
As a prolific arranger, Peterson has received seven commissions to date from the multi-Grammy® Award-winning ensemble Chanticleer, whose YouTube videos of his work have garnered over half a million views. Several of his choral arrangements and original compositions have become staples for choirs across the United States. Distinguished performance venues include Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall, among others.


A recognized thought-leader in the music world, The New York Times called Peterson “authoritative beyond his… years,”and The Brooklyn Eagle praised his work as “a stunning symphony of the spiritual and secular,” while hailing him as a solo performer “with depth and vigor” who “provided a universal context which resonated with his audience.”

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!


In 2018, Vince Peterson was awarded the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal by Chorus America, a lifetime distinction he shares with only sixteen of the most influential choral musicians in the United States.
In addition to his work with Choral Chameleon, Peterson is overjoyed to serve as Artistic Director of Empire City Men’s Chorus, which he has recently ushered through its 25th Anniversary Season.

Learn More About Vince at His Website

Vince on Insta

Greenhouse Music

Episode 60: Labels Won’t Stick to Isaac Cates

Isaac Cates is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. A classically trained pianist, who is also a gospel music specialist, but also a singer-song writer… Oh! and also a choir clinician. Turns out he is also a fantastic podcast guest! Join Isaac and I in studio for this multifaceted conversation. We discussed Isaac’s approach to forging new paths with his group Isaac Cates and Ordained, his feeling of “never quite fitting in” to a musical category, our thoughts on current trends in music education and much more.

Isaac Cates
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Episode 60

Learn More about Isaac on his Website!

Isaac Cates began singing and playing the piano at age four and started composing as a teenager.  While a student at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City, he arranged spirituals, composed original chorales and set sacred text. Currently, Cates is in demand as a choral clinician and music educator throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to his leadership at music seminars, he is also a prolific producer, Music educator and recording artist. Isaac is a gifted pianist and vocal arranger, sought after for his vocal coaching expertise. He has a unique ability to blend genres, utilizing different musical techniques such as bel canto style with speech level singing. His original composition, “Strong Tower”,  is sung and translated in over 17 different countries languages. Firmly rooted in both gospel and classical training, Isaac combines soulful harmonies, polyphonic rhythms and dazzling piano accompaniments to create his trademark sound.

In 2004 Isaac collaborated with a colleague to form Ordained, a small musical ensemble of skilled vocalists.  Together, Isaac Cates & Ordained have appeared in concerts and been featured alongside some of the worlds greatest artists; From gospel artists Bebe and Marvin Winans to country sensations Trace Adkins and Lyle Lovett.  Ordained has toured all over the united states and Switzerland. Made up of soloists, worship leaders, music educators and instrumentalists, Ordained is praised for their dynamic sound. Ordained released their first album in 2006 entitled “Take My Life”, a Christmas EP, “Carol Of The Bells” and numerous singles. Ordained’s music videos of “Hold On” and “Carol Of The Bells” have over 1 million views on social media. Ordained is preparing to release a new recording at the end of the Year.

www.sightreadingfactory.com is the best literacy tool on the market today. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off memberships for you AND your students!

Isaac on Facebook!

Find Isaac on Insta

Follow Isaac on Twitter!

Enter Choralosophy at checkout for a 10% Discount. Own your own site license with each PDF purchased. Print as many as you need!
Receive 10% Discount on your orders at http://www.graphitepublishing.com where you will find the works of Jocelyn Hagen, Eric Barnum, Timothy C. Takach,
Paul Rudoi and MANY more.

Episode 57: Working Between Worlds with Reena Esmail

The Oxford Series on the Choralosophy Podcast!

Reena Esmail is currently the composer in residence for the LA Master Chorale and the composer of TaReKiTa published by Oxford University Press. Reena works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, to bring communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces and holds degrees from Juilliard and Yale. In this engaging discussion, I had the opportunity not only to help you get to know Reena, but also to get her perspective on many critical issues facing the classical music community. We discussed:

And much more! This was a VERY fun conversation! So be sure to tune in!

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Episode 57

www.reenaesmail.com

Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music, to bring communities together through the creation of equitable musical spaces. Esmail holds degrees from The Juilliard School and the Yale School of Music. A resident of Los Angeles, Esmail is the 20-23 Swan Family Artist in Residence with Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the 20-21 Composer in Residence with Seattle Symphony. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board of New Music USA, and Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Shastra, a non-profit organization that promotes cross-cultural music connecting musical traditions of India and the West.

And don’t forget, the show is now on PATREON! Subscribe and receive Patron only content for as little as 3 bucks a month!

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Episode 55: Music At the Intersection of Identities with Deborah Stephens

In this conversation, Soprano Deborah Stephens and I engage in an open and raw conversation about many aspects of identity and how it effects our concepts of self as well as how this effects our view of the music world. We hit the hot button topics of our own identities and how we see ourselves, tokenism, stereotypes in musical tastes, blind auditions, appropriation, “who is this music for?” and much more. You won’t want to miss a minute of this one!

Episode 55
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Deborah Stephens

Deborah Stephens graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance. She is currently in a Master of Music in Early Music, Oratorio, & Chamber Ensemble at Yale University. In September 2017, Deborah founded and began to direct VERITAS Vocal Ensemble, a small group of 10 UGA students passionate about choral singing. VERITAS has performed on the UGA Student Spotlight Concert, many faculty and student recitals, and hosted a joint-ensemble benefit concert to support music education. Deborah currently enjoys speaking engagements at universities and on music podcasts, has been featured by Early Music America, and performs with professional choral ensembles such as Kinnara, Coro Vocati, and the Lake Junaluska Singers, and is a sought after freelance soloist.

Featured Links:

deborahsopranos.wix.com/debyousee

https://www.liftmusicfund.org/

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Episode 51: Diversifying Repertoire is a Personal Journey with Dr. Janet Galván

When you do music from a culture that is not your own, it is like you are holding someone else’s dreams and past in your hands.

Janet Galván

In this touching and vulnerable conversation, Dr. Galván and I discuss the very important issue of programming and preparing to perform music from an ever growing number of traditions and cultures. This can be an overwhelming topic to approach in many ways. Partly due to the sheer number of styles and performance practices that exist. None of us can master them all, and that’s ok! Downstream from this problem is whether or not we give ourselves and our colleagues grace when they make mistakes. Do we shame the conductor who presents an inauthentic performance or do offer help and resources?

This episode is structured as a help and a resource. Dr. Galván has done a tremendous amount of work in the trenches on this topic in her storied career. That experience has left her with some very solid practices and procedures for each of us to use when we approach a new style of music to introduce to our ensembles.

Episode 51: Dr. Janet Galván
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Episode 51: Janet Galván

Dr. Janet Galván, Director of Choral Activities at Ithaca College, was recognized by her New York colleagues for her contribution to choral music when she received the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) New York Outstanding Choral Director Award. Dr. Galván was awarded the Ithaca College Faculty Excellence Award for teaching, scholarship, and service in 2018. Galván was presented the 3rd Distinguished Alumni Award in Music Education and Choral Music from the University of North Carolina in  2016.

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Sought after as a guest conductor of choral and orchestral ensembles, she has conducted professional and university orchestras including Virtuosi Pragenses, the Madrid Chamber Orchestra, and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in choral/orchestral performances. She has conducted national, divisional, and state choruses throughout the United States for ACDA, the  National Association for Music Educators (NAfME),and  the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE. She has conducted choruses and orchestras in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington’s Constitution Hall, Minneapolis’ Symphony Hall, Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall, and Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. She has conducted her own choral ensembles in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall as well as in concert halls in Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Austria, Canada, and Spain. Galván was the sixth national honor choir conductor for ACDA, and was the conductor of the North American Children’s Choir which performed annually in Carnegie Hall. She was also a guest conductor for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Galván has been a guest conductor and clinician in the United Kingdom, Ireland, throughout Europe, Canada and in Brazil as well as at national music conferences and the World Symposium on Choral Music.  She was on the faculty for the Carnegie Hall Choral Institute, the Transient Glory Symposium and the Oberlin Conducting Institute.

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Episode 46: Teaching With Heart with Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand

When we see and hear the Aeolians perform we impressed by the technical precision. We are in awe of the dynamic range, the tone, the diction and the phrasing. But we are INSPIRED by the emotional buy-in and engagement from the singers in the ensemble. This culture doesn’t happen naturally in choral ensembles. It is taught. It is a an art in and of itself to convince singers to pour their whole selves into each piece of music.

Episode 46

In Dr. Ferdinand’s second appearance on the show (Episode 11) we discuss the philosophy behind his “Teaching With Heart” book that seeks to inject tools into the conductor’s arsenal to address the most important issues of our world. In doing so we do a deep dive into the rehearsal techniques that foster connection to each other through the making of choral music.

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Find Jason’s Book Here!

Click image to buy the album!

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Episode 37: Speaking of Diversity in High Definition with Arreon Harley-Emerson

National Chair of the American Choral Directors Association’s Diversity Initiatives Committee

This episode flipped the normal script a little bit, where I got to be on the hot seat! I was honored to be invited to be the guest on “And the Beat Goes On” presented by Arreon Harley-Emerson of the Choir School of Delaware. We agreed to co-present this conversation largely centered around diversity and inclusion. This is been a frequent topic on the Choralosophy Podcast, but this time we focused on ideas about how to broaden the conversation to include people who might not currently be engage in this important work.

Are we willing to consider that some of the rhetorical techniques employed by many in equity circles might be a barrier to some people that don’t speak the lingo?

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Episode 37

Music Educator. Choral Conductor. Nonprofit Executive.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Arreon A. Harley-Emerson was appointed Director Music and Operations of the Choir School of Delaware in June, 2013. In this position, he is responsible for the musical components of the renowned Choir School program as well as the day-to-day operations of the organization.

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Mr. Harley-Emerson began singing with Doreen Falby and the Peabody Conservatory Children’s Chorus at the age of seven. Later, he went on to sing with the Columbia Pro Cantare, under the directorship of Mrs. Frances Dawson. Harley-Emerson began building his technique through private voice and piano lessons in Mrs. Dawson’s studio in
Columbia, Maryland. He would later return to the Peabody Children’s Chorus during his college years, serving diligently as a conducting intern for three years. Mr. Harley-Emerson has had the opportunity to sing with the Columbia Festival Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore

Opera Company. Mr. Harley-Emerson graduated with honors 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 pedagogue Dr. Paul Head and Voice with Dr. Noel Archambeault. Mr. Harley-Emerson 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 also 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.


Committed to the principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), Mr. Harley-Emerson has established a thriving consultancy 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.

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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!

Episode 29: Part 4 of “Choral Music: A HUMAN Art Form” with Christopher Harris

Passing the Torch of Representation

In this fourth and final installment of the first Choralosophy Miniseries, Dr. Christopher Harris and I discuss the potential influence of representation on the choral profession and the next generation of students. However, the conversations was quite wide ranging allow us to touch on other topics like cultural influences on music, the universality of music and even rehearsal strategies, including the strategies involving music literacy as well as rote learning. I found Dr. Harris’ take on all of these topics to be uniquely explained and articulated in a way that helped me grow during our conversation. Tune in and I think it will help you too!

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Episode 29 part 4

Dr. Christopher H. Harris, native of Fort Worth, Texas, is a music educator, conductor, performer, and choral composer. In August 2017 he joined the faculty at Arkansas Tech University as Director of Choral Studies and Assistant Professor of Music. He received his PhD in Choral Music Education from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, his Master’s in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Texas Southern University in Houston, TX. Prior to entering graduate school, Harris enjoyed several years of successful public school teaching in Houston, Texas. His choirs received numerous sweepstakes awards at state UIL competition as well as honors to perform with the Bay Area Chorus and an invitation to perform as a demonstration group at the Texas Choral Directors Association Convention.

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Harris is the founder of the Houston Master Singers and has served as the Assistant Director for the Houston Ebony Opera Guild. He is active as an adjudicator and has presented numerous sessions on choral rehearsal techniques at state and regional conventions. He is a published composer with several accolades including winner of both the Eastern and National Divisions of the 2013 National Association for Music Education Composition Competition, and the Grand Prize Winner of the 2016 Ithaca College Choral Composition Competition. His music has been performed internationally by mixed, men’s, 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.

As a performer Christopher has performed as guest baritone soloist for concerts with the Texas Southern University Choir, the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, the Houston Symphony Chorus, the 2013 Owego School District’s Production of Faure’s Requiem, with choirs from Florida State University, and the Tallahassee Community Chorus. Harris was guest soloist with the ATU Symphonic Wind Ensemble for their performance at the Southwestern Division of the College Band Directors National Association Convention in Houston, Texas in March 2018.

Episode 29: Part 3 of “Choral Music: A HUMAN Art Form” with Jazz Rucker

Going on the Equity Journey

In this part of the February series, I invited my friend Jazz Rucker into the studio to discuss a term that has rocketed to the top of education vernacular in recent years. “Equity” is frequently confused with “equality,” but has some very important qualitative differences. Jazz is currently serving as the Equity Chair for the Missouri Music Educators Association, which is a new position in the organization. As a result, Jazz has found himself in a position of inquiry and forging a new path toward an ideal of equity and justice in music education. In this conversation we take a birds eye view of the topic and discuss in depth our thoughts on good ways to get everyone to buy in to this journey.

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Episode 29: Part 3

There is so much great space for this discussion. We have to get out of “this way or that way” mentality. I just want people to agree to go on the journey. Whatever that means for you.

Jazz Rucker

Jazz Rucker He recently joined the faculty at Lee’s Summit North High School. He came to LSN from Columbia Public Schools. He began his career as a middle school vocal specialist. He then opened Muriel Williams Battle High School as the Director of the Vocal Arts program which included the launch of the school’s first competitive show choir.  Jazz earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Missouri and is pursuing a Masters of Music Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. Jazz is grateful for the support of his wife Tara and their two daughters Brynlynn and Berkley.

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Jazz would like to recommend the following books on the topics discussed today:

Teaching with Respect by Stephen Seick

We Got This by Cornelius Minor

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Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

All Students Must Thrive by Tyrone C. Howard

Not Light, But Fire by Matthew R. Kay

How to be and Anti-Racist by Ibram Kendi.

Episode 29: Part 2 of “Choral Music: A HUMAN art Form” with Maria Ellis

“Carving out a place for a Girl Conductor.”

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Episode 29: Part 2

In this episode Maria Ellis and I discuss the practical aspects of recruiting across cultural lines for our choirs through the telling of her own story. Maria grew up not knowing that a career as a conductor was possible for her, but through a big dream and a big change of life direction, she began her music degree after 12 years in the business world. Now doing what she loves, she reflects back on the journey and offers us great advice in helping to make sure our students never grow up seeing themselves as limited.

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Maria Ellis

Maria in her own words, “

Music Educator, Choral Conductor,  with over 20 years of choral music experience.  I have been called a Master Educator and a Force of Nature by Dr. Jim Henry, University of Missouri- St. Louis.  I hold a B.M. in Music Education emphasis on Voice (K-12 Certified) Degree from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. 

  I have served as the Arts and Administrative Fellow for The St. Louis Symphony and I currently serve as the Community Engagement Manager for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs.  I am the Founding Conductor of The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries’ newly formed City of Music All-Star Chorus. 

http://www.girlconductor.com

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Episode 29: Part 1 of “Choral Music: A HUMAN art Form”

“Why does representation in Choral music MATTER?”

Part 1 of Choral Music: a Human Art Form
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Listen now here or on your favorite podcast app!

Stay tuned throughout February for my first ever Podcast mini series! Choral Music: A Human Art Form


Part 1: Why does representation in Choral Music matter?
In this first installment, I address the question “Why Does Representation in Classical Music matter?” (or choral music) My answer to this question, and subsequent defense of that answer got me kicked off of a Facebook page. So in this episode, I tell that story. It’s a doozy. My answer was, “Representation matters because music is for ALL. From all to all. It can and should transcend innate characteristics.” It turns out this put me at odds with the moderator who had a “music is not universal” perspective which I have noticed has become more prevalent in the last five years or so. I have a lot problems with this trend though I see it as well-meaning one.

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So, I decided to line up a series of episodes and guests during Black History Month in order to advance the conversations around representation, equity, equality and inclusion of ALL in the most HUMAN of all art forms: Choral Music.

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Episode 20: Choral Appropriation? Or Cultural Sharing with Brandon Boyd

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.

Brandon Boyd
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Ep 20: Choral Appropriation?
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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.

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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.

October Edition!

Episode 17: Beyond Elijah Rock with Dr. Marques Garrett

In this episode Marques and I discuss importance of the music of black composers that do NOT fit into categories of idiomatically black music like Gospel, Jazz and Spirituals. The conversation ranges from the social aspects at play in spreading the word about this music, all the way to what it’s like to be minority seeking to be seen. Since composers like R. Nathaniel Dett, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and others are gone, Dr. Garrett is fighting for their music to be seen AND heard. You find the Rep list referenced in episode here!

You can now find Dr. Garrett’s FULL and ever evolving list here!

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Episode 17: Marques Garrett

Marques L. A. Garrett

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MUSIC IN CHORAL ACTIVITIES 
AREA OF FOCUS: CONDUCTING, VOICE PhD, Music Education, Florida State University
MM, Choral Conducting, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
BA, Music, Hampton University

A Virginia native, Marques L. A. Garrett is an Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Glenn Korff School of Music. 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.

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An active conductor, Dr. Garrett has served as a guest conductor or clinician with several church, community, and collegiate choirs throughout the country and served as the festival conductor for the Harry T. Burleigh Spirituals Festival at Tennessee State University. At the Hampton University Choir Directors’ Organists’ Guild Workshop, he has served as the basic conducting workshop clinician. His formal conducting studies were with Dr. Andre 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. Recently, 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.

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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 the Santa Fe Desert Chorale and Seraphic Fire. His music can be heard on recordings by the National Lutheran Choir, Winston-Salem State University Choir, and Missouri State University Concert Chorale. GIA Publications, Walton Music, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Hinshaw Music, G. Schirmer, Beckenhorst Press, and Carus-Verlag have published several of his compositions.


Dr. Garrett holds membership in the American Choral Directors Association; American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; National Association for Music Education; National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc.; National Collegiate Choral Organization; and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Episode 11: Breaking Down Barriers with Jason Max Ferdinand

In this episode I sit down with the biggest star in the Choral World right now. Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand of the famed Aeolians, fresh off their WORLD changing performance at the ACDA National performance in Kansas City this spring. Our topics are wide ranging including his upbringing in the Caribbean and early life, his planning process for ACDA, the proper approach to spirituals, racial stereotypes in Choral Music and the social significance of the Aeolians’ rise to prominence.

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Episode 11: Breaking Down Barriers with Jason Max Ferdinand
Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand- Oakwood University

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.   

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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.

Ferdinand maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator and guest conductor for high schools, collegiate, and church choirs throughout North America, 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.

Dr. Ferdinand loves to teach and was named “Teacher of the Year” for the 2017/18 school year by Oakwood University. Dr. Ferdinand is thankful for his parents, Dr. T. Leslie and Mary Ferdinand who are both retired educators.  His siblings Alva Ferdinand, J.D., Ph.D. and Abdelle Ferdinand, M.D. tribute any academic accomplishments they have attained to their parents.

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand is married to Meka, who is a registered nurse and they are the parents of Caleb, Ava and baby Jamē.

You can learn about the Aeolians here.

Episode 10: A Voice in Transition with Theo Wren

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A nuanced discussion about the trans experience.
Theo Wren

Is it possible that removing gendered language from our choral rehearsals solves the problem of inclusion? Is it possible that it DOESN’T solve the problem? Is there room for nuance in the conversation? This week, I open up a dialogue with Theo Wren, a freelance musician, multi-instrumentalist, choral singer and Trans Baritone. So far on the show, I have conversed only with Choral Directors. This time, I thought it might be informative to flip that a bit and sit down with someone who has spent many years on the other side of the baton. We in the choral profession have seen a recent wave of cultural shifts related to the use of gendered language in our choral ensembles. So, I sought out the perspective of a singer who, for years felt as if he was in the wrong section.

Find more about Theo below

http://www.soundcloud.com/felixtheowren for Theo’s solo project, and you can find his band at http://www.alicesweetalice.com

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Visit www.ryanmain.com for PDF site licenses of some GREAT arrangements and compositions. Enter Choralosophy at checkout to get 10% off!

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And don’t forget, the show is now on PATREON! Subscribe and receive Patron only content for as little as 3 bucks a month!

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