Honor Choir Conductors - 2018 SW ACDA Conference - March 7-10, OKC


5 - 7 Treble Choir

A native Kansan, Christy Elsner is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City.  Under her direction since 2000, Allegro has grown from one choir of 38 to six choirs with over 250 singers. Heralded as “the voice of angels” by the Kansas City Star, Allegro inspires thousands of audience members each year with its varied repertoire, technical excellence, and heartfelt singing.  The Allegro choirs have travelled extensively nationally and internationally with performances at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady, St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame, Carnegie Hall, and Myerson Hall.  The choirs are yearly guests of the Kansas City Symphony.   

Christy is engaging and demanding but wraps her unwavering pursuit of excellence in humor and inspiring messages. As an active clinician for children’s, youth, and treble choirs, Christy enjoys giving workshops on innovative rehearsing and is honored to conduct many regional, state, and national honor choirs.  Her first book, Gadgets for Great Singing, was published in 2013 by Hal Leonard. She is the 2010 recipient of the Kindest-Kansas Citian and the 2008 recipient of the MENC Outstanding Middle Level Educator.  She completed six years as the SWACDA Children’s and Community Youth R&S Chair. She is a past receipient of the KCDA Outstanding Young Conductor Award.  

She received her music education degree from the University of Kansas and received the Marcus E. Hahn Award for Outstanding Senior in Music Education.   Professional memberships include MENC, Chorister’s Guild, Chorus America, and ACDA.  

When her mind isn’t on Allegro, she loves to cook, hang out at the beach, read, travel, play with her dogs, attend her kids’ events, catch for her daughter, workout, and watch Northern Colorado softball, Jayhawk Basketball and the Kansas City Royals. Christy and her husband, Sean, stay busy with their three children:  Chandler, Chase, and Carlee.


7 - 10 Men's Choir

Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and most recently served as Assistant Professor of Music Education and Choral Conducting in the Ithaca College School of Music. He earned a Bachelor of Education from Arkansas State University, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, where he was awarded the prestigious University Enrichment Graduate Fellowship Award. Dr. Fox has also served on the faculties of MacArthur Junior High School in Jonesboro, AR., Parkway North High School and Maryville University in St. Louis. MO. Dr. Fox is an active adjudicator and clinician for regional, state, national and international organizations from the middle/junior high school to the collegiate level. He has worked with ensembles in Arkansas, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, West Virginia, Texas, New York, Florida, Utah, Illinois, Michigan and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Dr. Fox’s upcoming engagements include regional honor choirs in Kansas, New York, Nebraska, Kansas and Utah and all state honor choirs in Arkansas, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana and Kansas as well as collaborations at the Siauliai University in Lithuania and the Latvian Academy of Music in Latvia. He is honored to be invited to conduct the 7-10 Men’s Choir for the Southwest American Choral Directors Convention in 2018. He has presented sessions nationally and internationally that focus on assessment in the choral classroom, building classroom community, rehearsal strategies, choral conducting techniques and shape note singing in the African American community.

As a baritone soloist, Dr. Fox has collaborated with various organizations; among them are the Arkansas Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Columbia Chorale, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Webster University and the Espaço Cultural (Brasilia, Brazil). He can be heard singing selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on the compact disc In This Hid Clearing, available on the Naxos Classical Music label. His debut with the St. Louis Symphony in their performance of Meredith Monk’s Night, for eight solo voices and orchestra.

Dr. Fox’s articles have appeared in the Choral Journal, Choral Cues, ChorTeach, Teaching Music and educational blogs published by the National Association for Music Education and SmartMusic. He is a contributing author in the Hal Leonard/McGraw Hill choral textbook Voices in Concert and his arrangement Lord, Give Me Just a Little More Time is available in the Hal Leonard Sacred Music Series and his arrangement of My Spirit Looks to God Alone will be published in the G. Schirmer Andrea Ramsey Choral Series.


8 - 10 Women's Choir

Sandra Snow enjoys a national reputation as conductor, pedagogue, and educator. Snow is associate professor of music at Michigan State University, where she conducts the Michigan State University Women's Chamber Ensemble and interacts with undergraduate and graduate students in areas of conducting study, choral pedagogy, and teacher education.

Snow is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician, engaging teachers in professional development and conducting all-state, honor choir, and choral festivals across the United States and Canada. Under her direction, the MSU Women's Chamber Ensemble performed atthe 2008 ACDA Central Division Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Snow is a recipient of the MSU Teacher-Scholar award, a campus-wide peer-reviewed honor.


11-12 Mixed Choir 

As Co-Director of Choral Studies at Kansas State University, Julie Yu is part of a team that oversees eight ensembles including Collegiate Chorale, Collegium Musicum, Concert Choir, Grand Chorus, In-a-Chord, K-State Singers, University Choir, and Women’s Choir. She teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting courses and is Co-Director of the Summer Choral Institute.

The K-State Choirs have been selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association and the Southwest American Choral Directors Association conference. They have also performed in the American Festival of Music in Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, and France. Dr. Yu guest conducted with Manhattan Concert Productions in 2014 and 2015 at Carnegie Hall. She has been the featured speaker/clinician at the European Music Educators Association Convention in Naples, Italy and was the conductor for the European Music Educators Association Honor Choir in Oberwesel, Germany. She has also conducted numerous honor choirs and festivals in Arkansas, California, Delaware, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

She is President-Elect of the Southwest American Choral Directors Association and serves as a national board member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. She is also Vice-President of the Flint Hills Children’s Choir and Musical Director of the Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale.

Dr. Yu holds degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma (B.M. Music Education), Oklahoma State University (M.M. Choral Conducting), and the University of North Texas (D.M.A. Choral Conducting).



María Guinand is a choral conductor, university professor and leader of many choral projects, both nationally and internationally. Frequently invited as conductor and teacher to different events and concerts in the U.S.A, Europe, Asia and Latin America, she has specialized in Latin-American choral music of the 20th and 21st centuries. She has obtained the 'Kulturpreis' (1998) of the InterNationes Foundation, the Robert Edler Preis für Chormusik (2000) and the Helmuth Rilling Preis (2009).

She graduated from Bristol University (England) and studied choral conducting with Alberto Grau. She furthered her conducting and musical education with Helmuth Rilling, Luigi Agustoni and Johannes B. Goeschl.
At present, she conducts the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, a group that has toured extensively and recorded many times. She founded the Cantoría Alberto Grau and the Orfeón Universitario Simón Bolívar, both highly recognized ensembles and winners of several prizes in international competitions. Always interested in new choral music, she has either participated or conducted in projects such as performances and recordings for the labels Deutsche Grammopho, Hanssler and Nonesuch of Osvaldo Golijov´s ‘Pasión según San Marcos’ and John Adam's ‘A Flowering Tree.'

She has been Associated Conductor and Advisor of Choral Symphonic Performances and Activites of El Sistema (FESNOJIV) for more than 30 years. She teaches in the Master's Program for Choral Conductors at the University Simón Bolívar where she has worked as professor and conductor for 28 years.

As a choral promoter, she is the Artistic Director of the Schola Cantorum of Venezuela Foundation, and contributes to the permanent development of choral centers for children and youth of low economic resources in Venezuela and other Latin American countries in the Project Voces Latinas a Coro, sponsored by the Andean Corporation Bank. She also founded the “Academia Bach de Venezuela” in close relationship with the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart and the “Academia Nacional de Canto Gregoriano.” As conductor of the Polar Foundation Choir, she has actively contributed to the development of choral music in private enterpirses. She served for 12 years as Latin American Vice-President of the IFCM. She is editor of the "Musica de Latinoamerica" series by Earthsongs Editions.