2018 SWACDA Conference Performing Choirs
Oklahoma City


The Brock Commission Choir

Colla Voce, Yukon High School, Yukon, OK


Colla Voce is the premier classical performance ensemble at Yukon High School. This 44-voice auditioned ensemble is comprised of sophomores through seniors.  Colla Voce was formally established in the Fall of 2012 when the YHS Chamber Choir simply outgrew its name.  They specialize in classical choral literature with an emphasis on classical a cappella singing. They maintain a rigorous performance schedule, which includes five major concerts a year as well as various community events. Under the direction of brothers Darin and Derek Chapin, Colla Voce has received the OSSAA Sweepstakes award six years in a row and has been invited three times to perform at the Oklahoma Music Educators Convention. This will be Colla Voce’s first performance on an SWACDA stage.

Darin Chapin is currently in his sixteenth year of public school service in Oklahoma, and his seventh year at Yukon High School where he conducts Colla Voce, the YHS Chamber Singers, and teaches AP Music Theory. A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Darin attended Oklahoma Baptist University where he studied with Dr. Nancy Cobb and graduated with a B.M.E. in 2002. He is an active member of the National Association for Music Education, American Choral Directors Association, and the Oklahoma Music Educators Association.
During his teaching career Darin’s choirs have been featured with premier recordings of new choral works, been awarded State Sweepstakes Awards and have won national festivals in Tennessee, San Antonio, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, and Chicago. His choirs have also been featured on numerous state level choral conventions.

  Junior High/Middle School Choirs  

North Richland Middle School Varsity Treble Choir, Richland, TX

North Richland Middle School is a 2C campus comprised of approximately 900 diverse students with 14 different languages spoken. NRMS is the first nationally certified STEM campus, and received 6 out of 7 distinctions on the 2017 STAAR accountability. The choir program has 220 6th-8th grade students who participate in one or more performing groups. The Varsity Treble choir has 38 select singers, who are involved in various school and community activities. They have received consecutive Texas UIL Sweepstakes ratings, and many have been members of Region 31 All-Region Choir and received superior ratings at solo and ensemble contests.

Lorelai Cole is currently in her sixth year as head director at NRMS. She received her BM in vocal performance and pedagogy from UT Arlington.
Ms. Cole had successful private voice studios in GCISD and HEBISD and performed with Fort Worth Opera before transitioning into the classroom as a choir director. Her choirs have earned consistent Sweepstakes ratings at UIL, and have won Best in Class and Grand Champion Awards in choral festivals. Her Varsity Treble choir from CJH in HEBISD has previously performed in 2012 at the SWACDA convention. She holds memberships in TMEA, ACDA, TMAA, and TCDA.

Leslie Detrick, Associate Director, is in her 16th year of teaching, and her 6th year at NRMS. A native Texan, she grew up in the border town of McAllen. She attended Texas Christian University and graduated in 1991 with a BA in Music, vocal emphasis. She continued her post-graduate studies at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Mrs. Detrick began her career as a Music Therapist and private voice instructor while maintaining her performance career with the Fort Worth Opera and the Dallas-based Orpheus Chamber Singers. Prior to her position at NRMS, she taught elementary for ten years as a K-5 Music Specialist.


Reed Academy Singers, Reed Academy, Springfield, MO

The Reed Academy Singers are in their 6th year under director Daniel Gutierrez. This choir has consistently placed in their divisions in the choir festivals during this time period. The Reed Academy Singers have performed for the Missouri Music Education Association conference, and the National ACDA conference. This year, in addition to the SWACDA conference, the choir will also perform at the National Conference for Junior High/Middle School Choral Music. Reed Academy Singers are very involved in their local community. In addition, the choir receives invitations to perform throughout the country and the world.

Daniel Gutierrez is the vocal music director at Reed Academy. Daniel is an active conductor, clinician and presenter throughout the country.  Daniel has been named a KSPR 10 Springfield “Hometown Hero”, Springfield Public Schools Teacher of the Year, and Southwest Missouri Teacher of the Year in 2017, a 2017 quarterfinalist for the GRAMMY National Music Educator Award, the 2017 Springfield Rotary Award for Outstanding Community Service, 2017 honoree for Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 and the recipient of the 2017 MCDA Podium Award. Daniel's choral groups have won numerous choral festivals, received numerous invitations to perform at the Missouri Music Educator Association Conference, Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conference and the National American Choral Directors Association Conference. Daniel is also scheduled to be an All-State choir conductor in Florida, Colorado, and Virginia, South Carolina, and Minnesota.

  Lifelong Choirs  


Central Standard Men's Choir, Kansas City

Central Standard is a diverse men’s a cappella ensemble dedicated to enriching lives through performing with musical excellence and encouraging music appreciation in schools and the community. This Kansas City based award-winning ensemble currently holds the distinction of Barbershop Harmony Society’s 3rd place bronze medalist chorus. The Barbershop Harmony Society has held the International Chorus Contest yearly since 1954 and in 2016, earned the 2nd place silver medal. Central Standard has competed at the contest in Philadelphia, Kansas City, Portland, Las Vegas (twice), Pittsburgh, and Nashville. Central Standard was formed by a small number of performers dedicated to the advancement of men’s harmony and continued musical excellence. Today, the group includes nearly sixty active members across diverse personal and professional backgrounds.

Robert Mance is excited to be starting his eighth year as artistic director of the male a cappella ensemble Central Standard, based in Kansas City.  He is also the founding director of the women’s a cappella ensemble Vocal Standard. He currently serves as director of music at Shawnee Presbyterian Church in Shawnee, Kansas, where he also maintains a voice studio and recording studio. Mance holds a busy travel schedule as a clinician that will take him to Canada, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, and throughout the United States in 2018. Mance has studied at McGill University, Westminster Choir College, and the University of Kansas.



Chamber Choir, Te Deum, Kansas City

Since its inception in 2008, Te Deum has stayed committed to the performance of diverse sacred choral music, offering their audiences a musically inspiring and spiritually stirring experience. Some of the region's finest voices dedicate their gifts to Te Deum's vision of artistic excellence and courageous programming. Te Deum also reduces down to a 16-voice ensemble, Te Deum Antiqua, to offer historically informed performances of early music. In addition to their invitation to perform at SWACDA, Te Deum has headlined for KCDA, and has been invited to perform for the American Guild of Organists National Convention this summer.

Matthew Christopher Shepard, a Kansas City native, is founder, artistic, and executive director of Te Deum. He also proudly serves as Associate Director of Music at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village. In addition, Mr. Shepard is a frequent collegiate guest conductor, clinician, and lecturer. Enjoying his opportunities to work with orchestras as well as choirs, from 20010-2016, Mr. Shepard held the position of Music Director for the Atchison-Benedictine College Orchestra. With his growing reputation in the Early Music field, Mr. Shepard’s work and contributions to the field were recently featured in Early Music America’s monthly newsletter.

Beginning his musical studies in woodwinds and voice, Mr. Shepard holds an undergraduate degree from William Jewell College and two Masters Degrees in music from the UMKCS Conservatory. In 2009, Mr. Shepard was awarded a fellowship to study at the Conductors Institute at Bard Conservatory with Maestros Harold Farberman and Leon Botstein.

  Collegiate Choirs  

Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Friends University, Wichita

Friends University Jazz Vocal Ensemble (or “JVE”) is honored to be performing at SWACDA. Founded in 2009, membership in the ensemble is selected by audition from Friends University students. The ensemble forms one part of a comprehensive vocal program that includes musical theatre and opera productions, choral-orchestral masterworks, and national and international tours. Performing a wide range of vocal jazz literature, they have been invited to perform at conferences sponsored by KMEA (2017, 2015, 2012), SWACDA (2014), and JEN (2013). Highlights for the group include opening for Pentatonix (SWACDA, 2014) and Take 6 (2017).

Craig Curry serves as Composer-in-Residence at Friends University (Wichita, KS) and is the founding director of their Jazz Vocal Ensemble (or “JVE"). Under his direction, JVE has blossomed into a leading collegiate jazz vocal ensemble, as evidenced by their appearances at KMEA (2017, 2015, and 2012), SWACDA (2014—where they opened for Pentatonix), and the international JEN conference (2013). They were recently honored to open for Take 6 last December in Wichita. Craig, who teaches vocal jazz improvisation and Senior Seminar at the university, is widely-published and his choral and piano music is regularly performed in schools, concert halls, and churches nationally and abroad. He holds degrees from the University of Miami (MM) and the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music (BM). Additional information on Craig and his music is available online at craigcurrymusic.com


Southern Nazarene University Singers, Bethany, OK

The Southern Nazarene University Singers consists of 12 singers and a rhythm section who specialize in sacred vocal jazz and contemporary music styles. They perform a wide variety of music from Take 6 to The New York Voices and from Peter Gabriel to John Coltrane. They have performed at Regional and National Conventions, and at festivals on multiple continents. They have toured across the United States, in Brazil, Japan, Korea, New Guinea, The Bahamas, Kenya, Central Europe, and Venezuela. The U. Singers also host the annual SNU Vocal Jazz Festival. The 2018 festival will feature the knowledge and talents of guest clinician and artist Rosana Eckert.

A multifaceted vocal artist, arranger, and educator, Dr. Jim Graves serves as Director of Choral Activities at Southern Nazarene University. He directs the University Singers, SNU Chorale, and Concert Choir. He also teaches courses in music theory, music education, and private and group voice. Graves has led groups at the National ACDA Convention, at the Jazz Education Network National Convention, has presented interest sessions at the National and regional level of the American Choral Directors Association, and was formerly the Southwest ACDA Jazz R & S Chair. Previously, he directed The University of North Texas Jazz Singers II, and vocal ensembles in Idaho, and Colorado. Graves’ arrangements have been performed by The University of North Texas Jazz Singers, UNT Jazz Singers II, University of Oklahoma Singing Sooners, and performing groups from around the United States. He married his high school sweetheart and is the father of three amazing kids.


Men's Chorus, Baylor University, Waco, TX

The Baylor University Men’s Choir (BUMC) has brought joy and musical excellence to Baylor’s campus since 1895. The 100+ member choir represents diverse majors, states, and countries. On campus, the choir performs for Family Weekend, University Chapel, A Baylor Christmas, and concerts in the fall and spring. Serving the local community is paramount to the choir’s mission – the BUMC sings at an elementary school every Christmas, performs in a nearby prison, and hosts events for high school men from around Texas. The group maintains a strong commitment to international service through global tours and their support of education for girls in Kenya.

Randall Bradley is deeply committed to the sense of community that develops when men sing together. Prior to becoming director of the Baylor University Men’s Choir in 2000, he conducted Oklahoma Baptist University’s historic Bison Glee Club. At Baylor, he serves as the Ben H. Williams Professor of Music, Director of the Church Music Program, and the Center for Christian Music Studies.

Dr. Bradley is a frequent conference leader and has served in various leadership capacities with the American Choral Directors Association, including the Oklahoma Choral Directors president-elect and Southwest Division R&S Chair for Male Choruses. Groups under his direction have sung for the Southwestern Division American Choral Directors Convention, the Oklahoma Music Educators Convention, and numerous denominational gatherings. His books Worship: Its Theology and Practice, From Prelude to Postlude, and From Memory to Imagination are used as texts in many universities and seminaries.


Kansas State University Concert Choir, Manhattan, KS

The Kansas State University Concert Choir is an undergraduate chamber choir comprised of both music and non-music majors.  They have been invited to perform at Kansas Music Educators Conference (2009), Southwestern ACDA conference (2012, 2018), the Music Educators National Conference (2017), and the World Choir Games (South Africa 2018).  The choirs at Kansas State University perform regionally, nationally, and internationally.  Performance highlights include Austria and Czech Republic (2009), Italy (2011), France (2014), Carnegie Hall (2014, 2015), Ireland (2017), and Washington National Cathedral (2018).

Joshua Oppenheim (B.M. Western Michigan, M.M. Mississippi, D.M.A. North Texas) is Co-Director of Choral Studies along with Julie Yu at Kansas State University.  Together, they oversee a program of 7 choral ensembles and the graduate program in choral conducting.


Missouri State University Chorale, Springfield

The Missouri State University Chorale is the flagship choral ensemble at Missouri State University. This select ensemble is comprised of both music majors and non-music majors. The MSU Chorale has performed regularly at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, Missouri Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, and has toured through the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Highlights this year include performances for the National Collegiate Choral Organization, the Southwestern Divisional ACDA Conference, and an 18-day concert tour of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

Cameron F. LaBarr is director of choral studies at Missouri State University where he leads a comprehensive choral program including over 200 singers in five choirs. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Missouri State University, where he studied with Dr. Guy B. Webb, and he earned a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas, where he studied choral and orchestral conducting with Dr. Jerry McCoy, Dr. Richard Sparks, and David Itkin. He has completed further study with Simon Carrington and Alice Parker. Choirs under his direction have been selected for performance at the Tennessee Music Education Association Conference, Tennessee ACDA Conference, Missouri Music Educators Association Conference, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, National Collegiate Choral Organization, SWACDA, and the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar. Dr. LaBarr has worked as guest conductor and clinician across the United States, Europe, South Africa and China.


Texas State University Chorale, San Marcos, TX

Texas State Chorale is the premiere choral ensemble at Texas State University.  With a broad repertoire ranging from chant to commissions of 21st C. leading composers, this ensemble of 28-36 voices offers pieces from the vast choral canon enriching the musical experience of both musicians and audience members.  Texas State Chorale has performed through refereed selection for conferences including the TMEA state conference, Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), national ACDA, and the International Kodàly Festival.  This ensemble tours frequently and has performed in prestigious venues in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Garden Route of South Africa, and China. 

Joey M. Martin is a musician regarded for his diverse musical interests, engaging artistry, and passionate enthusiasm for the choral art. He is professor of music at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX, where he serves as the Associate Dean for the College of Fine Arts & Communication and Director of Choral Activities.  He has served with Craig Hella Johnson as Co-Artistic Director for the Victoria Bach Festival, Artistic Director of the Alamo City Men’s Chorale, and is currently the Director of Music at historic First Protestant Church in New Braunfels, TX, serving as director of the Sanctuary Choir and organist.  He served as the National ACDA Repertoire & Standards Chair for College and University Choirs for eight years.  In his spare time, he dreams of culinary school.


Bella Voce, Baylor University, Waco

Bella Voce is the select women’s ensemble at Baylor University. Organized in 2011 by Dr. Lynne Gackle, members of Bella Voce are music majors (church music, performance, and music education), as well as non-majors, representing various disciplines, from nursing to business. The ensemble performs a wide and interesting variety of choral selections, reflecting various style periods and genres from the vast choral repertoire featuring women’s voices. Nominated for a Grammy Award for their recording, BELLA!, Baylor Bella Voce has been featured on A Baylor Christmas, the Armstrong Browning Christmas concerts, the International Horn Symposium (2013), throughout the state of Texas, and nationally.

Lynne Gackle is the Director of Choral Activities, and the Mary Jane Gibbs Chair of Choral Music at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She conducts Baylor Bella Voce, the Baylor Concert Choir, teaches choral conducting, choral literature and serves as the Director of the Ensemble Division. Prior to her Baylor appointment, Lynne taught at the University of South Florida, the University of Mississippi and the University of Miami (FL). She received her education from Louisiana State University (BME) and the University of Miami (MM and PhD). Lynne is an active choral clinician and conductor, nationally and internationally.

She has held various positions within the American Choral Directors Association, including President of the Southern Division and ACDA-Florida, VP of Collegiate/Community Choirs for TCDA and is currently, the National President-Elect of ACDA.

Gackle has written several articles for the Choral Journal and is the editor of Choral Artistry for the Singer (Walton Music/GIA) and the Lynne Gackle Choral Series (Colla Voce). Internationally recognized for her research on the female adolescent voice, Lynne is the author of Finding Ophelia’s Voice, Opening Ophelia’s Heart in addition to being a contributing-author for other books published by GIA, Oxford, and Hal Leonard/McGraw Hill.


University of Kansas Women's Chorale, Lawrence

The KU Women’s Chorale is a select ensemble of undergraduate singers who perform outstanding literature, representing a broad range of styles and periods. The group is comprised of singers who are majoring in various areas, including music education, voice, piano, music therapy, and fields outside of the music realm. Under the direction of Mariana Farah since 2013, the KU Women’s Chorale has expanded its literature to include new music from Latin American and living composers. The group has represented the KU School of Music in multiple venues including at the 2014 and 2016 Kansas Music Educators Association Convention. 

Mariana Farah is the Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kansas, where she teaches courses in graduate choral literature and conducting, directs the KU Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale, and helps oversee all aspects of the choral program. Choirs under her direction have performed at the Missouri and Kansas Music Educators Association Convention, and at the Southwestern Division of the ACDA Convention. Farah maintains an active schedule as a clinician for festivals in Brazil and in the U.S., where she is often sought out for her expertise in Brazilian choral music. Her research focuses on Brazilian choral music, particularly the a cappella choral works of Ernani Aguiar. Prior to her appointment at KU, Farah served as the DCA at Indiana University Southeast. She is the R&S Chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives for the ACDA Southwestern Division and a singer with the Kansas City Te Deum Chamber Choir.

  High School Choirs  


North Mesquite Varsity Men's Choir, North Mesquite, TX

The North Mesquite High School Varsity Men’s Choir is comprised of approximately 50 to 60 auditioned male singers.  The choir itself is a reflection of our school and community – diverse, hard working, and proud.  While NMHS has had several Men’s Choirs during its 48-year history, the current choir is a product of a male singing reclamation project at NMHS that began 13 years ago with an ensemble consisting of 12 male singers.  Since that time, the North Mesquite Varsity Men have built a strong tradition of male singing, becoming consistent UIL Sweepstakes Recipients and having several of its members earn chairs in All-Region and All-State Choirs. 

Ryan Forkner is originally from Arlington, TX where he sang under the direction of Mr. Danny Detrick and Mrs. Dinah Menger.  After graduating from Arlington High School in 1999, Ryan attended Texas Christian University where he earned his BME in 2003.  Following his undergraduate degree, Ryan served as a Choral Graduate Assistant at TCU while earning his Masters in Choral Conducting under Professor Ronald Shirey.  After completing his Masters in 2005, Ryan became the choir director at North Mesquite High School where he has taught the past thirteen years.  Under Ryan’s leadership the North Mesquite Choir Department has grown to include nearly 300 students performing in 10 ensembles.  Ryan’s choirs consistently receive Sweepstakes and “Best in Class” ratings at contests and festivals.  Ryan is a member of ACDA, TMEA, TMAA, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha.  Ryan lives in Fate, TX with his wife, Christy, and daughters Avery, Cara, and Robyn. 



Hebron High School Varsity Treble Choir, Lewisville, TX

Located northwest of Dallas, TX, Hebron High School is one of five high schools in Lewisville Independent School District. Approximately 240 students in five performing choirs comprise the choral department.  Members of the Varsity Treble Choir have consistently earned UIL Sweepstakes awards in state contests and superior ratings and “Best in Class” honors in cities across the country. The 60 participants proclaim choir membership demands integrity, self-discipline, and devotion. Choir members are also involved in athletics and service organizations. Students are challenged daily within their ensembles to prepare, perfect, and perform varied musical genres to share with our multi-cultured community. 

Ms. Rachel Forester has taught at HHS since its opening in 1999. Forester holds a Bachelor of Music Education, with an emphasis in voice, from Oklahoma Baptist University.  She has completed master’s courses for music education and counseling at Oklahoma State University, the University of North Texas, and Texas Women’s University. A frequent judge for Texas UIL contests, Forester is a member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, and Texas Music Adjudication Association, serving in leadership roles, and is also a member of the American Choral Director’s Association. Forester’s peers have voted her Teacher of the Year three times.

Mr. Nathan Ratliff joined HHS in 2014 as Associate Choir Director. Ratliff received a Bachelor of Music degree in both percussion and piano performance from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Music degree in percussion performance from the University of North Texas. He has taught private percussion lessons and band front ensembles in the DFW area and is a sought after piano accompanist performing with local school choirs. In 2013, Ratliff served as the Texas All-State Men's Choir accompanist.


Montgomery High School Women's Chorale, Montgomery, TX

The Chorale Women have a  long history of success, and under the direction of Heather Orr,  have performed at TMEA (2005, 2010) and ACDA Chicago (2011). In 2018, the Chorale Women will perform at both the TMEA and SWACDA Conventions. SWACDA marks the 5th convention performance in 12 years.

Heather Orr is beginning her 17th year as the Director of Choral Activities at Montgomery High School and 23rd year teaching. She holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Heidelberg University.  Mrs. Orr's choirs consistently earn Sweepstakes at UIL Competitions and choirs under her direction have been recognized with First Divisions and Best in Class awards at several festivals in Texas, Florida and New York. Mrs. Orr is a member of "Who's Who Among America's Teachers,”  and “Who’s Who Among American Women,”  and has been recognized with the UIL Bell Sponsor Award, and the Fine Arts Teacher of the Year Award for Montgomery County.   She has served as TMEA All-State Treble Choir Section Leader (2017, 2006, 2003), TCDA Conductor and Clinician, as well as host, clinician, presenter and adjudicator for many TMEA and UIL events. Mrs. Orr's professional affiliations include TMEA, TCDA, ACDA and TMAA.


Meistersingers, Cherry Creek High School, Denver, CO

The Meistersingers is an auditioned mixed choral ensemble from Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado. The ensemble strives for excellence in their art and find fun in being serious about music. Over the decades, the choir has appeared at numerous state, regional and national conventions, most recently at 2015 CMEA and the 2012 Southwestern ACDA Conference in Dallas. They have appeared on CBS This Morning and with the St. Olaf Choir and Orchestra, Denver Brass, Kantorei, and the Colorado Symphony. Annual performance tours have included locations throughout the United States, Europe, Iceland, Australia, and Asia.  

Sarah Harrison, director of the Cherry Creek High School Meistersingers, is in her seventeenth year of teaching.  She directs several of the high school’s choirs and teaches AP Music Theory. Under her direction, choirs have performed at state and regional conventions and have toured around the world. Harrison also currently serves as assistant director, section leader, and sings with Kantorei, an adult chorus in Denver. Additionally, she is on faculty at the summer Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska. She currently serves on the Colorado All-State Choir board and has previously served on the Colorado ACDA board. Harrison holds music degrees from St. Olaf College and Colorado State University. 



Colleyville Heritage High School Panther Chorale, Colleyville, TX

The Colleyville Heritage Panther Chorale is the premier ensemble of a comprehensive choral program of eight ensembles and approximately 185 students that make up the CHHS Panther Choirs. The CHHS Panther Choir seeks to provide a rich music education for students with an emphasis on building strong character through music participation. These 68 students represent the diversity of actives offered on our campus through involvement in fine arts, rigorous academics, athletics, and student leadership. The choir has established a reputation for consistent high level choral performance and is honored to perform for both the Texas Music Educator’s Association and the Southwest American Choral Director’s Association conventions in 2018.

Thomas Rinn is in his eighteenth year of teaching high school choir in Texas and fourth year at Colleyville Heritage High School. He holds a Master of Music Education from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Rinn is a frequent choral clinician, adjudicator, and presenter of teacher training. He has served as High School Vice-President for the Texas Choral Director's Association, a TMEA region Chair, and a section leader for the All-State Choir on three occasions.  Currently he is a nominee for President-Elect of the Texas Choral Director’s Association and chair of the UIL Choral Sight-Reading Committee.  In addition to his work at CHHS, Rinn serves as the Director of Music at St. Alban’s Parish-Anglican in Arlington, TX. 


The High School for the Performing & Visual Arts Chorale, Houston, TX

The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Chorale is comprised of fifty-three 11th and 12th grade vocal music majors and one student accompanist from the Classical Piano Department. Members also perform in one of three upper level small ensembles. Annual performances include the Spaghetti Supper, the Winter Concert, UIL Concert & Sight-Reading Contest, and the Spring Concert. The ensemble performed for the 1986 and 1994 Texas Music Educators Association Conventions. Chorale's most recent appearances with the Houston Symphony include 12 Days of Christmas in 2016 and a live to picture performance of John Williams' score to the movie Home Alone in 2015. Members of the ensemble have been selected to the Texas All-State Choir, have won numerous solo vocal competitions, and have been selected for the Houston Grand Opera Bauer Family High School Voice Studio.

Shannon Carter is the Director of Choral Studies at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas.  At HSPVA, Mr. Carter conducts Chorale, Madrigal Singers, Mixed Chorus, and Tenor-Bass Choir. He also teaches Sight-Singing and is the vocal coach for senior recitals.  HSPVA ensembles under his direction have won the prestigious American Classic Madrigal and Chamber Choir Festival and have been named the Mark of Excellence National Choral Honors National Winner.
Prior to joining the HSPVA faculty in 2014, Mr. Carter was the Choir Director and Fine Arts Department Chair at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas.  During his tenure, the Seven Lakes Chorale Women performed at the 2009 Texas Music Educators Association Convention.  Mr. Carter also held positions at Cinco Ranch High School, Klein Forest High School, and Harlingen South High School.  In 2001 he received the Klein Forest High School Outstanding Teacher Award, and in 2011 he was named Seven Lakes High School Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Carter earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Texas State University where he studied voice with MaryBeth Smith and sang under the baton of Dr. John Paul Johnson.  His professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Music Adjudicators Association, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.


Bentonville High School Chamber Choir, Bentonville, AR

With a student body of over 3100 in grades 9-12, Bentonville High School is committed to fine arts. The choir program includes nine choirs instructed by two full time directors. The current school year has seen a choral program enrollment of over 400 students. The jewel of the BHS choral department is the Chamber Choir, comprised of the foremost junior and senior members. Chamber Choir performs primarily a cappella music, with selections that span the early Renaissance through contemporary periods. This choir is dedicated to mastering superior choral styles and techniques.

Terry Hicks is in his twenty-seventh year as Director of Choirs for the Bentonville Public Schools, his tenth year directing the church choir at First Christian Church, Bentonville, and his seventh year as the director of the SoNA Singers. Terry holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Ithaca College and a Master of Music Education from the University of Arkansas. His choirs have been invited to sing for the Arkansas State Music Convention five times, SWACDA convention three times, and ACDA National Convention twice. The B.H.S. choirs have toured England, Scotland, Ireland, Austria, Germany, New York, Minnesota, and Texas. He was awarded the Distinguished Director Award by ArkCDA in 2001, 2005, and 2015. Terry is a past region chairperson for the Northwest Region of ArkCDA, a Past President of Arkansas ACDA, and an active clinician. Terry, his wife Peggy, and two children reside in Bella Vista, AR.


Seven Lakes High School Chorale Women, Katy, Texas

The Seven Lakes HS Chorale Women is home to 40 of the most advanced treble singers in the Seven Lakes HS Choir Program. Established in 2005, the Seven Lakes HS Choir Program has created a strong tradition of musical excellence, dedication, innovation and community. All Seven Lakes HS Choirs consistently earn Sweepstakes at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest as well as 100+ Superior Solo and Ensemble ratings each year. These incredible women also sing in the Seven Lakes HS Chorale, the Varsity Mixed Choir on campus. The Chorale Women perform both classic repertoire for women’s voices as well as new compositions that highlight the versatility and strength of the female voice.

Emily Chandler is proud to serve as the Director of Choirs at Seven Lakes HS. Under her direction, the choirs at SLHS have continued their legacy of excellence, artistry and community by earning consistent sweepstakes at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest, producing All-State Singers, as well as creating innovative choral programs for the entire Katy community. Prior to moving to Texas, Ms. Chandler received a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University where she was the conductor of the University Singers and co-conductor of the Chamber Singers. Prior to graduate study, Ms. Chandler was the Director of Choirs at Oak-Land Junior High in Stillwater, Minnesota. Ms. Chandler received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from St. Olaf College in 2010, where she served as the student director to Dr. Anton Armstrong and alto section leader for the St. Olaf Choir. She also served as the assistant conductor to Mrs. Sigrid Johnson and The Manitou Singers. Ms. Chandler has studied conducting with Dr. Anton Armstrong, Dr. Christopher Aspaas, Dr. Edith Copley, Dr. Ryan Holder and Mrs. Sigrid Johnson. Her professional associations include ACDA, TMEA and TCDA.

  Conducting Choirs  

Concert Choir, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX

Concert Choir is the premier, auditioned, touring choral ensemble of Hardin-Simmons University and continues to represent the university through local, regional and international tours and through choral concerts both on and off the campus.  Concert Choir has performed regularly with the Abilene Philharmonic in productions of large scale, choral-orchestral works. They have toured throughout Europe and have performed in such places as the Dom of Innsbruck, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburg. They have also sung Mass at the famous St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice and Evensong at Glasgow Cathedral in Scotland.

Clell E. Wright serves on the faculty of Hardin-Simmons University as Director of Choral Activities and Logsdon Chair of Church Music. Dr. Wright’s responsibilities at HSU include directing Concert Choir and the oversight of the choral program of the university, consisting of three total ensembles. He teaches courses in conducting, literature, and in church music practice and history. Dr. Wright has served as an adjudicator and a choral clinician throughout the state and the region and has directed All-Region honor choirs. He has also presented clinics at TMEA, ACDA, and TCDA conventions. He holds degrees from Samford University, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, and the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he studied with Dr. Eph Ehly. In addition to his responsibilities at HSU, Dr. Wright serves as Conductor and Artistic Director for the Abilene Chamber Singers and as Director of Music at First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene, TX.


Magnolia High School Chorale, Magnolia, TX

The Magnolia High School Chorale, under the direction of Jennifer Franz-Melady, has been a consistent UIL Sweepstakes performing choir in Texas. They have also been the solo performing choir at Carnagie Hall, New York City, and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C. The MHS Chorale has received several “Performance of Distinction” awards at the American Classic Madrigal Festival in San Antonio, Tx along with many “Best in Class” and “Best Overall Choir” awards at many choral festivals throughout Texas .The group is comprised of sophomores, juniors and seniors and is honored to participate in this SWACDA convention.

Jennifer Franz-Melady has been the head choir director at Magnolia High School for 14 years. She has taught all grade levels from elementary music through supervising student teachers at Ohio State University. Jennifer holds a piano performance degree from The Eastman School of Music and a Masters in Secondary Choral Music Education from Ohio State University. She studied piano with Dr. Paul Vellucci at SMU and with Brooks Smith, Eugene List and Cecile Genhart at Eastman. She has also had the good fortune to study conducting with Maurice Casey, Jim Gallagher, William Weinhert and Mike Ware. She has been the accompanist for all of the Region 9 TMEA choirs and was accompanist for the TMEA All-State Women’s choir for 2016 and 2017. She is also an active choral clinician in the Houston area. Jennifer is in her 33rd year as a music educator.