State Presidents

State Presidents

President – Arkansas Choral Directors Association

Larry Dunn, coordinator, is a seasoned music educator with over seventeen years of experience in the Magnolia Public School District. He leads the Magnolia High School Chamber Choir, Bel Canto, and V (GENTS), while also serving as the director of performing arts and chair of the district’s strategic planning committee. Dunn holds a BME, a Master of Education, and has completed additional coursework for certification in Educational Administration & Supervision from Southern Arkansas University—Magnolia. His choral ensembles have performed at prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall. Dunn serves as the president of the Arkansas ACDA.

President – Colorado Choral Directors Association

Janice Vlachos received her Bachelor of Music in 1992 from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. During her 29 years as a high school director, 17 vocal groups under her direction have been selected to sing at the Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA) annual conference. Age of Guinevere, the SSAA jazz ensemble that Ms. Vlachos started in 2007, won the 2011 Downbeat Award for Large Jazz Groups; in 2013, they performed at the National American Choral Directors conference in Dallas and, in 2017, performed on the main stage at the Jazz Educators conference in New Orleans. In 2022  Janice was honored to be the guest conductor for the Oklahoma All State Jazz Choir. Janice contributed a chapter in the book Rehearsing the vocal jazz ensemble published by Gia Publications. In her retirement, she stepped into the position of COACDA President for 2022-2024.

President – Kansas Choral Directors Association

Alex Underwood is an advocate for choral music, devoting his work to the development of music structures in Kansas. A Russell native, Alex studied music education at a small private school in Kansas before returning to Russell to teach vocal music. From there, he earned a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College and is ABD on his DMA from the University of Illinois where his research focused on rural music education and interdisciplinary performance projects. In 2014, he founded the Ad Astra Music Festival that celebrates world-class music in rural Kansas each July. The festival is a space for visiting artists to collaborate with local students, amateur musicians, and professionals. Alex teaches vocal music at Hays High School where he leads the choral music program, designed and implemented an interdisciplinary suite of classes centering NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts, and teaches Musical Theatre and Drama classes. He believes that all students deserve a robust and impactful music experience and is passionately interested in tackling the challenges facing teachers and student musicians. Outside of his work, Alex enjoys traveling, spending time with his family, binging tv, drinking a great iced coffee or a well-crafted cocktail, and reading trashy novels.

President – Missouri Choral Directors Association

Kevin McBeth is celebrating his 14th season as Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra IN UNISON Chorus. During that time, he has led the SLSO in Educational and Pops concerts featuring, Sutton Foster, Leslie Odom, Jr., Ledisi and Take 6. McBeth is also the Director of Music at Manchester United Methodist Church, where he leads a diverse program of music and their concert series. A graduate of Houston Baptist University, he also studied Choral Conducting at the University of Houston. McBeth is currently the president of the Missouri Choral Directors Association. He has conducted concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and led tours of Great Britain and Italy, including a performance at the Vatican. Choirs under his direction have performed at regional, national, and international choral festivals. Guest lectures have included engagements at Webster University, Westminster Choir College, and the Juilliard School of Music. He has been featured as guest conductor with the Indianapolis Symphony, the Houston Civic Symphony, and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. In 2019, McBeth received the Missouri Choral Directors Association Podium Award for Exemplary Contributions in Choral Music. In addition, he serves at the editor for the new, St Louis Symphony Orchestra IN UNISON Chorus Choral Series with MorningStar Music.

President – New Mexico Choral Directors Association

Emery Edwards is the director of Choirs and Guitar at Eldorado High School and the assistant director of the Albuquerque Girl Choir. She has taught K-12 music throughout New Mexico over the past 12 years. Emery is passionate about connecting with fellow music educators, mentoring younger educators, and creating meaningful opportunities for the musicians of her state.
Emery is a sought-after clinician around New Mexico. One of her current goals is to share her passion for mentoring and music across all 50 states.
Emery holds a Master of Curriculum and Instruction-emphasis in Mathematics from the University of Texas-Arlington and a Bachelor of Choral Music Education from Eastern New Mexico University.
Emery resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She enjoys living room dance parties with her 4-year-old son, Axton, and hiking the Sandia Mountains with her partner, Veronica.

President – Oklahoma Choral Directors Association

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President – Texas Choral Directors Association

Dr. Carolyn Cruse brings a passion for fostering vocal development and musical artistry in singers-musicians of all ages and expertise in collaboration and artistic vision in multiple settings. This is her first season with the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio after a 14-year tenure at Texas Tech University as Associate Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Education, where she enthusiastically worked to cultivate and nurture relationships with music educators both locally and throughout the state. Dr. Cruse has served as a clinician/conductor and festival adjudicator throughout the United States and in Newfoundland, Canada, Finland, Italy, and Kenya. She is currently serving as President of the Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA) and is a founding member of both mirabai, a professional project-based women’s choral ensemble dedicated to enhancing artistic expectations of women’s choral singing, and Alegría, a brand new women’s chorus based in San Antonio. 

Before her appointment at Texas Tech, Dr. Cruse served as a choral conductor-teacher in both middle and high schools in Richardson and Plano ISDs. Her education includes a Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University, a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas. She is excited to be a new resident of San Antonio along with her husband Rob and their two dogs, Riley and Maya.

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