Choral Performances


The following ensembles have been selected for choral performances at NCCO8, November 7–9, 2019, in College Park, Maryland.

  • Howard University ChoirAbyssinian Mass Guest Choir — Eric O. Poole, conductor
  • Towson University Chorale — Abyssinian Mass Guest Choir — Diana Sáez, conductor

The Aeolians of Oakwood University

The late Dr. Eva B. Dykes originally organized the Aeolians of Oakwood University in 1946. Since its inception, the choir has traveled widely, touching the hearts of both young and old with their inspirational singing. They have been led since 2008 by Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, himself a former Aeolian.

Under the direction of Dr. John Dennison, the Aeolians performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, receiving flattering reviews. Under the direction of Dr. Alma M. Blackmon, which began in 1973, the group was propelled into national and international prominence with the performance of over 200 concerts in the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, and Great Britain. Under the current director, the group tours extensively, and has extended their international prominence to Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Russia, the United Kingdom, Hungary, and South Africa.

Aeolian performances present a repertoire of choral music that ranges from the Baroque era to the twenty-first century. The choir has become an authoritative exponent of Negro spirituals and Work songs, which express the yearnings of the choir’s enslaved forefathers to be free.

The Aeolians are an Oakwood treasure and will continue to strive for excellence in bettering lives.

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand, Director of Choral Activities

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, where he studied with Dr. Edward Maclary.

Under Dr. Ferdinand’s baton, the Aeolians of Oakwood University have graced stages the world over. Their repertoire of choral music ranges from the Baroque era to the 21st century and they have performed at venues throughout the USA, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Russia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hungary. In 2017, the Aeolians of Oakwood University won the coveted “Choir of the World” award at Llangollen along with the event’s first-ever “Most Outstanding Director” award. In 2018 his choir won three gold medals in the 10th World Choir Games held in South Africa. Additionally, they were the overall champions in both the University Choir and Spiritual categories.

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), and a choral series bearing his name is now in circulation by Walton Music publishers.

Dr. Ferdinand was named “Teacher of the Year” for the 2017-18 school year by Oakwood University. He is married to Meka, a registered nurse, and they are the parents of Caleb, Ava and baby Jamē.


Arkansas Tech University Choral Artists

The ATU Choral Artists is the flagship performing choral ensemble of Arkansas Tech University and is comprised of approximately 40 undergraduate singers from various majors throughout the campus. Each year the Choral Artists tours regionally, making regular appearances in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and throughout Arkansas. Choirs from ATU were honored in 2012 with an invitation to perform at the Arkansas All-State Convention. In 2019–2020 the ATU Choral Artists will partner with Arkansas Baroque Music, Inc. for performances in October 2019 and April 2020.

Dr. Christopher Harris, Director of Choral Studies

Dr. Christopher H. Harris, native of Fort Worth, Texas, is a music educator, conductor, performer, and choral composer. Harris joined the faculty at Arkansas Tech University in 2017 as director of choral activities and assistant professor of music. He conducts the ATU Choral Artists, University Singers, and University Men’s and Women’s Choruses, and teaches courses in Choral Methods, Choral Conducting, and Choral Arranging. He received his PhD in Choral Music Education from Florida State University, his Master’s in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College, and his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Texas Southern University. Prior to entering graduate school, Harris enjoyed several years of successful public school teaching in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Harris is active as a clinician, adjudicator, and presenter, having presented numerous sessions at state and regional conventions in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Hawai‘i. His compositions have been performed internationally by 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.


Duquense University Voices of Spirit

Duquesne University’s premier choral ensemble, Voices of Spirit, is composed of undergraduate students in music education, performance, therapy and technology at the Mary Pappert School of Music. Under the leadership of Caron Daley since 2015, the choir has appeared on Pittsburgh’s most prestigious concert series, given concerts in Johnstown, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, and Philadelphia, and performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under Manfred Honeck. Committed to community outreach, the choir frequently performs in schools, workshops, and conducting masterclasses, including the 2018 Eastern Division ACDA conducting masterclasses. The Voices of Spirit will tour Canada in March 2020.

Dr. Caron Daley, Director of Choral Activities

Caron Daley is director of choral activities, assistant professor of music and ensembles coordinator at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Caron founded the Halifax Choral Conducting Institute in 2013, a summer training program that attracts conductors from across North America. In 2019, the HCCI inaugurated a Women’s Conducting Institute, the first of its kind in Canada. A certified Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher, Caron frequently lectures on the sound-gesture relationship in choral conducting, and is published in Anacrusis, Canadian Music Educator, Research Memorandum Series of Chorus America, Teaching Music through Performance in Choir (Vol. 4 and Vol. 5), and Choral Journal. Her current research study examines the use of manual mimicry gestures in the teaching and learning of German speech sounds for singing. Caron holds a D.M.A. (Choral Conducting) from the University of Toronto, an M.M. (Choral Conducting) and M.A. (Vocal Pedagogy) from The Ohio State University, an Artist Diploma (Voice) and B.M. (Music Education) from Western University, and an A.R.C.T (Voice) from the Royal Conservatory of Canada. She currently serves as president of Pennsylvania ACDA.


Kansas State University Concert Choir

Concert Choir is the top undergraduate choir of approximately 24–36 students undergraduate students. The students represent a variety of music and non-music majors from across the campus. Over the last 12 years they have been selected to perform at the Kansas In-Service (2008), SWACDA conference (2012), MAfME National Conference (2017), SWACDA (2018) ACDA National – demonstration choir (2019).

Dr. Joshua Oppenheim, Co-Director of Choral Studies

Joshua Oppenheim currently teaches at Kansas State University where he and Julie Yu serve as co-directors of choral studies. Prior to Kansas State, he served in a similar role at the Crane School of Music – S.U.N.Y. Potsdam. He received his DMA at the University of North Texas, his M.M. from the University of Mississippi, and his B.M. from Western Michigan University.


Georgia State University Singers

The international award-winning Georgia State University Singers is the School of Music’s premier vocal ensemble. Selected by competitive audition, the choir represents the diverse population of Georgia State University. In May of 2017, the University Singers won first place in the renowned Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition during a tour of Austria and Germany.  The choir’s first professional recording, Evening Hymn (Gothic Records), has been featured several times on NPR’s program, With Heart and Voice.  The ensemble regularly appears at professional choral conferences and enjoys frequent collaborations with the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Opera, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Deanna Joseph, Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Deanna Joseph is associate professor of music and director of choral activities at the Georgia State University School of Music where she conducts the University Singers and leads the master’s program in choral conducting. In 2018, she received GSU’s Alumni Distinguished Professorship Award and in 2015, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Teacher Award, where she was selected out of a pool of over 800 faculty. A recent review of her work states, “[t]he choir sings with great musicality, excellent intonation, clear diction, and a healthy and beautiful pallet of tone colors…” (The Choral Scholar).

In May of 2017, the University Singers won first place in the renowned Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition while on a concert tour of Austria and Bavaria. In May of 2013, the University Singers placed second overall in La Florilège Vocal de Tours and Dr. Joseph was honored with the Prix du chef de choer (conducting prize).

Deanna Joseph holds conducting degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. She is the founder and co-artistic director of the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute, a weeklong summer conducting master class that draws conductors nationally.


Miami University Men’s Glee Club

The Miami University Men’s Glee Club, founded in 1907, has maintained a tradition of musical excellence, brotherhood, and camaraderie throughout its storied history. Comprised of students from across academic disciplines, it is among the oldest and largest collegiate glee clubs in the nation. As advocates for the creation and performance of new repertoire, the Glee Club established an annual commission series in 2013. Its first commercial recording (Veiled Light) was released in 2016 with Albany Records, and a second recording on the same label will be released in 2019. Each recording features a number of commissioned works.

Dr. Jeremy D. Jones, Director of Choral Studies

Jeremy D. Jones, associate professor of music, associate department chair, and Naus Family Faculty Scholar at Miami University, conducts the Men’s Glee Club, Collegiate Chorale, and teaches choral conducting. Recent appearances include the ACDA National Conference in Kansas City (2019); ACDA Central-North Central Conference (2018); ACDA Central Conference (2014); Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminars (2012, 2014, 2016); and Concours Européen de Chant Choral, Luxembourg (2014). Representing the International Conductors Exchange Program, he debuted in Beijing, China in 2014. His Swedish debut in 2016 featured the Glee Club’s Schola Cantroum with Swedish male ensemble Ars Veritas. Their Gregorian chant-based recording, Old and New Worlds, will release in 2019 on the Centaur label. He is a contributing author of Conducting Men’s Choirs (GIA 2019). An active guest conductor-clinician, he serves on the IMC National Board of Directors; ACDA Standing Committee on International Activities; and as the ICEP Central Division Representative. He holds degrees from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (DMA), East Carolina University (MM), and Middle Tennessee State University (BM).


Northwestern State University Chamber Choir

The Northwestern Chamber Choir from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana is comprised of 36 undergraduates including majors throughout the university. The choir frequently commissions composers for projects including most recently For a Breath of Ecstasy from Michael Trotta and The Falling Stars from Richard Burchard. The choir was recently featured in Noc kostelů at Kostel svatého Martina ve zdi in Prague, Czechia. They were also one of only eight choirs selected from around the world to compete for the Ave Verum Competition in Baden, Austria where they placed third and won best interpretation for the compulsory selection.

Dr. Nicholaus Cummins, Director of Choral Studies

Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins is associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he conducts the Northwestern Chamber Choir, Lyrica SSAA Chorale, and Cane River Chorale. In addition, he teaches conducting, choral literature, and vocal music education methods courses. His primary conducting teachers were Dr. Philip L. Copeland and Dr. W. Kenneth Fulton. His choirs have been invited to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference, the Louisiana ACDA state conference, Mississippi ACDA conference, Louisiana Music Educators State Conference, and the Mississippi Junior & Community College All State. Additionally, the Northwestern State University Chamber Choir received Summa Cum Laude honors at the Laurea Mundi Budapest in 2018 and won third prize in the Ave Verum ICC in Baden, Austria. Dr. Cummins has served as a clinician for throughout the southern region. He has also presented topics at regional and state conferences and was recently selected as a conducting fellow for the American Choral Directors Association International Exchange Program to South America in Fall 2018. He also serves on the ACDA Southern Region board and is a representative of the National Collegiate Choral Organization Southern Region


Temple University Concert Choir

Praised for “professional musicianship” (Boston Music Intelligencer) and “great skill and glowing voices” (Broad Street Review), the Temple University Concert Choir has enjoyed a reputation for excellence and versatility. The Concert Choir has presented many premiere performances, including Giles Swayne’s Our Orphan Souls and Eriks Ešenvalds’s Three Teasdale Poems in 2014. The ensemble has performed at three ACDA Eastern Division conferences; at NCCO’s conferences in 2006 and 2015; at NAfME Eastern Division conferences in 2017 and 2019; and in Bernstein’s MASS with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2015, a commercial recording of which was released by Deutsche Grammophon.

Dr. Paul Rardin, Chair of Choral Music

Paul Rardin is Elaine Brown chair of choral music and chair of the Vocal Arts Department at Temple University, where he conducts the Concert Choir, teaches graduate conducting, and oversees the seven-choir program at Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Rardin previously taught at the University of Michigan and Towson University, and was formerly artistic director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. His choirs have performed at the national conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and at regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association for Music Education.

Rardin has served as a guest conductor for all-state choirs in eighteen states, for divisional honor choirs for ACDA and Music Educators National Conference, and for Manhattan Concert Productions at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. He has presented clinics for state, regional, and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association.

Rardin is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Michigan, where he received the M.M. in composition and the D.M.A. in conducting. His compositions and arrangements are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing.

Rardin lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife, Sandy


The University of Louisville Collegiate Chorale

The University of Louisville Collegiate Chorale performs primarily a cappella repertoire, with a particular emphasis on the performance of contemporary works. They have appeared at regional or national ACDA, MENC, and National Orff-Schulwerk Association conventions. They performed a program of Baltic choral music at the 2008 NCCO conference and they performed at the 2001 Inauguration of President George W. Bush.

The Chorale collaborates regularly with the Louisville Orchestra. Recent performances include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mozart’s Requiem, “Bernstein at 100,” Michael Gordon’s Natural History, Holst’s Planets and Debussy’s Nocturnes, “War and Peace.” Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Bernstein’s Mass, and Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Dr. Kent Hatteberg, Director of Choral Studies

Dr. Kent E. Hatteberg is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Louisville, where he conducts the Collegiate Chorale, Cardinal Singers, and University Chorus, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and literature courses. He received the Bachelor of Music degree in piano and voice summa cum laude from the University of Dubuque and the master’s and doctorate in choral conducting from The University of Iowa, where he studied conducting with Don V Moses and conducted the renowned Old Gold Singers.

Named a Fulbright Scholar in 1990, Dr. Hatteberg studied conducting and choral-orchestral literature in Berlin, Germany with Uwe Gronostay (conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Choir and Professor for Conducting at the Hochschule der Künste), pursued research on the works of Felix Mendelssohn, and sang in the Berlin Philharmonic Choir.

Dr. Hatteberg is active nationally and internationally as a guest-conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. He has conducted numerous All-States and Honor Choirs in the United States, and recently served on the International Jury at the Tolosa Choral Contest in Tolosa, Spain. He serves as Chorus Master for the Louisville Orchestra and has prepared choruses for performances with the Choral Arts Society, Kentucky Opera, and the Louisville Orchestra.


The University of Maryland Chamber Singers

The internationally renowned UMD Chamber Singers specialize in repertoire from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Contemporary periods. The Washington Post has described their singing as “…dazzling… impeccable… and reverberantly alive.” The ensemble has toured the globe and sung by invitation for the American Choral Directors Association, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the International Federation for Choral Music. Celebrating their twentieth season under the direction of founder and music director, Edward Maclary, the UMD Chamber Singers will present music in 2019–2020 of Schönberg, Stravinsky, Brahms, Handel, Victoria, and a newly commissioned work by UMD alumna, Dale Trumbore.

Dr. Edward Maclary, Director of Choral Activities

Edward Maclary is professor of music and director of choral activities at the University of Maryland School of Music. Under his leadership the UMD Chamber Singers have achieved international renown, winning top prizes in competitions around the world and making multiple appearances at ACDA and NCCO conferences. The ensemble has become the ensemble of choice for both the National and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras.

Regarded as an outstanding educator, Maclary regularly conducts all-state and honors choirs. He has also been a guest faculty at institutions such as Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music, and Westminster Choir College. Known for his advocacy of early music, he was the director of the Master Class in Conducting at the Oregon Bach Festival, 2014–2017. In 2011 he was named the ‘Chef du Choeur’ at the Florilège Vocal de Tours, one of Europe’s most prestigious choral festivals. Maclary has served as the chorus master for conductors such as Marin Alsop, Christoph Eschenbach, Iván Fischer, Nicholas McGegan, Andris Nelsons, Gianandrea Noseda, Robert Shaw, and Masaaki Suzuki, among others.

Edward Maclary holds graduate degrees from Indiana University and Boston University. He subsequently studied under and collaborated closely with Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, and Helmuth Rilling.


The University of Texas at Arlington A Cappella Choir

The 50-voice A Cappella Choir is the premiere choral ensemble of the university, comprised primarily of undergraduate and graduate vocal music majors. The choir performed at the 2019 and 2014 conventions of the Texas Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association national convention in 2015, and the 2016 ACDA Southwestern Division Conference. They have appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Chorale, the Texas Ballet Theatre, and with the Rolling Stones in concert. Their album, The Road Home, was named a finalist in the 2014 American Prize for Choral Performance.

Dr. Karen Kenaston-French, Director of Choral Studies

Karen Kenaston-French is associate professor and director of choral activities at the University of Texas Arlington, where she conducts the A Cappella Choir, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, and heads the Vocal Area. Under her direction, the UTA A Cappella Choir has performed at TMEA, SWACDA, and national ACDA, and appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Ballet Theatre, and the Rolling Stones. Prior to her arrival at UTA, Kenaston-French served at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She has been guest conductor for choirs in Colorado, Michigan, and Tennessee, for numerous TMEA region choirs, for the American Festival of the Arts (AFA), and is a frequent clinician and adjudicator across Texas. She holds an undergraduate degree in voice from West Virginia Wesleyan College, master’s degrees in choral conducting and sacred music from Southern Methodist University, and a DMA from the University of North Texas. In 2011 she was a conductor for the Choral/Orchestral Master Class of the Oregon Bach Festival under Helmut Rilling and Jeffrey Kahane. She was recently named artistic director/conductor of the Fort Worth Chorale of Schola Cantorum of Texas beginning with the 2019–2020 season.


Wingate University Singers

Through regional and international concert tours and state-wide engagements, the Wingate University Singers is recognized for musical and artistic excellence. Members of the ensemble deeply engage with music and with one another in rehearsals and performance. Immersion in innovative and collaborative music making cultivates the holistic development of the individual student. Vocal and intellectual commitment to artistic excellence is combined with personal, emotional, and spiritual exploration to create an environment for students develop more fully. As singers perform from an intensely personal and academically informed perspective, the collective music making inspires the souls of the music makers and listeners.

Dr. Kenney Potter, Director of Choral Activities

Kenney Potter is the director of choral activities at Wingate University and serves as the artistic director of the Charlotte Master Chorale. At Wingate, he oversees a program that is recognized for its artistic excellence. His choirs have received wide-spread acclaim including winning the Grand Prix for best choir in the Pärnu International Choral Festival in Pärnu, Estonia. This year, he will conduct the Charlotte Master Chorale in performances of Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem and Handel’s Messiah as well as collaborate with the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra in performances of the Magnificat by J. S. Bach. As a performer, he has been a featured soloist in Carnegie Hall, and was choir soloist for the Grammy-winning Oregon Bach Festival choir as well as the International Bach Academy, conducted by Helmuth Rilling. He holds degrees from Florida State University, Portland State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro resides in Charlotte with his wife, Heather, and their children, Syl and Calvin.