Choral Performances


The following ensembles have been selected for choral performances at NCCO7, November 2–4, 2017, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

  • Louisiana State University A Cappella Choir — invited
    Dr. John H. Dickson, conductor
  • University of Houston Concert Chorale — invited
    Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, conductor

Biola University Chorale

The Biola University Chorale is one of five major choral ensembles in the Conservatory of Music. The singers come from disciplines throughout the campus and all share a love of edification of the soul through choral music. The Chorale has a tradition of touring domestically and internationally throughout the United States, Europe and South Korea. Stateside, they have enjoyed special engagements with the likes of Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony, Ivan Moody, Eric Whitacre, Broadway’s Lion King Mufasa, Alton White, and film composer John Debney on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” 2016 held their first ACDA performance at the Western Division Conference in Pasadena, California, and they are thrilled to be performing at the 7th biennial NCCO national conference.

Dr. Shawna Stewart, Director of Choral Studies

Shawna Stewart has been director of choral studies at Biola University since 1997. She has served as supervisor to the music education majors in voice, directed the King’s Men, the Women’s Chorus, and presently conducts the Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Biola University Chorale. As associate professor she also teaches courses in conducting and choral methods.

With an MM in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music and her DMA in Choral Music from the University of Southern California, Stewart has also served on the faculty at John Brown University and North Dakota State College of Science.

Stewart is an active adjudicator and guest clinician in California and has conducted honor choirs regionally for ACDA, SCVA and ACSI.


Brigham Young University Singers

The Brigham Young University Singers is an exciting choir with impressive voices and a wide range of styles. The group performs pieces from nearly every musical genre as well as many original works written or arranged for the choir.

Founded in 1985, the choir has traveled throughout the United States and to 27 countries including Russia, Egypt, Australia, Ghana and China. They represented the United States at the Fourth World Choral Symposium in 1996, and performed at the NCCO inaugural conference in 2006. BYU Singers has also performed numerous times at state, regional and national conferences of ACDA.

Dr. Andrew Crane, Conductor

Dr. Andrew Crane (BM, MM: Brigham Young, DMA: Michigan State) is associate professor of choral conducting and ensembles at Brigham Young University, where he conducts the BYU Singers and administers the graduate program in choral conducting. Previous appointments include director of choral activities at East Carolina University (2011–2015) and California State University, San Bernardino (2005–2011).
Choirs under his direction have appeared by invitation at multiple conferences of ACDA and NAfME. In 2015 he led the ECU Chamber Singers to a first-place finish in the 13th Maribor (Slovenia) International Choral Competition Gallus, the only American choir to win in the history of the contest.

Dr. Crane appears frequently as a conductor of honor choirs, clinician, guest lecturer, and professional tenor. He serves as editor of his own choral series through Walton Music, as president-elect of Utah ACDA, and as a member of the national ACDA Standing Committee for Composition Initiatives.


Georgia Southern University Southern Chorale

Southern Chorale is the premiere choral ensemble of Georgia Southern University and is directed by Dr. Shannon Jeffreys. Its mission is to provide a professional foundation for performance and choral education majors and a meaningful musical experience for those students who simply wish to continue in an elite ensemble. This primarily undergraduate ensemble focuses on a cappella repertoire and masterworks with orchestra.

In addition to numerous campus and community performances, Southern Chorale has appeared on conferences of ACDA and NAfME. The choir won significant prizes in three international choral competitions most recently the Grand Prize at the Laurea Mundi Budapest.

Dr. Shannon Jeffreys, Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Shannon Jeffreys is associate professor and director of choral activities at Georgia Southern University and is active as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer. Her focus is the Southern Chorale, teaching in the undergraduate and graduate conducting and music education curriculum, and directing Southern Gentlemen and Southern Sirens. She has led these choirs in three international choral competitions where the choirs won significant awards. In 2016 Southern Chorale won the grand prize in the Laurea Mundi Budapest in both the spiritual and mixed choir categories. Choirs under her direction have also been featured at multiple state conferences and most recently performing on the national conference of the National Association for Music Education.

Before coming to Georgia Southern, Jeffreys served as DCA at Erskine College and Theological Seminary. She holds degrees in music performance and conducting from Birmingham Southern College, the University of Mississippi, and the University of South Carolina.


Missouri State University Chorale

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, and the National Association for Music Education, and has toured through the United States, Europe, and South Africa. Recent highlights include performing at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, performing at the Missouri Music Educators Association Annual Conference, and traveling to South Africa for an 18-day concert tour.

Dr. Cameron F. LaBarr, Director of Choral Studies

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 Maestro 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, and the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar. Dr. LaBarr has worked as guest conductor and clinician for various institutions and international festivals across the United States, Europe, South Africa and China, including two fellowships with the International Conductors Exchange Program.


Syracuse University Singers

The Syracuse University Singers is the premier choir of the Setnor School of Music. In May 2015, the University Singers won the Grand Prix in the Florilège Vocal de Tours, Tours, France. The choir competed as a Finalist in the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing held in Varna, Bulgaria in May 2016. University Singers has been invited to sing for multiple conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Additionally, the ensemble has toured throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. The choir’s first CD, Mysteries and Wonders, is available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Dr. John Warren, Director of Choral Activities

John Warren is Director of Choral Activities at Syracuse University, where he conducts choirs, and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting, choral literature, and rehearsal techniques. Syracuse choirs have performed at state and regional ACDA conferences, and toured throughout the Northeast United States and Canada, as well as Europe and South America. In 2015, the Syracuse University Singers won the Grand Prix at the Florilegé Vocal de Tours in France, which entitled them to compete in Varna, Bulgaria as a finalist in the 2016 European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. Dr. Warren travelled back to Varna to judge the 2017 International Choir Competition.

He was the NYACDA Choral Director of the Year in 2016 and is a 2011 recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.

Dr. Warren serves ACDA on the Committee on International Relations, and is NYACDA president-elect.


Texas Women’s University Concert Choir

The Texas Woman’s University (Denton, Texas) Concert Choir is a 50-voice, select treble choir consisting of undergraduate and graduate students majoring in a variety of disciplines. In support of the University’s initiative to feature women in the arts, music by women composers is frequently featured on the Concert Choir’s programs. Since the founding of the TWU choral program in 1905, the choir has performed an extensive list of choral masterworks, and has been featured at the Texas Music Educators Association convention, the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association convention, the Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas), and at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Dr. Joni Jensen, Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Joni Jensen is the director of choral activities at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, Texas. She received degrees in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy and Choral Conducting from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and the University of Arizona. She is an active conductor and clinician as well as arranger. The TWU Concert Choir, under her direction, performed at the Southwest American Choral Directors Association (SWACDA) convention in 2012. Dr. Jensen has several pieces published with Walton Music, including El Vito, which was a Texas all-state piece in 2014. She is also the editor of a brand new series at Hal Leonard for advanced women’s choral music. Dr. Jensen is the Associate Musical Director of the Dallas Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, which is a multi-location community organization. They recently released their album Amazing Grace in October 2016, which peaked at 3rd on the Classical Album Billboard Chart.


Trinity University Chamber Singers

The Trinity University Chamber Singers are comprised of 40 undergraduates. With 25 different academic majors represented, this ensemble epitomizes the liberal arts experience. In 2015, they performed for the Texas Music Educators Association and enjoy regular touring throughout the US and abroad. Annual collaborations with the San Antonio Symphony have recently featured Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe. Other projects include a Spanish Baroque program with Boston’s Walden Chamber Players, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Victoria’s 12-voice Missa “Laetatus sum” in Washington, DC. They have commissioned many works including joint premieres with Cantus and New York Polyphony.

Dr. Gary Seighman, Director of Choral Activities

Gary Seighman is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor at Trinity University. Under his direction, the ensembles have garnered accolades with extensive touring, performances at conferences, and collaborations with world-renowned artists. Seighman has traveled to East Asia three times between 2015-2017 where he conducted the Peking University Summer Opera, led masterclasses in Taiwan, and guest conducted throughout the Henan province. Other recent engagements include the Arkansas Intercollegiate Honor Choir, TMEA Region choirs, and the SA Children’s Chorus. Prior to his 2009 appointment, Seighman directed the professional choir at Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes in DC. He has led interest sessions at state, division, and national conferences, and is a panelist for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Seighman holds degrees from Westminster Choir College, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Maryland. He resides in San Antonio with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Seighman, and two children.


University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum

The University of Arkansas Schola Cantorum has a long and illustrious history that spans more than 50 years and includes performances for President Kennedy, appearances on national television, and concerts in some of the world’s great venues. Under Dr. Caldwell’s dynamic leadership, the Schola Cantorum performed at the 2015 Arkansas All-State Music Conference, was invited to the 2016 SWACDA Conference as the Graduate Conducting Competition Choir, and has toured to Puerto Rico, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. Membership is highly selective, but includes undergraduate and graduate students from nearly every college on campus and represents more than 20 majors.

Dr. Stephen Caldwell, Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Stephen Caldwell is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Arkansas where he oversees a thriving choral program of five ensembles and numerous graduate conducting students. He conducts the nationally renowned Schola Cantorum and 80-voice Women’s Chorus, and teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in conducting and literature. He has prepared choirs for many leading conductors and ensembles including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, and the Arkansas Philharmonic. He has presented sessions at conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Collegiate Choral Organization and is an active member of both service communities. He holds a BME from the University of Northern Colorado, two MM Degrees in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Temple University, a French Language Certification from the University of Paris – Sorbonne, and a DMA from Rutgers University.


Utah Valley University Chamber Choir

The Utah Valley University Chamber Choir, conducted by Dr. Reed Criddle, is the premier choral ensemble at UVU. Comprised of thirty-two undergraduate students from all majors, the UVU Chamber Choir performs music from the Renaissance to the modern day, with a focus on unaccompanied repertoire. Under Dr. Criddle’s leadership this past seven years, the UVU Chamber Choir has annually commissioned Utah composers; released four CD albums; toured California, Washington DC, Hawai‘i, South Carolina, China, and Spain; and won multiple invitations to perform at national conferences of the NCCO and at Western Division and state conferences of ACDA.

Dr. Reed Criddle, Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Reed Criddle is associate professor and director of choral activities at Utah Valley University, where he coordinates a choral program of five choirs and conducts the Chamber Choir and Men’s Choir. Dr. Criddle also teaches advanced choral conducting, lyric diction, private voice, and private conducting. For his innovative and student-centered teaching, he was awarded the UVU School of the Arts Faculty Senate Teaching Excellence Award. For Spring semester 2018, Dr. Criddle will be researching, notating, and arranging Buddhist chant as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Taiwan.

Dr. Criddle is president of the Utah chapter of ACDA and the Utah representative on the National Board of NCCO. His compositions and arrangements are available through earthsongs, Hal Leonard, and Santa Barbara Music Publishing. He previously taught at University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, Eastman Community Music School, and Willow Oaks Elementary School. He is a graduate of Stanford University, Eastman School of Music, and University of Michigan.


Webster University Chamber Singers

Webster University Chamber Singers, based on Webster’s home campus in Saint Louis, recently collaborated with Boston Camerata on the medieval play Daniel and with Josh Groban on his international Stages tour. Multi-media projects include a YouTube channel, the CD Beginnings, and the GIA DVD “How to Make a Good Choir Sound Great” with Charlene Archibeque. Chamber Singers have premiered choral works by composers including David Lang and several Webster student composers. They have sung in master class for Stile Antico and Voces 8 and have performed extended works by Bach, Britten, Copland, Duruflé, Finzi, Haydn, Schubert, Vaughan Williams, and Vivaldi.

Dr. Trent A. Patterson, Director of Choral Studies and Music Education

Trent A. Patterson, in his eighth year at Webster University, leads the Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and teaches choral conducting. He served as Director of Music Education from 2010-2017, and his restructuring of the curriculum and commitment to recruitment culminated in the addition of a faculty appointment in choral music education in 2016. Dr. Patterson’s students have received notable recognition, including an ensemble director position with The St. Louis Children’s Choirs, Missouri Association of Colleges Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award, first place in the SWACDA conducting competition, MCDA Tresa Jo-Wilson Memorial Scholarship, and an assistant conductor appointment with the Bach Society of Saint Louis. Chamber Singers performed for the 2014 MMEA and SWACDA conferences. Patterson has served MCDA as the College/University Repertoire and Resources Chair. He holds degrees from Michigan State, San José State, and Florida State Universities. He currently serves as choral director for Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves.


Northwestern State University Chamber Choir

The Northwestern State University Chamber Choir, founded in 1987 by Dr. Burt Allen, is the flagship choral ensemble at Northwestern State University. The NSU Chamber Choir membership is comprised of 36 undergraduates encompassing over 15 different majors throughout the university. The choir frequently collaborates with composers and conductors for projects including most recently For a Breath of Ecstasy, commissioned from composer Michael Trotta, premiered in March 2017. Additionally, the NSU Chamber Choir will be the featured choir at this years Louisiana Music Educators Association conference in November 2017. The choir will travel to the Baltics this summer to compete in the Kaunas Cantat Choral Competition in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins, Director of Choral Activities

Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins is assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where he conducts the Chamber Singers and Lyric Women’s Chorale; teaches conducting, choral literature, vocal music education methods courses; and directs the Master of Music in Choral Conducting program. He received his degrees from the University of Mississippi (BM), the University of Alabama-Birmingham (MM), and Louisiana State University (DMA). His primary conducting teachers have been Dr. Philip L. Copeland and Dr. Kenneth Fulton.

Prior to Northwestern State University, Dr. Cummins was director of choral activities at Delta State University, and a graduate teaching fellow at Louisiana State University. He also taught public school choral music in Alabama and Texas. He is currently the music director at First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches.

Dr. Cummins has served as a clinician for middle school, high school, and university choirs in the South and Southeast and has presented about technology in the choral rehearsal, assessment in choral ensembles, performance practice, and choral music of the Baltics. His article about composer Vytautas Miškinis was published in the Choral Journal. He is a member of ACDA, NATS, NCCO, College Music Society, and IFCM.