Poster Sessions


The following sessions have been selected as poster sessions for NCCO7, November 2–4, 2017, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


A Rich Legacy from 18th Century New France: Motets of the Ursuline Sisters

A vibrant musical life existed from the very earliest days of Quebec’s colonies. When the French territories were lost to Britain and Spain, the sacred French music simply faded into obscurity. Yet for more than 100 years (1639-1760) church music was pre-eminent, providing a backbone to musical culture.

This presentation will trace the musical activities in the Ursuline community as they lived their teaching mission on the frontier and strove to educate both aboriginal and colonial girls.

Manuscripts in the Ursuline Monastery contain Canada’s first sacred works for women’s voices; dozens of intricate little motets of unknown provenance composed in French Baroque style, works which have not been sung for over 300 years. Scholars now believe that the Ursuline nuns themselves were the composers. This rich repository of repertoire is waiting to be unearthed and explored. No critical editions for performance purposes have yet been produced. Yet these wonderful works are worthy of revival, as Baroque works by women composers as well as a neglected part of Canada’s musical heritage. It is time to bring this music out of obscurity. This poster session introduces newly transcribed works from the manuscripts, and performance practice information.

Ms. Elizabeth MacIsaac

Elizabeth MacIsaac has directed choirs of all ages in Canada, France and the United States. She is currently completing her DMA at the University of Washington, Seattle under the auspices of Dr. Giselle Wyers and Dr. Geoffrey Boers. Elizabeth MacIsaac lived in Paris for many years, directing choirs and free-lance performing as a vocalist specializing in both early music and avant garde repertoire. Upon her return to Canada, MacIsaac joined the faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music in British Columbia. A passion for early music has remained a constant presence during her DMA studies, as a special focus for her has become the effective, meaningful performance of medieval and baroque repertoire by modern choirs. Retrieving the Ursuline choral music for female voices from the Quebec Archives has been an exciting journey. MacIsaac is also director of the Canadian women’s choir Ensemble Laude which was an invited choir to Choralies Festival 2016 in France. MacIsaac is deeply involved in the international choral community, and enjoys travelling widely to attend global choral conferences as a presenter and clinician, most recently at Europa Cantat in Hungary, and The Phenomenon of Singing at Festival 500 in Newfoundland.


Spaces In-Between: Gay male choral directors negotiating sexual identity, masculinity and emotion within school spaces

In recent years, there has been unprecedented progress in this country towards the inclusion of LGBTQ persons in highly visible spaces such as the music industry, media, business, and even within political contexts, in ways that seemed unimaginable only a decade ago. Despite this progress, many risk adverse and morally vigilant public school settings remain reluctant to embrace and make visible gay and gender non-confirming persons as significant contributors and positive role models to public school culture. Some researchers have explored the challenges that LGBTQ (music) teachers face when negotiating their personal and professional identities at work, but little has been discussed regarding the unique role that choral music education, and by extension those who teach the subject, can play in changing perceptions of LGBTQ and gender non-conforming persons, gender roles, heteronormativity, and traditional masculinity within schools. Based on recent dissertation research, this presentation will explore how four gay male middle and high school choral directors contend with the conditions of public schools, and how choral music served as a critical emotional outlet and surrogate of their sexual identity while in the role of vocal music teacher.

Dr. Nicholas McBride, The College of New Jersey

Nicholas McBride maintains an active career as a conductor, music teacher educator and researcher. He is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at The College of New Jersey where he teaches courses in music education, supervises senior-level student teachers, and conducts the TCNJ College Choir; an ensemble he recently prepared for collaborative performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra of New York and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Dr. McBride has guest conducted and adjudicated several honors choirs and festivals, most recently the 2017 New Jersey All-State Elementary Choir, has presented at the regional and national conferences of NAfME and the NJ-ACDA conference, and has served on the NJ-ACDA State Executive Board. He is a contributing author to the texts Teaching Music through Performance in Middle School Choir and Planning Instruction in Music, both by GIA Chicago, and has published research in the Music Educators Journal and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. McBride received his doctorate in Music & Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, his dual Masters with honors in both Choral Conducting and Music Education from Northwestern University, and completed undergraduate work in Music Education at Westminster Choir College.


Connections and lineage in the Requiems of Walford Davies, Herbert Howells, and Eleanor Daley

This session summarizes common elements between Eleanor Daley’s Requiem and the work that most inspired the piece, Herbert Howells’ Requiem. Additionally, it will illustrate a common lineage that begins with A Short Requiem by Walford Davies. The session will explore the commonalities and direct lineage of these three pieces. Understanding the connectedness of the three works provides a new perspective for interpreting each individual composition. The points of comparison will include examples of texts set, harmonic language, texture, modal usage, and tonal clarity. The session will serve as an introduction to these comparisons, but there will also be a handout that offers greater detail. Additionally, full scores of all three pieces will be with the display to allow conductors to explore in greater depth. The pieces vary in difficulty making the material applicable to a greater number of choirs. Research sources used in this session include in-person interviews with Eleanor Daley, as well as over a year’s worth of email correspondence with the composer.

Dr. Andrew Robinette, South Dakota State University

Dr. Andrew Robinette is an Assistant Professor of Music at South Dakota State University where he teaches conducting, applied voice, music education methods, and conducts the SDSU Statesmen. He has taught at the collegiate level for more than a decade, previously serving on the faculties of Temple University, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and as the choir director at Philadelphia University.

An active scholar, Robinette regularly presents his research at the state, regional, and national conferences of organizations such as the American Choral Directors Association, Music Teacher’s National Association, and College Music Society. He also serves on the editorial board of The Choral Scholar. His presentations range in scope from music technology and recording, to building choral tone and working with amateur singers. Robinette has served as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the country conducting and working with choirs in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Under his direction, the SDSU Statesmen have toured nationally and internationally and performed concert sessions at multiple state conferences. He holds degrees in conducting and music education from the University of South Carolina, Temple University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Orazio Vecchi’s L’amfiparnaso: A case for the great madrigal comedy

L’Amfiparnaso (The Twin Peaks of Parnassus) was Vecchi’s ultimate masterpiece premiering at the climax of the Renaissance in 1594. The genre of this work, now called a madrigal comedy, combined the well known characters of commedia dell’arte with the ever popular music art form of the madrigal. Vecchi’s masterpiece utilizes compositional techniques popular in both sacred and secular settings to highlight the “low art” comedy and “high art” tragedy. He lived to see it successfully performed many times over and become one of the most popular and most performed works at the turn of the century. The session will explore the work as a whole, the different performing editions, interpretations and a variety of choices the conductor could make. The session will also display the commedia masks, and address the unique theatrical elements and potential opportunities for collaboration.

Mr. Daniel Ryan

Daniel P. Ryan is an active conductor and singer in the Boston area. He is the director of choral activities at Clark University, the artistic director of In Good Company Theatre Co, Conductor with the Boston City Singers and associate conductor with VOICES BOSTON. He Formally conducted the Sine Nomine Choral Ensemble with programing aimed to reinvent early music. He currently holds professional singing posts at First Church Boston and Trinity Parish of Newton Center. During the summers he serves on the faculty at Interlochen Summer Arts Academy as a music director.

Daniel holds a Master of Music degree in Conducting from The Boston Conservatory where he studied with maestri Bill Cutter and George Case. Daniel received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music education and vocal performance from Catawba College where he studied conducting with Paul E. Oakley and voice with Scott Macleod. Ryan’s notable other conducting teachers and mentors include Andrew Altenbach, Beth Willer, and Brian O’Connell.


Toward a New Understanding of Hugo Distler on the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of his Death

Public perception of Hugo Distler (1908–1942) is often limited to two basic “facts:” (1) he was a neo-Baroque composer whose works emulated Heinrich Schütz, and (2) his suicide on November 1, 1942, was an act of resistance against the German National Socialist regime. However, a deeper examination reveals inconsistencies and a shifting portrait of a complex man whose compositional style defies simple labels. Many of these inconsistencies can be explored through the lens of Distler’s motet for All Saints’ Day, Totentanz, Op. 12, No. 2.

An analysis of Totentanz reveals medieval, Renaissance, and twentieth-century stylistic traits and compositional devices, but Baroque influences are notably absent. In addition, German sources provide fascinating new details about Distler’s life and Nazi affiliation that open the door to speculation about other contributing factors in Distler’s suicide. Letters, articles, and testimonies largely unknown to English readers are offered as supporting evidence, along with musical examples.

The translated first line of Totentanz is, “Leave all that you have, that you may take all!” If we are willing to leave previous assumptions about Distler, we may be able to take up a new understanding of a complicated and elusive musical genius on the seventy-fifth anniversary of his death.

Ms. Alison Allerton, University of Tennessee–Chattanooga

Alison Allerton is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she conducts the Women’s Chorale and teaches choral methods and secondary methods courses. Prior to her collegiate career, Dr. Allerton spent twelve years as a public school choral music educator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in the Greenwich Public Schools in Greenwich, Connecticut. She was named a recipient of the Greenwich Public Schools Distinguished Teacher Award in 2010 and the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award in 2007. In 2011, her 50-voice middle school boys select choir gave an invitational performance at the Connecticut Music Educators Association State Conference.

Dr. Allerton holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from James Madison University, an MM in Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music, and a DMA in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, she was the graduate assistant conductor for the LSU A Cappella Choir, whom she helped prepare for invitational performances given at Louisiana-ACDA, ACDA Southern Division, and the Association of British Choral Directors National Convention. Dr. Allerton has also performed in Red Shift, the preeminent professional choir of Baton Rouge, since the ensemble’s founding in 2015.


Choristers’ perceptions of Laban-based conducting gestures

“Choristers’ perceptions of Laban-based conducting gestures” summarizes original empirical research assessing the perceptual accuracy of choristers with no conducting training when identifying Laban Movement Analysis-based conducting qualities. The null hypotheses stated that 1) there would be no difference among ratings of the Laban Effort Factors of Time, Weight, or Space between these choristers (Novice, n = 21) and Laban-trained conductors (Laban, n = 24), and 2) that all participants would rate gestures more accurately than chance. Chi-square tests of independence indicated a significant difference based upon group membership for Time ([χ2 (1, n = 1408) = 51.19, p < .017] and Space [χ2 (1, n = 1440) = 13.18, p < .017]) Factors. Time and Weight were identified with reasonable accuracy by Novice (83% and 92%, respectively) and Laban groups (85% and 89%, respectively); Space was not accurately identified by either group (Novice, 50%; Laban, 59%). Results indicated that while Laban-based conducting training improved Laban-based observation accuracy, participants without training could accurately observe some components of expressive gesture. Accurately observed gesture qualities could inform rehearsal conducting when choristers are responding inconsistently, or could guide musical changes during a performance.

Dr. Amanda Huntleigh, Smith College

Amanda Huntleigh serves as the Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Lecturer at Smith College. There, she co-directs choirs, and also teaches studio voice, aural skills, and a newly-designed music appreciation course. Huntleigh’s publications include the first and second editions of Concerts Decoded: Listening Like You Mean It, a listening-centered music appreciation textbook co-authored with Nicole Harreld. Huntleigh holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington, and her dissertation addressed the communicative power of conducting gesture for choristers, using components of Laban Movement Analysis. To support her research, Huntleigh completed the Integrated Movement Studies program in January 2016 to become a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. Earlier in her career, she taught choral, instrumental and general music in Illinois, Virginia, and Delaware public schools. Huntleigh also holds a Master of Music degree in Conducting from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Wartburg College.


Early Concert Spirituals: Origins and Arrangements

The African American spiritual is one of America’s cultural treasures. In addition to its important place in the lives and history of African Americans, it has been a source of inspiration for generations of singers, composers, arrangers, and conductors. For choral directors, the long-standing tradition of the concert spiritual has provided nearly 150 years of choral arrangements to draw from while creating compelling choral programs.

This session will explore the nature of the concert spiritual within its first fifty years of development, beginning in 1871 when the Fisk Jubilee Singers first popularized the genre. Specifically, it will examine the early concert spiritual’s relationship to the tradition spiritual as recorded in published folk song collections. The session will investigate the following questions. Were the songs most commonly collected by field researches also those most commonly set as concert spirituals? To what extent were the texts or tunes of the original spirituals altered during the arranging process? In what way did the association between traditional spirituals and concert spirituals change between 1871 and 1921?

As part of this exploration, I will introduce a number of excellent spirituals found in folk song anthologies that are not well known in the concert spiritual tradition.

Dr. Dirk Johnson, West Virginia State University

Dr. Dirk Johnson is the Artistic Director of the Charleston Civic Chorus and Director of Choral Activities at West Virginia State University, where he conducts the Concert Choir and State Singers and teaches applied voice, conducting, vocal pedagogy, and music education methods. He holds a DMA in choral conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in choral music education from Brigham Young University. Before coming to WVSU, Dr. Johnson was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia and taught at Timpanogos High School and Pleasant Grove Junior High near Salt Lake City, Utah.

An active composer and arranger, Dr. Johnson has received commissions from collegiate and community choirs from around the country and regularly writes for the WVSU choirs and the Charleston Civic Chorus. He was recently honored as winner of the 2015 John Ness Beck Foundation Award for composition of traditional sacred choral music. As a professional choral singer, he sang for two seasons with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati and currently performs with the Tennessee Chamber Choir. Dr. Johnson’s current scholarly research focuses on American folksong traditions and their implications for choral arranging.


Graduate Choral Literature Curricula and Pedagogy

Where can new professors of graduate choral literature find guidance when teaching the class? Where can experienced professors of graduate choral literature look to innovate and evolve their curriculum? This poster session will describe graduate choral literature curricula and pedagogy at six universities. The topics to be presented in this poster session include: 1) how many courses are included in graduate choral literature sequences; 2) how the subject matter is divided and organized among the courses; 2) what teachers and students do during class time; 3) what is required of students outside of class time; 4) what types of assessments are used to measure student learning; 5) what underlying philosophical or practical considerations affect course design; and 6) how choral literature textbooks organize and sequence the subject matter. In addition, an overview of the emerging pedagogy movement in the field of musicology will offer insight into successful methods for teaching historical repertoire and style development. The primary aim of this poster is for those who teach graduate choral literature to discover ways they could innovate their own courses by transferring exceptional aspects of the presented models to their own settings.

Dr. Andrew Minear, University of Alabama

Andrew Minear is Assistant Professor in Choral Studies and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama where he leads the university choirs, oversees the graduate choral conducting program, and teaches courses in conducting and choral literature. With over one hundred appearances across thirteen states, Dr. Minear is an active guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and presenter. Recent or upcoming engagements include all-state choirs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Dr. Minear’s choral directing experience includes university, high school, middle school, children’s choir, community choir, and both youth and adult church choirs. During his doctoral studies in choral conducting at Michigan State University, Minear served as the director of the MSU Campus Choir and assistant director of the MSU Men’s Glee Club. He previously taught at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando where choirs under his direction performed for State, Division, and National Conferences of ACDA. Dr. Minear received his degrees from Florida State University (BME and MME) and Michigan State University (DMA).


Bridging Disciplines through Choral Music Programming

Today’s college mission statements often emphasize experiential learning and interdisciplinary work. Choral concert programming is an activity well-positioned to implement such goals due to choral music’s connections to poetry, history, and other disciplines. Strategic programming choices that incorporate elements of interdisciplinary work result in benefits for the choral program, student participants, audience, faculty, partnering academic disciplines, and the college institution as a whole.

This presentation analyzes evidence collected by arts management organizations as well as choral music scholars on the effects of interdisciplinary partnerships on audience development. The presentation will also examine in more detail several innovative interdisciplinary programs created by active collegiate choral conductors. Finally, this presentation offers collegiate choral conductors concrete steps on how to organize interdisciplinary offerings at their own institutions, from basic projects to more complex and involved partnerships.

Dr. Helena von Rueden, Hampden-Sydney College

Dr. Helena von Rueden is an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts (Music) and Director of Men’s Chorus at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, where she has taught choral music, choral conducting, music fundamentals, group piano, and American music history since 2014. The Chorus performs regular programs, collaborates with ensembles regionally, and has recently completed tours to New Orleans and New York City. Recent Founder/Director of The Piedmont Singers, Dr. von Rueden directs the eight-voice professional ensemble based in Central Virginia. Her choral research interests include interdisciplinary programming and conductors’ metaphorical language use in rehearsal settings. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Harvard University, where she also studied choral conducting with Jameson Marvin and Kevin Leong. At University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr. von Rueden received a Masters in Vocal Performance and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting under the guidance of Linda Di Fiore and Michel Marc Gervais. She is a past member of the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers in Kansas City and Sanctuary in Richmond, Virgina, served as a 2014 Chorus America Conducting Fellow, and maintains an active vocal career spanning oratorio, opera, art song, and professional choral singing.