2020 Featured Clinicians


ThereesHibbardDr. Therees Tkach Hibbard is the director of the Manitou Singers and St. Olaf Chamber Singers, and teaches choral conducting, literature and voice at St. Olaf College.  She has served as conductor, adjudicator, choreographer and clinician for numerous choral organizations throughout Great Britain, Europe and North America; as well as in Greece, Hong Kong and Muscat, Oman.  Her work as a voice and movement specialist in the training of choral singers, teachers, music theatre performers and conductors has created unique opportunities for her to collaborate with choirs, ensembles and conductors from around the world. Prior to her appointment to the St. Olaf faculty, she has served as Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, as well as previously working for twelve years as a singer, choral conductor, singing tutor and senior lecturer at several UK colleges and universities in the London area including the London College of Music, the Royal College of Music Junior Department, Imperial College and Roehampton University. She also served as one of the founding tutors for the Choral Conductors’ Training Course for the Association of British Choral Directors that she helped develop and implement throughout the UK. Her research on enhancing choral performance through movement training has led to the development of a comprehensive choral education philosophy of “BodySinging”; most clearly demonstrated through her work with choirs such as the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy, the Animato Choir of Lesvos, Greece, and The American Boychoir. In addition to her work as a conductor and teacher, she has also performed professionally as vocal soloist, dancer and choral singer in London, UK and throughout the United States.



Frank Ticheli’s music has been described as being “optimistic and thoughtful” (Los Angeles Times), “lean and muscular” (The New York Times), “brilliantly effective” (Miami Herald) and “powerful, deeply felt crafted with impressive flair and an ear for striking instrumental colors” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel). Ticheli (b. 1958) joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition. From 1991 to 1998, Ticheli was Composer in Residence of the Pacific Symphony. Ticheli’s orchestral works have received considerable recognition in the U.S. and Europe. Orchestral performances have come from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Dallas Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, the radio orchestras of Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Saarbruecken, and Austria, and the orchestras of Austin, Bridgeport, Charlotte, Colorado, Haddonfield, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Jacksonville, Lansing, Long Island, Louisville, Lubbock, Memphis, Nashville, Omaha, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, San Antonio, San Jose, Wichita Falls, and others.

Ticheli’s Flute concerto recently received its world premiere at the National Flute Association Convention in Minneapolis, with the composer conducting and Thornton colleague Jim Walker as soloist. In February, 2018, Ticheli’s third symphony, THE SHORE, will receive its East Coast premiere at New York’s Carnegie Hall by NYChoral Society and Orchestra. Ticheli is well known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition to composing, he has appeared as guest conductor of his music at Carnegie Hall, at many American universities and music festivals, and in cities throughout the world, including Schladming (Austria), Beijing and Shanghai, London and Manchester, Singapore, Rome, Sydney, and numerous cities in Japan.

He is the recipient of a 2012 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, his third award from that prestigious organization. His Symphony No. 2 was named winner of the 2006 NBA/William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest. Other awards include the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize and First Prize awards in the Texas Sesquicentennial Orchestral Composition Competition, Britten-on-the-Bay Choral Composition Contest, and Virginia CBDNA Symposium for New Band Music. Ticheli was awarded national honorary membership to Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, “bestowed to individuals who have significantly contributed to the cause of music in America,” and the A. Austin Harding Award by the American School Band Directors Association, “given to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the school band movement in America.” At USC, he has received the Virginia Ramo Award for excellence in teaching, and the Dean’s Award for Professional Achievement. Ticheli received his doctoral and masters degrees in composition from The University of Michigan. His works are published by Manhattan Beach, Southern, Hinshaw, and Encore Music, and are recorded on the labels of Albany, Chandos, Clarion, Klavier, Koch International, Mark and Naxos.


gardner_picture_2015Robert Gardner is a bassist, conductor and composer with experience in a wide variety of musical genres. He has served on the faculty of the Penn State School of Music since 2003, where he is an associate professor of music education, specializing in stringed instrument playing and teaching, orchestral conducting, and alternative styles for string ensembles. Gardner has written chapters and articles in various publications, including Arts Education Policy Review and American String Teacher, and has given presentations at conferences and workshops throughout the country. His research has focused on the nature of improvisation and composition, as well as the supply and demand of American public school music teachers. Several of his pieces and arrangements for string orchestra are available through Alfred Publishers. Robert received his bachelor’s degree in music education from the Ohio State University, and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in music education from the Eastman School of Music. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, he served as orchestra director and instructor for public school districts in Ohio and New York. Gardner was also music director for two youth orchestras at the Hochstein School of Music, and has been guest conductor for many honors ensembles. He has designed and directed programs for adult learners and alternative styles for string ensembles. Robert has served as chairperson of the Alternative Styles Task Force for the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and as president of the Pennsylvania Delaware chapter of ASTA (PADESTA).


Ellingsen-Andrew-HeadshotAndrew Ellingsen teaches elementary music and works as an instructional coach in Decorah, IA. He has served on the OAKE national board, an AOSA committee, and has held leadership positions in state and regional organizations for both Orff Schulwerk and OAKE. Ellingsen teaches in the Orff courses at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the University of Memphis. He has presented at OAKE and AOSA national conferences.




denabyersheadshotDena Byers teaches K-5 music with the Durham Public Schools in Durham, North Carolina and also serves as the Lead Elementary Music Teacher for the district. She assists in the coordination of district events and professional development for her colleagues. Dena is the Artistic Director of the Durham Children’s Choir.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and her master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. A National Board Certified teacher since 2005, Dena has presented at several AOSA Professional Development Conferences as well as for Orff chapters across the country. She served as a Region IV Representative on the AOSA National Board of Trustees from 2006-2009.   She has taught Level I basic pedagogy in Orff Schulwerk courses at Southern Methodist University, University of Memphis, Samford University in Alabama, Baker University in Kansas, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally she has conducted all-state honors choir in Mississippi and all-county honor choruses in North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Dena was the recipient of the 2010 Jackson Parkhurst Award as an Outstanding North Carolina Music Educator.