CHORAL HEADLINER – DR. THEREES TKACH HIBBARD
Dr. 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.
BAND HEADLINER – FRANK TICHELI
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.
ORCHESTRA HEADLINER – ROBERT DALE GARDNER
Robert 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).
GENERAL MUSIC HEADLINER – ANDREW ELLINGSEN
Andrew 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.
GENERAL MUSIC HEADLINER – DENA BYERS
Dena 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.
BAND HEADLINER – DAVID W. VANDEWALKER
David W. Vandewalker is the Coordinator of Performing Arts for Fulton County Schools (Atlanta, GA) supporting the music education and music therapy faculty in 57 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, and 17 high schools who serve nearly 100,000 students. He earned degrees at Baylor University, Central Michigan University, and Boston University where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Music Education. As a performer, Dr. Vandewalker enjoys artistic development as a vocalist, cellist, and clarinetist with twenty-seven years of teaching experiences spanning elementary, middle school, high school, and higher education as a conductor of both choral and instrumental ensembles. Additionally, David studied with Jos Wuytack, student and friend of Carl Orff, for his Orff-Schulwerk Level 2 certification and served as a lead curriculum writer for both Cobb County School District and the Georgia Department of Education. He is the founding artistic director and conductor of the professional ensemble, Cobb Chamber Winds, and the administrator, artistic director, and principal conductor of the Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble. Most recently, Dr. Vandewalker served as the associate director of athletic bands/ assistant director of bands at Georgia State University (2012-2016) and Director of Bands at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia (2000-2012). A Conn-Selmer Artist/Educator, he has led concerts before esteemed audiences such as the CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference, Music for All National Concert Festival, and the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Marching Bands under his direction received honors including participation in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade, 2009 & 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, ranked top-ten nationally by the 2013 College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), and Bands of America Grand National Finalist (Top 12). As an avid supporter of new music for the wind band, David W. Vandewalker consistently works with composers, arrangers, and performing artists in the wind band medium. Residencies and collaborations with composers and other conductors are integral to his creative work. Performances under his direction have received the praise of such notable composers/conductors as Steven Bryant, David Dzubay, John Mackey, Scott McAllister, Ray Cramer, Fredrick Fennell, Col. Arnold Gabriel, Gary Green, Michael Haithcock, James Keene, and Kevin Sedatole. Dr. Vandewalker is a recipient of the Sudler Flag of Honor, nine-NBA Citation of Excellence Awards, three National Wind Band Honors Awards, is recognized in multiple editions of Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and is an elected member of the American Bandmasters Association. He has published numerous articles in professional journals, chapters in multiple volumes of the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band book series (GIA) and Rehearsing the High School Band (Hal Leonard), books including Boosters to the Rescue, and Strategic Plans for a Successful Booster Club (GIA), and Foundations for Wind Band Clarity- Arrangements for Concert Band, Foundations for Wind Band Clarity- Instructional DVD, and Everyday Stuff Every Director Needs to Know (Vision Publications). Additionally, Vandewalker is a nationally-renown staff development presenter with multiple clinician appearances for GMEA, Music for All Summer Symposium, Smith Walbridge Directors Institute, Texas Bandmasters Association, and the Midwest Clinic. David and his wife, Pamela, reside in Marietta where she is Minister of Creativity and Worship Programming at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church where she has over 900 children actively involved in music making each week. Pamela (Master of Music in Choral Conducting – UM/Kansas City Conservatory) is a 2014 Dove Award winner for Best Children’s/Youth Musical in her collaboration with Veggie Tales/Big Idea. Together, David and Pamela created Teeny Tykes and Tunes, an early childhood music curriculum series published in English and Spanish (Vision Publications) along with Teeny Tykes and Tunes: Africa Edition, Volume 1 and 2 (CLMC/Nairobi).