2020 USC Thornton Dept. of Choral & Sacred Music Newsletter

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FROM THE CHAIR...................................................3 ENSEMBLE UPDATES.............................................. 4 PILLAR OF LEADERSHIP.......................................... 6 LECTURE SERIES.....................................................7 GIVING BACK........................................................ 9 IN MEMORIAM...................................................... 9 YEAR IN REVIEW................................................... 10 FACULTY NEWS.................................................... 13 ALUMNI NEWS..................................................... 14 STUDENT NEWS................................................... 16 UPCOMING EVENTS.............................................. 19

from the



On May first of this past year I wrote the following to our students, staff, colleagues and friends: I always assumed that when I turned 70 years old, I would retire. With that milestone looming I find that, while I am definitely not ready to retire, I am ready for a change and for someone else to do the heavy lifting in the Department of Choral and Sacred Music. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know that I will be stepping down as Department Chair at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Please know the rest of this year will be “business as usual” and include the Chamber Singers tour to Taiwan and Thailand and all of our usual concerts and activities. After stepping down as Chair, I will maintain a full load that will include conducting Chamber Singers, teaching Choral Development, additional classes, and private conducting lessons, and supervising dissertations. I look forward to having much more time to devote to teaching, guest conducting, and exploring professional opportunities that I have not had the time to consider. It has been a joy to have guided this department for the past twelve years. I have had the opportunity to work with stellar faculty and wonderful students, revise the curriculum, work with the faculty to re-establish the sacred music degrees at the MM and DMA levels, and establish the undergraduate Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Music. Since the program’s inception in 2010, we have awarded Bachelor of Music degrees to 31 choral majors and, since my arrival in 2008, degrees have been earned by 82 graduate students, 50 of whom are DMA’s. In faculty news, I am extremely happy to welcome Dr. Tram Sparks as a full-time member of our faculty after an extensive international search and I am equally pleased to reshare the good news (announced this fall) that Dr. Cristian Grases will take over as Department Chair on July 1, 2020. I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition. Our undergraduate students continue to be a source of inspiration. BM in Choral Music students have developed their own choral collective, creating a unique learning environment that is completely organized and administered by collective agreement. Many of our undergraduate students attend ACDA conferences, and two recently received Fulbright Scholarships to study in India and Argentina. Many who have earned their BM degrees are now working as singers in the Los Angeles Master Chorale or other professional choirs. Some of our graduates work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and others have earned advanced degrees and are now working in classrooms across the country. Three consecutive Associate Conductors of the LAMC and two consecutive Artistic Directors of the

GMCLA have come from our program. Others have founded professional choral ensembles and many serve in the sacred music field. Our graduates conduct regional orchestras, work with community choirs, teach and conduct at academic institutions around the world, give presentations at major conferences—and some teach at USC. The growth and scholarship of these students and alumni continue to amaze me. Our choral ensembles continue to thrive and bring national and international recognition to the program and the USC Thornton School of Music. Under the direction of Dr. Grases, Concert Choir has performed at the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) Conference and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Western Region Conference. Since my arrival, Chamber Singers have performed at an NCCO Conference, an ACDA Western Region Conference, an ACDA National Conference, and the World Choral Symposium. The ensemble has toured Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, and this coming summer, we will add Taiwan and Thailand. Additionally, the Chamber Singers was awarded the American Prize for University Choral Performance. I have truly relished my time as chair, and I look forward to continuing to conduct the Chamber Singers, teach classes, and serve the department. Since this is my last column as Chair, I would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your generous support of the department, the faculty, and most importantly, our students. It has meant the world to me, and I look forward to your continued support of the Chamber Singers and the Department of Choral and Sacred Music as we move forward.

Dr. Scheibe chairs the Department of Choral and Sacred Music at USC Thornton, directs the Chamber Singers, teaches choral conducting and choral methods, and supervises the graduate and undergraduate programs in Choral music.

from the chair


The USC Thornton Chamber Singers

chamber singers

concert choir

The USC THORNTON CHAMBER SINGERS stayed busy in the spring with three major performances and a recording session. In February, they recorded Desenclos’s Messe de Requiem followed by a performance at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena with Dr. Weicheng Zhao at the organ. In April, they joined forces with the Concert Choir for a performance of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as part of the celebration of Dr. Lauridsen’s retirement from USC. Also, in April, the Chamber Singers performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. During the fall semester, the Chamber Singers performed their fall concert in memory of USC alumnus, Dr. Dominic Gregorio. In November, the chorus had a unique opportunity to perform with the critically acclaimed ensemble, Voces8, in a concert at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. The year’s busy performance schedule rounded out with the annual Winter Gala Scholarship Concert.

The USC THORNTON CONCERT CHOIR capped off the spring semester with a concert featuring works for choir and organ at All Saints Episcopal Church with organist, Dr. Weicheng Zhao, and a performance of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna with the USC Chamber Singers at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The fall semester began with the Concert Choir traveling to Las Vegas for a mini-tour after just seven weeks of classes. While on tour, Concert Choir collaborated with prominent high school programs in the Las Vegas area including the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, Green Valley High School, and Desert Oasis High School, as well as singing at two morning services at Green Valley United Methodist Church. In addition to their musical experiences, Concert Choir enjoyed tours of Las Vegas’s historic Fremont Street and the Hoover Dam, as well as indulged themselves at one of the grand buffets on the Las Vegas Strip. The semester continued with the ensemble’s performance at the annual fall concert and the Choral Leadership Workshop and Community College festivals. Concert Choir ended their year with the annual Winter Gala Scholarship Concert.

4 ensemble updates

The USC Thornton Concert Choir

The USC Thornton Concert Choir

apollo chorus

Last spring the USC Thornton APOLLO CHORUS bid a fond farewell to conductors Ernest H. Harrison, who led the ensemble for past three years, and to Daniel Gee and Max Vowel (MM ’19) as they departed USC to begin the next step in their careers. This fall, Apollo Chorus welcomed a new team comprised of lead conductor Yen-Hsiang Nieh, and two associate conductors, DMA student Alex Belohlavek and MM student James Moursund. At their fall concert program, titled “Everyone Sing!” Apollo Chorus performed folk songs from America, Scotland, Ireland, and Taiwan, continuing to further expand the diversity of their repertoire. Sing on, family. Family, sing on! The USC Apollo Chorus

university chorus In the spring of 2019, the UNIVERSITY CHORUS presented a concert of diverse choral works, featuring music from Asia, Europe, and the United States. The annual fall concert, entitled “Autumn Leaves,” featured songs celebrating the season of autumn by exploring music about the Reformation, the Thanksgiving holiday, and America’s favorite pastime, baseball. Former associate conductor, DMA student Heeseong Lee, took over as lead conductor and two new conductors, DMA student Andy Wilson and MM student Shi-Jia Ye, were welcomed to the team. The University Chorus closed out the year by performing at the annual Winter Gala Scholarship Concert, featuring Dr. Nick Strimple’s “A Christmas Flourish” for choir and the USC trombone choir. The USC University Chorus performing at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral.

oriana choir

This past spring, the USC Thornton ORIANA CHOIR celebrated the genius of women with a full program of exclusively female composers— featuring From Behind the Caravan: Songs of Hâfez, a large multi-movement composition by composer Abbie Betinis, directed by Daniel Strychacz, Andy Wilson, and Victoria Bailey (MM ‘19). During the fall semester, Oriana welcomed a new lead conductor, Yu Hang Tan, and two associate conductors, DMA student Emily Sung and MM student Shelby Stroud. Their fall concert “Everyone Sing!” featured folk songs from around the world, including a world premiere of a Chinese folk song arrangement by Dr. Cristian Grases. The concert was an experience that explored shared human emotions that transcend cultural differences. The USC Oriana Choir

ensemble updates


Pillar of Leadership



I first came to USC virtually by accident in January, 1954. I had received the BM in Organ from Curtis Institute of Music in 1951, and that fall began studies toward the MM in Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York. This was during the Korean War and, due to conscription, I was drafted into the U.S. Army after just one semester. Following basic training in Virginia, I lucked out and was sent to Würzburg, Germany (rather than Korea), where I was a chaplain’s assistant in charge of music at the U.S. Army post chapel. In late January of 1954, I was discharged in California (my home state)—but too late to return to New York for the spring semester at Union. Having heard that USC had a good choral and church music program, I decided to take a few courses there that could be transferred to Union, where I planned to return the following fall. When I appeared in Widney Hall (School of Music’s then main building), I was told I needed an adviser, and so was sent to the office of Charles C. Hirt, chair of the Department of Church Music (which he had founded in 1945) and Director of Choral Organizations (a position he had held since1942). Dr. Hirt welcomed me most graciously, recommended courses to take, and accepted me into his famed A Cappella Choir (later to be called Concert Choir). A few weeks after I began courses at USC, the noted English organist and composer, Roland Diggle passed away. He had been organist and choirmaster at St. John’s Episcopal Church (now Cathedral), near campus, for forty years. I applied for the job and was chosen to succeed him. With that good fortune and the opportunity to provide 6 pillar of leadership

music for a liturgy I loved and to develop a sacred music concert series for the wider community, and at the same time to study at USC with the likes of such legendary figures as Charles Hirt, Halsey Stevens, William Vennard, Alice Ehlers, Pauline Alderman, and Ingolf Dahl (the most brilliant musician I have ever known), it soon became crystal clear that I should stay at USC to complete the MM and, with the encouragement of Dr. Hirt, to go on with DMA studies. The BM and MM in Church Music (the term more recently changed to the more inclusive Sacred Music) began to be offered at USC in 1945. The DMA degree was a fairly recent one nationally in the early 50s and first became available at USC in 1952, but at first only in Composition, Music Education, and Church Music. The major in Choral Music was not to be offered until the early 1970s. The first person to receive a DMA in Church Music was Paul Wohlgemuth, followed by Paul Stroud and Robert Young (later to become Nick Strimple’s mentor at Baylor U.). I was the fourth, in 1960. Robert had been a big help to me in giving hints on how to study for the “quals”!

“... it soon became crystal clear that I should stay at USC...” You can imagine my surprise and joy when, in the early summer of 1961, Charles Hirt called me to ask me to join him as the department’s second full time faculty member. Up to that time he had built the department virtually by himself, with only occasional TA help. I felt very honored to assist this esteemed man in growing the department to even greater stature nationally, as well as to lighten his burden. He continued as conductor of his renowned Chamber Singers (formerly Madrigal Singers) and I was given the Concert Choir to conduct. It was a challenge and privilege to learn to teach the courses I was assigned, in various semesters: Music of the Great Liturgies; Church Music Administration; Choral Conducting I, II, III; Choral Development; and later on to develop new courses: Choral Lit I, II, III. Advising students in their theses, dissertations and recitals kept me hopping as well. As we all know, teachers learn a great deal from their students—especially in one-on-one

studies. Through the years I was privileged to work with countless phenomenally talented students who came to study from throughout of the country and, increasingly, from many parts of the world. It is tempting to try to mention some of the “most notable” of our many hundreds of graduates who have made and continue to make a tremendous impact and set the highest of standards in choral and sacred music, far and wide. But if I mentioned four or five, I would have to mention many dozens! So I shall not try. Among the thousands of students I taught, conducted, or advised during my thirty-nine years (1961-1999) on the faculty, I hope that I have had some positive impact on some of your lives and careers, as you have certainly had on mine. And, just as important, is the honor I had of being a part of the larger faculty of what is now the Thornton School of Music and, more intimately, the closer association with my colleagues in our own departmental (or closely related) faculty, which has continued to grow throughout my tenure and since, and has been a constant inspiration. I am thinking in particular of my beloved mentor, Charles Hirt, of Thomas Somerville, Rodney Eichenberger, David Wilson, William Dehning, Lynn Bielefelt, Jo-Michael Scheibe, Nick Strimple, Cristian Grases, Tram Sparks, Morten Lauridsen, Ladd Thomas and Cherry Rhodes, and others that I am sure I have inadvertently omitted. Finally, I am confident that the quality, repertoire, integrity, efficacy, and beauty of the choral music being taught and performed by our department’s outstanding alumni throughout the world is second to none. I do worry, however, about the current state and uncertain future of music being presented in increasingly more of our houses of worship in this country and beyond. The musical, poetic, and theological inanity of what increasingly passes for sacred music in Divine Worship in some (though certainly not all) of our churches, synagogues, temples, etc., makes me very sad. We have such a priceless treasure of magnificent music created over thousands of years—and still today—for the glory of God in worship. We must expend every ounce of energy we have to keep it alive, well, growing, and of durable quality. I’m sure our Thornton School choral and sacred music alumni are doing just that!

Dr. Jerry Blackstone at the 2019 Choral Leadership Workshop

nobl e f o undat ion & c h r i s t i n e o f i e s h L E C T U R E S E R I E S the

The Department of Choral and Sacred Music benefited from six guest lecturers this year. We gratefully acknowledge the funding for these visiting scholars.

Hilary Apflestadt


february 2019

Jerry Blackstone october 2019

april 2019

Jerry McCoy

february 2019

Voces8 and the USC Thornton Chamber Singers

Rodney Eichenberger

september 2019


november 2019

Center and right: Dr. Rodney Eichenberger Choral Development Lecture lecture series



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Giving Back T.J. HARPER

It gives me a sense of pride to tell people that I am a graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music’s Department of Choral and Sacred Music. During my residency, I was blessed to receive an incredible education and work alongside a group of passionate musicians, educators, and leaders focused on elevating every aspect of the choral art. Through my work as an active conductor and educator, I see a clear line from the opportunities I received at USC and the impact I am able to have on the students I teach. In my continued efforts to serve the profession with ACDA and IFCM, I am keenly aware of the responsibility we all share as advocates for this art, both here in the US and abroad. These efforts would not be possible without the generous support I received from the Department of Choral & Sacred Music. This support truly extends well beyond my time at USC and illustrates the presence of an “invisible hand” that, throughout its history, has allowed the Thornton School of Music to

To learn more about giving to USC Thornton choirs, contact the Thornton Advancement Office at (213) 740-6474 or music.advancement@usc.edu.

open its doors ever wider. I am the beneficiary of the power of unintended consequences and the invisible forces for good that helped to establish and support the choral art at USC. The 18th century political economist and author of A Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith, wrote about the positive side to unintended consequences. He suggested that each individual, “is led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of their original intention,” that end being the public interest or common good. I believe the “invisible hand” of countless musicians, advocates and benefactors over the past 135 years have strengthened the USC Choral & Sacred Music Department by making it possible to open the door to excellence for future generations of choral musicians from around the world. After ten years in New England, returning to Southern California has provided me with a refreshed perspective and appreciation for the education I received at USC. I continue to be amazed by the exceptional work of the USC Choral faculty under the leadership of Dr. JoMichael Scheibe and the ever-expanding group of talented students entering the program at all levels from around the world. I am aware of the responsibility I have to this program

T. J. Harper (DMA ‘08, Choral Music)

and to give back for all it has provided me. I encourage you to join me. By supporting the USC Department of Choral and Sacred Music, you will increase the probability of success for current students. The result of your support will be the sustained growth of this program for years to come. Please join me in supporting this program, which is integrally connected to the responsibility we share for the next generation of choral leaders and the nurturing of this art.

I N MEMORIAM Leo Cornelius Nestor (1948-2019) passed away on September 22, 2019 of cancer in Washington D.C. Leo received a BM in Music Composition from California State University, East Bay, and both an MM and a DMA in Choral Music from the USC Thornton School of Music. From 20012016, he was the Justine Bayard Ward Professor of Music, Director of Choral Studies at the Institute of Sacred Music, and also a member of the conducting and composition faculties at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., following a tenure of seventeen years (1984-2001) at the nearby National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Leo’s extensive choral compositions were published by many publishers—primarily E. C. Schirmer. He was commissioned four times to write works for pastoral visits of popes to the United States – John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. Upon his retirement from C.U.A. in 2016 he was granted knighthood in the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory from Pope Francis for his service to the church.

He is survived by his elder sister, Connie, and her two children. Before his passing, he requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who cared for Leo and Connie’s sister, Patricia, in her final months. Dr. Dominic Catipay Gregorio (1977-2019), beloved son, brother, uncle, teacher, and friend, passed away suddenly in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. A proud Filipino-Canadian, Dominic was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music at the University of Guelph, a Master of Music Degree (Voice, Choral Conducting, Music History) at Temple University in Philadelphia, and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, earning the prestigious medal, The Order of Arete in 2012. As Director of Choral Activities and an Associate Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Regina, Dominic had a

tremendous impact on the campus community, earning an “Excellence in Teaching” Faculty award in his first year as professor. He was particularly passionate about using music to tell the stories of underrepresented communities such as LGBTQ2AS+ and indigenous people; up until his death, he was working on the world premiere of “Riel: Heart of the North,” a collaboration between the Regina Symphony Orchestra and a choir of Métis, Fransaskois, and other indigenous singers. Dr. Gregorio has also conducted the McMaster University Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, USC Thornton Opera, USC Thornton Apollo Men’s Choir, Toronto Singing Out, Siren (the University of Guelph Women’s Choir), and was a former assistant conductor of the Guelph Youth Singers, USC Thornton Chamber Singers, the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation (台北愛樂), and the University of Guelph Symphonic Choir. He is survived by his parents, José and Ella, his siblings Joel, Irene and Jonas, his brother-in-law Nicholas, and his adored niece and nephew, Kali and Lila Stoup. Donations may be made to the Dr. Dominic Gregorio Memorial Scholarship at the University of Regina in Canada. giving back • in memoriam 9

Year in Review A P RI L & M AY JA N UA RY The MM Choral Music students began 2019 with the Repertory Singers concert, which happened to be the final recital for second-year MM Choral Music students, Vicki Bailey and Max Vowel. They are both now successfully leading secondary school choral programs. The Concert Choir held their annual retreat at Glendale First Baptist Church, where they rehearsed repertoire for the upcoming spring concert and participated in quality bonding time.

Renowned vocal ensemble, Cantus, began the month by visiting campus, giving a masterclass on professional choral singing and song interpretation. Shortly after, auditions were held for both incoming MM and DMA students. Dr. Jerry McCoy, visited campus for a week, working with the graduate Choral Conducting class and giving a lecture in the graduate Choral Literature class. That same weekend, over 450 high school and community college students from the southern California area visited campus to participate in the Twelfth Annual Choral Leadership Workshop and Community College Festival, for which Dr. McCoy was the clinician and adjudicator. The following afternoon Chamber Singers and Concert Choir gave a memorable concert at All Saints Church Pasadena in collaboration with Dr. Weicheng Zhao (DMA, Organ ‘18).

F EB RUA RY section in review name 10 year

Renowned choral pedagogue, teacher, and conductor, Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, visited campus, working with the graduate Choral Conducting class and lecturing in the graduate Choral Literature class on Canadian choral composers. Numerous concerts were given: Apollo Chorus and Oriana Choir shared their spring concert, University Chorus gave their spring concert at St. John’s Cathedral, and Concert Choir and Chamber Singers participated in a performance of Dr. Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, conducted by Carl St.Clair at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Our BA Choral Majors held their Choral Lab

concert, during which, selected undergraduate students had an opportunity to conduct their colleagues in the Charles Hirt Choral Laboratory. Chamber Singers capped off the busy month with two performances of Mozart’s Requiem with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of newly appointed Artistic Director, Maestro Jamie Martin, in the Alex Theater in Glendale and Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. In May, Chamber Singers gave one final performance at the annual Baccalaureate ceremony in Bovard Auditorium where our graduates said goodbye to their time at USC Thornton.

Most of the department traveled across the country and spent the first week of March in Kansas City, MO, attending the 60th annual American Choral Directors Association National Convention, where Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe, Dr. Cristian Grases and Choral BA senior, Kate Crellin (BACM ’19), presented on topics of interest. The following weekend, the Concert Choir participated in the annual Pacific Southwest Intercollegiate Choral Association Festival, held at the University of CaliforniaIrvine.


Preparation for the 20192020 school year started early with ensemble recruitment on campus orientation events. Dr. Scheibe remained busy throughout the summer, working with both high school and collegiate singers


S EP T EM B ER AU G U S T August was an exciting month for the Department of Choral and Sacred Music, as returning students were welcomed back and new students began their journey at the USC Thornton School of Music. Great conversation and delicious food were shared at the annual choral department potluck, held at the Scheibes’ home. The first week of classes began with callbacks for Chamber Singers and Concert Choir, finalizing the rosters of each ensemble.

at the NextDirection choral leadership workshop and adjudicating at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. He also spoke at the memorial service for Dr. Dominic Gregorio.


Visiting professor, Suzi Digby, began the month of September with The Golden Bridge concert at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills. Two members of the Department of Choral and Sacred Music faculty, Dr. Nick Strimple and Dr. Cristian Grases, had compositions premiered by the ensemble. Professor Emeritus, Rodney Eichenberger, was welcomed back for another year of residency, during which, he held masterclasses with the graduate Choral Conducting students, assisted with choral rehearsals within the department, and lectured for the Choral Development class.

The first student recital of the year was given in October by second-year MM Sacred Music student, James Moursund, who presented a concert with the Repertory Singers of all sacred music, including some of his own compositions, in the Caruso Catholic Center. Concert Choir toured to Las Vegas, working with local high schools. We welcomed Dr. Jerry Blackstone (DMA ’86) for a week-long residency. Blackstone worked with the choirs, gave a masterclass in the graduate Choral Conducting class, and lectured on the St. Matthew Passion in the graduate Choral Literature class. The final weekend in October was capped off with a concert by the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and the Twelfth Annual Choral Leadership Workshop and Community College Invitational Choral Festival.


N OV EM B ER Renowned vocal group, Voces8, visited campus and gave a concert with the Chamber Singers at the Parish of St. Matthew in Pacific Palisades. Apollo Chorus and Oriana Choir gave their fall concert in Newman Auditorium, welcoming new conductors to each ensemble. University Chorus presented a program of autumn-themed music in St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral.

The Chamber Singers shared their voices at the annual, USC Town and Gown and at caroling events throughout the month. Dr. Grases traveled to Auckland, New Zealand for the International Federation of Choral Music Executive Committee Meeting. The BA Choral Music students presented a semester’s worth of study and practice at the BA Choral Collective Concert (formerly known as Choral Lab). The Winter Gala scholarship fundraiser proved, yet again, to be a memorable conclusion of the year for the Department of Choral and Sacred Music, as all five choirs performed and were joined by the USC Trombone Choir, Scholarship Brass Quintet, and other skilled student performers.

D E C EM B ER year in review 11

facultynews Jo-Michael Scheibe CHAIR

Jo-Michael Scheibe has had an active 2019. Over the course of the year, Scheibe conducted the La Sierra University High School Honor Choir coordinated by Ariel Quintana (DMA ‘10), served as Artist-inResidence at the University of British Columbia, served as clinician for the Chandler Gilbert Community College High School Festival in Arizona, adjudicated at the Mt. SAC Choral Festival, conducted and lectured for ACDA’s NextDirection and Refresh (Wisconsin ACDA) at the University of Wisconsin Parkside, and adjudicated and conducted at the Albion College High School Choral Festival in Michigan. GIA released Teaching Music Through Performance – Choir Volume 5 co-edited by Scheibe and Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, which also includes a chapter written by each of the coeditors. The National Conference of ACDA in Kansas City featured two sessions on Programming for the 21st Century: Quality, Inclusion and Diversity chaired by Scheibe. He conducted the Ansan City Choir (considered to be one of South Korea’s finest ensembles, which has performed at numerous ACDA national and divisional conferences). Programming included Korean, German and American composers with the concert broadcast on Channel 140 of the KBC. While in South Korea, Scheibe also worked with the Asan City Choir conducted by USC alum, Dr. Soonjung Kim (MM ’95, DMA ‘05), taught conducting masterclasses at Ehwa Women’s University, worked with the SungGyul University Symphonic Choir, conducted the Yonsei University Concert Choir in a rehearsal master class, and presented a conducting masterclass for five Dankook University graduate students. He also met with a number of composers including HyoWon Woo, Hyun Kook, and Kyunh-Suk Cheon. Additionally, time was spent with USC Alum, JongIn Kim (DMA ‘11). This was Scheibe’s sixth visit to Korea and his third time guest conducting a Korean professional choir. In his spare time, Scheibe also worked with over a dozen high school and college choirs who came to USC for clinics. \


Cristian Grases has been very active during this year. He presented a session on Latin American choral music performance practice at the ACDA National Convention in Kansas City, led a ten-day residency in Toronto, Canada with the Toronto Children’s Choir and the Hamilton Children’s Choir, served on the organizing committee for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Choral Festival in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, served as a member of the International Jury for the Tokyo International Choral Competition (Japan) and the Taipei International Choral Competition (Taiwan), was the Artistic Director of the World Choral Expo 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal, participated as a Guest Conductor in Nashville (Festival of Gold) and in Caracas, Venezuela (Orquesta Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho), served as a member of the World Youth Choir

12 faculty news

international jury, and led the Latin American Choral Development Committee as one of the Vice Presidents for the International Federation for Choral Music. As a composer, Grases completed a new commission entitled “De Profundis” which was premiered by the Golden Bridge Choir and their conductor, Suzi Digby. In 2020 Dr. Grases will lead the Pennsylvania All State Mixed Choir, present a session at the World Choral Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand, and will be actively engaged in festivals in Chicago (USA), Hohhot, Beijing, and Kaili (China).

Nick Strimple PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE This year Dr. Strimple conducted five concerts with the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale and once again served as Music Director for the High Holiday services at Adat Ari El in Los Angeles. He continues to serve as a member of the International Jewish Music Brain Trust at UCLA’s Milken Institute. During the course of the year his own compositions received over twenty performances around the country, in addition to the several European tour performances of Verbum caro factum est given by Michigan’s Blue Lake International Choir and a featured performance of it by the Wingate University Singers at the NCCO National Conference. In February he returned to Texas where he recruited potential students and gave Holocaust lectures at Tascosa High School in Amarillo. In March, Radio Sefarad in Barcelona broadcast all of his recorded performances of music by Eric Zeisl. In March and April he served as a clinician with several high school and children’s choruses. In September The Golden Bridge, under the direction of Suzi Digby (OBE), premiered his Mary’s Mirror, a performance subsequently broadcast by KUSC. In October he lectured at Hebrew Union College and presented at a Holocaust Education Conference at Pacific Lutheran University. Toward the end of the year, his Two Songs for Treble Chorus were published by Pavane.

Tram Sparks ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE Tram Sparks was hired fulltime as Associate Professor of Practice for the Department of Choral and Sacred Music. For the past two years, Sparks served on Thornton’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and is an advocate for women’s voices, not only within the Thornton community, but also for Thornton alumni and her former students at Temple University. In her research, Sparks explores the nuances of music direction and conducting pedagogy. Her plan is to create a text that shows the intersection between the ideological and the technical, and engages with movement studies, philosophy of art, and the poetics and rhetoric of choral music interpretation and performance. Sparks has put theory into practice as music director in churches and synagogues in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and she has worked on projects with professional and community groups here as

well. But her proudest accomplishment is “helping her students not only to make contributions to music, but also to become compassionate global citizens, promoting a more humane society through their art.”


Ladd Thomas, Adjunct Professor of Organ and Sacred Music, has performed in recitals and concerts throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. He has appeared at important festivals, with numerous major orchestras, and on soundtracks for significant motion pictures. Thomas is currently Adjunct Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Program at the USC Thornton School of Music. He is also the organist of the First United Methodist Church of Glendale. The highlight of his year was a celebratory event on Sunday, September 8th, where he was honored for the beginning of his 60th year as organist at the First United Methodist Church of Glendale.

Rodney Eichenberger FORMER PROFESSOR

Former USC Professor, Rodney Eichenberger, had an active year: he presented at the 2019 ACDA National Conference with Jason Paulk on non-traditional approaches to teaching beginning conducting,and he was selected as one of the conductors for the ACDA Legacy Concert, which was a highlight for many members at the conference. Eichenberger also received the Howard Swan Award from the California Choral Directors Association at ECCO in July. In September he made his annual trek to USC, where he served as a visiting lecturer. He also guest lectured at Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Bakersfield, Bakersfield College, and the College of the Canyons. Additionally, he presented at the Oregon ACDA, Salem Public Schools, and at Chemeketa Community College. Not to be left without something to do as an eightynine-year-old, he also led his 31st week-long summer institute on the Oregon Coast.


Cherry Rhodes, Adjunct Professor of Organ, performed a recital of all Calvin Hampton organ music during the University of Syracuse Legacy Conference honoring composer Calvin Hampton in March. She gave a masterclass during this threeday conference as well. In March Rhodes performed Metopes, which was commissioned by the Far West Region Convention of the American Guild of Organists and written for her. It was premiered it at the 1991 convention. Rhodes was joined by organ alumnus, James Walker (MM Organ ‘82) and Dr. Weicheng Zhao (MM Organ ’13, DMA

’18) in July in a concert of organ duets and organ trios (6 Hands, 6 Feet, 1 Bench) sponsored by the American Guild of Organists Western Region Convention. For the occasion Zhao was commissioned to arrange a work for three organists on one organ bench. He chose Firebird by Igor Stravinsky, which was enthusiastically received with a standing ovation. Rhodes also participated in the Second International Organ Festival in Shanghai, China, in November which was sponsored by the Shanghai Conservatory. She performed in the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, adjudicated the international pipe-organ competition, and gave a lecture entitled, Collaborations with Living Composers. This lecture focused on the composers that have written and dedicated works to her and their many collaborations involving these works.


Donald Brinegar is Professor Emeritus of Pasadena City College. This past fall, his singers performed with Michael Feinstein and David Lockington to sold-out audiences. Next March will be a busy month for Brinegar, as his much-anticipated book Pitch Perfect: A Theory and Practice of Choral Intonation will be released on March 1, and he will be honored with a 70th birthday concert celebration given by The Donald Brinegar Singers on March 29. John Muehleisen, composer, has been commissioned to write a piece in honor of the occasion by the Singers. Brinegar will further be honored at the ACDA Western Division Convention in Salt Lake City as the Conference Honoree, in recognition of his contributions to the choral art during his distinguished career.


2019 was a banner year for David Wilson. He celebrated by producing a concert with full orchestra, professional soloists, and choirs at the church where he serves as Director of Music. The program included Eternal Source of Light Divine by Handel, Adagio for Strings

by Samuel Barber, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams with Camilla Wilson Scott as soloist, and a full production of Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti. In May, he travelled to Thailand, where he dined with two of the Department of Choral and Sacred Music’s outstanding graduates, Dr. Pawasut Piriyapongrat and Dr. T. J. Harper. Both of them are doing amazing work at their universities and are leaders in promoting choral music on the international scene. He is proud to be one of their major professors. The year culminated with trips to Portland, Los Angeles, London, and Paris to promote his book. He loves to hear from former students and colleagues and can be reached at Djwilson99@hotmail.com.


In 2019 James Vail continued presenting two concerts per year with his Laudamus Te Singers. In June, he conducted Schubert’s Great Mass in A-flat and Leo Nestor’s “Lord, My Heart Is Not Proud” at First United Methodist Church, Santa Monica, where James Smith (DMA Organ) is the long-time music director and Ty Woodward (MM ‘91) is the organist. Dr. Vail had transcribed for organ the wind parts of the Schubert —performed with original string and timpani parts—something he has done for many other choral-orchestral works. In November Dr. Vail conducted his L.T.Singers in Bach’s Cantata 131 (“Aus der Tiefe”), and Handel’s Chandos Anthem No. 9 (“O Praise the Lord with One Consent”) and B-flat Organ Concerto, Op. 4, No. 2 at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, with choral alumnus Frank Basile, St. Bede’s organist-choirmaster, as soloist. In December 2018 Dr. Vail also returned as organist-choirmaster at St. Mary-of-the-Angels Anglican Church in the Los Feliz district—a position he held from late 2014 through early 2016.


Lisa Sylvester, who recently took over as Chair of Vocal Arts and Opera at the Thornton School of Music, forged several collaborations for the Vocal Arts students in the spring of 2019. One collaboration was through the joint Vocal Forum

between the Classical Vocal Arts students and the Contemporary Division voice students, coached by faculty members Lynn Helding, Thomas Michael Allen, Jeffrey Allen, and Sean Holt. She also coordinated with Screen Scoring Director, Dan Carlin, to include Thornton Vocal Arts students in a professional recording session with Los Angelesbased studio singers in readings of the Screen Scoring students’ projects. In June she performed at the Boston Court Theater as one of the mentor coach/pianists in the Emerging Artist Series with Thornton alumna, Alina Roitstein, soprano. She returned for her 5th summer as faculty coach for Opera Viva!, a summer training program for young opera singers in Verona, Italy. In October Sylvester participated in CollabFest at the University of North Texas, where she interviewed Alan Smith regarding his compositional output, and performed his recent work “And with such boldness” for soprano (Kathleen Roland Silverstein) violin, (Alexander Russell), and piano.


Lynn Helding, Professor of Practice in Vocal Arts and Opera and Coordinator of Thornton’s Vocology and Voice Pedagogy programs, is pleased to announce the publication of her new book, The Musician’s Mind: Teaching, Learning and Performance in the Age of Brain Science (forthcoming in January 2020 from Rowman and Littlefield), which presents a symphony of discoveries that illuminate how musicians can optimize both their cognitive abilities and mental well-being. She addresses common brain myths, motor learning research and the concept of deliberate practice, the values of instructional feedback, technology’s role in attention disorders, performance anxiety and its solutions, and the emerging importance of music as a social justice issue. More than an exploration of the brain, The Musician’s Mind is also an inspiring call for artists to promote the cultivation of emotion and empathy as cornerstones of a civilized society.


The Graham-Kapowsin High School Concert Chorale

Dr. Ethan Sperry (MM ’98, DMA ’00) and Jason Saunders (MM ’14) were both awarded The American Prize in Choral Performance for their ensembles this year. Sperry led the Oregon Repertory Singers to a win in the American Prize’s community chorus division. The Oregon Repertory Singers are a nonprofit organization that frequently presents regional premieres and works by local composers in Portland. Saunders’ ensemble, the Graham-Kapowsin High School Concert Chorale, won the competition in its high school division. The ensemble regularly performs in various festivals and competitions, and has performed in three state and regional conferences in the last two years. faculty news 13

alumninews Dr. Harold Daugherty

(MM ‘67, DMA ‘76) retired in September after eighteen years as Director of Music at La Cañada Congregational Church where he conducted the Chancel Choir and oversaw the music program. In addition to Sunday morning worship duties, he conducted concerts of major choral works at Christmas and in the spring.

Lawrence Schenbeck (MM ‘77) and his wife

Lyn Paul Schenbeck were awarded the Claude V. Palisca Award by the American Musicological Society for an outstanding scholarly music edition of Shuffle Along by Eubie Black and Noble Sissle. The Broadway musical premiered on May 23,1921 at the Cort Theatre on 63rd Street and became the first overwhelmingly successful African American musical on Broadway. Langston Hughes, who saw the production said that Shuffle Along marked the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance. Some of the period’s most influential black musicians, including dancer Josephine Baker, vocalist Paul Robeson, composer Hall Johnson, and composer William Grant Still, all got their start in Shuffle Along. Mr. and Mrs. Schenbeck have assembled the full score and libretto for this critical edition from the original performance materials. The critical report thoroughly explains all sources and editorial decisions. The accompanying scholarly essay examines the music, dances, and script of Shuffle Along and places this influential show in its social, racial, and historical context. The Joanna Medawar Nachef Singers and Pokroff Chamber Choir, directed by

Joanna Medawar Nachef

(MM ’83, DMA ’88) received a Department of State Public Diplomacy Grant to collaborate on the Old Songs-New Bridges Project. In October rehearsals began over Skype and, by July, the JMNS traveled to Russia to present masterclasses and concerts in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. The magical musical moments at the combined concert on July 31 at Moscow’s Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary were most memorable. The US Embassy Cultural Attaché commended the JMNS as true ambassadors and affirmed their valuable role in bringing the American culture to the Russians through music. In St. Petersburg, the JMNS was the first American choir to be featured at the opening ceremony in the 2019 “Singing World” Festival with 55 choirs from 17 countries. With a masterclass and a solo concert, the JMNS were able to dissolve stereotypes and exploded the festival with their powerful performances of Spirituals and Gospel Music.

14 alumni news

In June Dr. David Means (DMA ’97) led his first BachFest Study Tour to Leipzig, Germany where participants spent 10 days enjoying concerts and lectures at the annual BachFest. Also, in June, David was a juror for the International Choir Championship, Lege Artis, in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In August, after six years as Director of Choral Studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, David accepted the position as Director of Choral Studies, Professor of Music and Music Department Chair at Victoria College in Victoria, TX, where he is also artistic director of the Victoria Civic Chorus.

Robert Duff (DMA ’00) is in

his fifth year of teaching at Brandeis University where he serves as Director of Vocal and Choral Activities. This past spring the Brandeis Chamber Singers concertized in Vienna and Budapest and collaborated on several premieres of works written for the ensemble. In May, Robert retired from Dartmouth College after 15 years and gave his final performance as artistic director and conductor of the Handel Society of Dartmouth College. In March 2019, Robert was appointed Director of Music at Saint Cecilia Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He conducts two adult choirs, manages various concert series, and works collaboratively with students from local conservatories and colleges of music. Robert also continues to commission new music and remains active in ACDA, serving on several committees in the Eastern Region.

Buddy James (DMA ’00)

assumed the position of Artistic Director of Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley, one of the SF Bay area’s oldest and most respected community choruses, in July 2019 and was named Distinguished Music Education Alumnus from the University of Akron in January. He was also awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the National Collegiate Choral Organization, which he founded alongside USC alumni William Bausano, Lisa Graham, and his mentor William Dehning. He is in his 4th year as Chair of the Department of Music at California State University East Bay and his 14th year as Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies. The Asan City Choir (South Korea), conducted by Dr. Soonjung Kim (MM ’96, DMA ‘05), was invited to perform at the Bartók Plus Opera Festival, held in Miskolc, Hungary from June 18-21, 2019. Miskolc is Asan’s sister city, and the exchange was the first of many future

collaborative artistic endeavors between the two cities. The choir performed a packed solo concert featuring works by North American, Korean, and Hungarian composers. The Asan City Choir also sang in performances of Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni.

Pawasut Jodi Piriyapongrat

(DMA ’05) prepared choirs to sing for Pope Francis during his apostolic visit to Thailand, November 20-23, 2019 at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. The three choirs of different faiths, ethnicities, and cultures came together to send a message of building bridges that bring people together in an agreeable multi-cultural society. The sentiment was well-received by the attendees and Thai and international media. Jodi is very active in Thailand working toward elevating standard of choral music. Her activities include the annual Chulalongkorn University Choral Festival (since 2014), Thailand Youth Choral Camp (since 2016), and other projects in collaboration with American Choral Directors Association and International Federation for Choral Music. She also has her engagements as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and speaker in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Srilanka, and China. Since returning to Korea in 2011, Dr. Jong-In Kim (DMA ’11) has guest conducted eight full-time professional choirs (The National Chorus of Korea, Ansan City Choir, Ulsan Metropolitan Choir, Gangnung City Choir, Incheon City Chorale, Seongnam City Chorale, Bucheon City Choir, and Changwon City Choir). Dr. Kim taught at various institutions including Seoul Jang-Shin University, Konkuk University and Hyupsung University, and was given the award of 2017 Yonsei University Outstanding Professor Award. He is currently an adjunct professor at Yonsei University, Sungkyul University, and Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, and an administrative director for Seoul Federation for Choral Music. He also currently serves as the assistant conductor of the Incheon City Chorale, works regularly for workshops and clinics for students and teachers of K-12 programs, and conducts at Suwon Central Baptist Church, consisting of one hundred fifty choir and orchestra members.

Christopher Haygood

(DMA ’13) is Associate Director of Choral Studies at Oklahoma State University, where he was awarded the Distinguished Professor of Music Award by First Lady Anne Hargis in 2018. Christopher recently presented Voice of a Survivor: Music of Petr Eben at the National Collegiate Choral

Organization’s national conference at the University of Maryland. Christopher’s discussion included Eben’s personal struggles while interned at Buchenwald Concentration Camp, later under Communist oppression, and ultimate liberation following the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Musical examples illustrated how Eben’s compositional style evolved in reaction to those life experiences and highlighted an overarching theme of hope in his music.

Jason Saunders (MM ’14;

Choral Music) is in his sixth year as Director of Choirs at Graham-Kapowsin High School near Tacoma, Washington. This year, Jason is joined by Laurel Wacyk as associate director in the department, where they team-teach several choirs. The GKHS Chorale performed at the NW NAfME Conference in Portland this past February. He continues to serve on the Washington ACDA Board as the Web Editor. An active composer, his “Terrai maris et caeli” was recently selected for publication with Walton Music in the Richard Nance Choral Series. Additionally, Jason has publications with Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Colla Voce Music. At USC, Saunders studied composition with Morten Lauridsen and received the Choral Department Award.

Coreen Duffy (DMA ’14)

accepted the tenure-track Director of Choral Activities position at the University of Montana School of Music upon serving one-year as Interim. Under her direction, the UM Chamber Chorale was selected to perform at the International Choral Festival in Missoula in July 2019. In September 2019 Duffy presented at EJZM: the Second International Conference on Jewish Liturgical Music in Hannover, Germany. In January 2020 Duffy will bring JoMichael Scheibe to Missoula to headline the University of Montana All-Star Honor Choir as conductor and clinician. Based in Toronto, Sarah Maria Leung (BACM ‘15) is currently Music Director at Calvin Presbyterian Church/ Deer Park United Church. She is also assistant conductor at the Oakville Choral Society, and the project-based professional group Incontra Vocal Ensemble. In addition, Sarah directs the choir (grades 3-8) at Guiding Light Academy, a private Catholic school in the area. After Sarah graduated from USC, she went on to obtain her MMus in Choral Conducting at the University of Toronto under Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt’s guidance. Since then, she has

participated in masterclasses at the Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop (with Simon Carrington), Chorus America Conducting Academy, and the Halifax Choral Conducting Institute. Continuing to sing, Sarah has formed Fonitika Vocal Ensemble, an a cappella vocal quartet that performs anything from Renaissance polyphony to arrangements of metal band music, and everything in between. Information on the ensemble may be found at fonitika.com.

Marta Olson (BA Music

’16) is currently the music director at Culver-Palms United Methodist Church. This season Culver-Palms UMC will be hosting university choruses from the Los Angeles area to perform concerts at the church. In addition to her work at Culver Palms UMC, Olson also works with the Young Musicians Foundation providing supplementary music classes to low-income and inner-city schools in Los Angeles. Outside of teaching, Olson performs regularly, singing in a voice and guitar jazz duo that plays world music in Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese all around LA. Recently, she was awarded a Fulbright grant in Argentina, where she will teach English and study music for eight months.

Cassie Schmitt (BACM ’17)

is active as a teacher and musician in the New Orleans area. She is currently the middle school choir director at Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans – an all-girls K-12 private school. In addition to her teaching duties, Cassie is also the Director of Music at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she conducts the St. Alban’s Chapel Choir, who released their first album, “Be Still, My Soul” this past October. Newly minted Dr. Scott Rieker (DMA ’19) continues as the Director of Choral Activities and Choral Music Education at Frostburg State University. There, he and his students inaugurated a tenor-bass festival, performed collaborative concerts with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra (Mozart Coronation Mass), premiered a number of new compositions, and presented on his dissertation research for the Maryland Arts Summit and the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA). Rieker also had his composition, “La Canción del Caminante” for SATB and SA published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing and has recently been named Choirmaster at Emmanuel Episcopal Parish in Cumberland, Maryland. He continues to be an active clinician, conductor, and composer, and

Keep Us Up to Date

Tell USC Thornton Choral and Sacred Music about your latest activities and accomplishments. We would like to include you in next year’s newsletter.

Don’t forget to update your contact information with the USC Alumni Office to stay informed of Department of Choral and Sacred Music happenings.

recently he, Jeremy, and the cats were joined by a baby grand piano.

Irene Apanovitch-Leites

(DMA ‘19) is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities at Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois. In this position, she teaches a number of courses and directs the BHC Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and Community Chorale. Since moving to Illinois, Irene has been busy leading clinics and workshops with local area high schools, singing in the Augustana Choral Artists, and volunteering as an adjudicator for the All-State choral auditions with the Illinois Music Education Association.

Rina Ritivoiu’s (DMA ‘19)

article “Choir as Caretaker of Cancer Caregivers” was selected to be published as a featured article in the upcoming May 2020 issue of Choral Journal. The article is a compilation of research on the health benefits of group singing and how that information can be applied for choirs of cancer caregivers. Ritivoiu’s studies have found that the mind-body connection and groundbreaking studies explain how the immune system can be boosted after about an hour of group singing. The article is based on an independent research project for Ritivoiu’s vocology elective field under the guidance of Professor Lynn Helding.

Since graduating from USC in May 2019, Kate Crellin (BACM ’19) has started her MMus in Choral Conducting at Queens’ College, Cambridge. Kate has diverse interests, as she graduated with a double BA in Law, History, Culture and Choral Music (magna cum laude, Renaissance Scholar Prize Winner). Kate continues to grow her research organization, Choirclusive (@choirclusive choirclusive.com), pursue freelance arranging of contemporary a cappella music, and teach private voice and piano lessons. At Cambridge, Kate is hoping to volunteer in prison music outreach programs, compose choral music, and further explore the concept of gender within the choral sphere. Fight on! After graduating this past May, Isabella Custino (BACM ’19) was hired for her first teaching position at St. Mark School in Venice, California. She will be teaching TK-8th grade.

Send your news to the Department of Choral and Sacred Music Newsletter Coordinator: uschoral@usc.edu Department of Choral and Sacred Music USC Thornton School of Music 840 West 34th Street, MUS 416 Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851

alumni news 15

studentnews Micah Bland is a second-

year DMA student in Choral Music and currently serves as the Teaching Assistant for the USC Chamber Singers. In September Bland started a new position as Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church of San Pedro where he directs the Chancel Choir and oversees the contemporary worship team. In July Bland co-authored an article for ACDA’s ChorTeach journal which discussed an alternative method for introducing music in the secondary choral classroom.

Daniel Gee (MM ’15, Choral

Music) was appointed as the Assistant Conductor of Choral Arts Initiative, a professional choir highlighting emerging choral music. Also continuing as Assistant Conductor of the Long Beach Symphony, Daniel co-led a series of concerts for children with Music Director Eckart Preu. In April Daniel completed his post as Associate Conductor of the USC Apollo Chorus, premiering his own work, My Son, My Son, based on poetry by Paul Willis. During the summer, Daniel was accepted as a Conducting Fellow for the Chorus America Choral-Orchestral Conducting Academy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he and his colleagues performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Upcoming engagements include serving as guest conductor for the Global Harmony Symphony in October, as well as leading Choral Arts Initiative in the west coast premiere of Andrew Maxfield’s The Door as part of their November Fall Concert.

Claire Redlaczyk is a

senior in the BA Choral Music program and is originally from Bentonville, Arkansas. She is in her third year as the Music Intern at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, where she co-conducts the Cherub Children’s Choir. She is also in her third year as the ACDA student chapter Secretary and looks forward to attending the regional conference in Salt Lake City this spring. She recently conducted two pieces in Concert Choir’s spring performance and will soon conduct her peers in the Choral Collective for a fourth time.

Andrew Schultz is officially ABD in his pursuit of a

DMA in Choral Music at the USC Thornton School of Music. While working on his dissertation, Andrew

serves as the Director of Sanctuary Music Ministry at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, teaches part-time at the Colburn Music Academy and Saddleback Community College, and is a part-time administrator for Early Music America. Prior to his move to Southern California, Schultz spent seven years as Director of Music Programs for Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio and worked as Artistic Director for the Defiance Community Cultural Council.

Heeseong Lee, a native of

South Korea and a secondyear DMA student in Choral Music, placed second place at the 2019 World Choral Conducting Competition, which took place in Hong Kong and was held by WYCCAA from July 11-14. Lee was one of twelve conductors selected from an international pool of applicants, including twenty-nine countries and two special regions across the world. The reward for her second-place finish at the WCCC included a cash prize and the opportunity to study with one of three famous conductors: Péter Erdei, Brady Allred, or Ragnar Rasmussen. Before becoming a Trojan, Lee was also awarded the grand prize at Korea’s National Chorus Choral Conductor Competition (2015) and the Jubilate Music Alliance Choral Conductor Competition (2016) in South Korea. She currently is Lead Conductor of the University Chorus, Academic Assistant for Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe, and an alto in the Chamber Singers. Originally from Taiwan, YenHsiang Nieh is a third-year doctoral student and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Choral and Sacred Music. Before attending USC, Nieh’s choirs won numerous prizes in international competitions. Last year Nieh finished his post as lead conductor of the University Chorus and is currently the lead conductor of Apollo Chorus. Nieh continuously devotes time to building a bridge of choral music between Western and Eastern culture. He is currently the director of the TMC Culture & Arts Foundation in Taiwan. As a composer, Nieh’s composition, “Ave Maria” (2010) was recently chosen as one of the compulsory pieces for the 2019 Taipei International Choir Competition.

After completing his course work in the spring semester of 2019 Ernest H. Harrison has been diligently marching towards the final steps of completing his DMA in Choral Music degree at USC. Along with studying for his final exams and preparing for his dissertation Ernest has continued to remain active as a conductor, singer, and composer, leading the Concerto level ensemble of the Los Angeles National Children’s Chorus, founding the Cantare Chamber Choir at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and being featured as guest conductor with the Hollywood Master Chorale for their fall season. Ernest was a featured soloist on November 21 with the University of Missouri Choral Union’s presentation of The Ballad of the Brown King by Margaret Bonds. On December 14 the Mansfield Chamber Singers will premiere the first movement of Ernest’s composition, “Set me as a seal,” from Two weddings anthems for their concert “Hallelujah: Joyful and Soulful.” On November 13 the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus announced that Ernest will be the new artistic director of the organization. Ernest is ever so grateful for his family, friends, and mentors. Without their love and support none of this would be possible. A native of Wilton, Iowa, Nathan Fratzke is currently a third-year DMA student in Choral Music, serving as the Teaching Assistant and Assistant Conductor for the USC Concert Choir, editor for the department newsletter, and Winter Gala Coordinator. Outside of his work at USC, Nathan is the choir director at First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles and Assistant Conductor/Pianist of the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale. Last year, he was the Teaching Assistant and Assistant Conductor for the USC Chamber Singers. Prior to his arrival at USC Thornton, Nathan was active as a director and conductor in Columbia, Missouri, where he also earned a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Missouri, studying choral conducting under Dr. R. Paul Crabb and orchestral conducting under Maestro Edward Dolbashian. Outside of his work at the university, Nathan he served as assistant conductor of the Columbia Chorale, conductor of the Columbia Chamber Choir, and Director of Music at Calvary Episcopal Church, where he conducted an adult choir, children’s choir, and handbell choir.

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Above: the 2019-2020 Department of Choral and Sacred Music Graduate Students

Congratulations to our Graduates Performing and Presenting at ACDA Regional Conferences Dr. Lee Kesselman (MM ’76): Conductor, Cream City Honor Choir, North Central Regional Conference Dr. Erin Colwitz (MM ’04, DMA ’07): Interest Session, North Central Regional Conference Dr. Coreen Duffy (DMA ’14): Interest Session, Northwestern Regional Conference Western Division Regional Conference Dr. Mack Wilberg (MM ’81, DMA ’85): Conductor, Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square Dr. Shawna Cross Stewart (DMA ’13): Conductor, Biola University Chorale Dr. Matthew Nielsen (DMA ’17): Conductor, Brevitas Barlow Bradford (MM ’88, DMA ’97): Conductor, University of Utah Chamber Choir Dr. Kym Scott (DMA ’16): Interest Session Dr. Eric Hanson (DMA ’12): Interest Session Donald Brinegar (MM ’85): Interest Session 2020 World Choral Symposium in Auckland, New Zealand Portland State University Chamber Choir, Dr. Ethan Sperry (MM’98, DMA’00), Conductor

Upper left: the 2019 DCSM graduates Lower left: the 2019-2020 DCSM Graduate Teaching Assistants with faculty

USC ALUMNI HONORED WITH LIFETIME MEMBERSHIPS BY NCCO DCSM graduates Buddy James (DMA ’00) and Lisa Graham (MM ’98, DMA ’01) were honored as Honorary Life Members of the National Collegiate Choral Organization at their 8th biennial conference. With Bill Dehning and Bill Bausano (also USC DCSM graduates), Lisa and Buddy were co-founders of the now 15-year old organization. student news 17

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To the 2019 Choral and Sacred Music Graduates BACM Kate Crellin Isabella Custino Fabricio Meza Enya Murray Maura Tuffy

MM Victoria Bailey Max Vowel

DMA Irene Apanovitch Alexander Blake Yewon Lee Scott Rieker Rina Ritivoiu Kristen Simpson

NEW APPOINTMENTS Dr. Dawn Brooks has been appointed Director of Vocal Music at The Golden West College Music Department in Huntington Beach, California. Dr. Christopher Eanes has been appointed the executive director of the Cathedral Choral Society, the symphonic chorus-in-residence at Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Dr. T.J. Harper has been appointed as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Buddy James has been appointed Artistic Director of Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Lesley Leighton has been appointed as the Director Choral Activities, Assistant Professor, at California State University at San Bernardino. Dr. David Means has been appointed as Director of Choral Studies, Professor of Music and Music Department Chair at Victoria College in Victoria, Texas. Gavin Thrasher (MM) has been appointed Artistic Director of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Department of Choral and Sacred Music Faculty & Staff Jo-Michael Scheibe, DMA, Chair Nick Strimple, DMA Cristian Grases, DMA Tram Sparks, DMA, Sacred Music and Conducting Ladd Thomas, DMA, Chair of Organ Studies Mary Mattei-Scheibe, Choral Voice Ernest Harrison, Instructor of Choral and Sacred Music Lisa Sylvester, DMA, Vocal Arts Chair and Diction Lynn Helding, Vocology Cherry Rhodes, Organ Studies James Vail, DMA Professor Emeritus David Wilson, DMA, Professor Emeritus Morten Lauridsen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus Woody Gatewood, Departmental Administrator Nathan Fratzke, Editor Layout and design by Jason Saunders (MM ‘14) 18

We are grateful to the following individuals who have made contributions to the USC Thornton Department of Choral and Sacred Music since July 1, 2015. Anonymous

Billy Haygood

Roberto Amico

Carl W. Haywood

Victor Apanovitch

Linda Helms

Guy Arcuri

Margaret and Guilbert Hentschke

Elizabeth Armour and Jonathan

Barbara and Wayne Hirabayashi


Nancy and James Holland

Kristin and Larry Ball

Debora Lee Huffman

Robin Barger

Dr. David and Carol Hughes

William and Mary Bausano

Evan Michael Hughes

Beitel Family Fund

Austin Hunt

Katherine E. Belshe

Robert Michael Istad

Roberta Bissell

Vicki and Grant Iwata

Jane and Robin Blomquist

Buddy Oscar James

Jennifer and Donald Brinegar

Connie C. Kim

Rebecca Brown and Robert

Richard Lee Kirtland III


Steve Choongwoo Ko and his Parents, Seungseop Ko and Youngsook Lee Ko

Jayne Elizabeth Campbell Lai Tan and Genaro Carapia Michael Council Stacey and Derrick Cox Kellie and Aaron Custino Dr. Harold A. Daugherty Jr. Janice and John Dawson Marcia Deem Angel Delgadillo Merleen and David Devine Gayle and Larry Dickenson Coreen Sylvia Duffy Pamela and Timothy Eager Stephen J. Edwards Rodney Eichenberger Josslyn Fahrni Elizabeth Molly Flier Joanne and Nathaniel Fryml James P. Gagnon Karen Garcia Garrett Susan Gerling Elissa and Grant Gershon Leonard Gill Lisa Hane Jazimine Harnishfeger-Brand Todd Jere Harper Janet L. Harter Darlene Lawrence and William Hatcher Tamara & Mark Hatwan

Vinette Kopetz Daniel Lee Lesley Leighton Dr. Iris Sue Levine Kathy and Robert Lo Mary Ju Fang Lo Hazel and James Lord Dr. Marguerite Marsh Joan Mattei Mary and William Mays Dr. Stanley R. McDaniel Drs. John and Patricia McIntyre Dr. David L. Means Dr. Donald B. and Mary C. Miller Shirley and John G. Morgan Gisela M. Munoz Kullanit Nitiwarangkul The Donald and Alice Noble Foundation Christine Marie Ofiesh Sheryl and Glenn M. Phillips Cuc T. Phung and Thong H. Nguyen Pawasut Piriyapongrat Peter & Masha Plotkin Memorial Foundation Hugh Rienhoff Thomas B. Ringland


USC Thornton Choral and Sacred Music Rebecca Brown and Robert Rasmussen

Elizabeth A. Swensen

Koh Shimizu and Jack Rodman

Town and Gown of USC

Rebecca Rodman

Elizabeth Turner

Rose F. Sapia

Teresa and Harold Twilley

Margaret and Christopher Saranec

Leslie J. and Jeffrey B. Unger

Virginia Sato and Raymond Bates

Barbara and James Harold Vail

Mary and Jo-Michael Scheibe

Gregory Wait

Jack Wayne Schwarz

Carol M. Walker

Dr. Sara G. Shakliyan

Ruth and Dale Warland

Betty-Jean L. Sherwin

Clint Washington

Delton Davis Shilling

Ella L. Weiler

Nicole Singer

John Wiscombe

Jeffrey R. Slottow

Janice Lynn Wyma

Virginia and Thomas Somerville

Ruth and David Yoder

Raymond Bates and Virginia Soto Tram N. Sparks Renee Joan Stanley Alison Stirland and David Crellin Christian D. Stendel Michael Joseph Straw Toni and Nick Strimple


To reserve tickets, please email uschoral@usc.edu or call (213) 821-5756. Admission to all events is free unless otherwise noted. FEBRUARY Jean Langlais: Messe Solennelle Featuring Dr. Weicheng Zhao, Organist Sunday, February 23, 2020 All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena − 5:00 PM Admission is $20 at the door APRIL From The Shadows Friday, April 3, 2020 Newman Recital Hall – 8:00 PM USC Thornton Concert Choir Bridging the Pacific: A Taiwan and Thailand Pre-Tour Concert Friday, April 10, 2020 Newman Recital Hall – 8:00 PM USC Thornton Chamber Singers Lift Up Your Voice Saturday, April 11, 2020 Newman Recital Hall – 7:00 p.m. USC Thornton Apollo Chorus and Oriana Choir Sing of Spring Friday, April 17, 2020 St. John’s Episcopal Church 514 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007 7:30 p.m. USC Thornton University Chorus $5 tickets purchase at the door Minimal parking on-site. Additional parking at Municipal Parking Garage: (“Lot 47”) just on the other side of the bridge (the bridge over the 110 Freeway, east of Flower Street). The entrance to use is on the Adams Blvd. side. The cost is $5, available from 5:30pm until 10:30pm OTHER EVENTS

The level of musicianship and artistry in USC Thornton’s Department of Choral and Sacred Music continues at an exceptional level and has recently been featured in the release of three compact discs. Legacy: Sixty Years of the USC Chamber Singers features recordings spanning sixty years of the USC Chamber Singers, under the direction of Charles Hirt, Rodney Eichenberger, James Vail, William Dehning, Paul Salamunovich, and Jo-Michael Scheibe. I Have Had Singing presents some of the finest recordings of the Chamber Singers from the past five years. The newest CD, Brightest and Best, A Winter Gala features all of the USC Choral Artists in an array of holiday music. This CD was produced in conjunction with the annual A Winter Gala: Brightest and Best Scholarship Fundraiser concert. If you would like your own copy of Legacy or I Have Had Singing, please make a donation to the Department of Choral and Sacred Music. You will be helping to ensure the continued traditional of excellence for future generations and receive a great recording. Brightest and Best, A Winter Gala can be purchased through the USC Bookstore, both in their retail locations and online. Profits go to provide scholarships. For more information, contact department coordinator Woody Gatewood at woodygatewood@thornton.usc.edu or 213-821-5756. Your legacy awaits.

USC Thornton Chambers Singers Taiwan and Thailand 5/20 7:30 PM, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) 5/22 7:30 PM, Auditorium Penghu County 5/23 7:30 PM, 2020 Vocal Festival in Tao-Yuan Opening Concert, Zhongli Arts Hall 5/25 7:30 PM, Taipei, National Concert Hall 5/27 Bangkok (Chulalongkorn University Concert Hall) Friday, November 13, 2020 Bovard Auditorium – 8:00PM USC Thornton Choral Artists and USC Thornton Symphony Maestro Carl St. Clair, Conductor Carl Orff Carmina Burana Saturday, December 12, 2020 Bovard Auditorium – 7:30 PM Sounds of the Season: Winter Gala A Scholarship Fundraiser

spring calendar 19

Flora L. Thornton School of Music University of Southern California Department of Choral and Sacred Music Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851

join us at the

2020 acda western region conference Salt Lake City, UT March 4-7, 2020

You are invited to attend the USC Choral and Sacred Music reception at the ACDA Western Region Conference. Squatters Pub Brewery (147 Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101) Thursday, March 5, 2020, 10:00 PM Appetizers provided; no host bar. Please RSVP by emailing uschoral@usc.edu