Graduate Choral Conducting at CU
October 9, 2012
Each school year the graduate program in choral conducting in the College of Music at the University of Colorado Boulder welcomes through its doors aspiring conductors from across the nation and around the globe. As they dawn their degree work, these young men and women are initiated into a choral legacy steeped in excellence, history, and tradition. Graduates from CU’s program have ascended the ranks of their profession, making significant impacts on the research and performance of choral music for decades. Moreover, CU’s choral graduates have and continue to have far reaching influence in their local schools, neighborhoods and communities. It is with this in mind that current graduate students in choral conducting maintain active and productive careers and outreach activities both on campus and, more importantly, outside of the CU community.
First year DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) student Hannah Wunsch currently serves as the director of CU’s Collegiate Chorale. In addition to her work as a full-time graduate student, Hannah has been active as a conductor and singer across the Front Range providing meaningful musical leadership and performances for a wide variety of organizations. Hannah recently completed an appointment as the Mark Sheldon conducting intern for the critically acclaimed Denver-based St. Martin’s Choir. She has also lent her considerable vocal skills to several non-profit musical ensembles including the Ars Nova Singers and The Renaissance Project. While not on the podium with Collegiate Chorale, Hannah serves as the Director of Music and Worship at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder and the Director of the Aria Singers, a community-based women’s chorus.
Wide-reaching professional and outreach activities are not limited to students working at the doctoral level in choral conducting at CU. Students pursuing the Master’s of Music (MM) degree in choral conducting are also engaged in their communities as leaders and musicians. Second year MM student Jay Dougherty brings a unique passion to his study of choral music, a love for barbershop! Jay has been an active participant in and advocate for male barbershop singing for nearly a decade. He currently serves as the baritone section leader for the world-renowned Sound of the Rockies Chorus which is preparing for international competition in Toronto next July. Jay also serves as the artistic director for the 52eighty Chorus which is a subsidiary of the Sound of the Rockies chorus and the 2010 youth chorus international champions. In addition to his work with Denver-based barbershop groups, Jay is active on the national barbershop scene doing outreach work as a singer and clinician.
One of the unique strengths of CU’s graduate program in choral conducting is that it attracts both young conductors at the beginning of their promising careers and experienced professionals returning to the classroom for further training and research. Kyle Fleming completed his MM degree in choral conducting at CU in 2000 and recently returned to Boulder to pursue the DMA degree. Kyle has served across the Denver metro as a music director and worship pastor in several local churches. Additionally, Kyle has taught choral music education at both the middle and high school levels. He has worked in his local neighborhood for over 20 years advancing music and choral singing as an essential piece of educational excellence and healthy communities. Kyle is currently active in several academic communities in the metro area as a professor and conductor including the Denver University Lamont School of Music where he directs the Lamont Men’s Chorus and Colorado Christian University where he coordinates the Bachelor of Music in Worship Arts degree program and serves as the musical director for the University Women’s Choir.
Together, these graduate conductors are active throughout their degree work leveraging their knowledge and skills both on the Boulder campus and beyond. They are hard at work deploying the craft they love and the gifts they are refining for the greater good in choirs, organizations and musical settings across the Colorado Front Range. In this, these graduate students are demonstrating the value and far-reaching benefits of bridging the gap between the academic classroom and their surrounding communities.