All State Middle School Treble
Andrea Ramsey is a Ph.D student in choral music education and a University Distinguished Fellowship recipient at Michigan State University where she has conducted the MSU Chamber Choir and assisted with the MSU Women’s Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Sandra Snow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Arkansas Tech University and a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Kansas where she conducted the KU Men’s Glee Club—the first female conductor of this ensemble since its establishment in 1890. Additionally, she has served as assistant director and continues to serve as composer-in-residence to the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City—a vibrant youth choral program serving over 190 singers in four ensembles, grades 3-12, traveling in residency with the Allegro con Brio choir on tours to Austria and the Czech Republic (2008), and Italy (2011).
A native Arkansan, Andrea has twelve years of teaching experience with children’s, public school and university choruses. Under her leadership, the choirs at Washington Junior High in Bentonville, Arkansas grew to include approximately 375 students in grades 7-8, and were twice invited to perform for the Arkansas All-State Music Conference. Andrea enjoys work as a presenter and clinician and is a regularly commissioned, ASCAP award-winning composer. Her works are published with Boosey & Hawkes, Hal Leonard, Colla Voce, Alliance, Santa Barbara, Pavane, Carl Fischer, and BriLee music. Recent engagements have included presentations at the 6th Annual International Symposium on Sociology in Music Education and divisional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as conducting experiences with the Louisiana All-State Men’s Chorus, and the Missouri All-State 7-8 grade Honor Chorus.
All State Middle School Mixed
Craig Denison is in his tenth season with Florida’s Singing Sons Boychoir, bringing a vast experience and expertise in working with boys’ as well as girls’ voices. Previously serving as Music Director for the Colorado Children’s Chorale and Associate Music Director and Conductor of The American Boychoir, Mr. Denison has participated in many significant performances for Children Chorus and Boychoir, including Mahler’s Eighth Symphony for Robert Shaw and the Cleveland Orchestra, Britten’s Spring Symphony for Richard Hickox in the BBCPromenade Festival, Mahler’s Third Symphony with both Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony, and the Berlin Philharmonic, and many, many others. Additionally, Mr. Denison has prepared choirs and acted as vocal coach for several world and North American premieres, including Luciano Berio’s Ofanim in both Carnegie Hall and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. Other premieres include Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Singing Child at Spoleto Festival USA, and works by Libby Larsen, Eric Whitacre and Stephen Hatfield. Mr. Denison has directed numerous concert tours around the world and throughout North America.
This season Mr. Denison begins his Ph.D. in at the University of Miami as a Teaching Assistant. He also serves as the ACDA Southern Division R&S Chair in Boychoirs. Also a sought-after conductor and clinician, Mr. Denison is a regular guest conductor of Honor and All-State Choruses. He also teaches and presents regularly at the state and national level on the male voice, the changing voice, music literacy and choral performance.
Mr. Denison has prepared boys for numerous opera productions including The Magic Flute, The Turn of the Screw, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, La Boheme, Turandot, Tosca, Summer and Smoke, Hansel and Gretel, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Street Scene, and Gloriana with opera companies as diverse as Central City Opera to Los Angeles Opera to Florida Grand Opera.
In addition to his work with young voices, Mr. Denison founded the Schola Cantorum at Westminster Choir College where he served as Assistant Professor of Conducting. He has prepared choir for stage works and choreography throughout his career. As a solo singer he has appeared in performances with the Colorado Symphony, Spoleto Festival USA, the Westminster Choir, the American Boychoir, Delray Beach Chorale, and St. Clements, Philadelphia.
Mr. Denison holds a Master of Music degree with Distinction from Westminster Choir College and a Bachelor of Music degree from Houghton College, Magna Cum Laude.
All State Intermediate Mixed
Dr. Geoffrey Boers
Geoffrey Boers is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is the Mary K. Shepman Endowed Professor of Music. Under his direction, the choral program at the University of Washington has grown to include nearly twenty graduate choral conductors each year, as well as nine ensembles conducted by five faculty and many graduate students, with nearly 600 singers participating.
Geoffrey conducts the UW Chamber Singers, the university's premier ensemble of graduate and advanced singers. The Chamber Singers performs nationally and internationally, most recently having returned from Hungary for a concert tour. Last Spring, the choir performed Monteverdi's rarely heard masterpiece, 1610 Vespers. He also teaches graduate choral conducting and choral pedagogy, and serves as faculty advisor as part of the graduate choral curriculum. He is the recipient of the University of Washington's prestigious Royalty Research Foundation Grant, which allowed him to travel to the Baltic region and to establish the UW Baltic Choral Music Library, the first of its kind in the United States.
Geoffrey maintains an active conducting, teaching, workshop and clinic schedule. Recent engagements have taken him to Australia, mainland China, Thailand, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center, where he serves as Artistic Director for the Washington D.C. Choral Festival. He especially enjoys working with conductors and their choirs with focus on building communication through gesture and expressivity, and building community within the ensemble. Geoffrey is also exploring the idea spirare, or the connection between breath and spirit, in disciplines as far reaching as Yoga , Tai Chi and world faith systems. This study is leading to evolving thoughts of gesture as it relates to breath, evocation of sound, and touching the heart.
In addition to his position at the UW, Boers is the conductor of the Tacoma Symphony Chorus and will conduct the Tacoma Symphony in numerous performances this season.
All State Senior Women
Dr. Paul Head
As director of choral studies at the University of Delaware, Paul D. Head directs the University Chorale and community-based Schola Cantorum. He also serves as the chair of the Department of Music. Dr. Head is a native Californian where he taught in the public schools for eight years before completing his Master of Music in Conducting and Music Education at Westminster Choir College of Rider University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of Oklahoma. His choirs have toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe and have received consistently high acclaim for their musical artistry, including the Grand Prix Award at the 2007 Estonian Choral Competition.
Dr. Head maintains an active presence as conductor and guest clinician, having conducted All-State choirs in ten states in addition to professional appearances throughout the United States. This year, Dr. Head will serve as a guest conductor and/or adjudicator in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. His choirs have made frequent appearances on American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) national (2005) and regional (2002, 2008, 2010) conventions. As an active researcher and pedagogue, he is published in several books and publications, and he is co-editor of Case Studies in Music Education (GiA; 2005) and a contributing author in The School Choral Program (GIA; 2008). He is currently editing the middle school choral edition of Teaching Music Through Performance, due for publication later this year.
As an active member of the ACDA, Dr. Head has held various leadership positions at state, regional and national levels. He also holds membership in Phi Mu Alpha, and Pi Kappa Lambda (the National Music Honor Society). He currently resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with his wife of twenty-five years, and he is the father of three children, all of whom are in college.
All State Senior Men
Dr. Leslie Blackwell
Dr. Blackwell is Associate Professor of Music and Music Education at Kennesaw State University where she has directed choral activities since 1998. Dr. Blackwell’s duties have included conducting the choral ensembles (KSU Chorale, KSU Men’s Ensemble, KSU Women’s Ensemble, and KSU Chamber Singers), teaching choral conducting, advanced choral conducting and literature, and supervising student teachers. A native of Georgia, Blackwell received the Associate of Arts degree from Gordon Junior College (1982), the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from West Georgia College (1984), the Master of Music from Georgia State University (1991), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky (2002). Influential musicians with whom she has worked are Robert Shaw, Ann Howard Jones, Yoel Levi, Norma Raybon, David Maslanka, Rodney Eichenberger, Ola Gjeilo, and Jefferson Johnson.
Choirs under Dr. Blackwell’s direction have performed at numerous Georgia Music Educators Association State Conventions as well as state, regional, and national music conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Recognized for her work with men’s voices, Dr. Blackwell served six seasons as the Artistic Director of the AGMC, established Male Chorus Day at Kennesaw Sate University bringing upwards of 200 high school male students to campus. Recently, the Kennesaw State University Men’s Ensemble was selected to perform at the 2012 Georgia Music Educators Association State Convention and the 2013 American Choral Directors National Conference in Dallas, Texas.
All State Senior Mixed
Dr. Daniel Bara
Daniel Bara joins the Hugh Hodgson School of Music as Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music in fall of 2010, having served as Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities at East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina. While at ECU, his university choirs were invited to perform for state, regional, and national conventions of ACDA and MENC, and the ECU Chamber Singers completed two professional recordings for the Gothic Records label (Greater Love, 2007; Eternal Light, 2010). His conducting students have consistently advanced into the live rounds of the ACDA National Conducting Competition, and several of his former MM conducting students now hold collegiate conducting appointments at New England Conservatory, Miami University of Ohio, University of Idaho, and William Jewell College.
At ECU, Dr. Bara was the recipient of theUNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching. Prior accolades include the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize given at the Eastman School of Music, and the ACDA National Student Conducting Competition (Graduate Division) awarded at the National Convention in San Antonio, TX in 2001.
Dr. Bara is Past-President of NC-ACDA, has held the Artistic Directorship of the New York State Summer School of the Arts – School of Choral Studies (2007-2009), and has served as conductor of the World Youth Honor Choir at Interlochen Arts Camp (2004-2006). He is in increasing demand as a guest conductor and clinician, with recent or upcoming engagements with all-state, regional honor choirs, and conference appearances in Texas, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida.
Dr. Bara holds the DMA degree in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, organ and conducting degrees from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. At UGA he will conduct the Concert Choir and Men's Glee Club, and will oversee the graduate choral conducting program.