A Celebration of Excellence

A Choral Artistry Experience

2020 Dates and Locations

April 20, 2020 – South Main Baptist Church*

For more information contact Sally Schott at sally@amclass.com 


A Celebration of Excellence showcases outstanding high school varsity choirs in the beautiful sanctuary of South Main Baptist Church, Houston. Participants will receive a recording suitable for convention auditions made by a highly skilled audio engineer in an exceptional acoustical environment.  All participating groups are welcome to spend time on site enjoying other performances.  The concluding concert which precedes the awards ceremony will be presented at 5:30 pm by the 2019 Honor Choir, Tompkins Varsity Mixed Choir, Christin Reinartz, Director.


This is a one-fee-per-group event.  No fees will be assessed for individual performers.

2019 Awards

April 23, 2019 – South Main Baptist Church 

2019 Winner and 2020 Honor Choir
Tompkins Varsity Mixed, Christin Reinartz, Director

1st Runner Up
Montgomery Varsity Chorale, Heather Orr & Andre Trahan, Directors

2nd Runner Up
Seven Lakes Varsity Mixed, Emily Chandler, Director

3rd Runner Up
Bowie Concert Chorale, Cody Parrott, Director

Best in Class, Tenor Bass Choir
Montgomery Chorale Men, Heather Orr & Andre Trahan, Directors
Deer Park Men’s Choir, Jason Dove, Stacy Nisson & Tommy Van Sickle, Directors

Best in Class Treble Choir
Montgomery Chorale Women, Heather Orr & Andre Trahan, Directors

1st Runner Up
Bowie Concert Chorale Women, Cody Parrott, Director

2nd Runner Up
Deer Park Women’s Choir, Jason Dove, Director

3rd Runner Up
Clements Chorale Women, Janet Menzie & Ryan Bogner, Directors

Performance of Distinction Awards
Clements Concert Chorale, Janet Menzie and Ryan Bogner, Directors
Deer Park Mixed Choir, Jason Dove, Director
Cinco Ranch Chorale, Dorothy Wilson, Director
Elkins Knight Beats, John Richardson, Director
Porter Spartan Chorale, Cara Cavenaugh Woodard, Director
St. John’s School Kantorei, Scott Bonasso, Director
Summer Creek Varsity Mixed, Amanda Robison, Director


2018 Awards

A Celebration of Excellence

A Choral Artistry Experience April 23, 2018 South Main Baptist Church

Winner and 2019 Honor Choir Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Shannon Carter, Director

1st Runner Up Tompkins Chorale, Christin Reinartz, Director

2nd Runner Up North Shore Chorale, Enrique Collazo, Director

3rd Runner Up Porter High School, Cara Cavenaugh Woodard, Director

Best in Class, Tenor Bass Choir Oak Ridge Varsity Tenor Bass Choir, J. R. Smith, Director

Best in Class Treble Choir Kingwood Kapelle, Jason Watt, Director Benjamin O. Davis Varsity Women, Daryle Freeman, Director

Performance of Distinction Awards Cinco Ranch Chorale, Dorothy Wilson and Melanie Piche, Directors Conroe Varsity Tenor Bass Choir, Clay West, Director Dekaney Chorale, Melissa Cox, Director Elkins Knight Beats, John Richardson, Director Kingwood Park Ariso, Ben Fahnders, Director Magnolia Varsity Men, Jennifer Franz-Melady and Bonnie Hernandez, Directors St. John’s School Les Chanteuses, Brendan Emig, Director Summer Creek Chorale, Amanda Robison, Director James E. Taylor Varsity Chorale, Kevin Riehle, Director   

2018 Adjudicators

  Richard Bjella Director of Choral Studies Emeritus Texas Tech University Artistic Director, San Antonio Chamber Choir Appleton, WI Professor Emeritus from Texas Tech University, and former choral conductor at Lawrence University, Bjella has distinguished himself as a conductor, clinician, choral pedagogue and choral arranger. He has been honored to have his choirs appear at the 2009 and 2013 National ACDA Conventions, as well as performances at Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall, and at TMEA conventions. In addition, Bjella’s graduate conductors also received finalist recognition in conducting competitions at two of the most recent National ACDA Conventions and one was awarded the Julius Herford Dissertation Prize.   It has also been his honor to conduct and present masterclasses throughout the world and over 400 festivals and workshops in 32 states.  He is also active in the promotion of creative choral programming and is a contributing writer for the book, The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy(2017) with his chapter,  The Art of Successful Programming: Study, Selection, and Synthesis.   Bjella also served as President of the WCDA (Wisconsin) and was awarded the prestigious Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award (2007) and the Morris Hayes Lifetime Achievement Award (2013) from WCDA. Most recently, Bjella was the recipient of a 2017 Professing Excellence Award at Texas Tech University.   Presently, he is the Artistic Director for the San Antonio Chamber Choir.

Dianne Brumley Director of Choral Studies, Emerita University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville Canyon Lake, Texas Dianne Brumley is Director of Choral Music Studies and Professor of Music Education, Emerita at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville. She was appointed in 2003 and was the first person to hold the position of Director of Choral Studies at the University.  Brumley was the founding conductor of the University Master Chorale. During her ten-year tenure at UTRGV, the Master Chorale was selected to perform at the 2011 Texas Music Educators Association Convention and toured internationally. Brumley also served for 20 years as the founding Conductor and Artistic Director of the South Texas Chorale and Orchestra. Brumley is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, motivational speaker and adjudicator throughout Texas and the United States.  Currently, she serves as a choral music education consultant. Before her time with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brumley was a successful choral music educator in public schools. Choirs under her direction were selected for honor performances at Texas Music Educators Association conventions, American Choral Directors Association regional and national conventions and a featured performance at the Texas Choral Directors Association convention. Active in Texas choral music endeavors for many years, in 2011 Brumley was honored to receive the Texas Choral Excellence Award from the Texas Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Jerry McCoy Regent’s Professor & Director of Choral Studies Emeritus College of Music, University of North Texas Artistic Director, Fort Worth Chorale & Chamber Choir Dallas, Texas Jerry McCoy is a Visiting Professor of Music at Baylor University and Artistic Director/Conductor of the Fort Worth Chorale and Chamber Choir.  The 2013 winner of the Texas Choral Directors Association’s prestigious Choirmaster Award, he is also Regents Professor of Music Emeritus for the University of North Texas, where between 2000 and 2015 he led the UNT choral program to national and international acclaim while serving as Director of Choral Studies and conductor of the A Cappella Choir. His graduates have been named to faculty positions in choral music at forty universities in the U.S., Mexico, and South Korea, and currently lead thirteen professional choirs in the U.S. and South Korea.  From 2007 to 2015 he served as a member of the National Executive Committee for the 20,000-member ACDA, serving as the organization’s national president from 2009 to 2011. His work in the international choral community includes appearances in Austria, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Great Britain, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, and Venezuela. Guest engagements for 2016/17 include appearances in Canada, Alabama, California, New York City, and Texas.

2019 Adjudicators

  Kristina Caswell MacMullen Assistant Professor of Choral Studies The Ohio State University Columbus, OH

Kristina Caswell MacMullen serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Associate Director of Choral Studies at The Ohio State University, where she conducts the Symphonic Choir, the Women’s Glee Club, and instructs both undergraduate and graduate students in choral conducting, repertoire, and rehearsal pedagogy.

As an active adjudicator and clinician, Professor Caswell MacMullen has conducted All-State and honor choirs throughout the United States. Recent and future engagements involve students in Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Ohio, and Nebraska.  In 2011, she was runner-up in the National American Choral Director’s Association graduate level conducting competition. She was also selected as a Fulbright Fellowship Alternate to Slovenia. Her teaching and conducting is featured on the DVD “Conducting-Teaching: Real World Strategies for Success” published by GIA (2009), and her editions for treble choir are published by Musicatus Press, Boosey & Hawkes, and MusicSpoke.

Caswell MacMullen is a graduate of Michigan State University and Texas Tech University.  Prior to her appointment at The Ohio State University, she enjoyed a diverse career as a public-school teacher, interacting with students in rural, suburban, and urban settings, elementary through high school. She has presented and co-presented interest sessions at state, regional, national, and international conferences.

Dr. John Ratledge Professor Emeritus, The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL

John Ratledge (b. 1954), Professor Emeritus of The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, was the Conductor of University Singers, Area Coordinator of Graduate Choral Conducting, and Director of Choral Activities during his twelve-year tenure at The University. Ratledge made his European orchestral conducting debut in 1996 with the Filharmonia Sudecka of Walbrzych and Wroclaw, and Poland, and since then, he has conducted orchestras in France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Spain. During his tenure at Shorter College of Rome, Georgia, the Shorter Chorale distinguished itself nationally and internationally by giving the world premiere of the full orchestral version of the Duruflé Requiem in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Greece and the organ version premiere of the same work in Bulgaria; the world premiere of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in Poland, and the St. Petersburg, Russia world premieres of Handel’s Messiah in English and Corigliano’s Fern Hill. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Bassi Brugnatelli International Conducting and Singing Symposium held annually in Robbiate, Italy, and he is the editor of the new Javier Busto Choral Series of Carl Fischer Music Publishers. Ratledge currently is the Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa.

Z. Randall Stroope Director of Choral and Vocal Studies Doug and Nickie Burns Endowed Chair of Choral Music Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK

Z. Randall Stroope is an American conductor, composer. He is also the Doug and Nickie Burns Chair of Choral Music at Oklahoma State University, where he coordinates the vocal and choral conducting program. In the United States, he has conducted at most of the major concert halls, including Chicago Orchestra Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall (where he has conducted every year since 2001). He has conducted 45 all-state choirs, and numerous festival choirs in the United States. Internationally, Randall has directed in Hong Kong, Barcelona, Nova Scotia, Dublin and and Rome in the past year. He has 165 published musical works, including Four Spanish Sonnets of Garcilaso de la Vega, Conversion of Saul, Amor de mi alma, Christi Mutter (Stabat Mater), Go Lovely Rose. His composition teachers were Normand Lockwood and Cecil Effinger, both students of Nadia Boulanger, the famous French teacher (and student of Gabriel Fauré.) In the final analysis, Randall loves working with students and making a difference – that is the greatest contribution.

2020 Adjudicators

Ryan Sullivan Director of Choral Activities, Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR

Ryan W. Sullivan is the Director of Choral Activities at Arkansas State University where he directs the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, the Jonesboro Chorale, and teaches undergraduate conducting. His research focuses on reviving accessible Renaissance and Baroque repertoire.

Sullivan holds degrees from the University of North Texas (D.M.A.), Texas Tech University (M.M.), and the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory (B.M.E., B.M.). During his career, he has led singers of all ages in academic, community, and church settings including as the Associate Conductor for the Dallas Symphony Chorus.

Sullivan is an active soloist and performer in professional choral ensembles such as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, San Antonio Chamber Choir, Cecilia Ensemble (GA), and Spire Chamber Ensemble. Prior to graduate studies, Sullivan taught at Lee’s Summit West High School and was named the Kansas City Metro Director of the Year in 2014. He is a frequent clinician and guest lecturer at universities and festivals. Sullivan currently serves as Chair of Ethnic Music for Arkansas ACDA and Chair for Youth/Student Activities for the Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conference. His principal teachers are Allen Hightower, Richard Bjella, Joshua Habermann, and Richard Sparks.

Charles Robinson Professor of Choral Music and Music Education, University of Missouri, Kansas City, KS

Charles Robinson is Professor of Choral Music Education, and Area Coordinator for Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He conducts the Conservatory Concert Choir, an ensemble invited to perform at the 2019 national ACDA convention, and teaches a variety of courses in choral music and music education. His early career included teaching choral music in middle schools and high schools in Florida, and he has worked with singers of all ages, from children to older adults. An active conductor/clinician throughout the United States, he is also a frequent presenter of workshops for music educators.

He has served in multiple leadership roles in the Southwestern Division of ACDA, and he has served as president of the Missouri Choral Directors Association. The Missouri Choral Directors Association presented Robinson with the Luther T. Spayde Award of Excellence for significant contributions to choral music in Missouri, and the Florida State University College of Music recently recognized Robinson with the Ella Scoble Opperman Faculty Citation for distinguished achievement in music education and scholarly research in music. Robinson earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Florida State University and a master’s degree in choral music from California State University, Long Beach.

Julie Yu Professor of Music, Co-Director of Choral Studies, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Dr. Julie Yu is Professor of Music and Co-Director of Choral Studies at Kansas State University where she is part of a team that oversees seven choral ensembles and teaches undergraduate and graduate choral conducting. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Central Oklahoma, Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Oklahoma State University, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of North Texas.

Before joining the Kansas State faculty, she taught at Norman North High School in Norman, Oklahoma and San José State University. She has given presentations and her choirs have performed for conferences of the Kansas Music Educators Association, Missouri Music Educators Association, Oklahoma Choral Directors Association, the American Choral Directors Association and the European Music Educators Association. She is the Southwest American Choral Directors Association President and a 2018 ACDA-ICEP Conducting Fellow (to Kenya).

SKU: 6625898-1 Categories: , Tags: ,