6576 Show Choir Techniques


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Recital Highlights

This course illuminates numerous approaches to teaching show choir, including techniques for teaching a variety of vocal styles (pop, rock, musical theatre); elements of dance, staging and performing; planning rehearsals; and how to teach students about being a complete performer. Middle and high school music educators at all levels will learn how to combine the ability to sing and dance as well as the development of stage presence. Guest lecturers, renowned in the field of show choir, will address the class as well.

Instructors: Sara Michael & Debora Utley

Sara_Black-WhiteSara Michael graduated from University of Illinois in Vocal Music Education and has a Masters in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music.  Ms. Michael is in her ninth year as Choral Director of the John Hersey High School choirs in her home district.

In her sixteenth year as a choral director, Sara previously directed the choirs at Steinmetz High School, Elk Grove High School and Warren Township High School.   Ms. Michael directs ten of the twelve choral ensembles at Hersey.   Sara is very proud to direct a special needs choir, Super Singers, which also involves students who wish to pursue a career in special education.  In addition, she is the vocal director of the school’s musical productions.   

Sara was the vocal director of the Hersey productions of Company and Little Women, which were selected to perfom at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival at the University of Illinois and Illinois State University respectively.  Ms. Michael’s choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Center in Chicago, IL as well as the Pick- Staiger Auditorium at Northwestern University.   Her groups have also been featured on the stages at Walt Disney World.

The Hersey choirs, under her leadership, host a national showchoir invitational, Chicagoland Showcase, which brings outstanding groups from throughout the country to
compete at Hersey High School.

She is a member of the Illinois Music Education Association, the American Choral Director’s Association and NAfME.  


Debora_S._UtleyDebora Utley graduated from Elmhurst College, receiving a Bachelor of Music Education Degree, with a double major in Theatre and a Certificate in Vocal Performance.  She received her Master of Music from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and Master of Education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2010.

Debora received the “Outstanding Music Educator of the Year 2000” award from the Music Educators National Conference (MENC).  She has been a clinician and guest conductor for various schools across the nation and Canada and was on the adjunct faculty of Elmhurst College as the Director of Women’s Chorus.  In 2011, she earned the “Outstanding Contribution to Education” award from Buffalo Grove High School.  Debora was selected as the choir’s guest conductor for the Township District 214 Honors Music Festival and was a nominee for the FAME Aspire Awards “Best Vocal Director” in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Debora’s responsibilities as Director of Vocal Music at Buffalo Grove High School include Beginning Choir, Treble Choir, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Vocal Director of the Spring Musical, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and The Expressions Show Choir.  As a performer, Debora has appeared in lead roles in over 30 theatrical productions, was a featured performer at Worlds of Fun Amusement Park in Kansas City, and was a National Anthem performer for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Comets.


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Course Information

6576 Show Choir Techniques

3 graduate credits
Location: TBD

Click HERE for a campus map.

Tuition: $960
A $75 deposit is required at time of registration. Tuition balance is due in full by the first day of class.

July 11-15
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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