6527 Surviving & Succeeding As A Middle School Choir Director

Do you teach choir in grades 6, 7, 8 or 9? Are you frustrated by the lack of boys in your program?  Are you losing students to other electives? Is your budget not sufficient to keep your program fresh and updated? Teaching in a low socio-economic environment? This course targets the middle school choir director who needs answers and solutions to these and other common issues associated with this grade level. New recruiting techniques, appropriate literature, classroom management pointers, student engagement ideas, creative warm ups, and stretching your budget dollars are among the topics covered in depth. The week will be spent discussing options, suggestions and proven ways to help you become a better middle school choir director, targeting topics that are vital in all middle school choirs. 

Instructors: Stan McGill, Rollo Dilworth, Christy Elsner & Judy Bowers


Stan McGill taught 33 years in secondary choral music education in Texas and Missouri. Professional positions include Texas Music Educators Association Vocal Chair, and President of both TMEA and Southwest American Choral Directors Association. He has served on numerous TMEA, TCDA and ACDA committees including the program chair for the 2009 & 2013 National ACDA Conferences, and is active as an adjudicator, speaker, director and clinician throughout the United States. 

He was one of four national authors for the Warner Brothers Music Expression Textbook for Secondary Choirs. Mr. McGill, along with co-author Dr. Morris Stevens, wrote “90 Days to Sightreading Success” and “Another Sightreading Success” available through AMC Publications. Their middle school sight reading methods book “18 Lessons to Sightreading Success” is available through Hal Leonard. His choral methods book “Beyond Singing”, is also published by Hal Leonard and co-authored with Elizabeth Volk. His choral arrangements are available through Shawnee Press as well as the Stan McGill Choral Series with Hal Leonard.

Mr. McGill has had extensive leadership service with ACDA and his articles have been published in the Southwestern Musician, Common Times, Choral Journal, and Texas Sings. He has directed numerous honor choirs including all state choirs in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. He has directed ACDA Honors Choirs including the 2008 SWACDA 8-10 Boys Honor Choir in Kansas City. His choirs have performed nine times for TMEA, SWACDA and National ACDA Conventions and have made 3 European tours. A native of Sikeston, Missouri, Mr. McGill graduated from William Jewell College and received his master's degree from Arizona State University. 

Rollo_DilworthRollo Dilworth is Professor of Choral Music Education and Chair of the Department of Music Education and Therapy at Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, PA. He has served on the faculty since 2009. Prior to his position with Boyer College, he taught music education and was the director of choral activities for 13 years at North Park University in Chicago, where he prepared and conducted numerous extended and choral-orchestral works. Before teaching at the college level, Dilworth also taught choral and general music at the middle school level in his hometown of St. Louis, MO.

Over 150 of Dilworth’s choral compositions and arrangements have been published, and many are part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with the Hal Leonard Corporation. He is also an established author and contributor for the Essential Elements for Choir and the Experiencing Choral Music textbook series. 

 In addition, Dilworth has conducted 43 all-state choirs ranging across various levels, 6 regional honor choirs, and 4 national honor choirs. For the 2016-2017 season, Dilworth has been invited to conduct all-state choirs in Utah, North Carolina, New Jersey, Kentucky and West Virginia. International festival and clinic invitations include Cuba, Ireland and Spain.


A native Kansan, Christy Elsner is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City.  Under her direction since 2000, Allegro has grown from one choir of 38 to six choirs with over 250 singers. Heralded as “the voice of angels” by the Kansas City Star, Allegro inspires thousands of audience members each year with its varied repertoire, technical excellence, and heartfelt singing.  The Allegro choirs have travelled extensively nationally and internationally with performances at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady, St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame, Carnegie Hall, and Myerson Hall.  The choirs are yearly guests of the Kansas City Symphony.  


JUDY BOWERS, Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music education, as well as conducting the Women’s Glee Club, a performing group that also provides Adopt-A-Choir and Study-Buddy partnerships with area secondary public school choirs. She has received multiple Excellence in Teaching awards at FSU, and has been awarded the Wayne Hugoboom Distinguished Service Award from the state ACDA Chapter of Florida. As a choral educator, she is an active conductor of all-state and honor choirs across the United States and Canada, and in 2014 conducted the East Africa Middle School Choral Festival in Tanzania. Bowers frequently presents workshops and clinics for teachers, and her research interests include developmental choral groups and community learning partnerships. Bowers has publications in JRME and CRME, and has contributed multiple chapters to textbooks devoted to middle school choral topics. From 1990-2000, she led the Capital Children’s Choir program at FSU and subsequently developed a community service partnership between university music students and an urban middle school. This on-going collaboration has provided additional music ensembles for the middle school while also enriching the teacher preparation experiences of the university students. In June 2014, Bowers was named a Lowell Mason National Music Education Fellow and was inducted into this society by the National Association for Music Education in Washington D.C.





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Course Information

6527 Surviving & Succeeding As A Middle School Choir Director
Dates: June 26-30
Graduate Credits: 3
Tuition: $990, due in full with registration
Location: VCM - Room TBD
Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Register online by Friday, April 14, and save $50 per class!
Register online by Friday, May 19, and save $25 per class!
Only registrations received and paid in full by 12:00 noon CDT on the dates above (April 10 for $50, May 15 for $25)  are eligible for the discounts. Balances paid after initial registration do not qualify.

VanderCook College of Music

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

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