Are you a middle level choral instructor dealing with out-of-tune basses? Breathy singers? Constant drama and restlessness? Zombie expressions? Lack of engagement? Little-to-no administrative support? Students who refuse to look at music?... This course addresses these issues and more, covering best practices to develop classroom management, vocal techniques, financial planning, student engagement and rehearsal practices that will specifically benefit the middle level choral director. You’ll leave with ideas and input on how to elevate your choir program and help you and your students reach maximum potential.

Instructors: Daniel Gutierrez, Ryan Main & Reese Norris


Daniel Gutierrez is an active conductor, clinician and presenter throughout the country.  He has received numerous accolades for his work as a teacher, including Teacher of the Year by Springfield Public Schools and Southwest Missouri (as well as being a finalist for the state TOTY award), Springfield Hometown Hero by Springfield’s CBS News, Springfield Rotary Award for Outstanding Community Service, an honoree for Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, a quarterfinalist for the Grammy National Music Educator Award, and the Missouri Choral Directors Association Podium Award. Gutierrez has presented for TEDx and regional ACDA conferences. Choral groups under his direction have won choral festivals, and received invitations to perform at the Missouri Music Educator Association Conference, Southwest American Choral Directors Association Conference, the National Conference for MS/JH Choral Music, and the National American Choral Directors Association Conference. This year, Gutierrez will be the youth choir director for the American Fellowship of Baptist Musicians Conference, and a clinician for All-State choirs in Virginia, South Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado and Florida.
Main,_Ryan_headshot_2018Composer, director and clinician Ryan Main writes music for choirs and bands at all levels. An award winning composer, his music has been published and performed internationally. His titles have earned Editor’s Choice distinctions from J.W. Pepper, and have been performed at venues including the Midwest Band Clinic, American Choral Directors Association Conferences, and Carnegie Hall.
Main holds master’s degrees in music composition and music education from the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City's Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Main is passionate about quality music education for all, and recently founded the Youth Chorus of Kansas City, a non-profit organization serving youth of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds throughout the Kansas City metro area. He is also the Director of Music at Village Presbyterian Church on Antioch. For more information on his work, visit or
Norris,_Reese_headshot_2018Reese Norris is Director of Choirs at Hernando Middle School, and co-founder and co-artistic director of CoroRio, both in Northwest Mississippi. Norris received degrees from Delta State University and Florida State University, and in 2005 was named Delta State University Music Alumnus of the Year. He was the 2017 recipient of MMEA's Music Educator of the Year, the Ernestine Ferrell Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Mississippi Chapter of ACDA, and the Delta State University Educator of the Year Award. Norris has served in several leadership capacities for NAfME and ACDA at the state level, and at the division level for ACDA. Choirs under his direction have performed at Carnegie Hall, at the National Conference for Middle School Choirs, twice for Mississippi ACDA's State Conference, twice for ACDA's Southern Division Conference, and at the 2018 OAKE National Conference in Oklahoma City. Norris has been honored to serve as guest clinician and presenter across the eastern United States. His compositions and arrangements are published by Lawson-Gould, Santa Barbara, Colla Voce, G. Schirmer and MusicSpoke.

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288