Teaching Vocal Technique Through Repertoire

Date: April 2, 2011
Title: Teaching Vocal Technique Through Repertoire
Discipline: Music Education/Critical Pedagogy
Teacher: Amanda Quist & John Wilson

As choral directors, it is our responsibility to ensure students develop concepts of healthy vocal technique during the rehearsal process. To a large extent, the repertoire we choose shapes the experience of the ensemble and of the director. Our ability to choose appropriate repertoire can provide transformative experiences for students, and opportunities for singers to use their knowledge of vocal technique to engage in musical problem solving. This seminar will explore the impact repertoire selection has on the rehearsal process, and how to develop healthy vocal habits using challenges present in the music.

Dr. Amanda Quist is joining Westminster Choir College this fall as conductor of the Chapel Choir, associate conductor of the Symphonic Choir, and professor of conducting.  She was previously the Director of Choral Activities at San Jose State University where she directed the Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, and taught conducting and voice.  Dr. Quist has received numerous awards as a teacher and conductor, including the prestigious James Mulholland National Choral Fellowship, the Texas Choral Directors Association Professional Scholarship, and the Audrey Davidson Early Music Award. She was a national finalist in the American Choral Directors Association conducting competition, and her choir was selected by ACDA to be the demonstration ensemble for a master class with Simon Carrington, professor emeritus of Yale University and founding member of the King Singers. Before pursuing her graduate degrees, Dr. Quist taught in the Michigan public and private school systems, and directed a children’s chorus with the North American Choral Company. She serves on the faculty of the Westminster Choir College Chamber Choir program, and has held positions on the faculties of Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, and the University of North Texas. Dr. Quist is an active adjudicator and clinician, as well as noted mezzo-soprano. She has sung with professional ensembles such as the Texas Choral Artists and the Eton Consort, and most recently appeared as the mezzo soloist for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Santa Clara Chorale, and for Mozart’s Requiem with the Westminster Festival Chorus.

John Wilson, choral director, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in music education. An accomplished baritone, John has performed as a soloist with the Westminster Symphonic Choir for two performances of Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor, and the world premiere of M. Joseph Rendulic’s Ana Beko’ ach.  John also received the first place award in the 2004 Northeast Regional N.A.T.S. vocal competition. Performing as a member of the opera chorus, Mr. Wilson sang in the American premiere of Walter Braunfels’ Die Vögel at Spoleto Festival USA. John also served as the festival conductor for the 2006 New Apostolic Church Northeast Regional Youth Weekend. In addition to his position at the high school, he currently serves as the youth choir director at Liberty Corner Presbyterian and the as the organist and music director at Martinsville United Methodist Church. As an ensemble singer, Mr. Wilson has performed under the direction of Timothy Brown, Charles Dutoit, Joseph Flummerfelt, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Labadie, Lorin Maazel, Nicholas McGegan, Andrew Megill, Stephan Parkman, and Julius Rudel.