Westminster Inducts Two Into Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame
Derek Cressman and Jason Vodicka have been inducted into the Westminster Choir College Music Education Alumni Hall of Fame.
Cressman earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College in 2003. He received a master’s degree in Music Education from Teacher’s College of Columbia University in 2009.
Since 2004, he has been teaching at William Penn Middle School in the Pennsbury School District in Bucks County, where he teaches general music classes, directs choirs and the spring musical. He also teaches courses in the Susquehanna Summer Choral Institute, and he has also worked with the Pennsbury Community Choir in various roles. He also served for a number of years as the director of music at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Trenton, N.J. where he directed vocal and hand bell choirs, and he served as music director for the Westminster Middle School Music Theatre Camp for five summers.
Cressman also regularly accepts Westminster Choir College Music Education student teachers. According to Music Education Department Chair Al Holcomb, “thanks to his boundless expertise and patience in helping all student teachers become successful he has rock-star popularity with our students for being the ‘coolest cooperating teacher.’”
Jason Vodicka his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Westminster Choir College and a doctorate from the University of Georgia. He is on the faculty at Susquehanna University, where he conducts two choirs, teaches undergraduate courses in music education and is the coordinator of music education Director of the Harrisburg Choral Society.
For nine years Vodicka was one of three choral directors at Pennsbury High School, where he also led the school’s musical theater program, and taught elective courses in music theory. Choirs under his direction have been invited to sing at the American Choral Directors Association’s (ACDA) Eastern Division Conference, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s (PMEA) Annual In-Service Conference and at such venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. He has also taught at the Westminster Summer Middle School Music Theatre program.
He has contributed to several publications and recently was co-author of Inside the Choral Rehearsal with James Jordan. He has presented sessions at PMEA and ACDA conferences, as well as International Conferences.
Established in 2014, the Westminster Choir College Music Education Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have earned distinction in their careers through teaching, scholarship, leadership and service to the profession, college or department.
Past honorees are Lynnel Joy Jenkins, teacher at the Hopewell Valley Schools and Artistic Director of the Princeton Girlchoir; James Moyer, director of vocal music for Pennsbury Schools; Paul Head, on the faculty at the University of Delaware; Regina Carlow, on the faculty at the University of New Mexico; Erica Washburn, on the faculty at New England Conservatory and Patrick Freer, on the faculty at Georgia State University
“We are proud of past honorees and would love to take all the credit for their successes,” said Professor Holcomb at the awards ceremony, “but we recognize that they came to us with high standards, the heart of a teacher and musicality that makes them great music teachers.”