The pandemic has created some challenges for instruction in the Fall 2020 semester. One of the new virtual programs for the Lassiter Chorus is Guest Artist Friday, which brings in music artists every Friday to speak with each chorus class. Lassiter Chorus also opened this opportunity up to the rest of CCSD high school choral programs. 

 

Your membership donation helps pay for programs such as this! Thank you for your support of Lassiter Chorus. 

 

Keep reading to see the Fall 2020 Schedule and Biography information about each artist:

 

 

August 21, 2020 

Choral Conducting Workshop with Dr. Shannon Jeffreys 

Dr. Shannon Jeffreys is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Her focus is the Southern Chorale, teaching in the undergraduate and graduate conducting and music education curriculums, along with mentoring Southern Gentlemen and Southern Sirens barbershop ensembles. She has led these choirs in three international choral competitions where the choirs won significant awards. In 2016, Southern Chorale won the grand prize in the Laurea Mundi Budapest in both the spiritual and mixed choir categories. Choirs under her direction have also been featured at multiple state conferences and most recently performing on the national conference of the National Association for Music Education and the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s National Conference.

 

Dr. Jeffreys maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator, lecturer and guest conductor from secondary to collegiate institutions throughout the United States and serves on competition juries in Europe. She serves on the Artistic Committee for Music for All National Choral Festival and recently published in ACDA’s ChorTeach. This summer, Dr. Jeffreys served on the adjudicating panel for the Laurea Mundi Budapest and joined the faculty of Harmony University with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

 

Before coming to Georgia Southern, Jeffreys served as Director of Vocal Studies at Erskine College and Theological Seminary and Director of Vocal Music at Andrew College. She holds degrees in music performance and conducting from Birmingham Southern College, the University of Mississippi, and the University of South Carolina.

 

 

August 28, 2020

History of Men's Choir / AGMC with Donald Milton III

Donald Milton III is the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, a storied ensemble in its 40th season, the second oldest LGBT chorus in the country. He is also the full time Director of Music at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA), the largest UU congregation in the Southeast.  At UUCA Mr. Milton runs one of the most eclectic and exceptional music programs in the city and in the denomination.

 

Active in the Atlanta music scene, Mr. Milton has served as the as the Executive Director of the Atlanta Master Chorale, Artistic Director of the Dekalb Choral Guild, and is the founder and CEO of Sky Punch ATL, an organization that produces community music events including Hamiltunes ATL, a Hamilton sing-along.

 

Mr. Milton received his musical training at the University of Michigan studying choral conducting with Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Dr. Julie Skadsem and Dr. Paul Rardin. As an educator Mr. Milton taught 5th-12th grade including teaching general music at an alternative school for emotionally impaired youth.  An expert in vocal pedagogy, Mr. Milton has traveled the US and the world working with choirs and giving lectures including The Second Voice Change: The Aging Voice.

 

 

September 4, 2020

Evolution of Choral Performance Practices with Dr. Deanna Joseph 

Dr. Deanna Joseph is Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the Georgia State University School of Music where she conducts the University Singers and leads the master’s program in choral conducting. In 2015, she was the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Teacher Award at Georgia State, where she was selected out of a pool of over 800 faculty.   A recent review of her work states, “[t]he choir sings with great musicality, excellent intonation, clear diction, and a healthy and beautiful pallet of tone colors…” (The Choral Scholar).

 

In May of 2017, the University Singers under Dr. Joseph’s leadership won first place in the renowned Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition while on a concert tour of Austria and Bavaria.  In May of 2013, the University Singers competed in La Florilège Vocal de Tours where the choir placed second overall in the mixed choir category and Dr. Joseph was honored with the Prix du chef de choer (conducting prize).  The Georgia State University Singers have been invited to perform at two Southern Division conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and at two conventions of the Georgia Music Educator’s Association during Dr. Joseph’s tenure at GSU, and the Georgia State University Choirs have been hired to sing two productions of David Bintley’s Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Ballet: in 2013 (North American premiere performances) and 2017. The choir’s professional recording, Evening Hymn (Gothic Records), is distributed internationally by Naxos and is available for purchase or streaming on all the major music distribution outlets including Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, etc.  The American Record Guide review states “There are no runts in the repertory litter…[and] [t]he Georgia State choir of 40 is very good at all of it: radiant as dusk approaches, but hushed and sensitive to the coming darkness as shadows deepen and fall.” The disk has been featured several times on National Public Radio’s program, With Heart and Voice.

 

Dr. Joseph is an active guest conductor and headline clinician and has conducted all-state and honor choirs in more than twelve states. She is a frequent conductor of choral-orchestral repertoire and has led performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven Mass in C, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson Mass, Schubert’s Mass in A-flat and Bruckner’s Mass in D Minor.  She has prepared choirs to sing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera, and Andrea Bocelli. One of her small ensembles was featured on a 2016 episode of “The Walking Dead”.

 

Dr. Joseph’s research in the area of 19th-century choral-orchestral performance-practice has led to invited presentations on the topic at several division conferences of the American Choral Director’s Association and at the national convention for the National Collegiate Choral Organization. In October of 2012, she was selected as one of 25 presenters from ten countries to speak at the Lund Choral Festival in Sweden.

 

Prior to her appointment at Georgia State University, Dr. Joseph served on the faculties at Smith College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Dr. Joseph holds conducting degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize.  She is the founder and artistic director of the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute (ASCI), a weeklong, summer conducting master class that draws conductors from across the country.

 

 

September 18, 2020 

South African Isicathamiya Style and History with Dr. Stefanie Cash

Dr. Stefanie Cash is Director of Music Education at Berry College. Dr. Cash is responsible for teaching methods and techniques classes, conducting the Berry Women's Choir as well as supervising student teachers. She has previous experience conducting multiple collegiate choirs and also taught classes in conducting, choral techniques, choral pedagogy and choral methods. Dr. Cash also frequently serves as a guest clinician for various district and All-State honor choirs.

 

Prior to joining Berry College, Dr. Cash served at the collegiate level as both Director of Music Education and Director of Choral Activities. Cash taught at the middle school level in Kentucky and both the high school and collegiate level in Georgia. Choirs under her direction have performed for KMEA and GMEA in-service conferences as well as the 2008 ACDA Southern Division Convention.

 

Dr. Cash received her Ph.D. in Music Education with a choral conducting emphasis from Florida State University, M.M. from the University of Kentucky and B.M.E. from Morehead State University. Dr. Cash studied conducting and music education with André Thomas, Jefferson Johnson, Richard Miles, Judy Bowers, Lori Hetzel and Larry Blocher. She currently holds professional membership with the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education and the Georgia Music Educators Association. Dr. Cash resides in Rome, Georgia with her husband Courtney, daughter Caroline and cat Ryleigh.

 

September 25, 2020

Impact of Choral Programs on Identity / AWC with Dr. Melissa Arasi 

Dr. Melissa Arasi received a Bachelor of Music Education from Shorter College, a leadership certification from the University of West Georgia, and a Master of Music Education, as well as a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning in Music Education from Georgia State University. With a full career in education, Arasi taught 14 years, and then supervised the performing arts teachers in Cobb County for 16 years. She taught at Georgia Tech, where she created a Women’s Choir, and she currently conducts the Atlanta Women’s Chorus.

 

Arasi has also done research on the benefits of lifelong learning and said, “This continues to be my passion as I believe our world is a better place when people pursue their joy and continue to learn throughout life.”

“Dr. Arasi is well-informed, kind, knowledgeable, insightful and helpful to every student. As a music education major, I know that any question or dilemma that I have can be solved by Dr. Arasi,” said sophomore music education and vocal performance major Slade Searcy. “Having been the Cobb County Supervisor of Performing Arts, as well as a former music educator, she has so much experience managing and teaching both students and teachers alike.”

 

When she isn’t building relationships with her students and inspiring them to be incredible teachers, Arasi enjoys playing golf and considers herself to be an avid CrossFit and Pilates junkie.

 

October 9, 2020 

Barbershop and History Workshop with Dr. Shannon Jeffreys 

Dr. Shannon Jeffreys is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Her focus is the Southern Chorale, teaching in the undergraduate and graduate conducting and music education curriculums, along with mentoring Southern Gentlemen and Southern Sirens barbershop ensembles. She has led these choirs in three international choral competitions where the choirs won significant awards. In 2016, Southern Chorale won the grand prize in the Laurea Mundi Budapest in both the spiritual and mixed choir categories. Choirs under her direction have also been featured at multiple state conferences and most recently performing on the national conference of the National Association for Music Education and the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s National Conference.

 

Dr. Jeffreys maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator, lecturer and guest conductor from secondary to collegiate institutions throughout the United States and serves on competition juries in Europe. She serves on the Artistic Committee for Music for All National Choral Festival and recently published in ACDA’s ChorTeach. This summer, Dr. Jeffreys served on the adjudicating panel for the Laurea Mundi Budapest and joined the faculty of Harmony University with the Barbershop Harmony Society.

 

Before coming to Georgia Southern, Jeffreys served as Director of Vocal Studies at Erskine College and Theological Seminary and Director of Vocal Music at Andrew College. She holds degrees in music performance and conducting from Birmingham Southern College, the University of Mississippi, and the University of South Carolina.

 

 

October 16, 2020

Basics of Opera Performance and Acoustics with Christopher Dunham

Christopher Dunham is a native of Niagara Falls, Ontario and has captivated audiences with his "vocally powerful and dramatic" (Opera Canada) baritone voice across Canada and as far away as the Adriatic coast of Italy. A recent graduate from L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opéra de Montréal and Atlanta Opera’s Young Artist Residency Christopher is the winner of the Desmarais Development Bursary three years in a row and the Jeunesses Musicals Canada’s Young Mentorship position. Christopher is equally comfortable in concert, recital and on the main stage.

 

Some of his roles include: The Brother in Seven Deadly Sins (Atlanta Opera), Figaro in The Barber of Seville (Brott Opera), Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette (Jeunesses Musical Canada), Argante in Rinaldo (Pacific Opera Victoria), Dandini in La Cenerentola (La Musica Lyrica), Schaunard in La Bohème and Escamillo in Carmen (L'Opéra de Montréal). Next season Christopher can be seen with Pacific Opera Victoria, Opéra de Quebec, and the Windsor Symphony. Christopher is a young Canadian baritone who has already begun to make a name for himself and promises to have a flourishing career

 

October 23, 2020

Opera Outreach and Stage Careers with Dr. Briana Sosenheimer 

Dr. Briana Sosenheimer has sung internationally in Austria, Canada, Italy, South Africa, and throughout the United States. This includes performing principle roles in full productions of Le nozze di Figaro, La Boheme, Werther, and Carmen. She has also appeared as a soloist in oratorios including Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Coronation Mass. She has performed with Indianapolis Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Muncie Masterworks Chorale, Stow Symphony Orchestra, International Lyric Academy, Franco-American Vocal Academy, and Toledo Opera. Dr. Sosenheimer is a former member of the Bowling Green Children’s Opera and Indianapolis Opera Ensemble that presented educational outreach programs and performed children’s operas throughout the Midwest. Future performances include the Florence B. Price recital and Trinity Episcopal benefit concert.

 

Dr. Sosenheimer has directed and assistant directed with Indianapolis Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Ball State University, Anderson University, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Georgia Southern University. Productions and scenes include Talk Opera, U. S. premiere of Choir Practice, Bernstein on Broadway, The Night Flight of Minerva’s Owl, The Secret Code of Mary Bowser, The Old Maid and the Thief, The Unicorn in the Garden, Meanwhile, Back at Cinderella’s, The Tender Land, La Tragédie de Carmen, Kiss Me, Kate, Xerxes, Le nozze di Figaro, Man of La Mancha, La Traviata, South Pacific, and The George Washington Suite. Briana’s comedic staging has been praised by the PA Theater Guide as “pure fun”. She recently wrote and directed her third pastiche children’s opera titled The Not-So Ugly Duckling being performed by the Resident Artists at Indianapolis Opera this season. As a former member of In Sync Dance Theatre, Dr. Sosenheimer had the opportunity to perform with Chicago Tap Theatre. Recent choreographed productions include GREASE The Musical, The Little Mermaid, and South Pacific.

 

Dr. Sosenheimer graduated from Hope College with a B.M. in vocal performance and minor in dance. She holds a M.M. in Vocal Performance from Bowling Green State University and a D.A. in Vocal Performance and Stage Direction from Ball State University. She was most recently the Stage Director for the I.O. Resident Artist Ensemble and the Resident Assistant Director at Indianapolis Opera. She has also served as faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Taylor University. Currently, Dr. Sosenheimer is the Director of Opera at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA.

 

 

November 13, 2020 

Cultural and Historical Impacts of Jazz with Dr. Ronald McCurdy 

Dr. Ronald C. McCurdy is a professor of music at the USC Thornton School of Music and serves as past president of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). Prior to his appointment at USC, he served as director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC. He has served as professor of music and chair of the Afro-African American studies department and served as director of jazz studies at the University of Minnesota. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and his master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Kansas. In 2001, McCurdy received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Kansas.

 

McCurdy released his first CD titled Once Again for the First Time on the INNOVA label and is co-author of a vocal jazz improvisation series titled Approaching the Standards, published by Warner Bros., and Meet the Great Jazz Legend, published by Alfred. He is currently touring The Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz. The multimedia presentation features a jazz quartet, spoken-word performance and images from the Harlem Renaissance. McCurdy is in demand as a guest clinician, soloist, speaker, director of honor jazz ensembles and choirs.

 

McCurdy is a consultant to the GRAMMY Foundation educational programs, including serving as director of the Grammy Jazz Choir and Combo. He served as director of the Walt Disney All-American Summer College Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Singers in Orlando, Florida, for seven years and continues to serve as a consultant for the college program. He has also served as a member of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camp faculty. McCurdy is a performing artist for the Yamaha International Corporation

 

 

November 20, 2020 

Improvisation in the Choral Classroom Workshop with Dr. David Langley 

Dr. David W. Langley is Associate Professor of Music Education and Associate Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern University. His duties include supervising student teachers, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, as well as directing the University Singers. Prior to his appointment at Georgia Southern, Langley taught chorus and music theory at Collins Hill High School in Suwanee, Georgia. During his eleven years of teaching high school, Langley guided a choral program of over 300 students, with individual students consistently being selected for the Georgia All State Chorus and the Governors Honors Program in both voice and piano. Langley was previously on faculty at Georgia Perimeter College and Crabapple Crossing Elementary School in Milton, GA.

 

A native of Smyrna, Georgia, Langley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from the University of Georgia, as well as the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Teaching and Learning (Music Education) from Georgia State University. Langley has been published in such journals as Music Education Research, The Choral Journal, American Music Teacher, American Choral Directors Association’s Chorteach, and he has also been a guest author for the National Association for Music Education blog, Music in a Minuet. Langley is currently in his second term on the Editorial Advisory Committee for the Music Educators Journal. He has presented his research at numerous state, national, and international conferences, most recently at the Research in Music Education Symposium in Bath, England. His research interests include incorporating creativity within the choral classroom and the extra-musical benefits of community choir involvement. Langley is a frequent clinician and adjudicator throughout the southeast.

 

 

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