Graduate choral conducting students Thom Dixon, Dennis Lau and Emily Halbert will be traveling to California State University this July as conducting Scholars in the Chorus America Choral-Orchestral Conducting Academy.
Chorus America’s Choral-Orchestral Conducting Academy is a learning experience that gives choral conductors a unique opportunity to develop choral-orchestral skills and enhance their university training. During this week-long program, participating conductors will have the opportunity to study one-on-one with expert faculty and conduct choral-orchestral repertoire. Emily comments, “I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with some of the most accomplished conductors, like Beth Willer, in our field as well as study works on my repertoire bucket list, like RVW’s Dona Nobis Pacem. It is an unbelievable opportunity.” The Academy culminates with a final performance in Meng Concert Hall on the campus of California State University, Fullerton.
Director of Choral Actives at Georgia State, Dr. Deanna Joseph, comments, “I’m extremely proud of Dennis Lau, Thom Dixon and Emily Halbert for being accepted as conducting scholars at the 2023 Chorus America Choral-Orchestral Conducting Academy this summer. They all have a beautiful conducting gesture, a solid work ethic, and excellent rehearsal techniques. I’m confident they will continue to learn and grow as a result of this wonderful opportunity.”
To apply, students had to submit 3-4 video excerpts totaling 15-20 minutes showcasing the conductor’s best work. Combined with the many opportunities they’ve been on the podium at Georgia State, both Dennis and Thom also have a graduate assistantship at Central Presbyterian Church. “We’re grateful to Central Presbyterian Church who through the graduate assistantship program provided additional opportunities for Dennis and Thom to conduct choral orchestral repertoire. I know they’ll have a tremendous experience in this program!” says Dr. Sengin who serves as the associate director of choral activities at Georgia State and Director of Musical Arts at Central Presbyterian Church. Emily also has an external assistantship at North Decatur Presbyterian Church.
As conducting scholars, Dennis, Thom and Emily will have the opportunity to conduct three choral-orchestral works: Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight by Florence Price, Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Symphony No. 9, 4th Movement by Ludwig van Beethoven. Each Scholar will receive an assignment to conduct in special Scholar podium sessions with a string quintet and choir. They will also receive conducting lessons, observe faculty instruction of the Fellows and elect to sing in the Fellows final concert.
Thom states, “I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to study and conduct Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem. I was introduced to this work in a choral literature class at Georgia State and absolutely love it!” Dennis adds, “As a big fan of choral-orchestral compositions, I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. Among the selections, the fourth movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony attracted me the most since there are many challenges to be discussed and to work on with both chorus and orchestra.”
Thom Dixon, Dennis Lau and Emily Halbert’s acceptance into the Chorus America Choral-Orchestral Conducting Academy as conducting Scholars is an outstanding accomplishment that speaks volumes about their dedication and talent as choral conductors. This program offers a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry, and I have no doubt that Thom, Dennis and Emily will make the most of this incredible experience. As they continue to pursue their passion for music and hone their craft, they will undoubtedly inspire others through their leadership and artistry. Congratulations again to Thom Dixon, Dennis Lau and Emily Halbert on this outstanding achievement, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors!
Thom Dixon, Dennis Lau and Emily Halbert study choral conducting with Dr. Deanna Joseph and Dr. Jennifer Sengin.
To read more about the event, visit https://chorusamerica.org/ca2023.