Director’s Chorus to perform at St. Mary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Three summers ago, the Mississippi Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association chose Natchez for their summer workshop. As a component of the workshop, the association asked if the “Directors Chorus” could perform its concert in St. Mary Basilica.

We at St. Mary knew very little about the organization and even less about the “Director’s Chorus.” As it turned out, their performance was stellar.

The way we understand it, the MCACDA invites a guest clinician to work with them at their summer workshop. Part of his or her teaching includes forming the Mississippi high school and college choral directors from around the state into a “Director’s Chorus” using the techniques he or she has taught them.

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Because Natchez was so welcoming, and the experience singing in St. Mary Basilica was so rewarding, the Mississippi Chapter chose to return last year and again this year.

The guest clinician this year is Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe, chair of the Thornton School of Music’s department of choral and sacred music at the University of Southern California. Dr. Scheibe served as National President of the American Choral Directors Association 2011-2013, National President Elect (2008-2011, Western Division President (1991-1993) and National Repertoire and Standards Chairperson for Community Colleges (1980-1989).

Ensembles under his leadership have sung at six national ACDA conventions, the USC Chamber Singers will sing at the 2015 ACDA National Conference in Salt Lake City, two national conventions of the Music Educators National Conference and at the National Conference of the National  Collegiate Choral Organization. The USC Thornton Chamber singers were one of 25 choirs selected to perform at the Tenth World Choral Symposium in Seoul, Korea in August 2014.

Dr. Scheibe has collaborated with Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Salvatore Licitra, Maria Guleghina, Andrea Bocelli, Kenny Loggins, the Rolling Stones and Sir Elton John.  He prepared choruses for Helmuth Rilling, Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra, Franz Welser-Most and the Cleveland Orchestra, and Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony.  Recordings of his ensembles have been released on the Albany, Cane, Naxos, Arsis and ANS labels.  Music publishers Walton, Colla Voce Music and Santa Barbara distribute the Jo-Michael Scheibe Choral Series internationally.

Dr. Scheibe returned to USC in 2008 after 15 years as director of Choral Studies at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, as well as  Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Long Beach City College, Vintage High School in Napa, California, and Huntington Beach High School. He received his D.M.A. from the University of Southern California and his B.A. and  M.M. degrees from California State University at Long Beach, where he was presented with the distinguished alumnus award.

According to Jonathan C. Kilgore, Chair of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, Dr. Scheibe is in frequent demand nationally and internationally as a clinician, conductor, and adjudicator for choruses at the university, community college, community and secondary levels.

We are privileged to be able to present such a distinguished clinician as he directs a “Directors Chorus” composed of choral directors from throughout the state of Mississippi at St. Mary Basilica at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The concert is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.


Ruth McWilliams is program director, St. Mary Basilica.