Summer Conference at ECCO 2013

For information about the beautiful facilities at the Evergreen Conference Center in Oakhurst, please visit their website at: ECCO HOMEPAGE


About Geoffrey Paul Boers

Geoffrey BoersDuring the past decade, Geoffrey Boers has become known as one of the United States’ leading choral conductors and teachers. He maintains an active conducting, teaching, workshop, and clinic schedule and has conducted programs across the U.S. and internationally, with concerts in Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Meyerson Symphony Hall in Dallas, New York’s Alice Tully and Avery Fischer Halls, the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. In addition, he has conducted week-long residencies in Toronto, Ontario, and Mainz, Germany, as well as Seoul, Korea, with the world-renowned Incheon City Chorale. He recently led a tour with the choirs at the University of Washington to Riga, Latvia, where they were invited to participate as special guests to sing at the Latvian Song Festival, joining a choir of fifteen thousand singers.

Geoffrey Boers is the director of choral activities at the University of Washington in Seattle. Under his direction, the graduate choral program has developed into one of the most vibrant and innovative in the country.  Their cohort of four faculty and fifteen graduate students leads a program of nine ensembles with nearly five hundred singers participating.  Dr. Boers conducts the UW Chamber Singers, the university’s premiere ensemble of graduate and advanced singers. He also teaches graduate choral conducting and choral pedagogy and serves as faculty advisor to the choral community at the University.

Through his teaching, he is exploring the evolution of the conducting gesture and its connection with empathy, perception, learning, and the growing science of mirror neurons. His exploration has led new thoughts about choral conducting and teaching with regard to breath, movement, spirit, artistry, personal growth, and cultural development. Recently his work has led to the development of local choral cohorts of teachers and conductors interested in ongoing mentorship and musical development, who themselves develop programs of mentorship and learning based in these teachings.  He has developed such mentorship programs in Seattle, Vancouver, B.C., Calgary, Alberta, and Houston.

In addition to his position at UW, Dr. Boers is conductor of the Tacoma Symphony Chorus and led members of this choir on a concert tour to Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria in the summer of 2012.

Interest Sessions

  • World Music Perspectives (Presenting:  Ron Kean, Bakersfield College): This session will focus on a few gems from the global array of musical choices available to the choral conductor. There will be sure winners in the reading packet, designed to help the world music pro, and the world music novice, make some great music with their choirs. The session will also present a new book on Latin rhythms that will make the world of Latin world music come alive!  (Bill Belan, published by Gentry)
  • More Than Mozart and Haydn! Performance Practice in the Classic Era (Presenting:  Robert Istad, California State University, Fullerton): Choral musicians frequently feel most comfortable interpreting music of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern eras. We often feel less equipped to interpret the diverse and colorful repertoire of the Classic and Romantic eras, leaving most of it to our colleagues in the keyboard and orchestral worlds to perform. The music of the Classic era exemplifies an exquisite musical evolution of style and features a myriad of opportunities for performing by choirs of all levels. This workshop will offer attendees the chance to learn new repertoire and explore the principles of choral style in an interactive and fun format.
  • Using the Technology You May Already Own to Make Your Teaching and Conducting Life Easier (Presenting: Christopher Peterson, California State University, Fullerton): Not long ago we needed a bag full of gadgets to harness technology, but now all we need is an iPad, a laptop, or a smart phone. This session will outline the latest music and teaching applications and services available to help you organize your professional life. Many applications are free or inexpensive, and you will be amazed how easy integrating technology can be. If you have your iPad or laptop, bring it along. If you have been looking for an excuse to buy one…, now you have it!
  • Worship Music – Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century (Convener:  Julie Ford, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church): A panel of three directors from different denominations, each representing either a small, medium, or large congregation, will provide recommendations for repertoire that can be used in sacred settings and present ideas, suggestions, and solutions that address three areas of challenge facing choral development in worship:  (1) difficulty of inconsistent attendance; (2) integration of Praise Music/Secular Music into worship:  how to relate to/integrate with choral activity; and (3) recruiting within and beyond the congregation.
  • Young High School Men—Now That You Got ‘em, What Do You Do with ‘em?  Teaching ninth-twelfth grade boys with no previous choral experience. (Presenting:  Travis Rogers, Napa High School): An interest session sharing techniques and classroom management tips in working with a beginning male chorus at the high school level.
  • The Children’s Choir Rehearsal – Orff and Kodály Perspectives
    • Engaging Their Minds and Welcoming Their Hearts:  A New Way to Begin a Children’s Choir Rehearsal (Presenter:  Shane Troll, Pinewood Elementary School; Cantabile Youth Singers): This session will explore innovative and stimulating ways in which a conductor can effortlessly begin rehearsals ensuring that each child is welcomed, challenged, and, most importantly, having fun. The clinician will demonstrate diverse and effective musical activities that blend together the Orff process with the traditional children’s choir rehearsal setting. Activities will include songs, canons, movement, dance, body percussion, partner activities, and team/group-building exercises. All of these activities will be taught with active participation of the attendees. A packet of the activities will be included for each participant. There will be time at the end for questions.
    • The Kodály Approach:  Real-Life App for the (Beginning and Intermediate) Elementary Chorus (Presenter:  Gemma Arguelles, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Holy Names University, Kodály Summer Institute): Gemma Arguelles will share applications of the Kodály approach in the choral setting beginning with second-third grade chorus and fourth-sixth grade intermediate chorus.
  • The XX-Files:  Great Literature by Women Composers (Co-Presenters: Magen Solomon, Artistic Director, San Francisco Choral Artists & Stockton Chorale and Eliza Rubenstein, Orange Coast College and Orange County Women’s Chorus): The music is out there…and we’ll help you find it!  We’ll provide you with repertoire lists of outstanding music by women past and present, resource lists to help you find even more, and a reading session of a few of our favorites—and we’ll discuss why it’s important to include works by women in our programming.  Note:  Music presented is recommended for the high school level and above.
  • The Choral Classroom As the Voice Studio (Presenter:  Daniel Hughes, Artistic Director, The Choral Project & San José Choral Productions): Are you looking for some effective warmups for your vocalists? Do you want to learn some of the tell-tale signs of vocal fatigue, troubleshooting and solving vocal issues, differences between handling young voices vs. aging voices, and detailed understanding of the vocal mechanism in general? In this session, Daniel Hughes will provide information and tips for you to bolster your credentials as the vocal expert in your choir room. Learn which warmups can aid you in building breath management, resonance, agility, and more!
  • Programming and Presentation:  How Do We Foster Transformational Experiences for Audience and Singers through the Choral Canon? (Presenter:  Janine Dexter, Artistic Director, Colla Voce): How do we present choral music with integrity and musical authenticity for 21st century post-modern singers and audiences? Can we speak the multi-dimensional, multi-sensory, experiential and collaborative language of the 21st century while presenting 11th-20th century music? How can we design for transformational concert experiences, above and beyond “performance”? How do we include the audience and singers in the creation of the experience? How do we collaborate with the other creative arts—one form infusing, inspiring, and infecting another–beyond mere existence in the same space? What can we do to extend our reach beyond the students, family and close friends of our choral groups, to people with no prior exposure to choral music, and then transform them into participants who will return to choral experiences for years to come? How do we shape our organizations to thrive vs survive? Let’s take a look at choral music in this post-modern world!
  • Teaching Musicianship—Preparing Students for the Next Level (Presenter:  Jennifer Munoz)

Nuts & Bolts Sessions

  • High School:  Preparation Is the Key to Success (Presenter:  Gavin Spencer, Shasta High School)
  • Middle School (Presenter:  Cecile Blanchard and Vaness Ventre (Counte))
  • Elementary School (Presenter:  Beth Klemm, Artistic Director, Central Coast Children’s Choir; Atascadero Unified School District)
  • Community Choirs (Topics include Marketing & Development) (Moderator: James Person)
  • Two-Year College Round Table Discussion (Moderator:  Ron Kean, Bakersfield College)
  • Four-Year University Round Table Discussion (Moderator:  Rob Istad, California State University, Fullerton)

Interfaith Service

Service Leader:  Julie Ford, Music Director, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church

This service is offered as a time to come together as a diverse community and center ourselves spiritually. Through congregational and choral singing and moments of silence, we will remember those who have passed, consider the many blessings and joys in our lives, and share words of inspiration and good humor.

NEW Conducting Masterclasses

Geoffrey Boers, Advanced Masterclass (Public)
Jonathan Talberg, Intermediate Masterclass
Lori Marie Rios, Beginning Masterclass

New and improved conducting masterclasses for every level are available at no additional cost. The masterclasses are designed to give choral conductors the opportunity to work with master teachers and coaches/mentors on skills to help them meet challenges beyond their university training. The Intermediate and Beginning Masterclasses include private coaching with a master teacher and podium time in a classroom situation. The Advanced Masterclass includes private coaching with the headliner and public podium time with a professional-level ensemble during one of the conference plenary sessions. Nine conductors (three at each level) will be selected via application. All classes will be open for observation by conference attendees. Conductors interested in participating in the 2013 Masterclasses must submit an application and the required supplemental materials on or before June 1, 2013 (available online at

Also: Voice Classes (all Levels) and Daily Tai Chi Classes