Summer Conference at ECCO 2018

Despite smoke from a fire 15 miles north of the conference, ECCO 2018 was fantastic!  Check back for any conference materials that have been submitted by our wonderful headliner, Dr. Betsy Cook Weber and the other session presenters.

Meet Our Headliner:

Dr. Betsy Cook Weber is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. She teaches a full load of coursework at the undergraduate and graduate levels, oversees the large and varied choral area at the Moores School, and is also active internationally as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer. Before coming to the University of Houston, Weber taught vocal music, K-12, in the public schools.

Choirs under Weber’s direction, including the Moores School Concert Chorale, have been featured at multiple state and national conventions. Internationally, Chorale has won prizes and received acclaim at prestigious competitions in Wales and France. In May of 2013, Weber led the Chorale to a first-place finish as one of only ten choirs world-wide selected to compete in the famous International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf, Germany.

Comments about her choral work include “de luxe singing, eliciting admiration and gratitude,” “wonderfully elegant and humorous,” “sophisticated choir — expertly prepared and with a finely-tuned corporate ear.”

She has prepared singers for Da Camera, for early music orchestras Ars Lyrica and Mercury Houston, and is also routinely called upon to prepare singers for touring shows, including Josh Groban, NBC’s Clash of the Choirs, Telemundo’s Latin Grammy’s, Star Wars in Concert, and Andrea Bocelli.

In the fall of 2014, Weber became director of the Houston Symphony Chorus. She served from 1990 – 1997 as Assistant and, later, Associate Director of this historic ensemble, helping prepare major works for renowned conductors including Robert Shaw, Christoph Eschenbach, Roger Wagner, Nicholas McKegan, and Christopher Seaman.

Weber is the 13th person and 1st woman to receive the Texas Choral Director Association’s coveted Texas Choirmaster Award and is editor of the Betsy Cook Weber choral series with Alliance Music Publishing.

She holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and the University of Houston.

Dr. Cook Weber’s Plenary Sessions

Additional Interest Sessions:

Rules of Engagement: high engagement=high achievement

Molly Peters, Choral Director, Rancho Pico Junior High School and West Ranch High School
Lori Marie Rios, Choral Director, College of the Canyons

  • Are you tired of feeling like you’re the hardest working person in your choir classroom? So often, we forget our best teaching practices (as well as why we became music teachers!). Rehearsal loses its magic–and there goes engagement, connection, and meaning. Lori Marie Rios and Molly Peters will give you some ideas for changing the way you run your classroom that will make you grounded, make your kids more connected and present, and give them (and you!) amazing musical experiences, regardless of what age group you teach or at what performance level your choir is.

Unveiling the Mystery: Understanding Arabic Choral Music for the Western Choral Conductor
Dr. Cari Earnhart, Director of Choral Activities at Fresno State

  • East meets West as we explore performance practice and the accessibility of Arabic Choral music. In order for Western conductors to effectively teach, conduct, or perform these new works, it is important for them to develop a basic understanding of traditional Arabic musical styles and pronunciation of the language, thereby making Arabic choral music more accessible and enabling it to become a part of the larger world’s musical vocabulary. This presentation serves as an introductory resource for non-Arab choral conductors concerning key elements related to performing Arabic choral music and provides a context for how these elements relate to this evolving choral genre.

African American Spirituals

Dr. Ronald Kean, Professor Emeritus, Bakersfield College

  • The history, sociological context, and performance practice of African American Spirituals and specifics regarding the performance of THE JOURNEY OF HARRIET TUBMAN – including a reading session of repertoire for many voicings and levels of difficulty.
    Click here for session slideshow

Kodály Applications in the Choral Setting, Sessions 1 & 2

Gemma Arguelles, Music Lecturer, Kodály Center, Holy Names University

  • Interested in fostering in your singers “a well-trained ear, a well-trained mind, a well-trained heart, a well-trained hand”? Come and learn how to incorporate Kodály principles seamlessly into your choral rehearsals. Gemma will share teaching strategies for unison to SSAA repertoire to encourage and develop music literacy and musicianship in the choral setting. Session 1 will focus on beginning to intermediate repertoire and Session 2 will address SSA-SSAA repertoire.

Conducting Classes & Masterclass

Dr. Betsy Cook Weber (Conducting Masterclass)
Arlie Langager & John Russell (Conducting Classes)

  • A Conducting Class and Masterclass were available at ECCO at no additional cost. Both were 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 conducting class included coaching with a master teacher and podium time in a classroom situation. The Masterclass included private coaching with the headlining speaker, Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, and public podium time during one of the conference plenary sessions. Three conductors will be selected via application for the masterclass. Conductors interested in participating in the 2018 ECCO masterclasses submitted an application and required supplemental materials before the conference.

Awesome Adventures in Choral-Orchestral Repertoire for All Choirs!

Dr. Rob Istad, Director of Choral Studies, CSU Fullerton; Artistic Director, Pacific Chorale

  • Istad’s ideas for repertoire and strategies to employ choral-orchestral repertoire for developing choirs of all ages. Find repertoire that will challenge and enrich your singers! Learn strategies to best plan for your first choral-orchestral conducting experience! Get ideas for rehearsing and working with instrumentalists along side your developing ensembles! Plan a totally joyful, attainable experience for you and your singers!

Building the Bass Choir: Literature, Tips, and Strategies for Success

Dr. Christopher Peterson, Professor of Choral Music Education and Choirs, CSU Fullerton

  • Successfully working with a choir of tenor and bass voices starts with literature choices that can provide musical variety and appropriate challenges. Besides repertoire, this session will examine ways that you can create a positive rehearsal environment to motivate your singers to be their best.
    Click here for session resources

Middle School Choir Nuts & Bolts

Jenni Gaderlund, Graham Middle School