Dr. Anton Armstrong, Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, became the fourth conductor of the St. Olaf Choir in 1990 after ten years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he had served on the faculty of Calvin College and led the Calvin College Alumni Choir, the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, and the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale.
Dr. Armstrong is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. A graduate of the American Boychoir School, Dr. Armstrong served for over twenty years on the summer faculty of their summer program ALBEMARLE and held the position of Conductor of the St. Cecilia Youth Chorale, a 75-voice treble chorus based in Grand Rapids, from 1981-1990. He has conducted the Troubadours, a 30-voice boys ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs, since 1991. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Boychoir School and the Board of Chorus America.
In February 2005, The St. Olaf Choir shared the stage with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in presenting the finale concert for the national conference of the American Choral Director’s Association at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Armstrong has frequently conducted ensembles and appeared before regional, national, and international gatherings of the American Choral Directors Association, International Federation of Choral Music, Music Educators National Conference, Choristers Guild, American Guild of Organists, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, Organization of American Kodaly Educators, and the Orff-Schulwerk Association. In recent years he has guest conducted such noted ensembles as the Utah Symphony and Symphony Chorus, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Westminster Choir, and the American Boychoir. He has also collaborated in concert with Bobby McFerrin and Garrison Keillor.
In January 2006, Baylor University selected Anton Armstrong from a field of 118 distinguished nominees to receive the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. The award is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching, and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. He spent February-June 2007 in residency at Baylor University as a visiting professor. In March 2007 he was the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the American Boychoir School, and in October 2009 he received The Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University.
Dr. John Feierabend is considered one of the leading authorities on music and movement development. He is a professor of Music and the Director of Music Education at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford and is a past President of the American Kodály Educators. A music educator for over thirty years, he continues to be committed to collecting, preserving and teaching the diverse folk music of our country and to using that folk music as a bridge to help children understand and enjoy classical music.
In addition to serving as the lead scriptwriter for the Van Cliburn Foundation's "Musical Awakenings" program of classical concerts for children, Dr. Feierabend promotes music education through frequent presentations in the United States and abroad. He is the author of more than 60 books, recordings and DVDs including the popular "First Steps in Music" series and the "Conversational Solfege" curriculum materials. Founded in 2012, the Feierabend Association for Music Education works to preserve Dr. Feierabend's research and pedagogical techniques through teacher training and certification in both First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege.
Dr. Robert G. Hasty is the Music Director of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and the conductor of the Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia at the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where he also serves as the Associate Dean of Orchestras.
A noted researcher in music cognition, Dr. Hasty authored the book "Critical Listening While Conducting" and has been invited to speak on this topic internationally. As a conductor, Dr. Hasty has performed with the All-American College Orchestra at Walt Disney World, Beijing Youth Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Irvine Youth Symphony, Merit Symphony Orchestra, National High School Music Institute Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, NU Opera Theater and the NU Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is sought after as an honor orchestra conductor, and is a member of the conducting and music education faculties at the Bienen School of Music.
Scott Shuler, NAfME Immediate Past President for 2012-214, is the Arts Education specialist in the Connecticut Sate Department of Education. He has served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Simsbury Public Schools, taught 3 - 12 instrumental and general music and conducted church choirs in Michigan, Delaware, and Wisconsin. He has taught music education courses at several unniversities including the Hartt School, Eatsman School of Music, and New England Sonservatory, and served as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at California State University, Long Beach.
Dr. Shuler has authored many publications, served on NAfME's UPDATE editorial board, and presented countless workshops on topics such as music program development and assessment, teacher preparation, advocacy, and the role of the arts in middle schools. He was a member of the task force that developed America's National Standards in music, helped design and interpret the 1999 federal arts education survey and 1997 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the Arts, co-chaired the Council of Chief State School Officers SCASS multi-state arts assessment consortium, and served as president of the National Council of State Supervisors or Music. He earned his . Mus. at the University of Michigan, his M.S. at the University of Illinois, and his Ph.D at the Eastman School of Music.
Dr. Christopher Azzara
Pianist, arranger, author, and educator, Christopher Azzara has made important contributions to advancing the understanding of creativity and improvisation in the music learning process. An innovator in the area of music teaching and learning, Dr. Azzara is Professor and Chair of Music Education and Affiliate Faculty of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music.
Teaching and performing internationally, he is the author of numerous articles, arrangements, and books, including Developing Musicianship Through Improvisation, Creativity In Improvisation, and Jump Right In: The Instrumental Series (GIA). His arrangements for instrumental and vocal ensembles include A la nanita nana for choir and chamber orchestra or piano (Oxford), and Concert Selections for Winds and Percussion (GIA). His research and publications are concerned with meaningful relationships among listening, creating, improvising, reading, composing, and analyzing music in vocal and instrumental settings. Dr. Azzara’s work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Research in Music Education, the Music Educators Journal, Early Childhood Connections, and in The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning (MENC/Oxford). He performs as a soloist and in various ensembles, including the Chris Azzara Quartet, and has played on and produced many studio and educational recordings. In Rochester, he performs with free-lance musicians, members of the Eastman School of Music faculty, and members of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. An active teacher and clinician, he has taught and performed extensively throughout the United States, and in Canada, the Caribbean, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Japan, and Australia. He has presented clinics and workshops in a variety of settings, including TEDxRochester, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and leading music schools in this country and abroad.
Christopher Azzara is a native of Virginia and attended public schools in Fairfax County. After receiving the Bachelor of Music degree from George Mason University, he taught instrumental music in the Fairfax County Public Schools and performed as a pianist in the Washington D.C. area. He later received a Master of Music and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music. Prior to joining the Eastman faculty, Dr. Azzara was a professor at The Hartt School of Music, Dance, and Theatre of the University of Hartford, CT.
Lillie Feierabend is known for her work with young children and instilling a love of music within them. This is her twelfth year as faculty at the University of Hartford Magnet School and her thirteenth as a director for the Connecticut Children's Chorus. She received the 1998 Teacher of the Year Award from her district for her innovative and inclusive music programs.
In 2008, Lillie again received her district's Teacher of the Year Award and Outstanding Elementary Music Educator Award from the Connecticut Music Educators Association. Lillie is a frequent clinician at local, state and national conferences, speaking on many aspects of early childhood music.
Sean Hagon was recently named chair of Berklee College of Music's Professional Music Department. Hagon, a Berklee alumnus and an accomplished educator, composer, and conductor with years of experience in the film, television, video game, and advertising industries, succeeds Kenn Brass, who served as chair of the department for 14 years. Hagon most recently served as director of Continuing Education at New England Conservatory from 2009 to 2014, where he taught courses in music technology, introduced online curriculum, and increased enrollment in certificate programs.
Prior to his time at NEC, he was director of music and Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA, where he directed jazz and chamber music ensembles, and launched the school's first music technology lab. He has composed music for Fox Sports Net New England, PBS, the History Chanel, and other major TV networks. He recently scored the German independent film, Luminosity. He also serves as creative director for Sound Advice, a company that produces radio jingles. Born and raised in Centerville, MA, Hagon plays trumpet, violin, piano, and sings. Hagon has a degree in professional music from Berklee, where he focused on music technology, education, and composition. He also received a diploma in media composition from the London School of Creative Studies, where he studied with noted composer and orchestrator Chares Fernandez (Band of Brothers, 101 Dalmatians). He also received a master's degree in music technology from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.