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A Celebration of Excellence: A Choral Artistry Event

This event was established in 2018 to provide outstanding high school varsity choirs an opportunity to perform University Interscholastic League contest repertoire in a collaborative atmosphere. Participating choirs enjoy the marvelous acoustics provided by recent remodeling of the beautiful sanctuary of South Main Baptist Church, Houston. Audio recordings suitable for archives and convention auditions are made by a highly skilled engineer.


  • Varsity Mixed Choirs compete for first place and the designation of Honor Choir for the following year’s festival.
  • Treble Choirs and Tenor Bass Choirs compete for first place.
  • A three-judge panel will evaluate each performance and provide written comments, as well as rank each mixed, treble and tenor bass choir’s performance within their respective categories.
  • There are no designations by school populations; 6A, 5A, etc. and/or private schools compete in the same division. Categories are determined by voicing only.

Concert and Awards:

  • The Honor Choir Concert is presented by the preceding year’s first-place varsity mixed choir at the conclusion of the competition.
  • An awards ceremony follows the concert, where trophies are awarded to first place winners in each category.
  • Awards are presented to first, second, and third place winners in the mixed choir category; runner up trophies for treble and tenor bass choirs are awarded based on the number of groups in each category.
  • Additional recognition is given with “Performance of Distinction” awards for notable performances based on the adjudicators’ rankings within each category.

  • April 20 South Main Baptist Church
  • April 20 South Main Baptist Church
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Julie Yu, D. M. A.

Professor of Music
Co-Director of Choral Studies
School of Music, Theatre and Dance
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 

Dr. Julie Yu is Professor of Music and Co-Director of Choral Studies at Kansas State University where she oversees and conducts the undergraduate choral ensembles and the masters in music choral program. Her choirs have performed in Carnegie Hall, in Hawaii, the National Cathedral in Washington DC, as well as in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Italy.

She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Central Oklahoma, Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Oklahoma State University, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of North Texas.

Before joining the Kansas State faculty, she taught at Norman North High School in Norman, Oklahoma and San José State University.

She has given presentations, conducted, and/or her choirs have performed for state and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, and the European Music Educators Association Conferences. She is the past-president of the Southwestern Region of the American Choral Directors Association. She serves as a member of the Kansas State University Faculty Senate. She was an International Conducting Exchange Fellow for the American Choral Directors Association to Kenya in 2019.


Ryan W. Sullivan, D. M. A.

Director of Choral Activities
Arkansas State University
Jonesboro, AR


Ryan W. Sullivan is the Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Studies Coordinator at Arkansas State University where he directs the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, the Jonesboro Chorale, and teaches courses in conducting and music education. Sullivan holds degrees from the University of North Texas (D.M.A.), Texas Tech University (M.M.), and the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory (B.M.E., B.M.). During his career, he has led singers of all ages in academic, community, and church settings including as the Associate Conductor for the Dallas Symphony Chorus. Prior to graduate studies, he taught at Lee’s Summit West High School, and in 2014 he was named the Kansas City Metro Director of the Year and Prelude Award winner from the Missouri Choral Directors Association.

Sullivan is an active soloist and performer in professional choral ensembles such as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, San Antonio Chamber Choir, Cecilia Ensemble (GA), and Spire Chamber Ensemble. Guest conductor invitations in the 2020-21 season include the Eastern Arizona Honor Festival, the Arkansas ACDA 9-10 Honor Choir, and a performance at Carnegie Hall with music by Dvorak and Mendelssohn. Sullivan currently serves as President of the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association.



Eduardo García-Novelli, D.M.A.

Director of Choral Activities & Music Department Chair
Carthage College
Artistic Director, Master Singers of Milwaukee
Kenosha, WI

Eduardo García-Novelli was born in Argentina, where he served 8 years as Choir Director at Belgrano Day School in Buenos Aires and as Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Choir. Former Assistant Director, Houston Symphony Chorus, and Director, Symphony of Southeast Texas Chorus, he received the Faculty Merit Award for distinguished teaching as Director of Choral Activities, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX. Two undergraduate degrees from state conservatories, Argentina. MM: Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ. DMA: University of Houston. His choirs performed for TMEA, WMEA, WCDA, NCCO National Conference, the International Choral Festival in Panama City, Panama and on several National, European and South American tours. He made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2011, returning in 2015 and 2017. In 2016 he was in residence at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, Slovenia, lecturing and conducting the award-winning AVE Chamber Choir. Other international engagements include MidAm Festival, conducting Mozart at the historical Peterskirche in Vienna, the Coro Nacional de Jóvenes (in residence), Madryn Canta Festival (clinician), Tous Ensemble (guest conductor) all in Argentina, and leading Carthage Choir to win First Prize at the prestigious Spittal International Choir Competition in Spittal, Austria, in July 2019.


April 23, 2019 – South Main Baptist Church

2019 Winner and 2021 Honor Choir
Tompkins Varsity Mixed, Christin Reinartz, Director

1st Runner Up
Montgomery Varsity Chorale, Heather Orr & Andre Trahan, Directors

2nd Runner Up
Seven Lakes Varsity Mixed, Emily Chandler, Director

3rd Runner Up
Bowie Concert Chorale, Cody Parrott, Director

Best in Class, Tenor Bass Choir
Montgomery Chorale Men, Heather Orr & Andre Trahan, Directors
Deer Park Men’s Choir, Jason Dove, Stacy Nisson & Tommy Van Sickle, Directors

Best in Class Treble Choir
Montgomery Chorale Women, Heather Orr & Andre Trahan, Directors

1st Runner Up
Bowie Concert Chorale Women, Cody Parrott, Director

2nd Runner Up
Deer Park Women’s Choir, Jason Dove, Director

3rd Runner Up
Clements Chorale Women, Janet Menzie & Ryan Bogner, Directors

Performance of Distinction Awards
Clements Concert Chorale, Janet Menzie and Ryan Bogner, Directors
Deer Park Mixed Choir, Jason Dove, Director
Cinco Ranch Chorale, Dorothy Wilson, Director
Elkins Knight Beats, John Richardson, Director
Porter Spartan Chorale, Cara Cavenaugh Woodard, Director
St. John’s School Kantorei, Scott Bonasso, Director
Summer Creek Varsity Mixed, Amanda Robison, Director

   Kristina Caswell MacMullen Assistant Professor of Choral Studies The Ohio State University Columbus, OH

Kristina Caswell MacMullen serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Associate Director of Choral Studies at The Ohio State University, where she conducts the Symphonic Choir, the Women’s Glee Club, and instructs both undergraduate and graduate students in choral conducting, repertoire, and rehearsal pedagogy.

As an active adjudicator and clinician, Professor Caswell MacMullen has conducted All-State and honor choirs throughout the United States. Recent and future engagements involve students in Colorado, Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Ohio, and Nebraska.  In 2011, she was runner-up in the National American Choral Director’s Association graduate level conducting competition. She was also selected as a Fulbright Fellowship Alternate to Slovenia. Her teaching and conducting is featured on the DVD “Conducting-Teaching: Real World Strategies for Success” published by GIA (2009), and her editions for treble choir are published by Musicatus Press, Boosey & Hawkes, and MusicSpoke.

Caswell MacMullen is a graduate of Michigan State University and Texas Tech University.  Prior to her appointment at The Ohio State University, she enjoyed a diverse career as a public-school teacher, interacting with students in rural, suburban, and urban settings, elementary through high school. She has presented and co-presented interest sessions at state, regional, national, and international conferences.

 Dr. John Ratledge Professor Emeritus, The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL

John Ratledge (b. 1954), Professor Emeritus of The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, was the Conductor of University Singers, Area Coordinator of Graduate Choral Conducting, and Director of Choral Activities during his twelve-year tenure at The University. Ratledge made his European orchestral conducting debut in 1996 with the Filharmonia Sudecka of Walbrzych and Wroclaw, and Poland, and since then, he has conducted orchestras in France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, and Spain. During his tenure at Shorter College of Rome, Georgia, the Shorter Chorale distinguished itself nationally and internationally by giving the world premiere of the full orchestral version of the Duruflé Requiem in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Greece and the organ version premiere of the same work in Bulgaria; the world premiere of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in Poland, and the St. Petersburg, Russia world premieres of Handel’s Messiah in English and Corigliano’s Fern Hill. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Bassi Brugnatelli International Conducting and Singing Symposium held annually in Robbiate, Italy, and he is the editor of the new Javier Busto Choral Series of Carl Fischer Music Publishers. Ratledge currently is the Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa.

 Z. Randall Stroope Director of Choral and Vocal Studies Doug and Nickie Burns Endowed Chair of Choral Music Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK

Z. Randall Stroope is an American conductor, composer. He is also the Doug and Nickie Burns Chair of Choral Music at Oklahoma State University, where he coordinates the vocal and choral conducting program. In the United States, he has conducted at most of the major concert halls, including Chicago Orchestra Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall (where he has conducted every year since 2001). He has conducted 45 all-state choirs, and numerous festival choirs in the United States. Internationally, Randall has directed in Hong Kong, Barcelona, Nova Scotia, Dublin and and Rome in the past year. He has 165 published musical works, including Four Spanish Sonnets of Garcilaso de la Vega, Conversion of Saul, Amor de mi alma, Christi Mutter (Stabat Mater), Go Lovely Rose. His composition teachers were Normand Lockwood and Cecil Effinger, both students of Nadia Boulanger, the famous French teacher (and student of Gabriel Fauré.) In the final analysis, Randall loves working with students and making a difference – that is the greatest contribution.

A Celebration of Excellence

A Choral Artistry Experience April 23, 2018 South Main Baptist Church

Winner and 2019 Honor Choir Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Shannon Carter, Director

1st Runner Up Tompkins Chorale, Christin Reinartz, Director

2nd Runner Up North Shore Chorale, Enrique Collazo, Director

3rd Runner Up Porter High School, Cara Cavenaugh Woodard, Director

Best in Class, Tenor Bass Choir Oak Ridge Varsity Tenor Bass Choir, J. R. Smith, Director

Best in Class Treble Choir Kingwood Kapelle, Jason Watt, Director Benjamin O. Davis Varsity Women, Daryle Freeman, Director

Performance of Distinction Awards Cinco Ranch Chorale, Dorothy Wilson and Melanie Piche, Directors Conroe Varsity Tenor Bass Choir, Clay West, Director Dekaney Chorale, Melissa Cox, Director Elkins Knight Beats, John Richardson, Director Kingwood Park Ariso, Ben Fahnders, Director Magnolia Varsity Men, Jennifer Franz-Melady and Bonnie Hernandez, Directors St. John’s School Les Chanteuses, Brendan Emig, Director Summer Creek Chorale, Amanda Robison, Director James E. Taylor Varsity Chorale, Kevin Riehle, Director   

  Richard Bjella Director of Choral Studies Emeritus Texas Tech University Artistic Director, San Antonio Chamber Choir Appleton, WI Professor Emeritus from Texas Tech University, and former choral conductor at Lawrence University, Bjella has distinguished himself as a conductor, clinician, choral pedagogue and choral arranger. He has been honored to have his choirs appear at the 2009 and 2013 National ACDA Conventions, as well as performances at Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall, and at TMEA conventions. In addition, Bjella’s graduate conductors also received finalist recognition in conducting competitions at two of the most recent National ACDA Conventions and one was awarded the Julius Herford Dissertation Prize.   It has also been his honor to conduct and present masterclasses throughout the world and over 400 festivals and workshops in 32 states.  He is also active in the promotion of creative choral programming and is a contributing writer for the book, The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy(2017) with his chapter,  The Art of Successful Programming: Study, Selection, and Synthesis.   Bjella also served as President of the WCDA (Wisconsin) and was awarded the prestigious Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award (2007) and the Morris Hayes Lifetime Achievement Award (2013) from WCDA. Most recently, Bjella was the recipient of a 2017 Professing Excellence Award at Texas Tech University.   Presently, he is the Artistic Director for the San Antonio Chamber Choir.

 Dianne Brumley Director of Choral Studies, Emerita University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville Canyon Lake, Texas Dianne Brumley is Director of Choral Music Studies and Professor of Music Education, Emerita at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville. She was appointed in 2003 and was the first person to hold the position of Director of Choral Studies at the University.  Brumley was the founding conductor of the University Master Chorale. During her ten-year tenure at UTRGV, the Master Chorale was selected to perform at the 2011 Texas Music Educators Association Convention and toured internationally. Brumley also served for 20 years as the founding Conductor and Artistic Director of the South Texas Chorale and Orchestra. Brumley is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, motivational speaker and adjudicator throughout Texas and the United States.  Currently, she serves as a choral music education consultant. Before her time with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brumley was a successful choral music educator in public schools. Choirs under her direction were selected for honor performances at Texas Music Educators Association conventions, American Choral Directors Association regional and national conventions and a featured performance at the Texas Choral Directors Association convention. Active in Texas choral music endeavors for many years, in 2011 Brumley was honored to receive the Texas Choral Excellence Award from the Texas Choral Directors Association.

 Dr. Jerry McCoy Regent’s Professor & Director of Choral Studies Emeritus College of Music, University of North Texas Artistic Director, Fort Worth Chorale & Chamber Choir Dallas, Texas Jerry McCoy is a Visiting Professor of Music at Baylor University and Artistic Director/Conductor of the Fort Worth Chorale and Chamber Choir.  The 2013 winner of the Texas Choral Directors Association’s prestigious Choirmaster Award, he is also Regents Professor of Music Emeritus for the University of North Texas, where between 2000 and 2015 he led the UNT choral program to national and international acclaim while serving as Director of Choral Studies and conductor of the A Cappella Choir. His graduates have been named to faculty positions in choral music at forty universities in the U.S., Mexico, and South Korea, and currently lead thirteen professional choirs in the U.S. and South Korea.  From 2007 to 2015 he served as a member of the National Executive Committee for the 20,000-member ACDA, serving as the organization’s national president from 2009 to 2011. His work in the international choral community includes appearances in Austria, Canada, China, Cuba, France, Great Britain, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, and Venezuela. Guest engagements for 2016/17 include appearances in Canada, Alabama, California, New York City, and Texas.

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