Conductor of Treble, Anima, and Concert Choirs
Elizabeth Shepley is the Artistic Director of the NYC and conducts Concert Choir, Anima, and the Treble Choir. She has a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas with an emphasis in Kodály, a B.A. in Music Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, and holds Orff-Schulwerk and Kodály certifications.
Further study has taken her to the Orff Institute in Austria, the Jacques-Dalcroze Institute in Switzerland, the Kodály Institute in Hungary, and the Royal School of Church Music in England. Liz was instrumental in the development of House of Hope Presbyterian Church Choir School in St. Paul and served there as director and teacher for twelve years. She has taught music education in public and private schools, has chaired inner city music programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and has led conferences and festival choirs nationwide. She has served as president of the Twin Cities Choristers Guild and on the board of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. Liz was the Director of Children’s Choirs at Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield for 14 years and adjunct faculty at Luther Seminary in St. Paul as the instructor of Children’s Choir Repertoire and Techniques. Liz loves to bike, cook, read, golf & travel, and together with husband Bob enjoys keeping up with her four sons and Sammy the dog.
Dr. Anton Armstrong
Principal Conductor of the Troubadours
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. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College and earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. He is editor of a multicultural choral series for Earthsongs Publications and co-editor (with John Ferguson) of the revised St. Olaf Choral Series for Augsburg Fortress Publishers. In June 1998, he began his tenure as founding conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. He has conducted the Troubadours, a 25-voice boys ensemble of the Northfield Youth Choirs since 1991.
During 2016-17 season, Dr. Armstrong will serve as the President of the Choral Jury (the only non-Korean juror) for the Busan International Choral Festival, Busan, The Republic of Korea. He has been selected as Conductor of the 2016 NAfME National Honor Choir in Texas, as well as Conductor of the 2017 Wyoming All-State Mixed Choir and the 2017 NAfME All Northwest Mixed Choir. Additionally, he will lead choral festivals at Carnegie Hall, New York; Yale University; Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa, CA; and Davies Symphony Hall San Francisco. Other guest conducting/lecturing engagements in 2016-2017 include appearances in Minnesota, New Jersey, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.
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. He spent February-June 2007 in residency at Baylor University as a visiting professor. In March 2007 Anton Armstrong 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. In June 2013 Dr. Armstrong received the Saltzman Award from the Oregon Bach Festival. The festival’s highest honor, the Saltzman Award is bestowed upon individuals who have provided exceptional levels of leadership to the organization. In the Fall of 2014, The St. Olaf Choir and Dr. Armstrong received a Regional Emmy for the PBS television program Christmas in Norway with The St. Olaf Choir.
Dr. Therees Hibbard
Conductor of the Chorale
Therees Tkach Hibbard serves as the director of the Manitou Singers and St. Olaf Chamber Singers. She is presently an Associate Professor of Music at St. Olaf College where she teaches choral conducting, choral literature, and voice. She holds a bachelor of music honors degree in voice and music education from Longwood University, Virginia; a master of music degree in voice and choral conducting from Colorado State University; and a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting and vocal music education from the University of Oregon School of Music.
She has conducted choirs ranging from young children to professional singers; and has served as adjudicator, workshop leader, and guest conductor for numerous choral organizations throughout Great Britain, Europe and North America; as well as Greece, Hong Kong and Muscat, Oman. Dr. Hibbard has worked as a choral conductor, singing tutor and senior lecturer at several United Kingdom colleges and universities in the London area including the London College of Music, the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and Roehampton University where she served as Programme Convener for the M.A. in choral music education, establishing the first BBC Singers Conducting Master Class Residency program. She has also served as a tutor for the Choral Conductors Training Course for the Association of British Choral Directors that she helped develop and implement throughout the United Kingdom. Dr. Hibbard was the artistic director of the Choir and Chamber Choir of the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London; both non-audition ensembles made up of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who presented three major choral/orchestral concerts each year. Highlight performances have included the Bach “St. John Passion” and B Minor Mass, Requiems of Brahms, Mozart, and Verdi, Elgar’s “The Dream of Gerontius,” Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, and Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, as well as premiering a variety of new compositions and chamber works during her eight years of tenure with the choirs.
Her work as a movement specialist in the training of choral singers has created unique opportunities for her to work with choirs and conductors from around the world. Her research on enhancing choral performance through movement training has led to the development of a comprehensive choral education philosophy, most clearly demonstrated through her work with a broad range of vocal ensembles including the Oregon Bach Festival’s Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy, The Animato Choir of Lesvos, Greece, and The American Boychoir. In addition to her work as a conductor, she has also performed professionally as both vocal soloist and chorus member in London and the United States. She has sung for composers and conductors such as Aaron Copland, Helmuth Rilling, Mistlav Rostropovich, and Sir David Willcocks; and has had the opportunity to premiere works by Arvo Pärt, Krystof Penderecki, and a vocal chamber piece by Shostakovich conducted by Rostropovich in Carnegie Hall. She has been a member of the Oregon Bach Festival Berwick Chorus for many years, and while under the direction of Helmuth Rilling, were recipients of the Grammy award in 2000 for their performance of CREDO by Penderecki. Prior to her appointment to the St. Olaf faculty, she served for ten years as Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ann C. Kay
Conductor of the Junior Singers and Poco a Poco
Ann C. Kay is a music education consultant at the Center for Lifelong Music Making, a business she started with the goal of launching initiatives to get the population making music, such as the Great American Singing Challenge that uses software to help children learn to sing in tune, and the Teacher-to-Teacher Mentorship Program, a free program that pairs retired expert teachers with new music teachers. She recently co-founded The Rock ‘n’ Read Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children read at grade level through singing that was awarded $100,000 by the MN legislature in 2016 to run a state pilot in schools with software that uses singing to boost reading. Ann also teaches courses for classroom teachers called “Want to Teach Reading and Math? Try Singing!” with Dr. Elizabeth Olson based on Olson’s Affirming Parallel Concepts™ model.
Ann holds a bachelor of music education degree from Lawrence University and a master of arts in liberal studies with Kodály emphasis from Hamline University. Formerly, she taught elementary and junior high music, and was associate director of graduate music education at the University of St. Thomas where she founded and directed the Kodály certification program for music teachers. She also founded the Kodály Chapter of Minnesota, and served as president of the Midwest Kodály Music Educators and the national Organization of American Kodály Educators. Ann has presented over one hundred workshops for music teachers in the U.S. and Taiwan. She loves to play competitive women’s doubles tennis, bike, read, and sing in her church choir.
Intern Conductor of the Troubadours
Miller LaMotte is a senior vocal music education major at St. Olaf College. In addition to working with the Troubadours, Miller has directed an opera with St Olaf’s Lyric Theater Department, conducted the Vox Nova Chorale, and Interned at the Northstar Boy’s Choir Summer Camp. Music is a wonderful way to interact with children, and he is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Northfield Youth Choirs. After graduation from St Olaf, Miller plans to teach music in schools and coach the swim team.
Mary Carpenter Davis
Accompanist for Junior Singers, Treble Choir, Anima, and Concert Choir
Mary Carpenter Davis, composer in residence and accompanist for Junior Singers, Treble Choir, Anima and the Concert Choir, is in her 19th season with the Northfield Youth Choirs. In addition to her work with young singers, she is the performance librarian at St. Olaf College, is active as a piano teacher, accompanist and church musician.
Compositions written for and inspired by the Northfield Youth Choirs include:
Daffodils (2003), Sicilian Lullaby (2004), Emergence (2004), I Will (2005), Froggy (2006), Cherokee Blessing (2006), Whirligig! (2007), Sussex Carol (2007), A Christmas Folk Song (2007), Sea Fever (2009), Cats According to Sark (2010), Get on Board, Little Children (2013)
Accompanist for Chorale
With a background in piano pedagogy, Shana now works as a teacher at Montessori Children’s House in Northfield and is the Children’s Music Director at First United Church of Christ. She has enjoyed playing for several different NYC choirs over the years.
Accompanist for the Troubadours
Thomas Pearson is a sophomore piano performance major at St. Olaf College. He has performed as a soloist, winning the Schubert Club’s Bruce P. Carlson Scholarship Competition, 18-college senior division in 2016. He also frequently accompanies across campus. He has performed as member of the St. Olaf Choir, Ole Vocal Jazz, and an on-campus jazz quintet.