COA Festival | Midwest Division Faculty

Dan Forrest

Dan Forrest | Composer-in-Residence

Dan Forrest (b. 1978) has been described as “a composer of substance” (Columbus Dispatch), whose works have been hailed as “…magnificent, very cleverly constructed sound sculpture” (Classical Voice), and “superb choral writing…full of spine-tingling moments” (Salt Lake Tribune). Since its first publication in 2001, Dan’s music has sold more than a million copies, and is already firmly established in the repertoire of choirs in the U.S. and abroad.

Dan’s choral works have received numerous awards and distinctions, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award, the ACDA Raymond Brock Award, a Meet The Composer grant, the ALCM Raabe Prize, and many others. His commissioned choral works have been premiered in major venues around the world, ranging from the World Choral Symposium (Argentina) to Izumi Hall (Osaka, Japan) to Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and ACDA conventions. His new Requiem for the Living is quickly becoming his best-known work, having received overwhelming acclaim since its premiere, and is scheduled for dozens of upcoming performances across the US and abroad, including multiple performances in Carnegie Hall.

Dan is highly active in the choral publishing industry, both in concert choral music (maintaining a choral series in his name with Hinshaw Music) and in church choral music (serving as associate editor at Beckenhorst Press), and has published with more than a dozen publishers. Dan holds a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in piano performance. His academic background includes several years as a professor and department head (music theory and composition) in higher education. More information about Dan and his music can be found at

Brad Holmes

Brad Holmes | Master Clinician

Dr. Brad Holmes has been Director of Choir Programs at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois since 1991. During this time, Dr. Holmes has overseen the growth of the choral program to four traditional choirs and a variety of smaller vocal ensembles involving more than 300 students and five conductors. In addition to conducting the University Choir, Dr. Holmes teaches classes in conducting and choral methods. He is artistic director for Millikin’s annual Christmas Vespers, an event that attracts more than 6,500 people annually. Under his direction, the Millikin University Choir has performed before both regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Dr. Holmes’s extensive guest conducting schedule has included All-State choirs, ACDA Honor Choirs and District festivals as well as church music clinics throughout the United States. Internationally, he served as Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College in Cambridge, England. He has conducted choirs in 35 countries in Europe, South America, East Asia, the South Pacific and Australia..

Cheryl Frazes Hill

Cheryl Frazes Hill | Master Clinician

Dr. Cheryl Frazes Hill has served as Head of Music Education and Director of Choral Activities at Chicago College of Performing Arts since 2002. Dr. Frazes Hill conducts the Conservatory Chorus, featured in recent performances of major works including Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Orff’s Carmina Burana, along with numerous concert performances and guest appearances. The chorus emphasizes diverse performing styles, including their appearances with the Rolling Stones at the United Center. As Head of Music Education, Dr. Frazes Hill, an award winning educator, teaches, advises and manages the preparation of music education students in coursework for certification in instrumental, choral and general music education grades K-12.

Dr. Frazes Hill received her Doctorate in Conducting and her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and two undergraduate degrees from the University of Illinois. An accomplished vocalist, she is a featured soloist, nominated for a Grammy Award in the CBS Masterworks release Mozart, Music for Basset Horns. During her 15 years of public school teaching, Dr. Frazes Hill received numerous awards, including the Illinois Governor’s Award, the Northwestern University Alumni Merit Award, the Commendation of Excellence in Teaching from the Golden Apple Foundation, the Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Chicago, and the Outstanding Music Educator Award.

Dr. Frazes Hill is a frequent clinician, guest conductor and guest speaker throughout the country and was recently selected to represent Illinois as board member of the National Collegiate Conductors Organization. She has been nationally published on topics in music education and choral conducting.