2015 Master Conductors

Andre J. Thomas

André J. Thomas | 2015 COA Nationals for Top Choirs

André J. Thomas, the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at The Florida State University. A previous faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Thomas received his degrees from Friends University (B.A.), Northwestern University (M. M.), and the University of Illinois (D.M.A). He is in demand as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia.

Dr. Thomas has conducted choirs at the state, division, and national conventions of the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). His international conducting credits are extensive. They include conductor/clinician for the International Federation of Choral Musicians, summer residency of the World Youth Choir in the Republic of China and the Philippines, winter residency of the World Youth Choir in Europe, and a premier performance by an American choir (The Florida State University Singers) in Vietnam. He has been the guest conductor of such distinguished orchestras and choirs as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, and guest Conductor for the Berlin Radio Choir in Germany.

Dr. Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. Hinshaw Music Company, Mark Foster Music Company, Fitzsimmon Music Company, Lawson Gould, Earthsongs, and Heritage Music Company publish his compositions and arrangements. Dr. Thomas has produced two instructional videos “What They See Is What You Get” on choral conducting, with Rodney Eichenberger, and “Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice” on adolescent voices, with our Master Conductor, Dr. Anton Armstrong.


Z. Randall Stroope | 2015 COA Nationals for Mixed Choirs

Z. Randall Stroope is one of the most active choral conductors and composers working today, conducting recently at the American School in Singapore, Canterbury Cathedral (England), Berliner Dom (Germany), Salzburger Dom (Austria), Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and National Presbyterian Cathedral (Washington, D.C.), Carnegie Hall (New York), and four performances at the Vatican in the past three years. He is also the Artistic Director for two summer music festivals in Europe.

Dr. Stroope has toured 21 countries with ensembles under his direction, including China, South Africa, Japan, and Russia. In 2013, he will conduct a tour of France and England with the Oklahoma State University Concert Chorale. Stroope has also directed 37 all-state choirs (Michigan and Florida in 2013).

As a composer, Stroope has published 125 musical works (instrumental, solo voice, and choral), and sells over a quarter million copies each year from his own catalog (zrandallstroope.com), as well as other U.S and English publishers. His We Beheld Once Again the Stars was recently performed by the Philippine Madrigal Singers in their win of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. In the United States, his works have been performed by the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Oregon Bach Festival, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Paul Hill Chorale (Washington, D.C.), and other esteemed ensembles. His composition teachers were Normand Lockwood and Cecil Effinger, both students of the famous French teacher/composer, Nadia Boulanger (student of Gabriel Fauré).

Dr. Stroope is the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where he conducts the Concert Chorale, Chamber Choir, and Women’s Chorus. He is also the head of the Choral and Vocal Studies Division and coordinates the undergraduate and graduate choral conducting program. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Stroope completed a Master of Music (Voice Performance) degree at the University of Colorado – Boulder, and Doctor of Musical Arts (Choral Conducting) degree at Arizona State University. He did post graduate work with Margaret Hillis, Chorus Master of the Chicago Symphony. As a recipient of the Australian-American Fulbright, he has also done work in western Australia. He and his wife, Cheryl (a junior high choral teacher), love to travel and spend time with their sheltie.

Henry Leck

Henry Leck | 2015 COA Nationals for Youth Choirs

An internationally recognized choral director, Henry Leck recently retired as the associate professor and director of choral activities at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1986, he became founder and artistic director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, one of the largest children’s choir programs in the world. The touring choirs of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir have performed regularly for national ACDA, MENC, OAKE and AOSA Conferences. Additionally, the ICC tours internationally every year and has sung in prestigious concert sites throughout Great Britain, Greece, Spain, Scandinavia, Central Europe, South America, Latin America, North America, Australia, New Zealand and China. In 2004, the touring choir performed in the Czech Republic and Russia, recording live with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Leck recently arranged and conducted the national anthem for Kelly Clarkson and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir at the Super Bowl XLVI.

Mr. Leck also founded the Indiana All-State Children’s Honor Choir and the Indiana Middle/Junior High School Honor Choir, and has conducted Mixed, Men’s, Women’s, Junior High and Children’s All-State choirs and festival choirs in nearly every state. He is a frequent conductor of regional and national honor choirs, including the ACDA Southern, Southwest, North Central, Central, and Northwest Honors Choirs. In 2014, he will be conducting the Western Division Children’s Honor Choir. In 2011, Mr. Leck conducted the ACDA National Children’s Honor Choir. Also in 2011, Mr. Leck conducted the premiere performance of a seven movement oratorio entitled “Melancholy Beauty” written by Bulgarian composer Georgi Andreev in Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center with adult choruses, children’s choir, Bulgarian women’s choir, Bulgarian folk instruments and the National Philharmonic Orchestra. For ten years, Mr. Leck was the Artistic Director of the Pacific Rim Festival in Hawaii. Mr. Leck has conducted many international festivals including the Musica Mundi Tuscany Children’s Choir Festival in Montecatini, Florence and Rome, Italy, the Central European International Children’s Choral Festival, the International Children’s Choir Festival in Beijing, China and the Vienna Children’s & Boys Choir Festival with the Vienna Sangerknaben. He has conducted many times in Brazil, including the Curso Internacional de Regencia Coral in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil where he founded the ARCI Sao Paulo Children’s Honor Choir that he conducts every other year. He recently conducted the Tokyo International HS Honor Choir in Japan. Mr. Leck has served as a clinician for the Australian National Choral Association and the Royal School of Church Music. For more than twenty years he has conducted a festival with David Flood at Canterbury Cathedral. Mr. Leck recently was selected as the US Jurist for the 1st Xinghai Prize International Choir Championships and was an international lecturer for the International Symposium on children and youth choral music in Guangzhou, China.

Mr. Leck is widely known as a specialist in choral techniques, the child’s voice, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Laban and the boy’s changing voice. He has produced four teaching videos titled Vocal Techniques for the Young Singer, The Boy’s Expanding Voice: Take the High Road and Creating Artistry through Movement, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Creating Artistry with the Male Maturing Voice. He was a lead author for the choral textbook series published by McGraw Hill/Glencoe titled Experiencing Choral Music and is also the editor of two nationally known choral series published by Hal Leonard Corporation and Colla Voce, Inc./Plymouth. Each year he teaches his conductor’s workshop entitled Creating Artistry at Butler University. He has recently written a textbook titled, Creating Artistry through Choral Excellence.

In 2007, Mr. Leck received the prestigious Indiana Governor’s Art Award, the highest state honor that can be received in the arts. He was also awarded the Indiana Creative Arts Fellowship Renewal Grant that same year. He received the Cultural Vision Award from Nuvo magazine. He was named the “Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year” by the IMEA in 1992. Mr. Leck is certified as a Kodály instructor and is an active member of ACDA, OAKE, MENC, AOSA and Pi Kappa Lambda. Mr. Leck received his training from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, the University of Colorado and Indiana University.

It was a very challenging and wonderful experience to have our choir sing for such great conductors.

Dr. John Odom Starr's Mill High School Choir