Dr. Jeffrey Douma
Jeffrey Douma is the Marshall Bartholomew Professor in the Practice of Choral Music at the Yale School of Music, and has served since 2003 as Director of the Yale Glee Club, hailed under his direction by The New York Times as “one of the best collegiate singing ensembles, and one of the most adventurous.” He also heads Yale’s graduate program in choral conducting and serves as founding Director of the Yale Choral Artists and Artistic Director of the Yale International Choral Festival.
Douma has appeared as guest conductor with choruses and orchestras on six continents, including the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore’s Metropolitan Festival Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Youth Orchestra, Daejeon Philharmonic Choir, Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Solistas de la Habana, Istanbul’s Tekfen Philharmonic, Norway’s Edvard Grieg Kor, the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and the Central Conservatory’s EOS Orchestra in Beijing, as well as the Yale Philharmonia and Yale Symphony Orchestras. He also serves as Musical Director of the Yale Alumni Chorus, which he has lead on eleven international tours. He served for five years as Choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, CT, where performances ranged from Bach St. John Passion with baroque orchestra to Arvo Pärt Te Deum, and more recently served as Director of Music at the Unitarian Society of New Haven.
Choirs under his direction have performed in Leipzig’s Neue Gewandhaus, Dvorak Hall in Prague, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Notre Dame de Paris, Singapore’s Esplanade, Argentina’s Teatro Colon, the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls, and Carnegie Hall, and he has prepared choruses for performances under such eminent conductors as Marin Alsop, William Christie, Valery Gergiev, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir David Willcocks, Dale Warland, Krzysztof Penderecki, Nicholas McGegan, and Helmuth Rilling.
Douma has presented at conferences of the ACDA and NCCO, and the Yale Glee Club has appeared as a featured ensemble at NCCO national and ACDA divisional conferences. Active with musicians of all ages, Douma served for four years on the conducting faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He frequently serves as clinician for festivals and honor choirs. Recent engagements include conducting masterclasses at the China International Chorus Festival, the University of Michigan School of Music, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich, the Florence International Choral Festival, and the Berlin Radio Choir’s International Masterclass, as well as residencies at the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing and at Luther College as Visiting Conductor of the internationally renowned Nordic Choir.
An advocate of new music, Douma established the Yale Glee Club Emerging Composers Competition and Fenno Heath Award, and has premiered new works by such composers as Jennifer Higdon, Caroline Shaw, Dominick Argento, Joel Thompson, Paola Prestini, Ayanna Woods, Bright Sheng, Ned Rorem, Rodrigo Cadet, Ted Hearne, Hannah Lash, Martin Bresnick, David Lang, Derrick Skye, Rene Clausen, Bongani Magatyana, and James Macmillan. He also serves as editor of the Yale Glee Club New Classics Choral Series, published by Boosey & Hawkes. His original compositions are published by G. Schirmer and Boosey & Hawkes. A tenor, Douma has appeared as an ensemble member and soloist with many of the nation’s leading professional choirs.
In 2003, Douma was one of only two North American conductors invited to compete for the first Eric Ericson Award, the premier international competition for choral conductors. Prior to his appointment at Yale he served as Director of Choral Activities at Carroll College, and also taught on the conducting faculties of Smith College and St. Cloud State University.
Douma earned the Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Michigan. He lives in Hamden, CT, with his wife, pianist and conductor Erika Schroth, and their two children.
Dr. Arianne Abela
Arianne Abela is Director of the Choral Program at Amherst College where she directs the renowned Glee Club and Concert Choir, and teaches a beginning voice class. Abela is Artistic Director of Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble, professional chamber group that celebrates racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. In addition to performances and artistic residencies, the ensemble engages in creative educational outreach to audiences and students, particularly in communities of color, and promotes the study, research, performance, and recording of music from various eras with special attention to the intersection of arts and social justice.
Abela served on conducting faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and is founder of the Detroit Women’s Chorus and Detroit Justice Choir, ensembles dedicated to social-justice and community empowerment. She directed Detroit’s historic Fort Street Chorale, conducted choirs at University of Michigan, and the UMS Choral Union. Focusing her efforts on community building through song, Abela founded The House of Clouds and has worked closely with Musicians Take a Stand to organize over a dozen benefit concerts for charities and various causes across the country.
In the realm of opera, has guest conducted opera productions with various Michigan-based opera companies including Detroit’s OperaMODO, and serves as music director for Vancouver-based opera company, Re:Naissance. Prior to her time in Detroit, Abela lived in Connecticut where she served on faculty at Wesleyan University, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, The Westover School and Notre Dame High School in West Haven. In 2012, Abela was featured conducting on NBC’s Today Show and was a semi-finalist in Season 8 of America’s Got Talent as director of Connecticut-based 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra. The ensemble later recorded for the soundtrack of Hollywood film Walk of Shame starring Elizabeth Banks.
Abela received her doctorate in conducting from the University of Michigan with Jerry Blackstone and Eugene Rogers, holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Yale University with Marguerite Brooks, Jeffrey Douma, and Simon Carrington, and bachelor of arts from Smith College. Abela sings professionally in ensembles across the United States and Canada such as Yale Choral Artists, sounding light, Etherea Vocal Ensemble, Arkora, and Audivi. Originally from the San Francisco bay area, she sang with the San Francisco Girls Chorus for many years.
Dr. Caron Daley
Caron Daley is Director of Choral Activities, Associate Professor of Music, and Area Coordinator for Ensembles at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Under her direction, the Duquesne University Voices of Spirit have performed across the Northeast and in Canada, including invited performances at the 2019 National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference (College Park, MD) and 2023 National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Conference (Rochester, NY). In 2018, the choir served as the ensemble-in-residence for the ACDA-Eastern Conducting Masterclasses, and in 2016 and 2022, performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in Heinz Hall. In 2023–24, the choir will record its first full-length album, “Wake up my Spirit”.
A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Caron has held past conducting appointments with the National Youth Choir of Canada, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Choir School, and Salem Academy and College. Caron frequently guest-conducts choral events, including recent festivals in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, West Virginia, and Massachusetts. Passionate about conductor education, she founded the Halifax Choral Conducting Institute in 2012, which inaugurated a Women’s Conducting Intensive in 2019, and led the event until 2020. In 2024, she will serve as a conducting clinician for the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conducting Masterclass.
A certified Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher, Caron researches embodiment in choral singing and conducting. Her two-decade exploration of these topics has resulted in conference presentations at the Oxford International Conducting Studies Conference, International Conference of Dalcroze Studies, Phenomenon of Singing Symposium, Symposium for Research in Choral Singing, Motor Speech Conference, and Voice Foundation Symposium, as well as publications in Canadian Music Educator, The Choral Scholar, Choral Journal, Journal of Singing, and the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing. Caron is a guest author in Teaching Music through Choral Performance Vol. 4 and Vol. 5 and the Choral Conductor’s Companion. Her current interdisciplinary research investigates musculoskeletal injury prevention and intervention in conductors.
Caron holds a D.M.A. (Choral Conducting) from the University of Toronto, an M.M. (Choral Conducting) and M.A. (Vocal Pedagogy) from The Ohio State University, an Artist Diploma (Voice) and B.M. (Music Education) from Western University, and an A.R.C.T (Voice) from the Royal Conservatory of Canada. She currently serves as National Chair for College and University Choirs with the American Choral Directors Association and as a Board Member with the National Collegiate Choral Organization. From 2019–21, she served as President of the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania. In her free time, Caron enjoys walking the hills of Pittsburgh, riding her electric cargo bike, and playing music with her family.
Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand
Jason Max Ferdinand serves as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Maryland, College Park. He assumed the role in Fall of 2022. He is very humbled to be standing on the shoulders of his mentor, Edward Maclary, who has guided the choral program for 20+ years.
Jason Max Ferdinand, Professor – Conductor – Composer – Speaker, is the founding artistic director of The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers: An Ensemble of Exceptional Talents, and was the director of choral activities, chair of the music department, and a full professor at Oakwood University, where he conducted the Aeolians of Oakwood University. He is a published author and composer with GIA Publications, featuring the book, Teaching with Heart: Tools for Addressing Societal Challenges Through Music, and The Jason Max Ferdinand Choral Series (Walton Music).
A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), his Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland. He attributes a lot of his success to the many influential people and experiences that helped shape him into who he is today.
During his undergraduate experience at Oakwood College, he studied piano with Dr. Wayne Bucknor and was also afforded the opportunity to serve as student conductor and student accompanist, as well as have some of his arrangements performed under Dr. Lloyd Mallory, his choral director. While he was obtaining his Master of Arts in Choral Conducting, the late Dr. Nathan Carter of Morgan State University changed his life in a potent way. Ferdinand served as graduate assistant to Dr. Carter, and that is when a true and clear vision for his life work was formed
As a doctoral student, Ferdinand was privileged to study under the heedful eyes of Dr. Edward Maclary, who is a protégé́ of the late Robert Shaw. During his time at the University of Maryland, he served as co-director for the University Choir and was an assistant conductor for the Chamber Singers and the Maryland Chorus. In addition, he taught undergraduate conducting classes. In the summer of 2006, he was selected to lead the Summer Choral Festival Program at the University of Maryland, and Jim Ross, a former pupil of Kurt Masur and Leonard Bernstein, served as his orchestral conducting teacher.
In 2008, Ferdinand began his tenure at Oakwood University as director of choral activities as well as director of the Aeolians of Oakwood University. Under Dr. Ferdinand’s baton, the Aeolians of Oakwood University have graced stages the world over. Their repertoire of choral music, which ranges from the baroque era to the twenty-first century, has been sought after and performed at venues throughout the United States, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Russia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hungary. Their 2011–12 Concert Series was extremely noteworthy, as the Aeolians visited Moscow, Russia, as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama. They capped off this Series with their inaugural entrance at the 7th World Choir Games held in Cincinnati, Ohio, resulting in the choir earning gold medals in all three categories of entrance and the overall championship for the Spiritual category.
In October 2015, Ferdinand made his debut at Carnegie Hall conducting the Aeolians, the Altino Brothers Concert Chorale, and the Beyond Boundaries Symphony Orchestra. Later that month, he directed the Aeolians as they accompanied world-acclaimed soprano Kathleen Battle at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in Birmingham, Alabama, as part of her “Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey” Concert Series. In January 2016, he returned to the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center to direct the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as they accompanied the Aeolians in a collaborated annual Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute.
The summer of 2017 was a highlight in Ferdinand’s career. Having attended the LLangollen International Musical Festival, in Wales, UK, as a doctoral student with the University of Maryland in 2007, he returned as director of the Aeolians of Oakwood University and won the coveted 2017 “Choir of the World Award” along with the event’s first ever “Most Outstanding Director Award.” In 2018, his choir won three gold medals in the 10th World Choir Games held in South Africa. Additionally, they were the overall champions in both the University Choir and Spiritual categories.
In February 2019, the Aeolians performed at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). The performance garnered a lot of attention and some even commented, “They broke the ACDA.” The ensemble was also selected to be the feature choir at the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference, which was held at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2023, the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers, will perform at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association.
He maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and lecturer at schools, universities, churches, and choral festivals and conferences, domestic and international. He is energized when he gets the chance to make music with All-state and festival choirs.
His ensembles have most recently released recordings, The Aeolians (2019) and Solace, The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers (2021). He has enjoyed collaborations with Jacob Collier, Donald Lawrence, Take 6 and others in recent years.
Ferdinand serves on the board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) and is a former board member of the Alabama American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator, and guest conductor in America, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. He continues to actively compose and enjoys mentoring up-and- coming composers. His greatest passion is watching those who he has mentored as conductors and composers become conductors and composers in their own right. He loves to teach and was named “Teacher of the Year” for the 2017–18 school year by Oakwood University.
Cultural maladies presented during the year of the pandemic inspired the compilation of Teaching with Heart: Tools for Addressing Societal Challenges Through Music to provide support and encouragement for music educators. The unique circumstances of 2021 also opened a creative opportunity to birth The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers in a virtual concert Live from London – Spring! The ensemble began its unifying journey to breathe life into choral works of underrepresented composers and positively affect the cultural health of our world.
Jason Max Ferdinand is thankful for his parents, Dr. T. Leslie and Mary Ferdinand, who are both retired educators. He and his siblings, Alva Ferdinand, JD, PhD, and Abdelle Ferdinand, MD, attribute any academic accomplishments they have attained to their parents. He is married to Meka, who is a registered nurse, and they are the parents of Caleb, Ava, and baby Jamē.