Facilitated Collaborative Choral Composition: An Interview with Dr. Giselle Wyers & Dr. Angela Kasper

by Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

In the fall of 2022, I had the privilege of hosting esteemed composer and conductor Giselle Wyers for a collaborative composition project involving the choral ensembles at Seattle University. This bold endeavor spanned the entire fall term, and with her facilitation and guidance, singers from three choirs worked together to compose an entirely new piece of music, which was then premiered in concert. This idea emerged from an earlier project that had been undertaken virtually, involving Dr. Wyers, Dr. Angela Kasper, and choirs at Western Washington University. At WWU, three choral ensembles collaborated to create three distinct choral compositions, which were then recorded and later, performed live. 

Having executed similar projects at separate institutions and under different circumstances, the three of us were excited and inspired by the many common positive yields among settings. Both projects had significant personal and educational impacts, fostering creativity, artistic voice, communication and collaboration in the choral classroom. Students demonstrated vulnerability as they discussed and chose themes that mattered to them and practiced respectful dialogue as they made joint musical decisions. They exercised courage and built self-confidence as they shared the melodies they generated by singing for one another. They built musical literacy skills as they notated their own rhythms, melodies and harmonies. In both instances, singers who participated also made astounding and astute observations about the compositional elements of other repertoire – i.e., tessitura, voicing, melody, text, etc. – that might otherwise have gone overlooked. Finally, the profound joy of ultimately performing music that the group itself had co-created was powerful and meaningful for all.

The interview and conversation below serves as a journal of our mutual experiences with this process. Drs. Wyers and Kasper share how they first conceived of the idea, and how it developed into a full-fledged synergetic process. Together we note distinctions between our projects regarding modes of instruction, ensemble makeup, methodology of process, and logistics, and identify the shared challenges and gifts inherent in this work. 

Finally, we brainstorm how conductors might embark on a similar project of their own and/or employ elements of this approach in miniature within their own classrooms. Our hope is that this conversation will spark readers to consider how they might incorporate collaboration and creative processes into their own choral settings.

Leann Conley-Holcom (LCH): Welcome to you both, and thank you for taking the time to sit down with me! I’m so looking forward to this conversation. Let’s jump in. Giselle, when we began to discuss the idea of working together in this capacity, you mentioned the Japanese art of kintsugi as part of the inspiration for your group choral composition method. Can you tell us about this concept, how you learned of it, and how it influenced this idea?

Giselle Wyers (GW): Well, this was a concept that kind of saved my life during Covid… it came to me through James Jordan. He teaches at the Oxford Choral Institute every summer, and he and I used to teach together at Westminster. He sent the video embedded below to me by Makoto Fujimura, who starts by talking about visual arts and the idea of culture care – the idea that we can use art to protect cultures and to enhance our cultures. Already, that phrase really interested me, and Makoto Fujimura has written a whole book about it [Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life – Makoto Fujimura, 2017]. 

He goes deeper into the concept of kintsugi, which is an ancient form of art making from Japan where they take shattered fragments of pottery and mend it, but instead of hiding the flaws, they actually use gold or silver – very bright, strong elements – to mend the broken pottery into a bowl. It doesn’t even have to be the bowl it used to be. Often it’s fragments from different cultures, or different time periods, or different pieces of pottery. That concept of mending broken pieces or taking disparate elements, and through combining them in new ways, sort of elevating and alchemizing the entire product…

A kintsugi bowl

He suggests that choir is kintsugi – that we are used to being together in one form, and at that time (during Covid-19 lockdown) we had been broken. When I saw that, I was really enamored, because I was thinking about the Zoom screens and how we’re broken… our community is literally broken, but we’re also together in a new form. And so… what I loved about Angie’s project was the idea that we’re not going to try to make it look the way it used to look. We’re going to try something altogether different, where we’re going to enhance our community, care for our cultures in a way that highlights the fact that we’re separate, and yet elevates it into this new form of expression. But the idea of this as group choral composition… That was Angie!

Angela Kasper (AK):  I hadn’t ever heard of the concept before. I was coming at it from two things… Seeing that the virtual choir thing was fine for a little bit, but it wasn’t going to sustain my community for the course of the year. So, trying to figure out things that we could do online that would simultaneously have something that felt like communal music-making. And then the other thing that was influencing this was, of course, that I teach choral methods. We always talk about national standards and the things we should be doing in a performing ensemble, but I know that in reality we’re often simply learning pieces and performing them. And so, Covid and Zoom teaching was an opportunity to step back, and look at some of the things I believed should be happening in choral classrooms but weren’t necessarily happening in choral classrooms – especially in my own. 

So during that time, we had a bunch of culture-bearers come in to talk to us about musical traditions from where they live. And I thought we should write something, but I had no experience with composition or arranging at all, myself. Didn’t know exactly where to begin…but those are the kind of projects that excite me a lot as a pedagogue. So I started interviewing composers over Zoom to find a person that I thought would be a good fit with my students, basically, in terms of who they are as a person and what they could bring my community emotionally and socially, as well as how they could instruct them in this process and work with me to figure out the process as we went. And it was apparent as soon as I interviewed Giselle that this was the way we should go. I was able to secure some funding from my institution, and she actually did this process with all three of my online choirs during this segment of time, although it was the work with the Advanced Treble Chorale that “had legs” – I think because that ensemble has consistency. 

LCH: Can you both elaborate about the project at Western Washington University – the preparation, the process, and the eventual outcome of this experience? What did it look like in action?

GW: I was invited in for these sessions, but Angie did a lot of the ground work with the students before and  in between sessions. So I think one of the first things I noticed about her decision was to go ahead and really take time… it was at least a three-week process, maybe longer. I came in for nine total sessions – teaching text, melody writing and harmony writing in three sessions to three ensembles. There were sessions in between that Angie was really the co-creator, midwife and facilitator for. 

Dr. Wyers working virtually with choirs at Western Washington University

My first time in was talking about text. My role was to be the one that focused on composing, how to choose musical texts, deal with copyright questions, what makes a beautiful melody, what are limitations that you might want to deliberately set in your community to make the creative process speed up… because I think that an open canvas can be really intimidating. And if you’re dealing with 30 to 40 to 70 students, it can be really difficult to narrow things down! I think that the harmony part was most challenging because of the fact that we were asynchronous. 

You want to try to help your students to understand what their strengths are and where would their main contributions lie – because I think some were really intimidated by, how am I going to choose a text? Whereas the English majors or the theatrical people were like, I’m all over that. And then when it got to harmony, I think we were starting to rely more on students that had more experience harmonizing either in popular music contexts, or folk music, or through taking theory and ear training classes. So that was a place where thas maybe more oversight from Angie and more contribution even.

But basically the format was a one-hour Zoom! I would do a powerpoint presentation for each, and then allow time for questions. Then I would leave the Zoom room before class was over so that the students would have time to talk and brainstorm with Angie.

AK: I can add what happened in between Giselle’s sessions with us. The thing that was most exciting and most challenging to me as a pedagogue was how you take 35 people and reach consensus…right? And it was done so beautifully and so respectfully, and students came up with a lot of these processes, which I think is really important to share with teachers… I’m going to say some things we did to arrive at consensus, but opening up this idea to students and letting them generate ideas about how to reach consensus just feels like such a powerful learning moment for life. 

We had discussion boards online. I would post a written prompt based on an assignment that Giselle had given us to do before the next time she was with us, and we started getting initial ideas. Usually, then, during that next class period we would have a full-group discussion. We would often go into small groups and give each group a segment of the work to do, so there would be 6-7 people working on it, and then bring back and share our ideas. Giselle just created this incredibly safe online space where students were comfortable singing what they had written, and for me that was the most joyous part of this process, was watching their creativity and watching them share that creativity, and watching how other students received that gift they were given by hearing another student’s ideas. And finally after those kinds of things, we did a lot of voting – because it was Zoom and it was online. So sometimes we would get down to an either/or question and I’d do a quick Google poll, and we’d go with majority rules… Or sometimes, I would do a more in-depth Google poll where they would go in and vote for their top five texts, so we could narrow down a broad range of ideas into something that was then more manageable.

It was really fun for me in the text stage to listen to discussions about how to order text… what logically fit from one part to another. Our students in the Advanced Treble Chorale decided they wanted to look at multiple sources, so they took just a couple of lines from lots of different texts and then decided an order for those texts that would make sense. And when Giselle started talking to us about melody, she was really masterful at helping them decide what comes after what, and how things should relate to each other. The discoveries they were making were just so exciting. For example, Does one meter fit after another meter? Could this melody more closely resemble the structure of this text, the way the poetry was actually written and visual to the eye? I think we need a change of pace here (when we started to get to texture and harmony)… how are we going to build an overall arc?  …I mean, all the kinds of things we would want students to be able to think about as musicians they were taking into this process. So that was really exciting. 

And then, you know, we would get to something that we felt like was in a kind of final form, but we would always take it back to the larger community for feedback and revision before we said ‘check, ready to go on to the next thing.’ So that by the time we got to the end, the process had been quite incremental and we felt pretty settled and secure about the artwork that was in front of us because we had all been involved in all that decision-making along the way.

GW: I would share one additional tip about the sharing of melodies either online or in live classroom settings… I noticed that some students were more comfortable if they could quickly record an idea…There would often be one person that would volunteer right there to record the melody on their phone, and then play that back. For some people, they really liked to have the ability to edit and maybe make two takes. And that could work in live settings as well as if folks are physically apart.

LCH: Was this the sole musical project at WWU at the time, or were they preparing other repertoire simultaneously?

AK: The way I structured those Zoom quarters was, we divided into small groups. Each small group worked on a piece that they did for a virtual recording project. Those things were still going on, but every class period during this time frame [of approximately three weeks] was devoted to this composition process.

GW:  And there were three going on, don’t forget! There were three compositions that came out of this, which was amazing. We should also mention that I wrote an accompaniment, stitching things together and hopefully making transitions work and making it a little more singable.

LCH: Did either of you sense an increased willingness to try out-of-the-box things in the choral classroom because of the virtual format?

AK: I would say a definite yes to that. The whole idea of recording the virtual choir pieces was interesting at first…and then it wasn’t anymore. And they wanted to be together so desperately, they couldn’t wait for the choir time when they could at least see each other. They were up for anything that felt new and like a breath of fresh air. That’s what sustained them.

LCH: And did this result in performance or octavo at the end?

AK: It’s been through a lot of iterations. We did it as a virtual choir piece initially, but as soon as we could be together, the students wanted to bring this artwork to that community – I think too because it came out of the pain of the pandemic, but the text is quite hopeful. They did that purposefully, given where they were emotionally, so they wanted to share that with each other. So we did it that year, and the next year in concert. They also performed it at the NW-ACDA at a session that Giselle did about this topic. So it’s had a lot of iterations.

GW: In terms of publication, we are working with MusicSpoke, which is interested in both the WWU Advanced Treble Choral’s piece and Seattle University Choirs’ piece. It’s a matter of figuring out payment processes, figuring out a way for royalties to be sent back to the schools, but it’s in process.

LCH: Giselle, can you tell us about the project at Seattle University, which was entirely in-person? 

GW: I definitely used the model from WWU in planning processes. We were trying to figure out how timewise it could work, because I wasn’t going to come in quite as often. We had one chorus that worked with the text, one that created the melody using that text, and one chorus that took the melody and text and created harmony. Also, Leann’s collaborative pianist (Dr. Lee Peterson) was really helpful as an inspiration for the harmony part and was able to improvise some chords in live sessions with small groups to help that along, which can be the hardest part.

The difference being live… I did use a lot of my same materials as notes rather than powerpoint. We did discuss values at the first, areas of interest that we wanted to explore in the text. We did a composite text but drew from fewer sources – two excerpts from Sappho, one from an Instagram poet, Clairel Estevez who gave permissions with name credit, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Wendell Berry – whose work is public domain and we altered it a bit. We had a similar process with voting and Google polls. 

LCH: Yes – we used Canvas, and the harmony group – the largest group – used that platform to submit audio files. At SU, we were in fact simultaneously preparing other repertoire for concerts. It was a balancing act of doing this creative project together while learning other music and preparing for a full concert performance.  It was a big ask for students in some ways for them to be willing to jump in and be vulnerable. I work with a lot of non-music majors and developing singers, and there was a real comfort in particular with the text component, which may have felt less vulnerable than singing solo to the group. So this resulted in the piece coming together rather quickly as we were in a quarter system of just 10 weeks. We had secured funding from our institution to support this, and Giselle, you came to our retreat three weeks prior to the concert and we sang through the draft octavo together for the first time. But distinct from the WWU project, not everyone had yet seen all the elements since they were working on different parts. And so that was an exciting, big reveal moment! There was a great deal of pride in seeing it all come together.

“Together We Can” – Ensemble composition created and performed by Western Washington University Advanced Treble Chorale

LCH: What common threads do you see between these projects? Can you speak to the advantages and benefits for singers and conductors alike?

GW: Getting back to Fujimora’s idea of culture care, I think it’s a really potent form of culture care to bring people into community and ask them to create something together. And it does involve vulnerability and risk-taking, but it also involves play. So in addition to people sort of pouring out their hearts through talking about values, or sharing vulnerable audio clips of singing, there was also a lot of joy and excitement infused throughout… This was something different, it wasn’t just going to be a conductor telling you where to breathe or how to pronounce this German word…. I think the novelty is an exciting piece of this. And also the idea that anyone can create, and that creating in communities is possible.

I’ll share that I pitched this idea to my own choir at the University of Washington on Zoom, after it went so well with Angie’s choirs, and a couple of the more vocal students unmuted and said, essentially, I don’t see how this would work or how we could all come up with a common vision. Interestingly, the person who said that was a composition major. So although they may have been one of the most skilled and most able to help bring this to life, they were also unable to see the possibility in the same way that maybe a non-major could be like, sure, why not? Let’s give this a shot and see what we can get out of it. So I feel like it really leveled the playing field in a way… yes, some people rose in terms of strengths in certain areas, but other people who might have been quieter in class shone in new ways. Or in your case, Leann, some of the students who didn’t talk as much in the live class, in session, were much more ready to submit a sound clip. And I would be delighted to see that. It’s a really beautiful way to bring people together and also allow everyone to contribute.

AK: I saw this really amazing application of what they had learned through their composition, to other compositions they were performing. They suddenly got really excited about what a composer did to highlight a specific text, or, what was interesting about this melody. You know, just the depth of understanding of what choral music does, and the compositional process in general, was really fun to see. I agree with what Giselle said, that sometimes students that maybe aren’t as vocal were huge contributors to this process. I think for me the one positive of Zoom was it was the great equalizer – you know, everybody, had the same amount of space in the room, and the same amount of energy that they could bring. So that was an advantage. 

But then seeing folks that just would never have spoken up in choir share really great ideas in this setting was exciting for me. I got to know them in a different way. At some point, students started writing down what they had improvised or composed. So there was that element of music-reading, and -writing that I hadn’t contemplated when I first started thinking about this project, but was reinforcing other things we were doing in the choral classroom… that was exciting to see.

Before this – having been married to a composer – I had never stepped up to the plate or experimented with arranging or composition myself. That just didn’t seem like my domain. And selfishly, this project showed me that I could be a creator, too. Since then I’ve probably done six or seven arrangements of pieces for my treble choir, and I feel empowered to do that, you know, because Giselle’s way of bringing us all into the process and empowering each individual made me see – Well, yeah, I can do that, too. I have musical ideas, or my musical taste is okay. You can experiment with that. You can learn to tell what works and what doesn’t work through your experimentation. And so that’s been a deep, enriching, added element to my life as a musician, and something I’m very grateful for. So thank you.

LCH: That’s really beautiful. I love that while it obviously had an impact on the students, it also impacted you… isn’t that the best, when we are personally moved by our own projects? Angie, I would echo what you said about the growing awareness in students of compositional techniques. I remember witnessing the aha! moments that the students were having. At one point they were debating whether to write an octave jump, or a shift in tessitura…and there was all this conversation about ascending versus descending lines, and what does that mean? How does it feel, and how does it illuminate the text or not? And then, maybe because we were also preparing other repertoire at the same time, I could really see the wheels turning as they made connections…. It was like having the veil lifted – like, we’re not just singing what’s on the page necessarily, but we’re beginning to think about – why is it written that way?

AK: Yes, the veil lifted! That’s just it. That seems like such a summary of this whole experience. It made something that seemed that it belonged to others –  into an arena that can belong to all of us. And enrich all those parts of our musical life. Yeah… I just can’t speak highly enough of the process.

LCH: What else did you notice emerged for students through this process?

GW: I would add that students don’t actually know about text painting unless we talk to them about text painting. I see this in my teaching all the time. One of the things that interested me about Leann’s choir was when they started to discuss the melody. They started to explore: if the text is about looking up at the stars, I think we should do the opposite, because we don’t want to be obvious. And so, they were going even deeper into these layers, sort of subtleties. But  that was also one of the challenges in the live setting that I did not encounter in Zoom – in the actual moment, students were having directly opposing ideas… one, saying, no, it should go up, and another, saying no, it should go down… that’s a place where we have to decide. We can’t do both. But that was fascinating and fruitful, and also challenging to facilitate discussion around that in a way that everyone felt validated. 

LCH:  I’m realizing this creates an opportunity to practice what we discuss a lot in faculty leadership training and such ….how do you facilitate a group and make sure that there’s space for everyone? I’m trying to always invite my students, know thyself! Are you one who tends to step forward, or are you someone who holds back? And so, when you know that – what comes naturally to you – you can notice that within a group context. If I tend to hold back, I might lean a little bit more forward, and if I tend to take up a lot of space and that’s easy for me, then I might make sure that other people, you know, get their turn….and this is an opportunity to practice those skills very much in real time. The group composition process challenges the conductor/ensemble mindset where we’re sort of imparting the interpretation to them – it invites them into the interpretation, from the ground up.

This is a pretty radical concept, because it’s very much pushing against the concept of the conductor as the expert…right? I think the conductor is often lifted up, metaphorically and literally on a platform or a pedestal. Supposed to sort of carry the vision and knowledge. I think, especially with students who maybe aren’t taking very many other music classes or aren’t majors, it can be really easy to convey that the conductor’s interpretation or ideas are the inevitably “right” interpretation. So a process like this one challenges us to become more of a facilitator and opens up the inner workings of the music to the singers.

AK: And maybe that experience influences our traditional choral work. Maybe the goal is to continue to find ways to give them ownership of decision-making, even though there’s someone who happens to know the score better at one moment in time. 

GW: Yeah. The idea of critical pedagogy [the belief that educators should encourage learners to examine power structures and patterns of inequality through an awakening of critical consciousness in pursuit of emancipation from oppression; originates from the work of Paulo Friere, an educator, philosopher and author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed]….that’s what this whole thing is about. Having dialogue. I also think the difference between the idea of the expert, or the coach, comes into play. I would suggest it’s also okay to, for instance, allow your composer as the coach to have that moment of writing the accompaniment. But you also might end up with a piece that’s a cappella, which would be truly all written by students. Maybe that becomes the composer/coach’s final contribution – the ability to also enter into the art. So this whole time, I’m holding back and just saying, whatever you want, and here’s some ideas. And then I finally get to step forward. I felt a little bit like, oh, I’m going to now really influence this piece with whatever I choose to write for the accompaniment. That was a difficult transition for me at first – to know how to do that respectfully, but ultimately I think it hopefully elevated it, you know, and made it more exciting for the students.

LCH: And Giselle, I think it was a bit of a comfort to know that you were also caretaking like that, that there was like a final structure to it –  because they were being asked to think in this very abstract and different kind of way. To know that someone with experience in choral music – a composer – is going to help sort of distill this into something at the end that’s concrete… I know with my students, that actually felt comforting in some ways, to know that that would be part of the end process. 

LCH: If a reader wanted to do a project like this with their own choir, what steps would you suggest they take? And if a full-scale composition project seems untenable, how might conductors incorporate some of the elements of this approach?

AK: First, I’ll say I think the most important thing is finding a composer-expert that is going to work well with your choir. Because you know the energy level and the spirit of your ensemble, and I could see how choosing someone that wasn’t a good fit would produce a not very good experience. So that’s my advice. I think the challenge is something you’ve already articulated, Leann, and that is – when you’re preparing for a performance, how do you also do this, right? The profession is doing a lot of stepping back and looking at what are the priorities in that space called rehearsal… and maybe a priority is reducing the number of pieces we do at an upcoming performance, because we want to dedicate a segment of time to this project and to other projects. Right? But that’s gonna take society in general, opening up to new ideas around ensemble music-making. And I spend a lot of time thinking about that, without coming up with the answers.

GW:  One thing to consider as you look at texts is of course, copyright. Copyright law is both specific and vague when it comes to certain aspects, for instance, public domain, transformative use, issues with quotes (politician quotes are public domain instantly). So there are all kinds of different ways in which, if you decided, you actually wanted to publish your piece, there are deeper levels of work necessary – which means that I’m vetting both of our pieces, Leann and Angie, to make sure that they’re all completely safe for publication, whereas if they simply want to do a performance in an educational setting, the bar is a lot lower, and there are different rules to explore.

Composing together takes time, you know? Art takes time. In order for it to really have the desired outcomes of learning and being creative, and creating something beautiful, which I think in both cases our pieces turned out really beautiful – it takes time. We need that time for reflection and experimentation and learning. You’re giving me a great idea, though… I also think you could have an entire segment or an entire program that could be about community-made music, making or co-creating, and you could start with simple things. 

One thing I did at University Washington years ago, for an art gallery installation, was – the artist asked us to write music that fit with the idea of the installation, which was the common sense – meaning touch. She was speaking broadly, that touch was also sound waves touching our skin and touching our environments. And so she wanted a lot of sound to be involved in this, and she asked my students to create short melodies that could be sung in the gallery throughout the course of the year…and what I chose to do for that was, take one single class session, put them in groups of 2-3, send them out across campus for twenty minutes. I kept the parameters really limited: one or two lines of poetry, A minor, prefer a conjunct (not disjunct) melody. One thing I learned from that is that parameters are really powerful, and, you know, keeping it a little bit stricter can be really helpful. 

So in a concert you could, for instance, take five melodies that were chosen by the choir to share with the audience. You could teach the audience some of these melodies as a round. You could figure out ways to do Jacob-Collier-type, in the moment group audience singing. And then you could maybe display two or three of the melodies that you created throughout the course of the quarter. It seems like there’s a lot of potential. 

AK: And maybe it’s a collaborative concert, right? What a great opportunity to partner with another choral organization who’s undergoing the same journey and share.

GW: That’s another great idea! Yeah. In the classroom, it could be fun – since this influenced how students looked at other repertoire – to take a line of text from a piece that the students haven’t seen yet, and have them write a melody and then reveal the text. And discuss – oh, this is what this composer chose to do, and these are the reasons why. Look at what the harmony needs doing there, or look at what happens later in the piece… I think that could be really fascinating.

LCH: Thank you both for sharing your experiences and insights with me and with readers today, and for the important work you’re both doing in our field!

AK: Thank you for including me today – it was really fun to relive this, and to be back in that space where I got so excited about what my students were creating.

GW: Thank you both so much!

Below you’ll find resource links to connect you with further information about kintsugi and critical theory, as well as contact information for all three of us. Feel free to be in touch if we can help as you consider your own facilitated choral composition projects.





Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom is Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Choral & Vocal Activities and Music Program Director at Seattle University in Seattle, WA. conleyholcol@seattleu.edu 

Dr. Angela Kasper is Director of Choral Activities and head of Choral Music Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. angela.kasper@wwu.edu 

Dr. Giselle Wyers is Chair of the Voice/Choral area and Professor of Choral Conducting at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. wyersg@uw.edu

Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom is Assistant Professor of Music at Seattle University, where she has served as Director of Choral & Vocal Activities since 2018 and Music Program Director since 2022. Prior to her appointment at SU, she was Director of Choral Activities at Chabot College and led choirs for the GRAMMY award-winning Pacific Boychoir Academy and the Tacoma Youth Chorus. Recognized for her integration of vocal technique and embodiment practices within choral teaching, she is in demand nationally as a clinician, adjudicator, presenter and guest conductor. Guest conducting highlights include the Seattle Men’s & Women’s Choruses and Shaoxing Philharmonic Children’s Chorus in China. Dr. Conley-Holcom has toured the country and the world as a freelance professional choral singer and soprano soloist with many of the nation’s top ensembles, including the Oregon Bach Festival, Vox Humana, Bach Ensemble Helmuth Rilling, Bach Academy Stuttgart, Evergreen Ensemble and True Concord Voices and Orchestra (appearing on their GRAMMY award winning album Far in the Heavens). Solo singing appearances include Mountainside Baroque, the symphonies of Tacoma, Flagstaff and Coeur D’Alene, and her solo debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York City Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Conley-Holcom is cofounding director of the professional-tier treble ensemble MUSING. She serves on the Board of renowned Seattle-based early music organization Pacific MusicWorks, and is Chair of College and University Repertoire and Resources for the Washington State Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Dr. Conley-Holcom holds degrees in voice and conducting from Pacific Lutheran University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Washington.