We are proud to announce the judges for the 2017 Ole Miss Choral Festival!
Connie Drosakis is currently in her 30th year of teaching (currently in her sixteenth year at Bak MSOA). Prior to teaching at the Bak Middle School of the Arts, Connie taught at Christa McAuliffe Middle School for fourteen years. She received the Bachelor and Master of Music Education/Choral Conducting degrees from Florida State University. At FSU, Connie was the recipient of the Irving Cooper Memorial Scholarship in Choral Music Education.
Her choruses have been selected to perform with the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of James Judd, and in festival choruses under the direction of Doreen Rao and Henry Leck. Under her directorship, all four Choral Groups have received straight superior ratings for 18 consecutive years at the Florida Vocal Association’s Music Performance Assessments. In addition, her choruses have received high praise and several awards at middle and high school festivals and competitions both nationally and internationally. Choruses under her direction have also performed at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as Southern Division and National Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. Most recently the 7th and 8th Grade Girls Chorus performed at the 2011 National ACDA Convention in Chicago. In January of 2015, Ms. Drosakis conducted the Florida All-State High School Women’s Chorus. Ms. Drosakis is an active adjudicator and clinician for district evaluation festivals and county honor choirs throughout the states of Florida and Alabama. She has conducted All-State Choirs in North Carolina, Alabama and Missouri. She has served as the State Middle School Chair for the Florida Vocal Association and Membership Chair as well as President for the Florida State Chapter of ACDA. Ms. Drosakis holds membership in several professional organizations, including Florida Music Educator’s Association, Music Educator’s National Conference and American Choral Director’s Association.
Kenneth Fulton, is professor emeritus at Louisiana State University, where he was the Sanders Alumni Professor of Choral Studies and Chair of the Division of Ensembles and Conducting in the College of Music and Dramatic Arts at Louisiana State University, where he conducted the LSU A Cappella Choir for the twenty-seven years.
During his tenure at LSU, he taught undergraduate and graduate choral conducting, literature, and methods as well as guiding graduate degrees in choral conducting, founded the LSU Chamber Singers, conducted various choral organizations, held two endowed professorships at LSU, been named as one of LSU’s Distinguished Professors, and in January 2006, received the Earleene Sanders Alumni Professorship, one of the university’s most prestigious endowed teaching professorships. He served as Chorusmaster for the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus for fifteen years and for seven years was Artistic Director/Conductor for the Linz International Choral Festival in Linz, Austria where he annually conducted performances with the Festival Orchestra and Chorus. He is editor for the Kenneth Fulton Choral Series published by Alliance Music Corporation.
Fulton has conducted performances in some of the most prestigious performance venues in the world including Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Mozarteum, and the Brucknerhaus in Austria. In the summer of 2011, he served as primary conductor and teacher for performances and master classes at the prestigious International Music Festival in Campina Grande, Brazil. He has conducted the LSU A Cappella Choir in invitational performances in Notre Dame (Paris) and the Vatican (Rome), and in six successful European tours of the Netherlands, France, Germany, England, Wales, Scotland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Switzerland. Prominent performances by his choirs include appearances for three national and seven divisional ACDA Conventions, a national MENC convention as well as performances for national meetings of the College Music Society, the Sonneck Society, the American Musicological Society, the American Society of University Composers, and the International Dvorak Association in Prague, Czech Republic.Fulton has conducted invitational clinics including all-state, and Honor Festival choruses, conducting master classes, and conductor/teacher workshops in forty-two different states and Brazil, as well as in Belgium, Austria, and Germany. He has published articles on the choral music of William Walton, Don Carlo Gesualdo, and William Byrd in the Choral Journal and the AGO Magazine and served for six years as an editor of the National Editorial Board for the Choral Journal. He has held a wide variety of professional offices and is a past President of the Southern Division of the American Choral Directors Association, the Texas Choral Directors Association and the Louisiana ACDA.
The graduate program in choral conducting was begun by Dr. Fulton in 1985 upon his arrival on the LSU campus. As of this Spring, there have been 34 graduates with the DMA (Doctor of Music Arts) in Choral Conducting and 63 graduates in the MM (Master of Music) in Choral Conducting. Recognized internationally as an outstanding program in choral conducting, graduates of this program now hold choral positions at all levels of choral music from secondary public schools to college/university positions in thirty states and several foreign countries.
Dr. Fulton holds advanced degrees from Texas Tech University (MME – Ph.D) and an undergraduate BME from the University of North Texas. He has held appointments at LSU in Baton Rouge, Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University) in San Marcos, University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and in public school choral music.
Kevin Fenton is professor of choral conducting and ensembles, and director of the FSU University Singers and the Chamber Choir. He has conducted the Virginia Tech Meistersingers (1998), the University Singers (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2013), and the Festival Singers of Florida (2012) in performances at regional and national conventions of ACDA and NAfME. A champion of new music, Dr. Fenton has conducted over thirty premiere performances including Skip Stradtman’s “Amazing Grace” (2015); Troy Robertson’s “In Meeting We are Blessed” (2015); Eric Barnum’s “In Paradisum” (2010); Sydney Guillame’s “Au-Déla du Chagrin” (2010); Clifton Callender’s “Reasons to Learn to Sing” (2010); and “The Soul’s Passing” (2007) by Dominick DiOrio. Dr. Fenton has conducted choirs in 35 states, including twenty-six all-state choirs and ACDA Divisional Honor Choirs. Internationally, Kevin conducted the Beijing International Choral Festival Choir with China’s People’s Liberation Orchestra and the Dublin International Choral Festival for Music Celebrations International. He taught choral conducting and conducting pedagogy at the Kenya Conservatory of Music as a Fulbright Specialist and at South Africa’s National Youth Choir Symposium.
Dr. Fenton has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in choral literature and choral conducting at Florida State University since 2000, and his textbook Foundations of Choral Conducting is used in beginning conducting classes throughout the country. He is a recipient of the Florida State University Teaching Award for Excellence, the Delta Omicron Music Professor of the Year award, and the Wayne Hugoboom Distinguished Florida Service Award. Additionally, Dr. Fenton is the Artistic Director of the Festival Singers of Florida and a founder of the AVoice4Peace initiative (AVoice4Peace.org).