Dr. Robert Ward is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities at Emporia State University, where he conducts the A Cappella Choir, Tailgrass Chamber Choir, and the Emporia Community Choir. Along with his conducting duties he teaches courses in conducting and choral methods.
Robert holds degrees from Oklahoma State University, B.M. and Southern Methodist University, M.M. in music education and a D.M.A. in choral conducting from the University of North Texas. As an educator, Robert taught middle and high school choir in North Texas, including eight years at The Oakridge School in Arlington. In that time he became interested in emerging teaching philosophies and their potential impact in music. Robert presented twice at the Texas Music Educators Association on these topics, which motivated his desire to pursue graduate studies. While a graduate student, Robert served as the conductor of the SMU Concert Choir, taught undergraduate conducting at UNT, and served as the assistant conductor of the Fort Worth Chorale in Fort Worth, Texas.
Robert continues to perform as a singer and has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Singers, Taylor Festival Choir, Texas Choral Artists, The Choral Pickup, Vox Humana, and the South Dakota Chorale.
Dr. Carolyn Cruse is Associate Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music Education at Texas Tech University, where she conducts the TTU Women's Chorale and teaches undergraduate music education courses including choral techniques, choral conducting, and vocal/choral pedagogy. Dr. Cruse is also active within the TTU Summer Master of Music Education program, teaching an intensive course each summer on topics related to choral rehearsal strategies, vocal/choral pedagogy, adolescent voice development, and choral conducting.
Dr. Cruse frequently serves as a clinician and festival adjudicator, and has been invited to conduct all-state and regional honor choirs and present workshops in Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas, the Symposium on Singing and Song in St. John's, Newfoundland (Canada) in October 2015, and the Colorado All-State Women's Choir in February 2016. In addition, the TTU Women's Chorale performed for the 2012 Southwestern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX. As a singer/performer, Dr. Cruse has been a member of the Westminster Choir (NJ) and has performed in ensembles for several National and Divisional Conferences of ACDA. She recently performed an inaugural concert and recorded a CD with the newly formed professional women's ensemble "mirabai", conducted by Dr. Sandra Snow.
Dr. Cruse is a contributing author for the new Hal Leonard/McGraw HIll choral textbook Voices in Concert, and she currently serves as the College/Community Choirs Vice-President of TCDA. She holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from Michigan State University, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas. Prior to her appointment at Texas Tech, Dr. Cruse taught choral music for nine years at the junior high and high school levels in Richardson and Plano, TX. She lives in Lubbock, TX with her husband Rob and their two dogs Riley and Maya, and enjoys cooking, movies, and boxing conditioning classes. Dr. Cruse is passionate about music teacher education and dedicates her time and efforts to prepare and nurture future music educators in all contexts.
Dr. Steven Curtis, OU Regent's Professor Emeritus, retired from the University of Oklahoma School of Music in 2011. He was on the faculty for twenty-one years, and taught conducting and vocal methods and directed various choirs. He ended his career serving as the Director of the OU School of Music for his last six years at OU. He taught vocal music for a total of forty-three years at the elementary, junior high, high school, and college levels, and he has also conducted adult, community, and church choirs. Dr. Curtis holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Southeast Missouri State University, the Master of Music Education degree from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, and the Ph.D in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. He adjudicates extensively in the midwest and southwest and has conducted numerous honor choirs, all-state choirs, and choral workshops throughout the country. He has directed all-state choirs in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, and Missouri. He also frequently works with public school students within the state and has a research interest in the boy's changing voice. His choirs have performed as invited honor groups at state, regional, and national conventions. He is currently in his twenty-eighth year as Director of Music at the First Christian Church in Norman, Oklahoma.