Patti Drennan

Patti Drennan (living) earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree at Oklahoma State University and a Masters of Music Education degree at the University of Oklahoma. She taught Choral Music for twenty-eight years in Norman Public Schools, the first twenty years at West Mid-High School, where she was voted “Teacher of the Year”, and eight years at Norman High School. In 2004, she was awarded the coveted “Director of Distinction Award” given yearly by the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association.

An active composer and arranger with over two million copies sold , Patti has almost 500 choral octavos, piano and piano/vocal books published with thirteen major publishers. She has served as a clinician for school and church workshops in 21 states, 3 times in Canada, and has presented 4 sessions at the Texas Music Educators Convention. She has been guest director at numerous “Composer Weekends”. She has been an adjudicator for school choral contests in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.

Patti retired from teaching in 2004 in order to compose and stay active as a clinician and workshop presenter. For almost ten years she served as Music and Worship Arts Director at First Baptist Church, Norman. She is married and has two grown children, son-in-law and beautiful grandson. Patti enjoys writing leading music reading sessions for publishers and singing in a professional gospel choir. She also enjoys spending time performing and recording with her daughter and son-in-law in numerous symphonic performances. Her Christmas CD recorded with her daughter entitled “A Mother Daughter Christmas” is now available on I-Tunes, Amazon, GooglePlay and on

Jocelyn Hagen 

Jocelyn Hagen composes music that has been described as “simply magical” (Fanfare Magazine) and “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). She is a pioneer in the field of composition, pushing the expectations of musicians and audiences with large-scale multimedia works, electro-acoustic music, dance, opera, and publishing. Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, still very evident in her work. The majority of her compositions are for the voice: solo, chamber and choral. Her melodic music is rhythmically driven and texturally complex, rich in color and deeply heartfelt.

In 2019, choirs and orchestras across the country are premiering her multimedia symphony The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci that includes video projections created by a team of visual artists, highlighting da Vinci’s spectacular drawings, inventions, and texts. Hagen describes her process of composing for choir, orchestra and film simultaneously in a Tedx Talk given at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, now available on YouTube. Her dance opera collaboration with choreographer Penelope Freeh, Test Pilot, received the 2017 American Prize in the musical theater/opera division as well as a Sage Award for “Outstanding Design.” The panel declared the work “a tour de force of originality.”

In 2013 Hagen released an EP entitled MASHUP, in which she performs Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum” while singing Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team.” She is also one half of the band Nation, an a cappella duo with composer/performer Timothy C. Takach, and together they perform and serve as clinicians for choirs from all over the world.

Hagen’s commissions include Conspirare, the Minnesota Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Choral Directors Associations of Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut and Texas, the North Dakota Music Teachers Association, Cantus, the Boston Brass, the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band, among many others. Her work is independently published through JH Music, as well as through Graphite Publishing, G. Schirmer, Fred Bock Music Publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and Boosey and Hawkes.

Rosephanye Powell

Dr. Rosephanye Dunn Powell has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music. She has an impressive catalogue of works published by some of the nation’s leading publishers, including the Hal Leonard Corporation, the Fred Bock Music Company/Gentry Publications, Oxford University Press, Alliance Music Publications, and Shawnee. Dr. Powell is commissioned yearly to compose for university choruses, professional, community and church choirs, as well as secondary school choruses.  Dr. Powell’s works have been conducted and premiered by nationally-renowned choral conductors, including, but not limited to, Anton Armstrong, Philip Brunelle, Bob Chilcott, Rodney Eichenberger, Tom Hall, Albert McNeil, Tim Seelig, and André Thomas. Her work has been auctioned by Chorus America and her compositions are in great demand at choral festivals around the country, frequently appearing on the regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as Honor Choir festivals.  Dr. Powell’s compositions include sacred and secular works for mixed chorus, women’s chorus, men’s chorus, and children’s voices. Dr. Powell serves as Professor of Voice at Auburn University. She holds degrees from The Florida State University (D.M. in vocal performance, University Fellow), Westminster Choir College (M.M. in vocal performance and pedagogy, with distinction), and Alabama State University (B.M.E., summa cum laude). Dr. Powell served on the faculties of Philander Smith College (AR) and Georgia Southern University prior to her arrival at Auburn University in 2001.

Recent commission and premiere highlights include: With What Shall I Come (SATB), composed for the St. Olaf Choir 2015 Winter Tour in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor, and premiered at Carnegie Hall; Why We Sing (TTBB), composed for the 2014-2015 touring season of Cantus Vocal Ensemble; Bright is the Ring of Words (TTBB), composed in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the University of Pittsburgh Men’s Glee Club, (March, 2015); The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation (SATB), composed for the NCMEA High School Choral Section for the 2014 North Carolina Honors Chorus;  The Cry of Jeremiah, a four-movement sacred work for narrator, chorus, organ and orchestra, commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, premiered at the Lincoln Center, NY (May 2014); I Want to Die While You Love Me (SSAA), composed for the 2013 Women’s Choirs Commission Consortium of the American Choral Directors Association; Great is the Lord!, composed for the Downtown Minneapolis Churches for their February 2013 Choral Festival (MN); I Will Sing, commissioned and premiered by the Oxford Civic Chorale, Oxford, MS; Arise Beloved, commissioned by OurSong (Atlanta, GA) one of four works premiered as part of the group’s choral cycle “And Nature Smiled,” performed at the internationally-acclaimed Spivey Hall; Christmas Give, a suite of five songs for SATB and orchestra, composed for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society Christmas CD “Christmas at America’s First Cathedral” released by Gothic Records; and Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit, arranged for The Sofia Chamber Choir “Vassil Arnaudov”- Bulgaria, Southeastern Europe.

 In 2011, Dr. Powell served as an arranger and co-editor, along with her husband Dr. William C. Powell, for the release of  I’m Gonna Sing: Twelve Spirituals for Upper Voices published by Oxford University Press (London). Other recent commissions include, but are not limited to, Christmas Give, a suite of five songs for SATB, composed for the Baltimore Choral Arts Society Christmas CD “Christmas at America’s First Cathedral” released by Gothic Records (2010); Be Glad in the Lord composed for Philip Brunelle and Plymouth Congregational Church (2009); Hope Come True, a suite of five songs for SSAA and SATB composed and arranged for MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir (OH), and premiered by MUSE and Central State University Chorus; Rejoice!, for chorus, organ, trumpets, and timpani composed for the 50th Anniversary of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Auburn, Alabama; Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit, arranged for The Sofia Chamber Choir “Vassil Arnaudov”- Bulgaria, Southeastern Europe. Children of the Rainbow, an original work, composed for the Columbus (OH) Children’s Choir and the 2005 Children’s Choral Festival of African-American Music; Pete, Pete arranged for the Montgomery Academy Middle School Chorus for the 2005 Alabama Music Educators Association State Conference; Sicut Cervus composed for the 25th Anniversary of the Texas Collegiate Women’s Choral Festival; Still I Rise composed for Vox Femina, Los Angeles, CA; and Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child arranged for the 35th anniversary of VocalEssence (Minneapolis, MN, 2003).

An accomplished singer and voice professor, Dr. Powell’s research has focused on the art of the African-American spiritual, the art songs of William Grant Still (dean of African-American composers), and voice care concerns for voice professionals (specifically, music educators, choral directors, and choral singers). She travels the country and internationally presenting lectures, song demonstrations, and serving as a workshop clinician, conductor, and adjudicator for solo vocal competitions/auditions, honor choirs, choral workshops and festivals. Recent commitments include Melbourne International Singers Festival (AUS); the New York State School Music Association (Rochester); the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference (Savannah); Middle Tennessee Vocal Association Treble Honor Choir (Nashville);  the World Choir Games (Cincinnati, OH); the Italian Feder Gospel Choirs Workshop (Milan, Italy); Alabama Music Educators Association High School Honor Choir (Montgomery); Samford University (Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts) (Birmingham, AL); South Carolina Music Educators Association State Conference (Charleston); AGO National Conference (Nashville, TN); Summer Sing Choral Workshop and Tuning at Tahoe Music Directors Workshop (Lake Tahoe, NV); and Capital Area Music Association (Harrisburg, PA).

As a researcher, Dr. Powell’s recent articles include Keeping the “Choir” in Showchoir published in the Amercan Choral Directors Journal; William Grant Still: His Life and His Songs and The African-American Spritual: Preparation and Performance Considerations both published in the prestigious NATS Journal of Singing.  She served as the editor and wrote the introduction for William Grant Still: An Art Song Collection which is published by William Grant Still Music.

In 2009, Dr. Powell received the “Living Legend Award” presented by California State University African Diaspora Sacred Music Festival in Los Angeles.  She was listed in the first edition of the international publication Who Is Who in Choral Music. And, she has been included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and Outstanding Young Women in America in recent years.  Dr. Powell is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the College Music Society (CMS), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC).

Andrea Ramsey

Dr. Andrea Ramsey enjoys an international presence as a composer, conductor, scholar, and music educator. Her teaching experiences range from work with adolescent and children’s voices to high school and collegiate voices. She enjoys regular opportunities to conduct all-state and divisional level honor choirs, festival events at Carnegie Hall, and serves as a principal conductor for the Pacific International Young Women’s Choral Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Before leaping into full time composing and guest conducting, Andrea held positions in music education and conducting at The Ohio State University and the University of Colorado, respectively.

An ASCAPlus award-winning composer, Andrea believes strongly in the creation of new works. Her compositions are available with traditional publishers and also through MusicSpoke, a digital sheetmusic marketplace. She enjoys residency collaborations with ensembles and festival choirs, some of which have included: the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City, Ithaca College, and the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans.

As a scholar, she has presented for state, divisional, and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, the 6th Annual Symposium on Sociology in Music Education, as well as The Phenomenon Singing Symposium in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada. She has co-authored articles published in the Choral Journal, as well as the Journal of Research in Music Education. A native of Arkansas, she has experienced in her own life the power of music to provide a sense of community, better understanding of our humanity, and rich opportunities for self-discovery.

Joan Szymko

Joan Szymko (pronounced: SHIM-koh) (b.1957) is a composer and conductor from the Pacific Northwest. With a catalog of over 100 published choral works, her music is performed by ensembles across North America and abroad. Abundant lyricism, rhythmic integrity and a vigorous attention to text are hallmarks of Szymko’s diverse and distinctive choral writing. Fresh and inspiring, her text selections are as notable as her music. Especially significant is Szymko’s contribution to the body of quality literature for women’s voices. Her music is frequently heard at regional, national and international choral festivals and competitions. Since 2003, her music has been performed at every National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. The ACDA recognized Szymko’s lasting impact on the choral arts in America by selecting her as the recipient of the prestigious Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission in 2010.

Composing for vocal ensembles is an extension of Szymko’s creativity as a choral director. She has inspired community and church choirs in Seattle and Portland for over 30 years. Her passion for the singing voice, an embodied approach to sound, a dedication to craft and artistry, and her insistence on quality texts—all relate to her experience as a conductor and are reflected in her choral compositions. In addition to her own self published works, her music appears in the catalogs of Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Roger Dean Publishing, Walton Music, earthsongs,Treble Clef Press and Yelton Rhodes Music. She is a founding member of the Independent Music Publishers Collective.   

Szymko was born in Chicago, the youngest of five children in a devout Catholic home where faith, education and the arts were core values. She began piano study at age eight, led liturgical music at Mass, sang in her high school choir, but most importantly she was an avid listener to a great diversity of music during her formative years. She began her focus on choral studies at the Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University and received a B.S. in Music Education (1979) at the University of Illinois (Urbana) with a vocal/choral emphasis. She left for Seattle following graduation and soon began arranging and composing music to fill the repertoire needs of the progressively leaning women’s and church choirs she directed there in the 1980’s and early 90’s. During her first decade as a choral professional, she expanded her knowledge of conducting and vocal pedagogy by way of numerous workshops and summer sessions. A year of composition study at the University of Washington (1988) and a successful musical theater collaboration, (Cradle and All 1990, solidified her determination to continue the pursuit of a career in music with an emphasis on composition.

In 1993 Szymko was invited to Portland, Oregon to take on the leadership of Aurora Chorus, a 100 voice women’s community chorus. Soon after arriving in Portland, she founded the select women’s choir, Viriditas Vocal Ensemble. She composed prolifically for this group as well as for Aurora Chorus and several of Szymko’s best known early works were premiered by these two ensembles. With Viriditas (1994-2002) her mission was to provide an exceptional, eclectic choral experience for both singers and audience. Performances explored connections between music and ritual, unique collaborations, and were aimed at bringing down the “fourth wall” between performers and audience. She began and maintains a fruitful collaborative relationship with Robin Lane and Do Jump! Movement Theater (since 1994) and performed her music with the company in Portland, on Broadway, at the Kennedy Center and Geffen Playhouse in LA. (1995-2005).

Szymko composed her first large-scale work for chorus and orchestra when commissioned by Eugene Vocal Arts to both create the libretto and compose a work focusing on those faced with the tragedy of Alzheimer’s dementia. ”Shadow and Light” for mezzo-soprano, tenor, soprano, SATB chorus and 30 piece chamber orchestra was premiered in April 2016 to great critical acclaim. This notable hour-long addition to the choral-orchestral repertoire will be made available by Joan Szymko Music in 2017.

Szymko continues to live and work in Portland, Oregon. She served on the choral faculty at Portland State University as director of Vox Femina (2013-15) and has continued as Artistic Director of Auroa Chorus.  As a visiting artist and clinician, she has workshopped her music withe choirs in a variety of educational and community settings across the US and in the Netherlands. 

Chen Yi

Chen Yi is an American composer, born in China, of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and piano works that have been performed throughout the world.

Ms. Chen began studies in piano with Li Su-xin and violin with Zheng Ri-hua at age three. She later studied composition with Wu Zu-qiang at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing from 1978–86, where she earned her MA. She then studied composition with Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky at Columbia University from 1986–93 and there earned her DMA with distinction. She has received honorary doctorates from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2002, the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio in 2008, the University of Portland in Oregon in 2009, and The New School in New York, New York in 2010.

Among her many honours in China are First Prize in a national competition (1985, for Duo Ye No. 1), First Prize in a competition for music for piano for children in Beijing (1985, for Yu Diao) and First Prize in the competition for traditional music of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing (1986, for Xie Zi). Among her honours in the USA are the Lili Boulanger Award from the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco (1994), the NEA Composer Fellowship (1994), the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996), the Guggenheim Fellowship (1996), and the Sorel Medal for Excellence in Music from the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the City University of New York (1996). She has also received the Alpert Award in the Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Santa Clarita (1997), the Eddie Medora King Award for Musical Composition from the University of Texas (1999), the Adventurous Programming Award from ASCAP (1999, for her work with the organisation Music from China, shared with her husband Zhou Long), the Charles Ives Living Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2001–02), the ASCAP Concert Music Award (2001), the Elise Stoeger Award from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (2002), the Friendship Ambassador Award from the Edgar Snow Memorial Fund (2002), and the Kauffman Award in Artistry/Scholarship from the University of Missouri–Kansas City (2006). She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2005. Her chamber music was featured in Sound and Silence, a series of ten films on contemporary music co-produced by ISCM (1989), and she is the subject of the documentary film Chen Yi in America (A Cantonese in New York) (2002).

She is also active in other positions. She served as a composer to and concertmaster of the Beijing Opera Troupe from 1970–78. She founded the bilingual newsletter of Music from China in 1991 and has served as its co-editor since 1991. She served as composer-in-residence to the Women’s Philharmonic, the male chorus Chanticleer and the Aptos Creative Arts Program in San Francisco, all from 1993–96. She has served on the advisory council of the American Composers Orchestra since 1993, of the International Alliance for Women in Music since 1995 and of The Walden School in Dublin, New Hampshire since 2000. She has served on the board of directors of Chamber Music America since 2002.

She taught composition, multicultural analysis and the orchestral works of Claude Debussy at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore from 1996–98 and has taught as the Lorena Searcey Cravens/Millsap/Missouri Distinguished Professor in Music Composition at the University of Missouri–Kansas City since 1998. She taught as the Karel Husa Visiting Professor at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York in 2002–03 and as the Changjiang Scholar Visiting Professor at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 2006. She has given guest lectures throughout China and the USA.

She has lived in the USA since 1986.