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The Jacobs School Choral Department Reboot

A new era begins as the choral department announces additions to it's faculty lineup.

a fountain in front of a buidling

Photo: Anna Schink/WFIU

The McKinney Fountain in front of the Simon Music Center is the artist's representation of conductor and ensemble.

After the retirement of long-time choral faculty members John Poole, Jan Harrington, and Michael Schwartzkopf, and the departure of Carmen Téllez, it seemed the future of the Jacobs School of Music‘s choirs was on rocky ground. Professor and Department Chair Dr. William Jon Gray was the sole remaining full-time faculty member, assisted by a handful of adjunct and visiting conductors. However, the announcement of three new faculty appointments since May 17 marks a new era for choral singing at the world-renowned school of music.

Meet The New Guys

Steve Zegree was appointed the new director of the Singing Hoosiers back in May. His more than 30 years as a jazz vocal instructor at Western Michigan University set him apart as the choice to re-imagine and reinvigorate the Hoosiers and to begin the serious study of jazz voice at the Jacobs School.

Dominic DiOrio was announced as the second in the incoming class of conductors on July 25. According to a Jacobs School press release, Dr. Gray says DiOrio is “at the forefront of emerging young conductors in the choral profession.”  DiOrio comes from Lone Star College-Montgomery where he was the director choral activities. He will take up the reigns of the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble.

Walter Huff is the most recent addition to the faculty roster, currently awaiting approval by the IU Board of Trustees. Huff is currently Chorus Master of the Atlanta Opera, a position which he will retain. And according to Dr. Gray, “Mr. Huff’s extensive experience as one of the top opera chorus masters in the United States will be a significant addition to the department as [they] begin to develop a unique and unprecedented comprehensive professional training program for opera chorus masters within the graduate choral conducting curriculum.”

David Wood

Originally from Leavenworth, Kansas, David Wood moved to Bloomington in 2005. He received his Bachelor of Music from Kansas State University, and his Master of Music from the University of North Texas. He studied ensemble direction at the Jacobs School of Music's Early Music Institute and joined WFIU in 2006 as an announcer. In 2008 he became WFIU's Music Director and also served as Art Bureau Chief from 2008-2013. David’s interests include Irish music and language (particularly traditional singing), music and religion, running, the outdoors, and, of course, classical music!

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