Mixed Choir Festival
Monday, September 25, 2023
The Butler University Mixed Choir Festival is designed for the advanced high school choral ensembles. Festival participation is by invitation and requires an application. The event typically includes 6-8 visiting choirs and includes clinics with Butler faculty, performances by Butler choral ensembles, and the opportunity for participating choirs to rehearse and perform a combined repertoire selection under the direction of Dr. Eric Stark. Students interested in studying music at the collegiate level may also request a sample voice lesson with Butler voice faculty member.
- Date: Monday, September 25, 2023
- Location: Schrott Center for the Arts on the campus of Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
- Combined repertoire piece: United in Purpose, Rollo Dilworth (text Maya Angelou), to be conducted by Dr. Eric Stark
- Cost: $5 participation fee per student
- How to participate: Complete the Mixed Choir Festival 2023 Application, invited choirs will be contacted via email after applications are reviewed.
Treble Choir Festival
Monday, November 13, 2023
Register your group: Treble Choir Festival 2023 Registration Form
The Butler University Treble Choir Festival is open to all interested high school treble ensembles. The festival typically includes 10-15 visiting choirs, of various sizes and skill levels. Butler Choral Festivals will include clinics with Butler faculty, performances by Butler choral ensembles, and the opportunity for participating choirs to rehearse and perform a combined repertoire selection under the direction of Dr. Becky Marsh. We invite you to bring your students to witness choral music at the collegiate level and allow them to learn skills first-hand in a college setting!
- Date: Monday, November 13, 2023
- Time: 12:30-4:00 PM
- Location: Schrott Center for the Arts on the campus of Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
- Combined repertoire piece: to be announced, to be conducted by Dr. Becky Marsh
- Cost: $5 participation fee per student
- How to participate: Complete the Treble Choir Festival 2023 Registration Form. Participation is on a first come, first served basis. Registration will close on November 1 or when the event has reached capacity.
In a dynamic career that combines performance, scholarship and collaborative leadership, conductor Eric Stark has established himself as a choral-orchestral specialist.
Stark has led performances of the Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts, Britten’s War Requiem and Saint Nicolas, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bach’s Mass in B minor, the Weihnachts-Oratorium and numerous cantatas, Handel’s Messiah and Israel in Egypt, Zipoli’s Te Deum, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass and Requiem, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, the Poulenc Gloria, Fauré’s Requiem, and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. He has prepared choruses for such notable conductors as Nicholas McGegan, Raymond Leppard, Jahja Ling, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Mario Venzago, Carl St. Clair, Erich Kunzel, Krzysztof Urbanski and Jack Everly. His choruses are heard on multiple compact discs, including A Festival of Carols with Sylvia McNair (Naxos, 2019), the world premiere recording of Fairouz’s Zabur (Naxos, 2016), Festival of Carols Vol I (2014), Mendelssohn’s Elijah (2011); From East to West (2005) a holiday compilation with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir; The Harmonies of Hoosier History, (2001) featuring works by Indiana composers performed by the Indianapolis Arts Chorale; and A Festival of Carols (1997) with the Muncie, IN Masterworks Chorale. Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2019, Stark was invited to teach and conduct at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul and the Pontifical Catholic University in Porto Alegre (Brazil).
Stark’s work as artistic collaborator and community leader has been both broad and unique. Under his leadership, his choirs have performed with such groups as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Repertory Theater, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, American Pianists Association, Jordan College Academy of Dance, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Clowes Memorial Hall, Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil de Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) and Butler University. He has conducted in the Oriental Art Center Concert Hall in Shanghai, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Strathmore Hall in Bethesda, MD, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. He has made conducting appearances in Greece, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay, and has led choirs on domestic tours in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa.
In 2012, Stark served as chorus master for the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show, featuring Madonna, Cee Lo Green, Nicki Minaj and LMFAO. He was honored with a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis in 2005. A firm believer in the power of music to connect diverse audiences and enrich lives, Stark has led a revitalized program of innovative educational outreach programs since joining the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in 2002. In-Choir-ing Minds is an interactive discussion/performance featuring engaging dialog interspersed with live musical examples. Hallelujah—What’s It to Ya?! is a light-hearted musical inspection of the greatest musical work of all time, Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus. The in-depth Choral Colloquium focuses on the contextual issues surrounding the great works for chorus and orchestra, and has featured such notable participants as composers Morten Lauridsen and Kyle Gann, scholar/performers Vance George, John Shirley-Quirk, Nick Strimple, Byron Adams and R. Larry Todd, and theologians Richard Hamilton and Frank Burch Brown.
Stark serves as Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music of the School of Music at Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts. There he leads the graduate program in choral conducting, conducts the Butler Chorale, and teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting and choral literature. His former conducting students have received appointments at leading choral positions around the United States, including Stetson University, Hollins University, Purdue University, Princeton University, San Francisco Girls Chorus, Los Angeles Opera, Transylvania University, Fort Wayne Children’s Chorus and the University of Wisconsin. In 2003 and 2009 he taught a Butler University honors course he designed, Putting Wings on Dreams—the First 100 Years of Powered Flight, using the dramatic stories of aviation pioneers as case studies in human determination and innovation. He has served on the faculties of Christian Theological Seminary, Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne and Earlham College. He received the doctoral degree in choral conducting from Indiana University, where he was a student of Jan Harrington, Robert Porco and Thomas Dunn. He is a 2014 Sagamore of the Wabash, the state of Indiana’s highest civilian honor. A 1988 graduate of Wabash College, he is also a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, a non-profit network of pilots providing free air transportation for those with medical needs.
Dr. Becky Marsh is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at Butler University (Indianapolis, IN) where she teaches undergraduate and graduate music education courses, music theory and aural skills courses, and conducts Spectra, the university’s treble choir. Dr. Marsh holds the Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education, with a choral conducting cognate, from Michigan State University. In 2020, she was recognized as Butler University’s Outstanding Professor of the Year in Teaching and, in 2022, was named the Indiana Music Education Association’s Outstanding Collegiate Music Educator.
Dr. Marsh earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education, as well as a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Theory, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to her career in music teacher education, she served as a choral music educator in North Carolina. While there, the choral ensembles grew in both size and spirit, performing locally for the community and nationally as a part of the National Youth Choir. She initiated two student-led contemporary a cappella groups as well as a Choral Leadership Council designed to give students ownership and voice in their program. Additionally, she was the Musical Director of Lexington Youth Theatre for three seasons, preparing K-12 students of various backgrounds as well as conducting pit orchestras of varying sizes and instrumentations for full-length musical theater productions.
An active presenter and guest clinician, Dr. Marsh has shared her scholarship and passion for teaching at state, regional, national, and international conferences and events. She also frequently serves as a guest conductor for regional and statewide honor choirs in the Midwest. Dr. Marsh’s research interests include music teacher identity development, students’ acquisition of musicianship skills, and creative musicianship in the ensemble setting. She is published in both state and national journals. Her dissertation, Preservice Music Teacher Initial Field Observation Experiences, examines the intersections of identity and initial field-observation experiences of preservice music teachers. Additionally, her co-authored review of Randall Allsup’s Remixing the Classroom: Toward an Open Philosophy of Music Education is published in Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education. Dr. Marsh continually strives for her work to inform music teacher education, support practicing music educators, and make music classrooms inviting and inclusive spaces.
Nationally, Dr. Marsh facilitates the Music Teacher Identity Development ASPA within the Society for Music Teacher Education. In addition to her appointment at Butler, she is the Music Theory Chairperson on the board of the Indiana Music Education Association and serves on the board for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. At Butler, she advises the university’s chapter of the National Association for Music Education as well as Freshly Brewed, the university’s treble contemporary a cappella group. Dr. Marsh also sings and tours as a member of mirabai, a professional women’s ensemble dedicated to empowering women by expressing, through music, the full range of women’s experiences and narratives. She hopes to inspire music educators to envision and enact a culture of school music education that is welcoming to all students, functions as an integral part of the school community, and promotes lifelong engagement with music.
Dr. John Perkins is the Associate Director of Choral Activities and an Associate Professor of Music at Butler University. In addition to directing the Butler University Choir (SATB ensemble), Perkins teaches in the First Year Seminar core curriculum ("Why Music?"), instructs Aural Skills, Conducting (undergraduate), and Graduate Choral Conducting Seminar. Combining with Nassim Al Saba Choir (United Arab Emirates), Sao Vicente Acapella (Brazil), and five local high school choirs, Dr. Perkins created a transnational course in Spring 2016, entitled "Peacebuilding through Choral Singing." The course focused on social justice dialogue, relationship-building, and community leadership through choral singing. In the summer of 2019, Dr. Perkins led a cross-cultural course with Malaysian and North American students in Malaysia, entitled "Musicking Futures." Recently, the Butler University Choir has partnered with Eastern Star Church, Fishers campus, to encourage dialogue between predominantly Black and White communities. He practices choral-dialoguing with his ensembles and in the community as a way to engage more deeply in critical justice learning.
Outside of Butler’s campus, Dr. Perkins is the Director of Music at Castleton United Methodist Church, a board member of Matthew’s Voices Choir (https://www.matthewsvoices.org/), a founding member the Alliance for the Transformation of Musical Academe (https://atma.jazzcosmos.com/), a Fellow at the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Justice, and Global Reconciliation, an Advisory Board Member for Euro Mediterranean Music Academy (EMMA) for Peace, and a member of the American Choral Directors Association Diversity Initiatives sub-committee.
Before arriving in Indianapolis in Fall of 2014, he taught at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 2008-2014 and developed the country’s first music program in higher education. There, Perkins directed the university’s choral program and founded the Nassim Al Saba Choir, the first Arabic, four-part choir in the Gulf region. The ensemble, aimed at building cultural bridges between Arab and non-Arab countries, performed extensively in the UAE and abroad in New York City, Indonesia, and Jordan.
Dr. Perkins has presented research papers at the MayDay Group (Limerick, Ireland), International Society for Music Education (Azerbaijan), Research in Music Education (United Kingdom), New Directions in Music Education, Music, Sound and Trauma (Bloomington, IN), ACDA statewide and regional conferences, the Lund International Choral Festival (Sweden), Aswatuna Arabic Choral Festival (Jordan), International Symposium on Choral Music (Indonesia), and the International Musicological Conference: Marginal Figures in 20th-century Music (Russian Federation). His research is published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, the Choral Journal, the International Choral Bulletin and in other books. His values-based indigenous music pedagogy (VIMP) research and teaching project was accepted by the Fulbright Senior Scholar committee.
As a guest clinician, Dr. Perkins has been a resident artist and has given conducting masterclasses in the United Arab Emirates, USA, Indonesia, Oman, Lebanon, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His research and professional contributions include presentations, articles, and arrangements concerning social justice through choral musicking, trauma-informed critical-musical pedagogy, Arabic choral music, cross-cultural music education, the choral works of Lili Boulanger, and music of the Symbolist (Belle Époque) era. Perkins’s new choral-orchestral arrangement of Lili Boulanger’s Psaume 130, Du fond de l’abîme and Arabic choral arrangements have been internationally premiered.
Perkins received his graduate degrees from the University of Arizona (Tucson) and Temple University (Philadelphia), and bachelor’s degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (Princeton). His education continues through many transformative moments with his students.