Choral & Sacred Music

2018 USC Choral Leadership Workshop

Saturday, October 20, 2018
9:00AM – 4:00PM


Choristers will participate in a festival choir of over two hundred other high school singers selected from around the Los Angeles area led by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu. Singers will attend leadership sessions focusing on the individual singer’s role in the success of a choral ensemble.


TESFA WONDEMAGEGNEHU, Director of Choral Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, previously served as the conductor of The Radio Choir from American Public Media and as the assistant artistic director of VocalEssence. As a high school teacher, he was named Orange County Public School’s Teacher of the Year and received the Macy’s National Magic of Teaching Award. During his tenure at Freedom High School in Orlando, he led his choirs in performances at state conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Florida Music Educators’ Association.

Wondemagegnehu is widely in demand as a guest conductor and lecturer. He has performed, presented workshops, and conducted honor choirs across the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Costa Rica.

Tesfa Yohannes Wondemagegnehu holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance from the Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Memphis.​


  • Hallelujah, Amen – G.F. Handel
  • Hold Fast to Dreams – Susan Labarr
  • Dereva Ni Mungu – Jake Runestad
  • Take Me to the Water – Rollo Dilworth


  • Performance by the USC Thornton Chamber Singers
  • Director’s Lunch
    • Directors, chaperones and accompanists are invited to attend the workshop and observe all of the leadership sessions. In addition they will be provided a special lunch session with USC Thornton Choral and Sacred Music Faculty to allow for further discussion of leadership in the choral field.
  • Information session about USC degree programs & performance opportunities


Lynn Helding, Associate Professor of Voice and Voice Pedagogy at USC’s Thornton School of Music, will address some of the most common myths that surround singing and the teaching of voice, and offer science-based solutions for choral conductors.

Ms. Helding is a thought-leader within the dynamic field of contemporary voice science, or vocology, and thus was elected to head the founding of the first non-profit vocology association, PAVA. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Singing and creator/author of the journal’s “Mindful Voice” column, which illuminates current research in the cognitive, neuro- and social sciences as they relate to music teaching, learning and performance. She is in demand as a master teacher and popular lecturer on cognitive topics at universities, conferences and workshops across the United States and Canada.  Read more about Lynn Helding >


Jo-Michael Scheibe chairs the Thornton School of Music’s department of Choral and Sacred Music at the University of Southern California. Currently serving as Chair of the Past President’s Council of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), Scheibe has served as National President, National President Elect, Western Division President, and National Repertoire and Standards Chairperson for Community Colleges. Under his leadership, the USC Thornton Chamber Singers received the 2015 American Prize in Choral Music, performed for the 2015 ACDA National Convention in Salt Lake City (his seventh appearance at that event) and were one of twenty-five choirs selected to perform at the Tenth World Choral Symposium in Seoul, South Korea in 2014.

Read more about Jo-Michael Scheibe >



  • 8:00 AM – Registration
  • 9:00 AM – Welcome
  • 9:10 AM – Performance: USC Thornton Chamber Singers
  • 9:30 AM – Rehearsal #1
  • 11:30 AM – Lunch
  • 12:15 PM – Sectionals
  • 12:15 PM – Director’s Talk with Lynn Helding
  • 1:30 PM – Rehearsal #2
  • 3:05 PM – USC Information Session
  • 3:15 PM – Performance: Choral Leadership Workshop Chorus
  • 3:30 PM – Closing Remarks
  • 3:35 PM – USC Campus Tours


  • $40 each for students (includes lunch, t-shirt, pencil, and all music)
  • $20 each for directors/chaperone/accompanists (includes lunch and t-shirt)

Payment can be submitted by check to:
USC Department of Choral & Sacred Music
840 W. 34th Street, MUS 416
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0851


Registration will open on May 1, 2018! Email
Fill out our Online Registration Form.

Deadline to register: Friday, September 14, 2018


Irene Apanovitch, Festival Coordinator:
USC Thornton School of Music: 213.821.5756