Dr. D. Jason Bishop is Artistic Director of the world-renowned, Grammy award-winning Texas Boys Choir. Dr. Bishop previously served as Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral & Vocal Studies, and Chair of the Music Department at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
He was the Artistic Director of The Greater South Jersey Chorus from July 2014 to December 2015, and from 2007 to 2012 he was the Music Director of the Erie Philharmonic Chorus and Director of Choral Activities at Penn State Erie. In 2008, he changed the choral landscape of northwestern Pennsylvania by founding its first and only community youth and children’s chorus, the Young People’s Chorus of Erie, of which he served as Artistic Director until July 2012. He was selected as one of seven conductors nationwide to be a Conducting Fellow in the American Choral Directors Association’s International Conductor Exchange Program, which took him to South Korea for a two-week conducting residency in July 2016.
Described by the Erie Times News as “energetic, vital, and innovative,” Dr. Bishop is an active guest conductor and clinician, having conducted numerous honor choirs, festivals, and workshops throughout the United States. He was named “Outstanding Young Conductor of the Year” by the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania, of which he served as President-Elect from July 2011-June 2012. For the past three years he has been among the guest conductors of the National Chorale’s Annual Messiah Sing-In at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center, and he made his Carnegie Hall debut in May 2010 conducting Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with Distinguished Concerts International New York. In 2012, Dr. Bishop conducted the Young People’s Chorus of Erie in competition at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, for which they won two gold medals and one silver medal.
Kerra Simmons earned her BM from the University of North Florida in Vocal Performance with a Choral Conducting cognate and her MM in Choral Conducting at Texas State University. Ms. Simmons has been involved with choral music since junior high and has sung in multiple Florida All-State Honor Choruses, the 2010 ACDA Southern Division Honor Choir, the 2014 ACDA Southern Division Collegiate Honor Choir with world-renowned conductor, Simon Halsey and most recently the 2016 ACDA Southwestern Division Collegiate Honor Choir.
Her experiences as a solo singer include opera roles in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and La Boheme, as well as multiple honors within the divisional competitions of North Florida’s chapter of NATS. Ms. Simmons began to pursue conducting in her undergraduate. At UNF, she was highly involved in Choral Leadership and was the Assistant Conductor to the UNF Chorale, UNF Chamber Singers, and UNF Women’s Chorus. During her time at Texas State, she was the Assistant Conductor of Men's Chorus, Women's Chorus, University Singers, and the Texas State Chorale. She also assisted in creating an undergraduate lab choir and was the Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate conducting class.
After completing her Masters, Ms. Simmons used her gap year to teach Music and English in Seoul, South Korea where she rewrote an English as a second language music curriculum and taught ages 5 to 12. Most recently, she was the Assistant Conductor and Office Manager for Young Voices of Austin. Ms. Simmons’ goal in her teaching is to not only inspire the singers to produce a beautiful sound but to also encourage them to tap into their individual and unique strengths as musicians and human beings. She believes in the power of music to bring together all people from different backgrounds and uses creative programming to intertwine various artistic mediums such as poetry and visual art. Her favorite pieces to conduct and teach are those of the non-Western tradition and her current research is in the advocacy and visibility of female composers.
Catherine Doyle received a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Minor in Business Studies from Drew University in Madison, NJ. As a Boston native, Catherine is excited for the year-round warm weather that Texas has to offer.
While in college, Catherine worked as the Assistant to the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies and was involved in multiple choral organizations on campus. A few of these groups included Drew University’s Choral Union, Chorale and the bi-annual Choral Music Intensive. Catherine sat on the Choral Leadership Board for these programs where she held the role of Tour Manager. She was also lucky enough to sing in the co-ed a cappella group on campus, All of the Above, where she served as Business Manager.
After college, Catherine performed with and served as Operations Manager/ Alumnae Coordinator of Cape Harmony, Cape Cod’s professional all-female a cappella group.
She is inspired by the hard work of the Texas Boys Choir members and is amazed by their dedication to choral music. In the words of Lady Bird Johnson, “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them” and the Texas Boys Choir proves that every day.