Andrea E. Brown was appointed the Associate Director of Bands at the University of Maryland in 2018. In this position she conducts the University of Maryland Wind Ensemble, serves as the Director of Athletic Bands and teaches conducting. Brown is formerly a member of the conducting faculty at the University of Michigan where she served as the assistant director of bands and was a faculty sponsor of a College of Engineering Multidisciplinary Design Project team researching conducting pedagogy technology. She also served as the director of orchestra and assistant director of bands at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. She is a frequent guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator in the US, Europe and Asia.
While under her direction, the UMD Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at the 2022 College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference in Baltimore. The ensemble has performed works by a diverse range of composers and has collaborated with soloists Willie Clark, Robert DiLutis, Jennifer Piazza-Pick and Amanda Staub. Brown led a consortium commissioning Omar Thomas’s setting of Shenandoah and has participated in commissions for works by Katahj Copley, Shiyung Li, Catherine Likhuta and Harrison Collins.
Brown completed a DMA in instrumental conducting at UNC Greensboro where she was a student of John Locke and Kevin Geraldi. While at UNCG, she was both guest conductor and principal horn on UNCG Wind Ensemble’s fireworks! and finish line! CDs released on the Equilibrium label. Brown has also had several rehearsal guides published in the popular GIA Publications series, “Teaching Music Through Performance in Band” and has presented at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Oxford Conducting Institute, Music For All Summer Symposium, the Yamaha Bläserklasse in Schlitz, Germany, the International Computer Music Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the College Music Society International Conference in Sydney, Australia and multiple times at the College Band Directors National Association National Conference.
A proponent of inclusion and equity issues in the music profession, Brown is a frequent guest speaker on these topics. She currently serves on the CBDNA Diversity Committee and was a founding member of the Drum Corps International InStep Committee. Brown is the founder of “Women Rising to the Podium”- an online group of over 4700 members supporting and celebrating women band directors. Additionally, she also served as the chair of the Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity Graduate Conducting Grant for eight years and is an advisor of the SAI chapter at the University of Maryland.
Brown previously served on the brass and conducting instructional staff of the DCI World Champion Phantom Regiment (2004 – 2017). Other marching organizations she has instructed include the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band and Carolina Crown. Brown has served as a music judge for Drum Corps International since the 2022 season and has been a member of the John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Shield Jury since 2021. Additionally, Brown was invited to be the Eastern Region Director of the 2024 D-Day 80th Anniversary Collegiate Mass Band and will be leading the group in its performances in Normandy, France.
Originally from Milan, Tennessee, she is a graduate of Austin Peay State University and earned a master of music degree in horn performance and a master of music education degree with a cognate in instrumental conducting from UNCG. Prior to her position at Georgia Tech, Brown was the assistant director of bands at Austin Peay State University and taught public school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Dallas, Texas.
Steven Amundson joined the St. Olaf music faculty to become conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra in the fall of 1981 and retured in 2022. A Professor of Music, Amundson taught conducting, instrumentation, music theory, and ear training. Before coming to St. Olaf, Amundson held conducting positions at the University of Virginia, Tacoma (Wash.) Community College, and served as Music Director/Conductor of the Tacoma Youth Symphony. He is the founding conductor of the Twin Cities based Metropolitan Symphony, and has served as conductor at the Interlochen National Arts Camp, the Lutheran Summer Music Program, and for many Honors and All-State Orchestras throughout the United States. Amundson recently completed a thirteen-year tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Bloomington (MN) Symphony Orchestra and remains active as guest conductor of community and professional ensembles in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He also enjoys composing and arranging, and is published by MMB Music in St. Louis. His Angels’ Dance has received over 25 performances with orchestras including the Atlanta, Virginia, South Dakota, Wichita and Tallahassee Symphonies.
A 1977 graduate of Luther College, Amundson obtained the Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University and did further studies at the University of Virginia, the Aspen Music School, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Amundson has enjoyed the tutelage of many notable conductors including Erich Leinsdorf, Maurice Abravanel, Milan Horvat and Bernard Rubenstein.
In the 1980 International Conducting Competition sponsored by the Mozarteum and National Austrian Radio (ORF), Amundson placed first, earning the Hans Haring Prize and a conducting and recording engagement with the Mozarteum International Summer Academy Orchestra. In 1992, the Minnesota Music Educators Association named him Orchestra Educator of the Year. In the fall of 1995, Luther College honored Amundson with the Carlo A. Sperati Award which recognizes meritorious achievement in music.
Under Amundson’s direction, the St. Olaf Orchestra has been featured on Austrian National Radio, NPR, and PBS, and in many of the finest concert halls in Central and Eastern Europe. The Orchestra has also appeared at regional and national NAfME conventions. In 1996, the St. Olaf Orchestra was given the Meritorious Orchestra Award by the Minnesota Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. In February, 2000, the St. Olaf Orchestra will be featured at the annual convention for the Texas Music Educators Association.
Patricia Darling is a composer, arranger, director and educator. She directs the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she also teaches classes in jazz composition, arranging and electronic music. She has composed music for a wide variety of mediums, including works for orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber groups, jazz ensembles and instrumental soloists. She also serves as a clinician and adjudicator for high schools, honors bands and jazz festivals throughout the United States Her compositions have been performed and recorded by jazz ensembles worldwide, and are published and available through Sierra Music Publications, Inc.
Patricia completed her Bachelor of Music degree in Composition from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 1985. While pursuing an advanced composition degree at the University of Minnesota, she assisted in the Electronic Music Department and has over 15 years of experience in the creation, recording and production of original soundtracks for broadcast and corporate multimedia events that have been distributed worldwide.
Patricia has received awards for her compositions and arrangements from Down Beat Magazine, the Presser Foundation, the Eastman School of Music, the International Association for Jazz Education and the Wisconsin Arts Board.
Mary Hopper is Wheaton College Emeritus Professor of Choral Music. During her 43 years of teaching at Wheaton she directed the Women’s Chorale and the Men’s Glee Club and served as Chair of the Performance Area of the Conservatory of Music. Both choirs have appeared at ACDA conferences. The Women’s Chorale was invited to sing at two National Conferences (Salt Lake City and New York City) and four Central Division Conferences. She has toured both nationally and internationally with both choirs. Hopper has been Artistic Director of the Hinsdale Chorale since 2018 and also serves as Minister of Music at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville, IL. She served as National President of the American Choral Directors Association and was conference chair for the ACDA 2015 National Conference in Salt Lake City. She has served ACDA on the state and division levels since 1983 when she was a member of the planning committee for the Central Division convention.
Hopper is a frequent guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator. She has conducted All-State Choirs in Indiana, Illinois, Delaware, Georgia, New York, Idaho, Wisconsin and Louisiana and several Women’s Choir festivals including both Southern and Western ACDA Division Women’s Honors Choirs. In 2007 and 2011 Dr Hopper was a guest conductor, mentor and plenary speaker at the International Summer School in Choral Conducting sponsored by the New Zealand Choral Federation.
She has been honored by Wheaton College with a Senior Teaching Achievement Award and the Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. In 2014 Illinois ACDA awarded her the Harold A. Decker Award in recognition and appreciation of the significant contribution she has made to choral music. In 2018 Hopper was given the Stace M. Stegman Award for service to the choral profession by Central Region ACDA.
Daniel Bara is the John D. Boyd UGA Foundation Professor of Choral Music and the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia where oversees seven university choral ensembles as well as the graduate choral conducting program. His university choirs have performed by juried invitation for state, regional, and national conventions of ACDA, MENC, and IMC. In spring of 2014 The UGA Hodgson Singers won the Grand Prix at the International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria and performed at the ACDA Southern Division Convention in Jacksonville, FL. His former MM and DMA conducting students now hold collegiate conducting appointments at Susquehanna University, New England Conservatory, Miami University of Ohio, University of Idaho, William Jewell College, as well as heads of church and school choral music programs throughout the country.
Prior to his appointment at UGA, Dr. Bara was the Director of Choral Activities at East Carolina University, where he received the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching, and released two internationally distributed choral recordings, Greater Love (2007) and Eternal Light (2010) with Gothic Records. In 2001was a winner of the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize given at the Eastman School of Music, and the ACDA National Student Conducting Competition (Graduate Division) awarded at the National Convention in San Antonio, TX.
Dr. Bara is a past-president of NC-ACDA, has held the Artistic Directorship of the New York State Summer School of the Arts – School of Choral Studies (2007-2009), and has served as conductor of the World Youth Honor Choir at Interlochen Arts Camp (2004-2006). He is in regular demand as a guest conductor and clinician, having conducted all-state and honor choirs in 17 states and Carnegie Hall, and has served as clinician for conferences sponsored by ACDA, AGO, and other school and church musical organizations.
Dr. Bara holds the DMA degree in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, organ and conducting degrees from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. He is the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Youth and Student Activities for the Southern Division Chapter of ACDA and has served on conference planning committees for the 2012 and 2016 Southern Division conferences. At UGA, Dr. Bara conducts the UGA Hodgson Singers, the University Chorus, and oversees the graduate conducting student recital choir, The Repertory Singers.