Phil Ostrander is Professor of Trombone and Bands at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he conducts the Symphony Band, teaches private trombone, and trombone ensemble. Dr. Ostrander completed his doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Ostrander received master’s degrees in both trombone and wind conducting from the New England Conservatory, as well as a bachelor’s and Performer’s Certificate from Eastman.
He has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Kansas City Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the popular chamber groups Rhythm and Brass and the Burning River Brass Ensemble. Currently, he is a member of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra in Memphis, Tennessee under Michael Stern and also Principal Trombone of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. He has also performed on Broadway shows in Minneapolis –most recently on Spamalot and the Lion King. An accomplished jazz trombonist, Dr. Ostrander has collaborated with jazz artists Maria Schneider, Jim McNeely, Jimmy Heath, Claudio Roditi and Rich Beirach. He teaches jazz and created the Trombone Workshop at the Shell Lake Arts Camp in northern Wisconsin. He has recorded on Sony Classical with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and Naxos with the IRIS Orchestra. Dr. Ostrander is a clinician for the Conn-Selmer Musical Instrument Company.
Vincent Oakes is the Artistic Director of the Chattanooga Boys Choir (CBC). CBC has performed and toured extensively under Mr. Oakes’ direction, including tours to Europe, Canada, and Cuba, as well as significant domestic appearances at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, St. Louis Cathedral Duke University Chapel, and Carnegie Hall. CBC represented the USA at the Festival Internacional de Coros por la Paz in Costa Rica in June 2019. CBC has commercially recorded with Stephen Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, and the GRAMMY‐ nominated NAXOS recording of L’enfant et les sortilèges by Maurice Ravel with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Since 2006, Mr. Oakes has also been the Director of Choral Music at The Baylor School, a grade 6‐12 independent day and boarding college preparatory school in Chattanooga. Under his direction, the choral program has more than tripled in size to include over 200 participants in four student choirs and a faculty choir. He was awarded Baylor’s Glenn Ireland Chair for Distinguished Teaching in 2015 and appointed Chair of Baylor’s Department of Fine & Performing Arts in 2019.
His professional involvement and leadership in the American Choral Directors Association has included service to the Tennessee chapter in multiple roles including President (2013‐2015). He has been an active contributor to ACDA’s Southern Region ), as well as an interest session presenter on the topics of the changing male voice and teaching choral literacy and musicianship in the choral rehearsal. In 2012, he was selected as one of seven conductors representing the United States at the inaugural ACDA International Conductor Exchange Program in Cuba and, in July 2019, he started his service as President to ACDA’s eleven‐state Southern Region.
As a conductor/clinician, Oakes has conducted numerous honor choirs and festivals throughout the United States. Additional recent conducting engagements have included the Bangkok International Choral Festival, the North Carolina Summer Institute for Choral Arts, and the VOCALIZZE Choral Festival in Lisbon, Portugal. A lifelong advocate for music in worship, he has served churches in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee and as a clinician/conductor for children and youth choirs at Lake Junaluska, Massanetta Springs, and Montreat church music conferences.
Mr. Oakes earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Florida and the Master of Sacred Music degree in Choral Conducting from Emory University. He has contributed articles to Choral Journal and a chapter in the textbook Choral Pedagogy (3rd edition) by Robert Sataloff and Brenda Smith. An advocate for choral and community partnerships, Mr. Oakes has founded several initiatives in the Tennessee Valley region, including the Only Men Aloud! Men’s Chorus festival, a biennial ecumenical community hymn festival, and the SafetySing music project for preschool‐aged children. In 2014, he started the Tennessee Valley Voices, a choir comprised of Tennessee Valley‐area arts teachers to raise awareness of the importance of music and arts education.
Dr. Stephen Benham is Professor of Music Education at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University. He has degrees from the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan (M.M.), and the Eastman School of Music (Ph.D.). At Duquesne, Dr. Benham teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and string pedagogy.
Prior to this, Dr. Benham held teaching positions in both public and private schools in Oregon, Michigan, and New York. Dr. Benham maintains a very active schedule as a guest conductor, clinician, speaker, and adjudicator, with professional appearances in nearly 40 states and more than 25 countries in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia, including more than 200 clinics, multiple residencies, and extended workshops.
Dr. Benham is in high demand as a clinician, conductor, and speaker. His areas of expertise include string pedagogy, methods, curriculum, and assessment. His research interests include cultural issues in music education, increasing access to music instruction in underserved populations, and culturally relevant pedagogy, and his work has been featured in numerous international research seminars and conferences. He is the lead author the ASTA String Curriculum: Standards, Goals, Learning Sequences for Essential Skills and Knowledge in K–12 String Programs (Published by ASTA; distributed by Alfred) and Yes You Can! The Band and Choral Director’s Guide to Teaching Strings (published by Carl Fischer). He has also authored several works for scholarly journals, handbooks, and encyclopedias, including publications by Oxford University Press and Sage Publications. He is also a member of the writing team for Alfred’s Sound Innovations: Creative Warm-ups––Exercises for Intonation, Rhythm, Bowing, and Creativity for Intermediate String Orchestra.
Dr. Benham is also an active consultant in the development of new music programs in communities without current string programs across the US, in addition to providing expertise to new music education projects in Europe and Africa. He is an internationally-recognized leader in the music education profession, having served in leadership positions in several states and is past-president of the American String Teachers Association.