Choral Student Leadership Conference

Friday, June 21, 2024   
9 AM - 4 PM

Central Michigan University School of Music

Dr. Derrick Fox

Professor of Choral Music and

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Creative Endeavors
Michigan State University

Student leadership in the choral classroom provides the opportunity for emerging leaders to set the pace musically, organizationally and inspirationally within their choir community. Recognizing the potential of young people early offers them time to consider the type of leadership style that fits with their values and beliefs. Consciously considering the leadership styles that they are experiencing in their daily lives creates an awareness of effective leadership and its impact. MSVMA has created a conference experience designed to encourage and develop the leadership skills and knowledge of our high school and college student leaders. MSVMA members will serve as facilitators for related sessions.


Provide an inspirational and educational experience for high school and college students focused on examining, developing and enhancing leadership skills. 


Students will:

  • Create a personal strategic plan for living leadership that includes specific goals.

  • Learn to communicate in ways that motivate and encourage listeners.

  • Explore the dynamics and the strategies of win-win negotiation and conflict solution.

  • Examine the power of teamwork and how to encourage collaboration in a group.

  • Evaluate personal leadership strengths and identify those areas that they wish to improve.

Students will apply these outcomes in their choral experience to: 

  • Lead effectively in formal and informal roles in their choirs, ensembles and sections.

  • Interact with peers and professionals from other schools and develop confidence in their skills as leaders and as followers.

  • Understand the art of singing in community and be able to articulate their standards of excellence to other singers.

  • Recognize the potential for their leadership roles in future ensembles at the university and community levels.

  • Connect with MSVMA mentors and gain an understanding of MSVMA and its mission.


High school directors may may register up to 10 students to attend the conference. Please complete the registration form and submit your payment by credit card or check by June 1, 2024.

Cost is $50 per student and will include CSLC Conference materials and lunch. 

Invoices and checks should be mailed to:


P.O. Box 1131
Big Rapids, MI  49307

Choir Director/School Responsibilities
Directors/Schools are responsible to provide one adult/chaperone for students attending. Since students will be involved throughout the day, contact information for the “chaperone” will be requested in case there is an emergency and they need to be reached during the conference. If the choral director is attending the CSLC, they can be listed as the “chaperone” on the registration form.

*Registration fees are non-refundable

Dr. Derrick Fox, Headliner

Dr. Derrick Fox is a Professor of Choral Music and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Creative Endeavors at Michigan State University. Prior to MSU, he was the Director of Choral Activities and Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Assistant Professor of Choral Music at Ithaca College.  Dr. Fox has taught at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels. His conducting experiences have included singers from upper elementary choirs through collegiate and community choirs. Recently, he was awarded the 2021 Bryan R. Johnson Service Award by the Nebraska Music Educators Association and the 2022 University of Nebraska Omaha Award for Distinguished Research/Creative Activity.

Dr. Fox has conducted all state choirs, led international, national and regional choral concerts/residencies and presented professional development workshops across the United States and internationally. His professional workshops focus on assessment in the choral classroom, building classroom community, rehearsal strategies, choral conducting techniques and shape note singing in the African American community. Dr. Fox has held teaching residencies at the Latvian Academy of Music and Syracuse University, led performance tours through Lithuania and Estonia. His recent engagements include presentations in Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, New York, South Carolina, North Dakota, Missouri and Florida; as well as conducting the Hawaii All State Choir, Alabama All State Choir, New York All State MS/JH Choir, the Wisconsin Collegiate All State Choir and the 2019 National ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir. He recently traveled to South Africa as a 2019 ACDA International Conductor Exchange Fellow where he led choral workshops and rehearsals in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Potchefstroom.  

As a baritone soloist, Dr. Fox has collaborated with various organizations; among them are the Arkansas Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Columbia Chorale, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Webster University and the Espaço Cultural (Brasilia, Brazil). He can be heard singing selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on the compact disc In This Hid Clearing, available on the Naxos Classical Music label.

As an author, Dr. Fox has written articles for many organizations and was a contributing author in the Hal Leonard/McGraw Hill choral textbook Voices in Concert. His compositions and arrangements are published by Hal Leonard and Brilee Music. His book, Yes You Can: A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Choirs is published by Carl Fischer. He launched The Derrick Fox Choral Series with Music Spoke to publish works by and about marginalized and minoritized people. He created the Professional Choral Collective (PCC) to collect and create learning activities and teaching strategies for choral music educators around the world to use during the 2020 Coronavirus virus pandemic and beyond. He also partnered with the Country Music Association Foundation to create the Unified Voices for Music Education Initiative which provides learning activities for instrumental and ]elementary music educators. 

Dr. Fox serves on the advisory board for the Sound Spirit, a research lab and publishing initiative promoting collaborative engagement with the songbooks that sound America’s musical landscape. He is also a member of the advisory board for the Choral Singing in America documentary series.

Wendee Wolf-Schlarf

Choral Student Leadership Conference Coordinator

Friday, June 21, 2024

9 AM - 4 PM

Central Michigan University

1200 S. Franklin Street, 

Mount Pleasant, MI 48859


Michigan School Vocal Music Association

P.O. Box 1131

Big Rapids, MI 49307-1131

(231) 592 - 9344


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