Tri-State High School Honor Choir Festival

The Performing Arts Department is pleased to invite you to participate in the Morningside College Tri-State High School Honor Choir Festival to be held on Sunday, January 20, and Monday, January 21, 2019.

The purpose of this event is to challenge your finest singers by preparing and performing exceptional choral literature at the highest level.

We are pleased to welcome Stacey Gibbs and Elaine Hagenberg to Morningside. They have achieved national and international recognition as choral composers, and we look forward working with them and performing their music!

The Festival Choir will perform four choral selections that should be purchased prior to the festival. 

  • Great Day - Gibbs
  • Refuge - Hagenberg
  • The Music of Stillness - Hagenberg
  • Down By the Riverside - Gibbs

The final concert on Monday evening will also feature the Sioux Falls Roosevelt Concert Choir, under the direction of Robin Starks Holcomb. 

Here are a few of the festival highlights:

Sunday, January 20  

  • Evening music rehearsals and sectionals
  • Evening performance featuring The Morningside Choir 
  • Free on-campus housing provided (if needed)
  • Evening of activities with Morningside music student hosts

Monday, January 21  

  • Music rehearsals and director clinics with Stacey Gibbs and Elaine Hagenberg
  • Director masterclasses with Gibbs and Hagenberg
  • Morningside College choral or instrumental scholarship auditions
  • Festival Concert at 7:00 p.m. featuring the Festival Chorus and the Sioux Falls Roosevelt Concert Choir

Directors may nominate up to four (4) SATB quartets per school in grades 10-12: 4 sopranos, 4 altos, 4 tenors, and 4 basses. For balance, it is suggested that each school nominates full quartets, but it is not required. Instead, nominating your finest and most qualified students should be of the highest priority. Students will be selected based on the director’s recommendation and prior musical experience and excellence and will be notified of their acceptance in early-December. 

This event will fill up very quickly and student preference will be given on a first come, first served basis. Please nominate your students by Tuesday, November 27th. The event entry will be $55 per student, which includes three on-campus meals. A free festival t-shirt will also be provided for each student. It is preferred that students attend both days. However, in select instances, a Monday-only option may be available. Please indicate your availability within the registration form.

Choral music is alive and well and Morningside College, and we look forward to hosting your students in January!

Register now!

PDF Invitation

PDF Schedule


Meet the Clinicians

Stacey Gibbs

Stacey V. GibbsStacey V. Gibbs is a prolific and highly sought-after composer and arranger. Best known for arrangements of spirituals, he is highly acclaimed for his ability to infuse new energy into familiar works without sacrificing their authenticity or power.

Maestro Gibbs' spirituals have been performed by the United States Air Force Sergeants, The St. Olaf Choir, the Stellenbosch Choir of Africa, the University of Southern California Chamber Singers, the Winston-Salem State University Singing Rams, Morehouse & the University of Michigan Glee Clubs, the Wartburg Choir and many other college, university, high school and professional ensembles both domestically and internationally.

His music has been programmed at All-State festivals, National Association of Music Educators (MENC) Festivals, the World Choir Games and regional and national American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conventions. Several of his works also appear on J.W. Pepper's Editor's Choice lists, including Didn't It Rain: The Spirituals of Stacey V. Gibbs, recorded by the Sunday Night Singers of California, and his setting of Way Over in Beulah Lan' which was performed at the 57th Inaugural Service for President Barack Obama.

Recently, two of his settings were debuted at the World Choral Symposium in Barcelona and he was also honored by five debuts at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Minneapolis. Maestro Gibbs made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in April 2017 and debuted his new works Freedom, I'm So Glad and I Wish That I Knew How It Feels To Be Free. He will present another new work From Agony to Glory: the Spiritual in 2018.

Mr. Gibbs serves as a clinician (nationally and internationally) for university, high school, professional and church choral organizations. He attended Kentucky State University where he served as student conductor. The Stacy V. Gibbs Chorale debuted in July 2016.

Elaine Hagenberg

Elaine HagenbergElaine Hagenberg's music "soars with eloquence and ingenuity" (ACDA Choral Journal). Her compositions have been awarded and performed by schools, churches, universities, honor choirs and festivals throughout the United States and abroad. Her music has been featured at the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, the Melbourne International Choral Festival in Australia, International Children's Choir Festivan in Canterbury and London, national and regional American Choral Directors Association Conferences, All State festivals as well as performances in South Africa and Asia.

Elaine graduated from Drake University and her compositions are published with Hinshaw Music, Oxford University Press, Hal Leonard, G. Schirmer and Beckenhorst Press.

Meet the Director

Dr. Ryan Person

Ryan Person is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities at Morningside College. He most recently taught and studied at Texas Tech University where he served at Graduate Associate Conductor of the Texas Tech University Choir and Women's Chorale. He additionally instructed the Texas Tech Matador Singers (men's choir) and University Singers. Person has a special interest in the growth and development of future music educators and also savors collaboration with students from all areas of study.

Prior to moving to Texas, Person led the choral music program at West High School in Iowa City, Iowa. Ensembles under his direction were featured at notable choral conferences and festivals around the Midwest, including the 2014 North Central American Choral Directors Conference.

During his 13 years as a choral conductor and educator, Person has been an active member of professional choral music organizations and has held numerous leadership positions. He has often served as a guest director, clinician and presenter and was most recently honored to co-present a choral literature session with Richard Bjella at the 2017 National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Person holds graduate conducting degrees from Texas Tech University and Michigan State University. He completed his undergraduate degree in music education at Luther College.