Why would a doctorally prepared program director from Virginia want to pursue a Master of Music in choral conducting at Messiah University? Easy. He had more to learn.
Derrick Thompson is the Director of Choral Activities at Albright College in Reading, PA. “With my duties as a director of choral activities, it was important for me to have additional choral conducting experience.” He said. “My previous degrees are in music education or performance.”
The graduate courses had an impact on his conducting technique and knowledge, but with the additional education and experience, he was also promoted from visiting assistant professor to full-time faculty status in a director position.
One of the advantages of pursuing a degree at Messiah is its online format. “This allowed me to pursue a conducting degree without leaving my current place of employment,” said Derrick. “Knowing the degree plan was primarily virtual, I was unsure of the learning experience, especially for conducting purposes.” He said that in the first semester, he knew that he had made the right decision.
He enjoyed having the opportunity to study with Drs. Rachel Cornacchio and Joy Meade, whom he considers leaders in choral conducting. The instructors in the graduate music program provided engagement opportunities in each course that allowed him to connect with faculty and peers.
“Messiah's faculty is phenomenal,” said Derrick. “Even after my studies, I am glad to know that I can reach out for their advice.”