Arts & Culture

UK Choral Director Receives Leadership Award


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2011) Lori Hetzel, associate director of choirs/choral music education at the University of Kentucky, has been named the 2011 recipient of the Robert K. Baar Award, presented annually by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) at the university level to an outstanding leader in choral music and music education in the Commonwealth. 

"The award is given to one choral director in the state who exhibits outstanding leadership in choral music and promotes music education in the state of Kentucky," says Jefferson Johnson, music professor and director of choral activities at the UK School of Music. "This is a huge honor for Lori, our School of Music, and our choral program." 

Although the UK School of Music has an award-winning faculty, Hetzel was surprised she had won. "It was a total shock! I have only seen the award go to people with a lot more years of experience than me," says Hetzel.

At UK School of Music, Hetzel serves as the director of the UK Women's Choir and the a cappella group Paws and Listen. She also teaches graduate and undergraduate secondary methods courses and undergraduate conducting. In conjunction with the undergraduate choral methods courses, Hetzel has pioneered a unique partnership program with a local high school. As a result of this program the choral music education students at UK are receiving "hands on" experience and immediate feedback early in their curriculum.

Under Hetzel's direction, the UK Women’s Choir has been invited to perform at both National Association for Music Education (MENC) and ACDA Southern Division conventions. In 2003 they were featured at the ACDA National Convention in New York City. The choir has also toured internationally including performances at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna. In June 2009, the choir took their second international tour with performances at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and St. Marks Cathedral in Venice.

Among her many accomplishments, Hetzel was the recipient of the UK "Great Teacher of the Year" award in 2000 and has published articles in College Music Symposium and Southeastern Music Education Journal.

A native of Wisconsin, Hetzel received her bachelor's degree in music education, summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, and she received her master's degree from the University of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory, where she studied conducting with Eph Ehly. Her doctoral degree is in choral conducting from Michigan State University where she studied with Charles K. Smith. An active clinician and guest conductor, Hetzel has most recently conducted All-State and Honor choirs in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee and South Carolina.

When asked about her experience at UK, Hetzel says, "It is truly an honor to stand in front of such talented, young women. We make glorious music together and share special friendships."

The award-winning UK School of Music is one of four academic programs at the UK College of Fine Arts.

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