Whitney Hale


College: Fine Arts

UK Junior Named Finalist in National Conducting Competition

Published: Jan 17, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2013) — University of Kentucky choral music education junior Dee Walker has been chosen as one of nine semi-finalists in the nation to compete in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Student Conducting Competition at the ACDA National Convention being held March 13-16, in Dallas, Texas.


Walker was chosen for the national competition based on his outstanding conducting and rehearsal techniques.


"We are really proud to have Dee representing the UK Choirs at this prestigious national competition," said Jeff Johnson, director of the UK Choral Activities. "It is an amazing honor to be chosen as a national semi-finalist, as only nine students were selected throughout the country. I am excited to see Dee compete in Dallas at the ACDA National Convention."


The ACDA Student Conducting Competition got its start in the 1993 ACDA National Convention in San Antonio, Texas. This year, the competition will return to Texas where Walker will have the opportunity to compete among some of the top conductors at the undergraduate level. Previous winners of the competition have gone on to become some of the leading conductors in the field.


In order to audition, all applicants had to upload an audition video to YouTube displaying their abilities by conducting a choir through two compositions, the first being a sacred 17th or 18th century work, and the second being a secular composition from the 19th, 20th or 21st century.


Walker submitted an audition video of himself conducting the UK Chorale, a mixed choral ensemble. The first work he conducted was “Hallelujah, Amen" from "Judas Maccabeus" by G.F. Handel, and his second work was called “Earth Song” by Frank Ticheli. The two pieces showed different aspects of Walker's conducting talents.


In the semi-final round of the ACDA competition, Walker will be given eight minutes to conduct/rehearse the choir and will be scored on conducting technique, interpretation, and rehearsal technique.


For Walker, home is Franklin, Ky., where he has been conducting since he was in eighth grade. Walker was drum major of his middle school band and high school marching band his senior year.


"It feels amazing to be selected as a semi-finalist. To be one of nine people in the whole country is pretty cool," said Walker, who also expressed thanks to his teachers, Johnson and Lori Hetzel, associate director of UK Choral Activities; the choral teaching assistants; and the UK Chorale for all their support.


Other UK Choir talents will also be featured at the ACDA National Convention. UK Women’s Choir, under the direction of Hetzel, will perform as well as choral conducting doctoral student Julian Bryson, national winner of the Raymond Brock Composition Contest. Johnson will also appear at the conference in a special session called "Face to Face" where conference attendees can sign up to personally meet and have a conversation with selected conductors. Additionally, Elizabeth Arnold, assistant professor of voice, will present a session at the conference with Hetzel.


To view Walker's audition for the ACDA Student Conducting Competition, visit YouTube at: http://youtu.be/7nPC4ctQ3Xg.  


UK Choral Activities is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The School of Music has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, theory and music history.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu


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