Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival Guest Conductor

Derrick Foxhead shot photo of Dr. Derrick Fox

2023 guest conductor

Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Distinguished Associate Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska–Omaha. He earned a BME from Arkansas State University, MM in choral conducting from the University of Missouri–Columbia, and DMA in choral conducting from Michigan State University, where he was awarded the prestigious University Enrichment Graduate Fellowship. 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.

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. Fox has held teaching residencies and workshops at the Latvian Academy of Music, Syracuse University, Michigan State University, and the University of Missouri–Columbia. He has also led performance tours through Lithuania and Estonia. In 2019, he conducted the National ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir and traveled to South Africa as a 2019 ACDA International Conductor Exchange Fellow where he led choral workshops and rehearsals in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Potchefstroom. His recent engagements include presentations at Choral Canada’s Podium Conference, the National Federation of Ghanian Choirs Inaugural Choral Conference, and the Public Administration Theory International Conference in Mexico; as well as conducting all state choirs in Oregon, Wyoming, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina, and Virginia.

As a baritone soloist, Fox has collaborated with various organizations; among them are the Arkansas Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Columbia Chorale, University of Nebraska–Omaha, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Webster University, and 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, 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 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.

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.

It is our pleasure to welcome Dr. Derrick Fox to Western Michigan University as guest conductor of the 83rd annual Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival to be held in Miller Auditorium on March 23, 2023.