Guest Directors


2023 Guest Teacher-Conductor

Fox headshot 2023
Derrick Fox
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, a MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a DMA in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, where he was awarded the prestigious University Enrichment Graduate Fellowship. Dr. 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.

Dr. 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. Dr. Fox has held teaching residencies at the Latvian Academy of Music and Syracuse University, led performance tours through Lithuania and Estonia. His recent engagements include presentations in Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, New York, South Carolina, North Dakota, Missouri and Florida; as well as conducting the Hawaii All State Choir, Alabama All State Choir, New York All State MS/JH Choir, the Wisconsin Collegiate All State Choir and the 2019 National ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir. He recently traveled to South Africa as a 2019 ACDA International Conductor Exchange Fellow where he led choral workshops and rehearsals in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Potchefstroom. 

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

Dr. 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.

2023 Collaborative Pianist

Rhonda Kwiecien
We are pleased to announce the return of Rhonda Kwiecien of Carroll University as the 2023 NextDirection collaborative pianist!!

Rhonda Kwiecien is a widely recognized and highly respected collaborative pianist in the greater Milwaukee area. In her 23rd year at Carroll University, where she is the senior member of the collaborative piano team, she works with students, colleagues, and choral ensembles presenting recitals and concerts. Rhonda also serves as the University Organist, playing for convocations, Baccalaureate, and other special events.

In addition to her position with Carroll University, Mrs. Kwiecien is the Keyboard Artist for First Congregational Church in Wauwatosa and the Collaborative Pianist for the Choral Music Department of Muskego High School. She has shared the stage with featured ensembles from Muskego at several choral conventions.

During her career, Rhonda has worked with and premiered compositions by renowned composers Vijay Singh, Joseph Martin, Craig Hella Johnson, Eric Barnum, Jim Bassi, Robert Harris, Paula Foley Tillen, and Zachary Moore. As a pianist for the Wisconsin NATS competitions, she has traveled state-wide to play for both semi-finalists and finalists. Mrs. Kwiecien is also a board member for the Brew City Opera in Milwaukee. She and her husband are long-time residents of Waukesha.