Patrick Walkders, La Jolla Symphony & Chorus

ABOUT Patrick Walders, choral director

A native of Buffalo, NY, Patrick Walders maintains an active career as a professional vocalist, music educator, church musician, clinician, and conductor. Joining the faculty in August 2011 as Director of Choral Studies at San Diego State University, he was charged with building the undergraduate and graduate choral program. Now an Associate Professor, he conducts the Aztec Concert Choir, SDSU Chamber Choir, and oversees the University Chorus. He leads a thriving graduate program in Choral Conducting that offers the Masters of Music degree and Artist Diploma. Graduating students honored him in 2013 and 2014 as the Most Influential Faculty Member in the School of Music and Dance. In 2015, Patrick earned the California Music Educators Association Choral Educator Award for the state of California.

Off-campus, he and his wife Katie founded the San Diego Pro Arte Voices, a professional chamber choir and non-profit organization engaging professional artists of all disciplines for the advancement of the arts in San Diego. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the annual San Diego Summer Choral Festival & Conducting Workshop designed to give teachers, church musicians, students, amateurs, and professionals a high-quality summer choral performing outlet and conducting experience.

Patrick has led Honors Choruses and workshops in every corner of the United States. His international conducting experience includes teaching and guest conducting in Austria, England, Germany, and the Czech Republic. In 2016-2017, he will conduct the 2016 MACCC 2-Year College Honors Chorus in California, the 2016 New York All-State Women’s Chorus and return to Salzburg, Austria to headline the Goldegg Seminar für Chorleitung und Chorgesang 2017 – a workshop for vocalists, conductors, and teachers.

Before moving to San Diego, he was Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University for seven years where he built the largest choral program in Virginia that included over 120 voice majors and a full studio of graduate conducting students. He served on the committee that founded the first DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) curriculum in the Commonwealth as well as the planning committee for the state-of-the-art Forbes Center for the Arts that changed the face of the campus and culture of the region. He served as President for the Virginia American Choral Directors Association from 2009-2011 and sat on the planning committee that coordinated their annual Voices United summer conference for seven years. He was especially privileged to advise and cultivate the student ACDA chapter at JMU responsible for their annual Choralfest – the largest, two-day, on campus, High School choral festival in the state and their annual Men’s Chorus Invitational which brought upwards of 200 high school men to campus to sing along side of collegiate men.

For five seasons, he was the Associate Conductor of the National Philharmonic Chorale and Artistic Director of the National Philharmonic Singers based in Washington, DC and made his National Philharmonic debut conducting Handel’s Messiah in 2006 earning positive reviews from The Washington Post.

As a professional baritone soloist and consort artist, Patrick has performed throughout the northeastern United States and southern California. He sings with the Bach Collegium San Diego and The Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival and freelances. He carries a small private voice and conducting studio. Patrick specializes in Vocal Pedagogy as it pertains to ensemble settings and is an avid conducting pedagogue. His dissertation titled, Vocal Pedagogy and Applications for Conductors Not Trained in Singing, is proving to be a valuable resource (found online) for vocalists as well.

When time allows, he enjoys arranging choral music for small and large vocal forces. His setting of Coventry Carol for SSATB choir, soprano solo, and optional handbells was published by Shawnee Press.

Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Fredonia, a master's degree in choral conducting from the Westminster Choir College and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Maryland- College Park. He taught public school (7-12th grade) in western New York, and is passionate about teaching future music teachers, enabling them to be significant ambassadors not only for choral music, but also for all the Arts.

Patrick lives with his wife Katie, and daughter, Tallis Elizabeth, in La Mesa, California. Succeeding David Chase is an honor and a humbling privilege. He is grateful for the opportunity to be a member of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus family and looks forward to many years of making music and lasting friendships.