Dr. Felicia Barber appointed to the ISM

July 13, 2022

The Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Felicia Barber as Associate Professor (Adjunct) of Choral Conducting at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale School of Music. In this full-time faculty position, Dr. Barber will direct the Yale Camerata, Yale’s oldest town-gown collaboration in the arts, founded in 1985 by Associate Professor Emerita Marguerite Brooks. In addition, Dr. Barber will mentor graduate students in choral conducting and teach conducting to non-majors throughout the University. Finally, she will develop collaboratively and teach in a new initiative in choral music education with the intent of preparing Yale students for part-time service with children and youth in New Haven church and school choral music.

Dr. Felicia Barber joins Yale from the faculty of Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts where, for the past nine years, she served as the Director of Choral Activities. Here she conducted the WSU Chamber Chorale, University Singers, and Gospel Choir and developed programs in choral conducting, choral music education, and choral pedagogy. Prior to this, she was Director of Choral Activities at Centennial High School in Franklin, TN. With an undergraduate degree in voice from Oral Roberts University, Dr. Barber was later awarded the Master of Music in Choral Music Education from Mansfield University and a Ph.D. in Music Education and Choral Conducting from Florida State University. Her teachers include Peggy Dettwiler, Judy Bowers, and André Thomas. At FSU, her research focused on dialect in African American spirituals which culminated in the volume “A New Perspective for Use of Dialect in African American Spirituals: History, Context, and Linguistics” published in 2021 by Rowman and Littlefield Press.

Dr. Barber is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, and currently serves as the President of Massachusetts ACDA. Additionally, she is a sought-after guest conductor for numerous All-State and Honors choral festivals for junior high and high school students. She frequently lectures on topics related to choral music education, diversity in choral music, African American composers, implicit bias in classical music, and other important subjects supporting social justice.

Dr. Barber brings a wealth of experience to Yale as conductor, artist-teacher, and national leader in choral music education,” said Martin Jean, director of the ISM. “She will lead the Yale Camerata brilliantly and will help us build invaluable collaborations with our local communities and beyond.”

This Fall, Dr. Barber joins the Yale choral conducting faculty comprised of Profs. Jeffrey Douma and David Hill who both continue to serve as primary teachers to the graduate majors. Prof. Douma directs the Yale Glee Club and Yale Choral Artists and coordinates the overall graduate curriculum in choral conducting, and David Hill is principal conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Felicia Barber.