Choreography - Anne Chapman
Anne Chapman has been singing since birth and dancing since she could walk. It was the natural progression of development growing up in the home of music educators. By middle school, she was earning honors as a vocalist and dancer, and by high school, she was teaching at the dance studio, choreographing show choirs, and singing at National ACDA Conventions. Through her college years at Baylor University, Anne remained active in choral and dance endeavors while earning a degree in Education.
Anne taught second grade in Texas and Kindergarten in Iowa, but requests for her expertise as dance instructor, dance team coach, musical and show choir choreographer finally resulted in her transitioning from classroom educator to performance educator.
Anne’s studio pupils have been awarded regional and national honors, her dance teams have been crowned State Champions, her show choirs consistently rank at the highest levels in competition, and her skill as an adjudicator and clinician have provided her with numerous opportunities to serve as show choir camp choreographer, guest speaker at conventions and symposiums, and adjudicate competitions nationwide. Anne is a consummate performance educator; committed to the Art, yet devoted to the learning that occurs through the Art. Anne Chapman: singing and dancing since birth; educating and inspiring young performers
for a lifetime.
Vocal - Debora Utley
Debora Utley graduated from Elmhurst College, receiving a Bachelor of Music Education Degree, with a double major in Theatre and a Certificate in Vocal Performance. She received her Master of Music from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and Master of Education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2010.
Debora received the “Outstanding Music Educator of the Year 2000” award from the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). She has been a clinician and guest conductor for various schools across the nation and Canada and was on the adjunct faculty of Elmhurst College as the Director of Women’s Chorus. In 2011, she earned the “Outstanding Contribution to Education” award from Buffalo Grove High School. Debora was selected as the choir’s guest conductor for the Township District 214 Honors Music Festival and was a nominee for the FAME Aspire Awards “Best Vocal Director” in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Debora currently serves as the ACDA Show Choir Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Midwest.
Debora’s responsibilities as Director of Vocal Music at Buffalo Grove High School include Beginning Choir, Treble Choir, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Vocal Director of the Spring Musical, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and The Expressions Show Choir. As a performer, Debora has appeared in lead roles in over 30 theatrical productions, was a featured performer at Worlds of Fun Amusement Park in Kansas City, and was a National Anthem performer for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Comets.
Critique - Craig Engstrom
Craig Engstrom is currently the choir director for the Fort Atkinson High School in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. He has held that position since 1991. He serves as the choral conductor for five co-curricular choirs, which includes three concert choirs and two competitive show choirs all of which meet on a daily basis. Mr. Engstrom has also directed and musically directed over 30 musicals for the Fort Atkinson High School and surrounding areas.
All groups have received high ratings at state level festivals. South High Street Singers have been named grand champion at four competitions within the past two years including FAME Chicago, two years running at the Monona Grove “Silver Stage” Invitational, most recently the Janesville Craig High School “Spotlight Spectacular”. They have also received best combo, best stage crew, best choreography and best vocals at several competitions. The musicals have received several awards through the Annual Tommy Awards held at the Overture Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Several students have been nominated and have received outstanding awards since the Tommy’s conception.
Mr. Engstrom is also the co-founder and one of the executive officers of the newly formed Rock River Theatre Guild located in Fort Atkinson. The RRTG is a regional theatre company that was developed to create more opportunities for regional actors, directors, musicians and technical artists.
Mr. Engstrom received his bachelor’s degree in vocal music from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and holds a master’s in education and professional development through the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. His wife Denise, and his children, Brittany, Hannah, and Ian continue to be the center and support of his life.
Critique - Matt Huth
Matt Huth is in his twenty-first year of directing vocal music in Iowa. He is on staff at Waukee Schools in Waukee, Iowa where he is one of four directors in the progressive 9-12 vocal program. High School show choirs under his direction have consistently received Grand Champion honors as well as caption awards of: Best Vocals, Best Choreography, Best Band, Best Soloists, Best Sportsmanship. Groups under Huth’s direction have been nationally recognized for their achievements. In 2014, Huth was an Aspire Award nominee for Vocal Vanguard from Fame National Show Choir Events.
Huth has served the on the Iowa Choral Directors Association Board in many capacities for thirteen years. He has held numerous positions including the 2001 Convention and Symposium Chair. He has also served as President-Elect, President, and Past-President. During his tenure on the board, Huth worked with the Iowa Department of Education on the educational reform Model Core Curriculum and 21st Century Skills and served on the K-16 Music Summit Committee. Huth also serves as the chair for the Iowa High School Music Association Liaison Committee for All-state/Contest Affairs. This committee reviews and revises policy for the all-state music festival and other state sponsored music festivals.
Matt is a graduate of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa where he earned a BME with an emphasis in voice and a minor in piano. Huth is actively persuring his Masters Degree at Morningside College as well. He was the recipient of the Paul MacCollin Distinguished Alimni Music Achievement Award in the Spring of 2015 from the Morningside College Alumni Association. He is an active clinician, guest director, and adjudicator throughout Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Kansas, Florida, and Nebraska. Matt has guest directed many ACDA district, regional, and state festivals around the Midwest.
Band - Mark Kretschmer
Mark Kretschmer (combo judge) is in his 38th year of instrumental music education. He is currently Director of Bands at Davenport West High School, a position he has held since 1980. Mark has had the opportunity to direct award-winning bands at competitions in San Antonio, Texas, Orlando, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. He has also directed bands at the intermediate and elementary levels. Mark has directed the band for West Connection, West High’s varsity show choir for the past 12 years. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa, studying under Morgan Jones, Robert Yeats, and Frank Piersol. Mark received his Masters degree in Educational Administration from Western Illinois University. He has completed post-graduate work at the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Western Illinois University. Mark and his wife Deb are the proud parents of Steven and his wife Ellie who reside in Overland Park, Kansas, Kelly, the performing arts curriculum specialist for Des Moines Public Schools, and Molly, a junior who is a member of West Connection, and grandparents to Charlie!
Choreography - Jeni Donahue
Jeni Donahue (Choreographer) is a professional choreographer from Joliet who earned her BFA in Dance and Vocal performance from Columbia College. Jeni has been dancing since age 6 and choreographing professionally for 25 years. She has worked with all age levels and abilities and has been heavily involved in every aspect of dance including Musical Theatre, Pom squads, competitive cheerleading and dance troupes, color guard, music videos and show choir. Her groups, in all areas, have won numerous awards for choreography, design and visual effect. Jeni is sought after as a clinician, adjudicator and guest speaker at competitions and events throughout the United States. She is currently on staff for over 47 High Schools, 20 Universities and 12 various Theatre companies all over the U.S. Jeni was honored to choreograph Illinois All State productions of Ragtime (2005), Urinetown (2010) & Into the Woods (2011). She has also recently gotten into directing as well and has directed productions of Rocky Horror and American Idiot regionally. She is very excited to return to work with Brightside for her 5th season.
Vocal - Allen Chapman
Allen Chapman has taught vocal music at every level, elementary through college, in a remarkable career spanning more than four decades. Allen’s choirs appeared on twelve divisional and national MENC and ACDA convention programs. He and his late wife, Sandra, directed ten concert tours of Europe. His show choirs were competition finalists and champions across the Midwest and he was a co-founder of the Iowa Show Choir Camp.
Chapman was named one of the Top 12 Music Educators in Iowa by MENC, he and Sandra were given the prestigious McCowen Award by ICDA, and Show Choir Nationals established the Allen and Sandra Chapman Excellence in Education Award which is presented annually during their competition at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Most recently, Allen was recognized by the Iowa High School Music Association with the National Federation Award of Merit. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to music education at the local, state and national levels. Professionally, Chapman has chaired the IHSMA committee that founded the State Show Choir Competition, the Iowa All-State Chorus, and served for ten years as National ACDA Repertoire and Standards Chair. He continues to maintain an active schedule as director, clinician, and adjudicator nationwide.