Benefits of the Choral Window

Bio

Herbert Washington, Founder, is the Harvey K. Smith Artistic Director, of the Grammy Award-Winning Phoenix Boys Choir. Recently, he served as Director of Middle and High School Choral Activities at Gilbert Christian Schools and Encore Director for the Chandler Children’s Choir.

With culture and roots deeply grounded in and molded by Arizona choral pedagogy, Mr. Washington is an alumnus of the Phoenix Boys Choir. Recognized for his dynamic teaching style and his ability to instill a love for the choral arts, he is a frequent choral clinician, conductor, lecturer, and adjudicator for regional festivals, workshops, and conferences around the country.

Beyond the scope of choral music education, Washington is a champion and an advocate for diverse styles of music. He has ongoing efforts in producing, composing, and arranging radio and commercial music. Mr. Washington has collaborated with leaders in the music industry, including Grammy Award-winning Tori Kelly, Jordin Sparks, Bret Michaels, and Jason Derulo.

While working toward his B.A., he was a tenor, counter-tenor, and soloist in the St. Olaf Choir, conducted by Dr. Anton Armstrong, and he directed “Voices of Praise,” the St. Olaf Gospel Choir. Upon graduating from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and earning a dual B.A. in Music and Fine Arts, Mr. Washington went on to receive an M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona. While under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Schauer and Dr. Bruce Chamberlain at U of A, Washington founded the all-male award winning ensemble, Cat-Call A Cappella before graduating in 2009.

In previous capacities, Washington served as Church Music Director at Oro Valley United Church of Christ, instructed at Teleos Preparatory Academy, and directed for the Phoenix Boys Choir, and the Phoenix Children’s Chorus.

Washington is a proud member of the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA), former ACDA Western Division Chair board member (WDACDA), and currently serves as the Repertoire and Resource Chair for Children’s Choirs & Community Youth for the Arizona American Choral Directors Association (AzACDA). Herbert resides in Phoenix with his beautiful wife, Yadira, and their sons Elian and Yadian.

Bio

Christina Swanson, Co-Founder, is the choir director at Millennium High School in Goodyear, Arizona. She conducts five choirs, class guitar, and will teach the first class piano in the AFUHSD district in the Fall of 2020. The choirs at MHS have performed at festivals around the state and region.

Prior to her position, she graduated from Northern Arizona University in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Choral Music Education. While at NAU, she performed with Shrine of the Ages Choir, High Altitude, the Harter Memorial Handbell Choir, Women’s Chorale, and served as a student conductor for University Singers.  Concurrently, she was a Conducting Associate for the Audivi Vocem Conductor’s Choir in 2017 and directed the Living Christ Lutheran Church Choir in Flagstaff for three years.  They were invited to sing at Carnegie Hall in December 2019.

Vocally, she trained with Dr. Judith Cloud and performed as a backup singer for Josh Groban in the Fall of 2018 and Sarah Brightman in the Spring of 2019. An active member of NAfME, and ACDA, she frequently attends state, regional, and national conferences. Christina and her partner, Seth, reside in the Glendale area.

“Every one of us has experienced entering into a special world. Time and space seem to be revived and readapted. We seem to breathe a new and special air. We may enter this world in varying degrees of intensity, but we know when we have experienced it. Oh, that it would last longer – that it would happen more often. It seems an unidentifiable part of us becomes reality. We become aware of a part of us that easily could go unnoticed – yes, even unaware of its existence. What has been the vehicle for this experience? The arts – and most specifically music – a musical experience!” – Weston Noble