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John Briggs

Location: Maryland, USA
Mr. Briggs, a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, has established a marvelous record as a university, high school, middle school, elementary school, and private school choral arts teacher in addition to his community choir.  Now retired after 42 years of public school teaching, his choirs have performed at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in New York City by request for seven consecutive years, and have presented the world premiere of Karl Jenkins' Peacemakers at Carnegie Hall.  Peacemakers is a seventeen-movement work composed for symphony orchestra, ethnic instruments, soprano soloist, adult choir, and a children's chorus.  For the premiere, Mr. Briggs was requested to conduct the children's choir for their better direction by the composer who conducted the entire ensemble.   Mr. Briggs' choirs have also performed at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D. C.  For a workshop in which the U. S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings presented the keynote address, the USDOE through the MENC requested that Mr. Briggs' choir perform, an offer only given to high school choirs.  He was also on the staff of the Prince George's Middle School Honors Chorus and also a staff member of the High School Honors Chorus which performed at the Kennedy Center annually.  Mr. Briggs' choirs have also been selected to perform for the Delaware House of Representatives and for the governor of Delaware.  His choirs also performed annually for Wilmington, Delaware's First Night (inaugural and subsequent years) and Old New Castle's Caroling on the Square.  Mr. Briggs conceived, organized and developed the Delaware All-State Junior Chorus and the Delaware Choral Festival for Middle and Junior High Schools for Public, Private, and Religious Schools, an adjudicated festival which included clinics for individual choirs.   Many of his former students were not only members of Delaware's All-State Choruses and the Prince George's County Honors Choruses, they have also been extended scholarships to attend the conservatories at Julliard, Eastman, Berkeley, Hartt, Cincinnati, Westminster, Shenandoah, among others.  In addition to the above mentioned Peacemakers, his middle school choirs have performed Barber's Agnus Dei, Thompson's Alleluia, and Gerri Hancock's Judge eternal in addition to works normally performed by high school choirs.  His smaller ensembles have performed a myriad of compositions limited to, but not solely to renaissance madrigals in their original settings and languages.  Briggs also served as Assistant Conductor of the University of Delaware's Choral Union, a large chorus that performed extended choral works sometimes with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra or other instrumental ensembles.  Mr. Briggs was requested to conduct at the Philadelphia ACDA regional convention.  Among other institutions, Mr. Briggs attended West Chester University where he earned his BS in music education with majors in tuba, voice, conducting, theory, and piano and the University of Colorado where he earned an MM in choral conducting with Drs. Lawrence Kaptein, Richard Toensing, Walter Collins, and Lynn Whitten.  He has also studied with Dr. Harry Wilkinson, Dr. Jane Shepherd, and Robert Page.  Mr. Briggs is now turning his attention to include guest conducting, publishing some of his own choral works, writing articles, clinics/workshops, and the publishing of his highly-esteemed vocal warm up exercises.

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