Claudia Bigler – Artistic Director & Cantate Choir Director
Claudia Bigler is recently retired from 24 years of directing choral music at Box Elder High School, in Brigham City, Utah. Prior to her tenure at Box Elder, she taught in the Carbon School District in Southeastern Utah for six years. She also directed a 100 voice children’s choir, The Music Company, in Brigham City for 6 years, before moving to Price. She has taught Middle School, Junior High School, and High School, and has served as a music consultant/teacher for the Northern Utah Home School Association, working with elementary students. She has loved teaching every age.
Ms. Bigler has served as Choral Vice-President of the Utah Music Educators Association, and is a past State President of Utah ACDA. She is currently working as a member of the UHSAA State Adjudication Committee. She has served twice as a guest director for the Utah State Women’s Honor Choir, the Utah State Junior High School Honor Choir, the Cache Children’s Choirfest, the Clark County, Nevada, Honor Choirs, and numerous district honor choirs. She continues to direct Honor Choirs around the west by invitation. She has twice been a director for the Utah Ambassadors of Music European Tour. Her choral groups have performed for Region ACDA Convention, and for the UMEA Convention.
In 2012, Ms. Bigler was recognized with the Superior Accomplishment Award, from UMEA. In the 2014-15 school year, Ms. Bigler was named Outstanding Music Educator by the Utah Music Educators Association. She was also given the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Utah High School Activities Association, and went on to receive the same award for Section 7, which includes California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii. She is a published composer, with several pieces in print.
Ms. Bigler is married to Jeff Bigler, (a first tenor) and she and her husband were recently retired from singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, having reached the out-to-pasture age of 60.
Brian Petersen - Chorale Choir Director
Mr. Brian Petersen is a native of the Bear River Valley. He graduated from Bear River High in 1975. His professional teaching career spanned 36 years and he retired in 2018. Mr. Petersen holds a Bachelor of Music and a Masters of Education in Secondary Music from Utah State University.
Mr. Petersen has served as an adjunct instructor of voice at USU, 1986-1987. He has studied voice with William Ramsey, John Jennings, Marshall Hill, Carol Ann Hill Modesitt, and Will Kesling. He’s studied choral conducting with Carl Ashby, Will Kesling, Craig Jessop, and Mack Wilberg.
Mr. Petersen was the director of choral and vocal music at Preston High School, 1982-1985 and Director of choral and vocal activities at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, 1987-1995. Then he worked as the director of choirs and as a Spanish teacher at Bear River Middle School, 2012-2018, and director of choral and vocal activities and as a Spanish teacher at Bear River High School in Garland, Utah, 1995-2018.
Mr. Petersen is a published composer and arranger of numerous vocal, choral, and instrumental works. He was a member of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, 2001-2007. He served as the guest conductor and clinician for the All-State Men’s Honor Choir in 1999 and has conducted numerous honors choirs in Utah and Idaho. Mr. Petersen was awarded the 1994-1995 Teacher of the Year at Mountain View High School.
Mr. Petersen is married to Carol Jean Funk Petersen. They are the parents of seven daughters and the grandparents of twelve. He is a member of the USU Old Main Society and has been the owner and manager of a research orchard in collaboration with the USU College of Agriculture since 2007.
Shayla Seegmiller - Cadet Choir Director
Shayla graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education. She loves the enthusiasm and joy that working with children brings into her life. During her time at USU, she sang with the USU Chamber Singers. At Boise State, she sang with the Boise State Meister Singers. She knows the importance of representing and enriching the local community with choir.
Shayla loves sewing, knitting, crocheting, and most of all spending time with her one year old son, Henry, and husband, Ethan.
Melody Francis - Caprice Choir Director
Melody is a graduate of Utah State University and certified public school teacher. She has completed all three levels of the Kodaly Course for Children’s Music Education and level 1 of Orff Musicianship Training.
Ewa Wilczynski - Cadenza Choir Director
Ewa Wilczynski has a Masters degree in Music Education from Marie Curie University in Poland. She has obtained Orff-Schulwerk Teachers Training Certification (Levels 1-3) from Utah State University and completed the International Summer Course 2014 in Carl Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. More recently, she completed the 2017 Early Childhood Music Professional Development Course (Level 1) in the Gordon Institute for Music Learning at Temple University. Ewa is an experienced preschool music teacher and has taught flute, piano, and music theory for over 30 years in Poland, New Jersey and Utah. She is currently on the faculty of the USU Youth Conservatory and teaches music at the Stokes Nature Center Preschool, We Friends Preschool and offers private lessons in her studio. She has presented at Utah Early Childhood Conference, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah Chapter of American Orff-Schulwerk Association. Ewa is also a founder of the program "Music for the Small and Tall" where she teaches early childhood music and the movement classes. She is a member of the Utah Flute Association and serves on the board of the Utah Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association.
Leslie Timmons - Orff Specialist and Professor of Elementary Music Education
LESLIE TIMMONS, Associate Professor, is responsible for the flute studio and elementary music methods in the Music Department, Caine College of the Arts, at Utah State University. She is flutist with the American Festival Orchestra and has performed with Lansing Symphony, San Luis Obispo Symphony, Pacific Repertory Opera, and Utah Festival Opera.
As an Orff Schulwerk specialist she has been on the staff of the Cache Children's Choir since her appointment in 1991. She has worked extensively in elementary schools as an Artist-in-Residence with both the Utah Arts Council and the Utah State Office of Education and has served on the national boards of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and the American Recorder Society. She directs teacher education courses on the Logan campus each summer and is a clinician for workshops across the country. In 1999 the Utah Music Educators Association designated her "Utah's Outstanding Music Educator".
Leslie is a founding member of the USU faculty woodwind quintet, Logan Canyon Winds. As an ensemble they have commissioned numerous works that engage young audiences in active participation during concerts, sometimes involving students directly in performance. These include works by Professor Emeritus Dennis Griffin, Philip Parker and Libby Larsen. Their most recent work for double quintet, "Sacred Women" by composer Jeff Scott, was premiered at the National Flute Association convention in Las Vegas in 2012.
Her duo ~AirFare~ with clarinetist Nicholas Morrison toured under the auspices of the Utah Performing Arts Tour, as an American Cultural Specialist Abroad and as a representative of the U.S. Department of State and is listed on the Utah Arts Council Arts Education roster on Now Playing Utah. Teaching and performing activities have taken them across the United States and to Haiti, Netherlands, Central America, and the Navajo Nation in southeastern Utah.
Leslie was awarded a Fulbright grant for post-graduate study at the Orff Institute/Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and was active in establishing the first Utah Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. She is currently serving as Vice President for Elementary Music on the board of the Utah Music Educators Association.
Sadie Belle Merkley - Horrigan Scholar & Chorale Assistant
Sadie Belle Merkley has been involved in music all throughout her schooling career. She is currently a junior at Utah State University studying Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Education. She attended Box Elder High School and was a part of their Arioso, Concert, and Madrigal Choirs. While participating in many choirs, she also received the highest awards three years running at State Solo Ensemble as a solo performer. Currently, she is involved in Utah State University’s Chamber Singers, Logan Institute Singers, Utah State University Choral Scholars, and many jazz and pop related performing groups.
Outside of music, she loves to hike, read, travel, paint, and eat as many bags of tortilla chips as possible.
Jennifer Wilkes - Accompanist
Erin Huld - Accompanist
Jan Jenkins - Administrative Director
Jan Jenkins grew up in a home filled with music. She has played the piano most of her life and regularly accompanies both vocalists and instrumentalists. Mrs. Jenkins played the flute and piccolo in high school and studied organ with Dr. James Drake while at USU. Mrs. Jenkins holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Statistics and M.S. in Industrial Mathematics from Utah State University.
For the past 14 years, Mrs. Jenkins has volunteered extensively with the PTA for schools in the Cache County School District serving as school and council presidents, treasurer, Legislative VP, and school, council, and region Reflections chairs. She also founded and chairs a science fair for Lincoln Elementary. Through her volunteer work, Mrs. Jenkins discovered her love for leadership and management.
Mrs. Jenkins and her husband, Todd, are the parents of four children. Mrs. Jenkins loves to read, gardens extensively, and is always interested in a new project.