Bradley L. Almquist, Professor and Director of Choral Activities in the Department of Music here at Murray State, has had an especially prolific and rewarding career to date. In addition to his excellent teaching, Professor Almquist is extremely active as a conductor and consultant for our region. Below are some examples of Professor Almquist accomplishments.
About Bradley Almquist:
Conductor of the Paducah Symphony Chorus
Professor Almquist began as conductor of the Paducah Symphony Chorus in 1997. The Chorus is an auditioned ensemble of adult singers from the region and includes singers from Kentucky, Illinois, and Tennessee. The Chorus rehearses on Sunday afternoons in Paducah. They perform two concerts with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra each season, the popular Holiday Concert in December and a Masterworks concert featuring one of the standard choral/orchestral masterworks. The Spring 2016 performance included Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and the Spring 2017 performance will feature Brahms Requiem. The Chorus also performs at the annual “Made in America” concert that features choral music by American composers.
Conductor of the Paducah Symphony Children’s Chorus
Professor Almquist has been the conductor of the Paducah Symphony Children’s Chorus since January 2004. They currently have 48 children in the chorus. It is an auditioned chorus with special emphasis on building music literacy skills, performance skills, and life skills. The chorus rehearses on Thursday evenings from 6:00 – 7:30 pm in Paducah. The Paducah Symphony Children’s Chorus is open to children from grades 3- 7. Once their voices change, they may move into the Paducah Symphony Youth Chorus. They sing a wide variety of repertoire including several languages. There are typically 10 – 12 performances each year with performances for various professional, civic, and service organizations. In addition, they perform during the annual “Made in America” concert and two Symphony Showcase concerts each season, one in December and the other in either April or May. The Paducah Symphony Children’s Chorus will be performing an invitational concert for the Kentucky Music Educators Association Annual In-Service in Louisville, KY in February 2017.
Conductor of the MSU Town and Gown Chorale
The Town and Gown Chorale is a blended choral ensemble of students, teachers, and community members. Rehearsals are on Monday evenings from 6:30 – 7:45 pm. They perform two concerts each semester of the academic year as well as the community July 4th celebration with the Community Band. We currently have 38 singers from all over the region in our choir.
Consultant to the McCracken County Public Schools
Since 2012, Professor Almquist has served as a consultant to the McCracken County Schools in their Gifted and Talented program for High Music Aptitude. As such, he provides screenings for all of the 4th-grade students, identifying students with high musical aptitude. Professor Almquist also provides instruction for the students in music literacy, music composition, improvisation, and performance.
In the area of music literacy, the children were taught to read and compose music as well as music dictation, writing music that they hear. The 6 classes of students received 45 minutes of intensive music instruction each week at their respective elementary schools. The High Aptitude classes instruction culminated in a composition project in which each student composed a 3-part composition, setting a favorite nursery rhyme to rhythm. They rehearsed and performed their compositions in class with the other students serving as ensemble members and audience.
This work has made Professor Almquist a much more efficient Aural Skills teacher for our university music majors since it has reinforced the nature of music skill acquisition as language skill acquisition. By the following the same sequence of learning activities, our music students are developing greater skills at a faster pace in the area of Aural Skills. In addition, it has informed Professor Almquist’s rehearsals with his choirs, as well as his methods and music education graduate classes.