Department of Music

Festival of Voices

51st Annual Festival of Voices

September 28, 2023

Festival of Voices Highlights

  • Two high-quality honor choirs comprised of middle school and high school students from public and private school choral programs throughout the State of Alabama.
  • Opportunities to collaborate with national and international “choral artists” on traditional and innovative choral literature.
  • Collaboration with choral ensembles from the University of Montevallo and invitational participants.
  • Experience musical achievement and develop musicianship skills through leadership, education and concert performance opportunities.
  • Participation in spotlight concerts and master classes with esteemed choral professionals.
  • In-Service Workshops & Interest Sessions
  • Choral educator workshops and interest sessions are provided to all participating choral music educators. Continuing Education Units (CEU) are provided to all with attendance of suggested sessions.

Highlights for 2023 Festival of Voices

  • Music will be provided on-site
  • New Workshops for High School and Middle School Singers!! Features Ensemble Workshop with exciting concert performance opportunities!!
  • Festival of Voices Finale Concert will be held at UM Palmer Auditorium

 2023 Festival of Voices Registration

  • Student Registration – $35.00

 2023 Festival Schedule

8:00am-8:45am                   Registration

9:00am-12:00pm                 Rehearsal

12:00pm-1:00pm                 Lunch

1:00pm-4:00pm                   Rehearsal

4:30pm                                 Guest Ensembles/Festival Finale Concert!

6:00pm                                 Depart from Campus

Festival of Voices 2023 Clinicians

2023 High School Festival Clinician:





Dr. José Rivera, Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of North Carolina- Pembroke and serves as the Coordinator of Music Education and conducts the University Chorale. Dr. Rivera has conducted numerous Honor and All-State Choirs across the US and abroad including Cantaré, Latin-American Honor Choir at the ACDA Southern Region Conference, All-State choirs in North Carolina, Florida, California, and Alabama. He has conducted and presented choral workshops at the Universidad National Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, Universidad de Las Americas (UDLAP) in Puebla, Mexico, Instituto Superior de las Artes in Havana, Cuba, Universidad de Mendoza in Argentina, and the DoDEA High School Chorus Festival in Oberwesel, Germany.

His research areas include teacher preparation and Global Music with a focus on the choral music traditions of Latin America and has presented choral clinics and lectures at state, regional, and national American Choral Director Association, and the National Association for Music Educators conferences. He has published research articles of Latin American choral music in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Choral Journal. Dr. Rivera has previously served as the ACDA Repertoire Resource for World Musics and Cultures Southern Division and National Chair.  Last year he and his partners founded La Vox Music Publishing, a choral music publisher specializing in Latin American choral music.  Dr. Rivera received his Ph.D, MM.E, and undergraduate degrees from Florida State University. He currently serves as the NC-ACDA President-elect and thoroughly enjoys preparing future music educators in North Carolina.

2023 Middle School Festival Clinician:

Heather Cantwell is currently in her 26 years of teaching choral music in the state of Alabama and her 16th year as the choral Director at Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills, Alabama where she was named the 2015–2016 Rotary Teacher of the Year and the 2022–2023, Alabama Music Educator of the Year. Originally from Hoover, Alabama, Mrs.  Cantwell received a stellar music education from a very young age. She credits, Amanda Klimko and Diana Mayhall with instilling in her a deep love of choral music and singing and for encouraging her to become a music teacher. She holds a BME and an MME from the University of Montevallo where she studied with Dr. Michael Meeks and the late Dr. Robert E Wright Jr. Mrs. Cantwell has taught choral music at both the high school and middle school levels but considers teaching middle school singers her passion.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Cantwell has held leadership positions in various professional organizations. She is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and Alabama Vocal Association (AVA). She is the current Recording Secretary, Historian, and Middle School/Junior High School R&R Chairman for the Alabama Chapter of ACDA.  She previously served on the Alabama ACDA Young Voices Committee, and the Alabama Vocal Association’s, Board of Directors as State Secretary, District Chair, and Co-Chair. Choirs under her direction have consistently received superior ratings at district and state, choral performance assessments and have performed all over the United States, including Atlanta, GA, New York City, NY, Orlando, FL, and Los Angeles, CA. She has served as a presenter, clinician and adjudicator throughout Alabama and has mentored numerous student interns. She lives in Trussville, Alabama, where her most important jobs are wife of 25 years to Bard and mom to their three children Conner (21), Cameron (18) and Kate (10).

Festival of Voices Student Scholarship

This award is in the amount of $1,000.00 ($500.00 per semester) of financial aid for the 2024 freshman year at UM, given to a high school senior who attends the Festival of Voices and auditions for the voice faculty during the event. The winner is chosen and announced at the concert, which is held at the close of the festival.

Audition procedures are as follows:

  • Students must have a letter of recommendation from their high school choral director indicating vocal potential, work habits, and contributions to their high school choral program.
  • Students should prepare two (2) selections to be performed for the voice faculty. These pieces should be of contrasting style and should show the student’s musical potential. The suggested repertoire may be found on the auditions web page of the University of Montevallo Department of Music.
  • No recorded accompaniments should be used. A qualified accompanist will be provided for the audition.
  • The winner of the audition is expected to enroll as a voice major at UM (either music education or performance) the following year.