Chadron State College
Chadron State College

High Plains Band and Choir Festival

The CSC Music Department will host the 48th High Plains Band and Choir Honor Festival on February 3-4, 2020. Eligible participants are high school students who have an interest in music, would like to further their musical knowledge, and want to have FUN making music with other students who share the same interest.

Students selected for the High Plains Band and Choir Music Festival participate in two days of rehearsals and activities culminating in a concert at the end of the second day at Chadron State College located in beautiful northwest Nebraska. Ensembles include an Honor Band, Honor Choir (SATB), Guitar Ensemble, and Keyboard Ensemble. The concert will begin at 5:00pm MST on Tuesday, February 4 in Memorial Hall Auditorium.

While students are in rehearsal, directors have the opportunity of attending reading sessions and clinics that focus on their areas of teaching expertise.



The directors for the 2020 ensembles are:

Dr. Richard Sparks, Honor Choir Guest Conductor

Richard Sparks is a conductor with a wide range of experience in both the academic and professional fields. He continues to be active as a guest conductor, workshop leader, and clinician. 

Sparks founded Seattle Pro Musica in 1973 and in seven seasons conducted over 70 different programs with three ensembles. From 1978 to 1985 he was Principal Conductor of the Pacific Northwest Bach Festival in Spokane, Washington. His academic career began  at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts from 1980-83, and then became Director of Choral Activities at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and led the Choir of the West from 1983-2001 He also conducted the Seattle Symphony Chorale for four years, preparing them for nine recordings on the Delos label including a Grammy-nominated recording of Hanson's Lament of Beowulf. He founded Choral Arts Northwest and was artistic director for 11 years, making three CDs on the Loft/Gothic label. Sparks was also Artistic Director of Pro Coro Canada, a professional chamber choir in Edmonton, Alberta, from 1999-2011.

Sparks was Professor of Music and Chair of the Division of Conducting & Ensembles at the University of North Texas for 10 years. Many of his performances can be found on YouTube, including a Vivaldi Gloria with over two million views, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and the 1725 version of the St. John Passion. Sparks led the Collegium Singers in four performances at the Boston Early Music Festival, one performance at the Berkely Early Music Festival and the 2016 NCCO Conference. 

Sparks worked with the Swedish Radio Choir in 2002, 2007, and 2008, including preparing the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem for a performance with Valery Gergiev and the Rotterdam Philharmonic which is DVD with BIS Records. He has also guest conducted the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, and he Anchorage Music Festival among many others. 

Dr. John Wojcik, Honor Band

Dr. John Wojcik is the newly appointed Director of Bands and Instructor of Brass at Chadron State College. His duties include conducting the CSC Wind Symphony, Campus-Community Symphonic Band, co-directing the Eagle Pep Band, instructing the applied brass studio and teaching courses in music education.  Wojcik received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Michigan State University, the Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from the University of Oklahoma, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Kansas.  He has had nine articles published by the The Instrumentalist magazine and has contributed a Teacher Resource Guide on Clifton Williams’s Caccia and Chorale to the 2nd edition of volume 1 in the Teaching Music through Performance in Band series.  Wojcik has presented at music conferences including performing composer Allen Molineux’s Dysfunctional Dances for trumpet and piano at the 2018 College Music Society’s Southern Conference.  He keeps an active schedule as a band clinician, guest conductor and trumpet performer.  Wojcik’s professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, College Band Directors National Association, and the National Band Association. 

Dr. Mckay Tebbs, Guitar Ensemble

For almost 20 years, Dr. Mckay Tebbs has been active in both teaching and performing on the guitar. Professor Tebbs has played in rock bands, jazz ensembles, and pit orchestras. He has performed at festivals, orchestra halls, and opened for national touring artists. He has recorded his own albums and played on film soundtracks as both a guitarist and bassist. Dr. Tebbs has performed on the Nebraska Public Radio Friday live show and was selected as a jazz guitar semi-finalist in the Wilson International Guitar Competition. Some of the artists he has performed with include Kathy Kosins, Abraham Laboriel, Joe Bagg, Ndugu Chancler, Eric Dodge, Michael Vance, Nathan Pacheco and Jenny Oaks Baker. He has served as a teaching assistant at the University of Southern California and an adjunct professor at Southern Utah University.

Dr. Brooks Hafey, Keyboard Ensemble

Dr. Brooks Hafey has been dazzling audiences with his exceptional musicianship and refined technique since boyhood. He has performed in a wide range of venues in the United States including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York City. Overseas performances include concerts in France, Italy, and Norway. In addition to his career as a soloist, Dr. Hafey is an active chamber musician, collaborative artist, and conductor. Dr. Hafey studied holds degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Florida State University and also studied at the Conservatoire Municipale de Mennecy in France under Juan Davila. Former teachers include Dr. Read Gainsford, Dr. Carolyn Bridger, and Dr. Janice Wenger. Dr. Hafey has held teaching positions at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida, and Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Chadron State College in Nebraska.