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Visiting Instructor of Music
Office: Hurd Campus, Brethren's House, Room 305
Music Education in the Rehearsal Setting, Observation of Music Teachers, Conductor of The Bel Canto Children's Chorus, Choral Music Arranging
Joy Ondra Hirokawa is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus. She earned a Bachelors degree with honors in Music Education from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA and a Masters degree in Choral Conducting, also from Temple University. She has completed postgraduate work in children’s choral conducting and is currently a DMA student in Music Education at Boston University. She was honored to be selected as a Conducting Fellow at the first Chorus America Orchestral Conducting Workshop for Children’s Choir Directors held in Chicago in June, 2004, and was a Conducting Associate at the 2006 Chorus America Choral-Orchestral Conducting Masterclass. Prof. Hirokawa is a frequent guest conductor and clinician, presenting regularly at MENC and PMEA conferences and conducting numerous middle school and elementary honors choirs.
In 2001, Prof. Hirokawa was awarded the high honor of 2001 Middle School Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Middle Schools Association as well as the 2001 President’s Award for Leadership in Education from the Upper Perkiomen Chamber of Commerce.
Under her direction, the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus has performed locally, nationally and internationally. The choir was a featured ensemble performing for Liberty In Motion, the celebration surrounding the moving of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The choir has had the privilege to sing under noted children’s choirs directors Jean Ashworth-Bartles, Doreen Rao, and Henry Leck to great acclaim. Most recently, the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus appeared in concert at the Eastern Division ACDA Conference in New York City in February 2006. In March 2005, the choir traveled to Baltimore as a featured performer at the Eastern Division Conference of MENC, the National Association for Music Education, having previously sung for the conference in 2001. They have also performed for the Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association Annual Conference in 2001 and 1996. The choir has been featured by the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and has sung in Carnegie Hall, New York City. Tours have taken the choir to Oregon, England, Brooklyn, Canada, Disneyworld, and Ohio. The choir had the distinct privilege of attending the Pacific Rim Children’s Choral Festival under the direction of Henry Leck in Hawaii in both 2001 and 2005. They traveled in 2007 to the Coastal Sound Festival in Vancouver, BC, where they worked with Bob Chilcott, and will be traveling to Italy in 2009. Under Prof. Hirokawa’s guidance, Bel Canto Children’s Chorus has initiated a program of commissioning new music for treble voices. Beginning with the celebration of the choir’s tenth anniversary season in 2002-03, the choir commissioned composer Nick Page to write There Something Sings. Their 2005 commission was written by master hammer dulcimer player Malcolm Dalglish, who performed with the choir in concert in February 2005. In October 2006, the choir hosted a regional children’s choral festival which featured composer Stephen Hatfield in residence, conducting several guest choirs on his own compositions. The choir launched its first Children’s Choral Festival conducted by Prof. Hirokawa in April 2004, which took place in Allentown, PA, and continues biannually. This festival was designed to provide opportunities for local students to participate in a larger scale choral festival at a local venue.
Prof. Hirokawa is also a published arranger, specializing in authentic jazz arrangements for treble voices. Her arrangement of My Favorite Things is available from Hal Leonard.