We give thanks for Sister Veronica Ann Baxter (1928-2014), remembered for her innovative leadership of Marylhurst from 1974 to 1984, when the university transitioned to a co-educational college of lifelong learning.
Marylhurst University recently hired Dr. Justin Smith as the new Director of Choral Activities. Dr. Smith will lead the choir and teach in the music core on campus. He will be serving as RS Chair in Collegiate Activities for the Oregon Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, for which he will plan and attend the organization's summer conference, attend board meetings, write articles for their state journal, and revitalize the Collegiate Choral Festival.
He is also currently organizing a new Choral Union—a chorus open to students, faculty, staff and community members. This upcoming year they will perform three concerts, including the West Coast premiere of Misa Mexicana by Mexico City composer Jesus Echevarria.
Dr. Smith just finished serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where he conducted the Concert Women's Chorus and the University Men's Chorus. Previously, he served as Director of Music at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston, where he conducted and supervised four ensembles, including the well-regarded St. Philip Choir.
In the summer of 2010, he founded the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir, a select ensemble of thirty-eight accomplished singers. The Houston Cecilia presented the Houston premiere of Leonard Bernstein's MASS in the spring and performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Dr. Smith holds the DMA in Choral Conducting from the Moores School of Music. He is
a noted scholar of American choral music of the twentieth century, having been published
twice in Choral Journal.
He was the recipient of prestigious Moores School Fellowships for several years, and was also inducted into Pi Kappa Lamda while at UH. Prior to coming to Houston, Dr. Smith taught and conducted in Boston for many years, serving as Music Director of the Braintree Choral Society and the Nashoba Valley Chorale and teaching at St. Sebastian's School. He holds further degrees in music from Wesleyan University and the University of Oregon.