Dr. Petra Kern, music therapy faculty, contributed a chapter to Frontiers in Autism Research, published in July 2014.
Dr. Betsy Cook Weber
University of Houston
Betsy Weber is the Director of Choral Activities at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston. She holds the Bachelor of Music from North Texas State University, the Master of Music from Westminster Choir College, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Houston. In addition to overseeing the varied activities of the Moores School choral area, Dr. Weber directs the top large choral ensemble, the Moores School Concert Chorale, and also directs the University Women's Chorus. In addition she teaches various courses in conducting, choral literature, and rehearsal techniques.
Dr. Weber is highly active as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator and presenter internationally. Under her direction, Concert Chorale has sung for the national American Choral Directors' Association convention in Miami (2007), two Texas Music Educators Association conventions (2005, 2008), and for the prestigious Eesteddfod in Wales at which event Chorale won or placed in every category in which they entered (Chamber Choir/first place, Mixed Choir/second place, Youth Choir/third place).
University of Portland
Steven Peter is conductor of the Women's Chorale at University of Portland. The Women's Chorale is an auditioned choir of about 40 students and community singers. He is also a member of the music faculty at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.
Steve Peter has an over 35-year track record working with outstanding high school choirs. Most recently, he served as the Director of Choirs at Portland's Cleveland HS Choirs (1988-2006), and the Wilson HS Choirs (2007-2010). While at Cleveland, their concert choir, "A" Choir, had an 18-year string of appearances at the Oregon State Choir Championships, including first place finishes in 1997 and 2006, and numerous finishes within the state's top five. "A" Choir was selected to perform at three NW Regional MENC Conferences (1995, 2000 and 2003), for the 1996 OMEA State Convention, and at the 2006 ACDA NW Division Conference. In January 2011, Steve served as guest director of the 92-voice OMEA, "Young Men's Middle School Honor Choir", in Eugene.
Since retiring from the high school classroom in 2010, Steve has taken on two part-time/adjunct positions at the University of Portland and at Pacific University (Forest Grove). At UP, Steve works with the Women's Chorale, and at Pacific, he works with the Pacific Concert Choir (a 45-voice mixed choir). In addition to regularly directing these two fine choral ensembles, Steve is in high demand as a choral clinician, Certified State Adjudicator and has recently accepted the Board Position as Adjudication Chair for the Oregon ACDA (American Choral Directors Association).
In May 2013, Steve was a guest adjudicator for the University of Portland's, "Best of the Northwest Choral Festival", and was conductor for the prestigious, "Music in May", Festival Honor Choir in Forest Grove, OR.
Dr. Justin Smith
Justin Smith is Director of Choral Activities at Marylhurst University, where he conducts the Marylhurst Chorale and the Marylhurst Choral Union, and teaches courses in music history, aural skills and vocal technique. Before taking up his present position, he served 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. Prior to that, 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, and oversaw a thriving music program. In the summer of 2010, he founded the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir, a select ensemble of 38 accomplished singers already garnering acclaim for its excellence. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in April 2012, conducting the Fauré Requiem for MidAmerica Productions.
He holds the DMA in Choral Conducting from the Moores School of Music. He is a noted scholar of American choral music of the 20th century, having been published twice in Choral Journal on neglected choral works of Marc Blitzstein and Vincent Persichetti. Smith is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Oregon Music Educators Association. He serves as collegiate chair on the board of the Oregon ACDA chapter.
Marylhurst University/University of Portland
Jill Soltero, soprano, has had extensive experience both on the opera stage and in the concert hall. She made her operatic debut with Connecticut Opera as Anna in Nabucco, where she also sang Mimi in La Boheme, Barbarina in the Marriage of Figaro and Papagena in The Magic Flute. Additional roles include Nedda in I Pagliacci, Micaela in Carmen and Lady Billows in Albert Herring. Jill also has performed with several regional opera companies, including Arkansas Opera Theatre, Berkshire Opera and Sarasota Opera. In addition to her operatic credits, she has sung the soprano solos in the Requiem by Mozart, Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi and Te Deum by Antonin Dvorak.
Polly Hancock is a member of Vivace Voices and Fireside Carolers, as well as a former member of the Oregon Repertory Singers. She has performed in solo recitals in the western United States and Canada, and is a former director of several church choirs. Polly became a Certified Andover Educator in 2002, joining a network of teachers working to save, secure and enhance musical careers with accurate information about the body in movement.
Clackamas Community College
A dedicated and passionate musician, Kathleen has been immersed in music since her childhood. Her unique path has allowed her to work and study with musical giants such as Phil Mattson, Fareed Haque, Michele Weir, John Medeski, Billy Martin, Terence Blanchard, Gary Lindsay, Martin Bejerano and Rhiannon. She has recently accepted the Choral/Vocal Director position at Clackamas Community College and will be leading the award-winning vocal ensemble, Mainstream.
Director, Marylhurst University Music Therapy Program
Laura Beer is the director of the music therapy program of the Marylhurst Department of Music. She has extensive clinical experience as a music therapist, having trained with Clive and Carol Robbins at the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center in New York City and worked in the field for over 24 years. Her most recent clinical experience is as a music therapist in hospice care; during this time she received national recognition for her work. She is an established researcher and author in peer-reviewed journals, a published songwriter, and she serves on the Editorial Board of Music Therapy Perspectives.
Guitarist, singer, songwriter and music producer Michael Contreras has had songs published,
recorded and commercially released. The Songwriters Guild of America has featured
his songs at several music industry showcases and his songs have aired on the Dr.
Demento nationally syndicated radio show. Michael has worked for J & R Audio and currently
works at Universal Studios Hollywood as a sound mixer. He was a private music instructor
for the Eubanks Conservatory of Music and Arts in Los Angeles and was one of eight
artists selected for Art Start, a Wolf Trap Early Education program run by the Performing
Arts Center/Education Division. As a music producer, he works at many Los Angeles
recording studios including his own, Cityview Studio. He is the President of Contrerasongs,
a music publishing company, and is a member of the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA),
the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) and the American Society
of Composers Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Previously Michael was a long-standing,
contributing member of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase (LASS) and the National
Academy of Songwriters (NAS). A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music
with a Diploma in Professional Music, he once served as an alumni representative for
the college. Michael continues to actively perform as a solo artist and with his band
"Contents Under Pressure".