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Summer 2020 Virtual

SMIA Conference

Beauty, Simplicity, Practicality:

Developing Quality Sacred Music

in Every Parish

July 19-22, 2020

*Student Rate available

2020 Conference Presenters

William Mahrt grew up in Washington State; after attending Gonzaga University and the University of Washington, he completed a doctorate at Stanford University in 1969, with a dissertation on “The Missae ad organum of Heinrich Isaac.” He taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Eastman School of Music, and then returned to Stanford in 1972, where he teaches Medieval and Renaissance music. He has written on music and liturgy, music and poetry in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and and on Gregorian chant, the music of Machaut, Dufay, Byrd, Lasso, and Brahms. Since 1972 he has directed the Stanford Early Music Singers, which presents quarterly concerts of music from the late Middle Ages through the early Baroque; including a cycle of all the Masses of Josquin Des Pres and a series of concerts in the form of historical vespers services. He was a founding member of the St. Ann Choir in 1963, and has been its director most years since 1964; they sing Mass and Vespers in Gregorian chant on all the Sundays of the year, with polyphonic masses of the Renaissance for the holy days. He leads workshops in Gregorian chant and Renaissance sacred music and has led tours on music and liturgy to English cathedrals. He is president of the Church Music Association of America and editor of its journal, Sacred Music, the oldest continuously-published music journal in the United States. A collection of his essays, The Musical Shape of the Liturgy was published in 2012.

Jason J. Keefer is Assistant Professor and Director of Sacred Music and Principal Organist at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio; Organ Artist-in-Residence at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington, Ohio; and Director of the Sacred Music Institute of America. Dr. Keefer previously served as Adjunct Professor of Organ at Ohio Wesleyan University, Principal Organist and Director of Liturgical Music at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. Dr. Keefer holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance from West Virginia University, where he was awarded a full scholarship, a Master of Musical Arts in Sacred Music and Organ from Duquesne University, and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and Organ from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York.  Dr. Keefer studied with John Walker, David Craighead, Anne Musser Honeywell, Ann Labounsky, and Edgar Highberger; coached with French organists Pierre Pincemaille and Jean- Pierre Leguay; and studied organ improvisation with Gerre Hancock, Ann Labounsky, and Jean- Pierre Leguay. He also studied conducting with Brady Allred and Kathleen Shannon and Gregorian chant with Fr. Stephen Concordia.


David Baskeyfield is an internationally-regarded organist recognized for his “masterful artistry” (The Diapason, 2019) and "astounding virtuosity and musicality” (Choir and Organ, 2020). He was an organ scholar at St John’s College, Oxford; graduate work followed at the Eastman School of Music, where his doctoral research explored the boundary between written composition and improvisation among the Parisian organist-composers taught by Vierne and Dupré. He earned first prize at the Canadian International Organ Competition (incidentally taking three other prizes), St. Albans, Miami, and the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation, all with audience prize and has been broadcast a number of times on American Public Media’s Pipedreams, as well as NPR’s With Heart and Voice. He is represented in North America by Karen McFarlane Artists, Inc.


Richard K. Fitzgerald is currently the Director of Music and Organist of Saint Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio and previously served the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC as Assistant Director of Music and Associate Director of Music.  Dr. Fitzgerald won first prize in the 2nd Annual Competition in Organ Improvisation sponsored by the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Chapter of the AGO. He has taught organ improvisation at the Peabody Conservatory and has presented workshops to several professional organizations. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he was awarded a full scholarship, a Master of Music in Organ Performance from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Bachelor of Music in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College.  A published composer and experienced concert organist, he has made appearances on the nationally syndicated radio program Pipedreams.


Rachel Parfenchuk (soprano) earned a Master of Music in voice from Cleveland Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music in voice from Ohio Wesleyan University. Parfenchuk studied under the direction of Dr. Mary Schiller and Dr. Jason Hiester, and has coached with John Simmons and Kathryn Brown. Additional areas of study include vocal pedagogy with Dr. Dean Southern, conducting with Dr. Jason Hiester, and stage directing with David Bamberger. She has performed both concert and opera repertoire with Opera Columbus, Columbus Dance Theater, Cleveland Institute of Music Opera Theater, Ohio Wesleyan Opera Theater, and the Central Ohio Symphony and is a two-time winner of the Ohio Wesleyan Concerto Competition.  Currently, Parfenchuk serves as Director of Music Ministries at Powell United Methodist Church.


Emily Lapisardi is Director of Musical Activities for Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel at the United States Military Academy (West Point, New York), where she serves as organist for all Catholic liturgies, directs the Catholic Choirs and instrumental ensembles on post and for touring appearances, and regularly performs as a recitalist on the Cadet Chapel organ (the largest church organ in the world). Emily holds a master's degree in Sacred Music from Duquesne University and a bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from West Virginia University, where she was named WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior and Honors College J. and C. Nath Outstanding Senior in Research and received the university's nomination for the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. She attended several opera training programs in the United States and Europe and holds a certificate of Catholic Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame's STEP program.  As a musicologist, she has presented at national and international conferences, published several articles, and received the Communal Studies Association's research fellowship for her work on hymnody.


Jason Hiester holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice and Conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dr. Hiester, a tenor, performs on both sides of the baton, having begun his career on the stage before moving into the pit.  His professional singing credits include opera roles and concert work with the West Palm Beach Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Miami Bach Society, Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, and many others.  He was a winner of the Schloss Leopoldskron competition and West Palm Beach Opera Competition.  As a conductor, Dr. Hiester is well-versed in numerous genres, generating vibrant performances with all levels of musicians. He is head of the choral department and Musical Director of the opera program at Ohio Wesleyan University and Associate Conductor/Chorus Master for Opera Columbus.

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