Anton ArmstrongSFYCA Director
Cole BlumeAssociate Director
Therees Tkach HibbardBodysinging Instructor
Brian StoneChorus Manager
Matthew SvobodaMusicianship Instructor
Anton Armstrong is the founding artistic director of the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy and an award-winning teacher widely recognized for his work with singers of all ages. He is the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and has been conductor of the internationally acclaimed St. Olaf Choir since 1990. A graduate of St. Olaf, Armstrong earned advanced degrees at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. Armstrong conducts and lectures around the world and has conducted ensembles and appeared before regional, national, and international gatherings of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, National Association for Music Education, Choristers Guild, and the International Federation for Choral Music.
Cole Blume is the Associate Director of the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy. His master’s degree in choral conducting is from the University of Oregon where he studied with Sharon Paul. Previously, he taught for seven years at Lake Oswego High School and Lake Oswego Junior High School. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College (B.A. music, cum laude). At St. Olaf, he studied voice and conducting with Anton Armstrong and sang in The St. Olaf Choir. From 2007–2010, he served as an assistant director with the Pacific Youth Choir (Portland, OR) where he led Tsunami, a choral ensemble of high school male singers. A Eugene native, Blume was a charter member of the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy in 1998. He has performed in Stuttgart, Germany under Helmuth Rilling, and with Craig Hella Johnson as a member of Conspirare.
Therees Tkach Hibbard
Dr. Therees Tkach Hibbard has served as conductor, adjudicator, and clinician for numerous choral organizations throughout Great Britain, Europe and North America; as well as in Hong Kong, Oman and recently in Lesvos, Greece. Her work as a vocal and movement specialist in the training of choral singers and conductors has created unique opportunities for her to collaborate with choirs and conductors from around the world. Her research on enhancing choral performance through movement training has led to the development of a comprehensive choral education philosophy of “BodySinging”; most clearly demonstrated through her work with the Oregon Bach Festival Youth Choral Academy, the St. Olaf Choir, and the American Boychoir. Therees has been on the faculty of the SFYCA since its inception, and was a member of the Oregon Bach Festival Berwick Chorus for over 20 years. She is presently Associate Professor of Choral Music at St. Olaf College where she directs the Manitou Singers and St. Olaf Chamber Singers.
Brian Stone first came to Oregon Bach Festival as a member of the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy in 2003. This will be Brian’s 12th festival. He has participated as a singer, a conductor, an SFYCA Activity Director, and now as the SFYCA Chorus Manager. After teaching high school choir in Colorado for the past 4 years, he began a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting and literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the Fall of 2017. He received the Lynn Whitten Fellowship and the Joan Catoni Conlon Fellowship for which he will direct the vocal jazz ensembles and the Collegiate Chorale. He received Bachelor of Music in voice performance from the University of Puget Sound, and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Brian serves as the Artistic Director for the Cantabile Sing-ers, a Boulder community ensemble, and as the Choir Director at First Unitarian Society of Denver. In addition to teaching and conducting, Brian is active as a singer performing with the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and Anima Chamber Ensemble. In his spare time, he gets outside fishing, hiking, and biking with his beautiful wife Emily, and their energetic yet lovable Black Labrador, Bear.
Mathew Svoboda is Director of Choral Activties at Lane Community College, where he conducts the Lane Chamber Choir and Lane Concert Choir; teaches Theory, Keyboard Skills, and related courses; and plays piano for Lane dance classes and the Faculty Jazz Ensemble.
Active as a composer and conductor, Matthew Svoboda also serves as Director of Music at Central Presbyterian Church in Eugene and Musicanship Instructor for the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy of the Oregon Bach Festival.
He has served as Assistant Conductor of the Eugene Symphony Chorus (2003-2005) and as guest conductor for the Eugene Chamber Singers’ 25th anniversary season (2004). In 2003, he was selected as a Participant Conductor for the Oregon Bach Festival Conducting Master Class with Helmuth Rilling and in 2002 as a Conducting Fellow with the Auckland Philharmonia directed by Miguel Harth-Bedoya.
Svoboda earned master’s degrees in Choral Conducting (2003) and Composition (2004) from the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, where he was awarded a graduate teaching fellowship in both departments and served as Assistant Conductor of the University Singers.
As a composer, Svoboda enjoys collaborations with instrumentalists, poets, and choreographers. He has written numerous compositions for various chamber ensembles, choirs, and dancers.
Sandy Holder was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where she studied piano and voice at the Youth Performing Arts High School. She began her career as a freelance pianist at age 14 and was awarded a scholarship at 16 from the University of Kentucky to study with David Doran. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Russian pianist Lidia Frumkin. She completed a Master of Music at the University of Oregon, studying with Victor Steinhardt. Sandy has worked with the Eugene Symphony, Eugene Opera, Oregon Symphony, Van Ummersen Dance Company, Eugene Children’s Choirs, Oregon Festival of American Music, Oregon Mozart Players, and the Oregon Bach Festival. An avid supporter of new music, Sandy has performed in Eugene’s Music Today Festival, conferences of the American Musicological Society, and the College Music Society.