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Carter, Tom

Tom Carter’s passion for choral singing began in high school when he was fortunate to participate in an outstanding choral program. His love of singing led to a similar passion for acting, stage directing, and teaching. His collegiate experience began at Yale where he sang with the Battell Chapel Choir and was the guest baritone soloist with the Yale Freshman Chorus’s Faure Requiem. While at Yale, Tom also sang in Cavalli’s La Calisto with the Eastern Opera Company in New York City. After his East Coast experience, Tom earned his BA in Drama Education as well as his English teaching credential at San Francisco State University. During this time, Tom also spent three summers in Bigfork, Montana, where he performed musicals while enjoying the area’s natural beauty.

After college, Tom taught drama and English at Ukiah High School. During two summers, he went back to New York City to study acting, laying the groundwork for many of his choral coaching methods. When not in New York, Tom was in Ashland, Oregon, working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to support young actors. Playing the role of Candide in Bernstein’s classic rounded out his experience in Ukiah before he pursued his master's degree in Music Theatre at San Jose State University—and sang tenor with Dr. Charlene Archibeque’s Choraliers. The Choraliers were invited to compete in the Spittal International Choir Competition that year, winning first place and capping their European tour. For fifteen years thereafter, “Dr. A” frequently invited Tom to coach the Choraliers, and this—along with his work with other choirs—provided many opportunities for him to hone his choral coaching techniques.

For his masters project, Tom was the stage director and music director of Yours, Anne—the musical version of The Diary of Anne Frank. After earning his MA, he was a freelance director for three years and then became the artistic director of the City of Los Altos Youth Theatre where he had the privilege of directing the world premiere of Footloose: The Musical. Towards the end of his tenure, Tom returned to education, running the drama program at Woodside Priory School as well as facilitating the barbershop quartet club. He also trained with ComedySportz, learning many of the improv games that he uses with singers.

Eight years later, Tom wrote Choral Charisma: Singing with Expression. For the following seven years, Tom was honored to coach choirs of all levels, often at state, regional, or national ACDA conventions. For the last ten years, he taught writing and literature to middle school students at Pinewood School. Tom lives with his wife and two cats in Sun Valley, Idaho—and he continues to work with choirs. Tom welcomes correspondence; his email is [email protected].


The Charismatic Choir: How to Sing with Expression - Music Education

If you would like the singers in your choir to be more facially and physically expressive as they connect more specifically with the song's meaning, this clinic—which explores the concepts underlying authentic expression—is for you! Using a few experiential exercises, Tom will guide the singers to a basic understanding of what we humans naturally do in real life. Once these concepts are understood, the singers will apply them to songs in their repertoire—with Tom coaching them towards a full expression of their individual and collective humanity. If you are a group of choral directors who would like to experience this clinic without a choir in attendance, no worries! Such a workshop just requires that a few of the participants volunteer to form a small impromptu choir, singing well-known songs like "Amazing Grace," "This Little Light of Mine," and "Happy Birthday."