Eph Ehly

The UMKC Conservatory is delighted to announce that Conservatory Professor Emeritus of Choral Music, Eph Ehly, has graciously agreed to return to the Conservatory faculty and serve as Visiting Professor of the Raymond R. Neevel/Missouri Professorship in Choral Music during the 2019–2020 academic year.

Named ‘one of the most sought-after choral conductors/clinicians’ by The American Choral Directors Journal, Eph Ehly is renowned as a conductor, author, and lecturer. Ehly has appeared in 48 states, as well as Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and several countries throughout Europe, and presented on more than 100 college and university campuses. DCINY’s Maestro Jonathan Griffith—the recent winner of the 2014 American Prize in Conducting—comments: “Dr. Eph Ehly has been a major influence in my life, not only musically but also personally. Much of who I am today as a conductor goes back to the early days of my doctoral studies at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and specifically with my daily contact with Dr. Ehly. It is a sincere privilege to honor this wonderful and giving musician and human being.”

After 27 years of service—and conducting more than 80 All-State Choirs, and more than 600 festival ensembles—Dr. Ehly retired from the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City…More than 90 doctorate and 100 masters degree students have graduated under his supervision. He imparts a lifetime of wisdom and expertise in his popular memoir, Hogey’s Journey, published by Heritage Press, and Hal Leonard Publishing Company released a series of video master classes which feature Dr. Ehly’s philosophies in conducting and rehearsal techniques. He has received numerous important teaching awards and fellowships.

Since retiring from UMKC, Professor Ehly has served as an Interim Professor at the University of Oklahoma, Texas Christian University, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Charles Robinson

Professor of Choral Music Education, Choral Music

Charles Robinson is professor of choral music and music education at the UMKC Conservatory, where he conducts the Conservatory Concert Choir, supervises graduate research, and teaches choral/vocal pedagogy and methods, choral conducting, and graduate courses in music education. Robinson earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees in choral music education from Florida State University and a master’s degree in choral music from California State University, Long Beach. For many years, he taught choral and general music in middle schools and high schools in Florida, and has worked with singers of all ages, including children and senior citizens. Robinson is an active conductor/clinician for honor choruses throughout the United States and a frequent presenter of workshops for music educators. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, he has served as Southwestern Division chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives, College and University Choirs, and Research, and he has served as president of the Missouri Choral Directors Association.

Robinson’s music research has focused on choral performance evaluation, music preference, choral conducting, and inclusion in music settings, and has been presented and published at regional, national, and international levels. Robinson is a past editor of the Missouri Journal of Research in Music Education and currently serves on its editorial review board. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, and is a recipient of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Excellence in Teaching Award (1991 and 1999) and the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Excellence in Faculty Service Award (2006 and 2013) from the UMKC Conservatory. The Missouri Choral Directors Association presented Robinson with the 2000 Luther T. Spayde Award of Excellence for significant contributions to choral music in Missouri.





Gabe Lewis-O’Connor

Gabe Lewis-O’Connor recently returned to the Midwest from Seattle, Washington, where he was an active singer, director and choral clinician.  Currently a doctoral student in choral conducting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Gabe received his master’s degree from the same institution, studying with Dr. Robert Bode.  Prior to graduate school, Gabe sang for four years with the professional vocal ensemble Chanticleer.  Gabe received a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and hails from Lawrence, Kansas.  When not making music with others, Gabe tries to spend as much time outside as possible with his wife Lauren, fishing-obsessed 8 year-old son Eamon, and fiery 5 year-old daughter Celia.


Henry Waters

Henry S. Waters is an active conductor, teacher, singer, clinician, and adjudicator. Originally from Mississippi, he graduated from Millsaps College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music with a voice concentration and a minor in business. While at Millsaps, he was awarded a vocal scholarship to attend the Harrower Opera Workshop at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he worked with clinicians from around the United States including the late Marnie Nixon, “the voice of Hollywood.” Henry stayed a fifth year at Millsaps College and earned a Masters of Business Administration while working at Entergy Corporation, one of the south’s largest providers of electricity. While completing his MBA, Henry worked as choir conductor at Carthage United Methodist Church where he developed a passion for conducting and ecumenism. These passions led him to Dallas, Texas and Southern Methodist University where he completed a Masters of Sacred Music and a Masters of Music, both in choral conducting. While at SMU, Henry served as church musician at two Methodist churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was also a graduate assistant to the Director of Choral Activities at SMU, Dr. Pamela Elrod-Huffman.

He taught Music Appreciation for undergraduate, non-majors and continued to study voice with Dale Dietert. He was a recipient of the Lloyd Pfautsch Award, which is nominated by fellow colleagues and acknowledges excellence in musicianship, scholarship, and character. After SMU, Henry moved to Wichita, Kansas where he was Associate Professor in Vocal Music at Butler Community College. There, he taught Music Theory and Aural Skills courses, Music Appreciation, had a private voice studio, and directed the Chamber Singers ensemble. He was a nominee and then winner of the El Dorado School Bell award, which acknowledges excellence in teaching. Outside of Butler, he sang with Wichita Chamber Chorale in performances of Haydn’s “Creation” and Rachmaninov’s “All-Night Vigil.” Henry is currently working on his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting through the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). He is a student of Dr. Robert Bode. Henry is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA), Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA), and Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA).

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