Robert Bode

Raymond R. Neevel/Missouri Professor of Choral Music and Director of Choral Activities

Prior to his appointment at UMKC, Dr. Robert Bode served on the faculty at Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, where he was the Alma Meisnest Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Fine Arts and Director of Choral/Vocal Studies.

Robert Bode received his doctorate in Conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, OH. Prior to attending the Cincinnati Conservatory, Dr. Bode won a conducting scholarship at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, where he studied opera conducting with Fiora Contino.

In 1982, Bode studied in Wales as a Conducting Fellow at the University-College of Music in Cardiff. He made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 1990, conducting the Walla Walla Symphony Chorale in the New York premiere of John David Earnest’s The Waking. In addition to his distinguished teaching career, Dr. Bode has enjoyed a successful international conducting career as guest conductor of the Kammerorchester Leipzig, Germany; Filharmonia Sudecka, Walbryzch, Poland; Vratca Philharmonic, Vratca, Bulgaria; and the Yunnan Provincial Chorus, Kunming, China; among many others. [read more=”more” less=”less”]

Dr. Bode is noted for his dedication to the commissioning and performance of music by American composers. At Whitman he initiated the Whitman Commissioning Project, which commissioned new works by David Conte, Richard Hundley, John David Earnest, Giselle Wyers, Gwyneth Walker, and others. Dr. Bode is also the Artistic Director of Choral Arts, a semi-professional chamber chorus in Seattle, WA. In spring 2010, the organization received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, presented by Chorus America. Choral Arts’ CD, Mornings Like This, was released by Gothic Records in 2010.




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. [read more=”more” less=”less”]
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.[/read]





Dustin Cates

Dustin Cates is a conductor, singer, teacher and proud native of Kansas City, Missouri. He is passionate about music making and it’s ability to have a positive impact on the human condition. As a result of his experience as a leader and educator he is in demand as an adjudicator, clinician and conductor throughout the United States. Dustin was named Artistic Director of Heartland Men’s Chorus in 2014. Prior to his work with HMC he taught high school choral music in the Kansas City area and served as Associate Director of Worship Arts at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Dustin is a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).[read more=”more” less=”less”]
He serves on the Alumni Board for the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor’s LGBT Council. Dustin is President of the Kansas Choral Directors Association and member of GALA Choruses. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, a Master of Science in School Leadership from Baker University and is currently pursuing an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Music Education, Choral Conducting and Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Dustin considers his most important roles to be husband to Dr. Raymond Cattaneo, and father to their son Emmaus. [/read]


Dustin Cates


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 7 year-old son Eamon, and fiery 5 year-old daughter Celia.



Lorissa Mason

Lorissa Mason is a conductor, singer, adjudicator, and clinician from Lubbock, Texas. She did her undergraduate studies in Music Education, at Texas Tech University. She also completed her Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Texas Tech University, under the direction of Dr. John Dickson. While at Texas Tech, Lorissa was the graduate recipient of the Helen DeWitt Jones fellowship award. In addition to her responsibilities as a choral teaching assistant, she also held a teaching assistantship position in the Opera and Music Theater departments of Texas Tech, under opera director Gerald Dolter. This work included the development of the Opera in Schools program, Opera-tune-it-y. Lorissa performed frequently with the University Choir, and held a graduate scholarship with the Lubbock Chorale. [read more=”more” less=”less”]
After her studies at Texas Tech, Lorissa enjoyed a successful teaching career, teaching in the Lubbock area for thirteen years. In December of 2009, she became the founding artistic director for Canticum Novum, a chamber vocal ensemble for professional singers in and around the Lubbock area. Lorissa recently served on the TMEA committee for the Small School All State Mixed Choir. This committee was begun in 2013 and evolved, culminating in the choir’s inaugural concert at the TMEA convention in 2015. In addition to this committee, Lorissa also served as TMEA Region Vocal Chair for TMEA Region 16 and is invited regularly to judge choral festivals and competitions around the state.   [/read]


Lorissa Mason

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. [read more=”more” less=”less”]
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). [/read]


Henry Waters_headshot_2016