Here you can learn more about the members of the Choral Festival.
Frank A. Watkins
Frank A. Watkins, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, taught secondary choral music in Texas for six years. He holds degrees in piano performance from Jackson State University (BM), the University of Arkansas (MM), and choral conducting from Northwestern University (MM) and Michigan State University (DMA). Watkins is in demand as guest conductor and clinician. Recent engagements include the 2013 Mid-Michigan Honor Choir, University of Nebraska Omaha Collegiate Choir Concert Series (2014), Dunn St. Croix Honor Choir (2015), Lakeland All-Conference Honor Choir (2015), University of Nebraska Omaha Middle School Honor Choir (2016), and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra (2016). Future engagements include the 2016 Great Northern Conference All- Conference Choir and the 2017 Big Nine Festival Honor Choir in Red Wing, MN. He has presented workshops on choral methods for the International Music and Christian Arts Conference, Michigan State University, and the Ohio State University. In 2015 he presented at both the Wisconsin Music Educators State Convention and the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference. Watkins joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2014. In 2016, he was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. A dynamic young conductor, Watkins' love and passion are teaching. He believes that in order to educate, you must first inspire! It is his goal to make an impact…not just an impression on the lives of those that follow his baton.
Elizabeth Joosten has been a resident of Cameron, WI since 1974. She holds degrees in music education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (BME) and the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse (MME). Joosten taught vocal music in the Cameron School District for 18 years, where she conducted the Chamber Choir, Women's Chorale, Concert Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Middle School Choir, and taught middle school general music. Prior to her appointment at Cameron, she taught vocal music in the Colfax School District as well as private voice and piano lessons. In 2015 she was appointed to the music faculty at University of Wisconsin-Barron County where she taught courses in theory and ear training. An active pedagogue, Joosten has worked with the Wisconsin State Music Association as a coach for the WSMA High School State Honors Treble Choir and has served as a clinician, adjudicator, and adjudication training facilitator. She joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2016 as Assistant Director of Choral Studies. In her position at UW-Eau Claire, she serves as conductor of The Singing Statesmen, Women's Chorus, University Symphonic Choir, and supervises student teachers. In addition to her duties at UW-Eau Claire, she is the director of the Barron County Singers, the Red Cedar Choir, and is Director of Music at Living Water Lutheran Church in Cameron, WI. Beth is married to Mike Joosten, director of the UW-Barron County Communiversity Band. They have three children, Heidi, Daniel, and Sarah, who have all continued with college degrees in music.
Chippewa Falls Cardinal Choir
Cardinal Choir director Ronald Buckles is in his 21st year of teaching at Chippewa Falls Area High School where he directs 3 curricular choirs, a competitive show choir, a holiday madrigal ensemble, and a vocal jazz class. Prior to his tenure at Chippewa Falls, he taught choir and beginning band for 8 years in the Augusta School District. Mr. Buckles has also directed the Adult Choir and the Handbell Choir at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls for 28 years. He received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree in Vocal and Instrumental Music from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Additionally, he received Master degrees in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting, both from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The primary part of Ron’s life is his wife Bonnie, who teaches Special Education at Holcombe, and their two children, Deidre, who works in theatre production in the Milwaukee area, and Christian, a sophomore kinesiology major at UW-Eau Claire, and all of his extended family. Choral educators are so blessed to teach and grow young people through the incomparable power of music!