Style: Opera; Classical; Musical Theatre
Title: Professor of Music, Berea College, retired
Bio: Dr. Stephen Bolster was the Mary W. McGaw Endowed Chair in Music at Berea College, where he taught for 39 years, retiring in July, 2019. Professor of Music, he conducted the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and taught voice, vocal methods, conducting, and the music senior seminar. He holds music degrees from Dartmouth College (A.B. Music, 1973), the University of North Carolina (M.M. Choral Arts, 1977), and the University of Colorado (D.M.A. Literature and Performance of Choral Music, 1980) and conducted major choral organizations at each school before joining the Berea faculty in 1980. In 1989, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. Under his direction the Berea College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers have toured annually for almost four decades in the eastern United States. He and the choir have also embarked on several international concert tours, and have appeared on national or regional television in four Christmas Concert specials. The Concert Choir has performed three times for the Kentucky Music Educators Association annual In-Service Conference, and has twice performed at the American Negro Spiritual Competition in Cincinnati’s famous Music Hall.
Dr. Bolster has a long record of leadership and service to the American Choral Directors Association. He served two terms as President of the KY-ACDA (1985-1987 and 2003-2005). From 1989-1994, he served as Southern Division Chair of College and University Choirs for ACDA. Also, from 1989-2003, he was the Kentucky State Chairperson of the Youth and Student Activities Committee. In the fall of 2000, Bolster spent twelve days in China as a member of an ACDA choral delegation of the People to People Ambassador program. In July, 2002, Bolster received Kentucky ACDA’s highest honor--the Robert K. Baar Choral Excellence Award--for his active service to the organization and dedication to choral music education in the State.
A recipient of many other honors and awards, Bolster was chosen as the 1999-2000 College-University Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA). He has also received numerous awards from Berea College, including the Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching (Spring, 1988), the Presidential Award for Excellence (Spring, 1995), and the Man of the Year Award (Spring, 1995). In 1997, he was named Berea College’s Phi Kappa Phi Professor of the Year. In the fall of 2012, he and his wife, Sandy, Director of Developmental Math at Berea College, were made Honorary Alumni of the institution. From 1996-1999 he was a member of the prestigious Robert Shaw Festival Singers. An expert on acoustical phonetics, especially vowel modification and choral blend, Bolster has presented lectures on this topic to several professional music organizations and at colleges and universities in surrounding states.
Voice Type: Baritone
Music Styles Taught: Opera; Classical; Musical Theatre
Availability: I am available as a performer; I am available as a clinician or presenter