Peace and Healing Summer Choral Festival
Led by Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, Composer, Educator, and Advocate
Monday, July 12 through Friday, July 23, 2021, Virtually
Virtual Concert and Zoom Reception Wed September 24 at 8 pm Eastern Time

Work with Renowned Guest Teachers and Clinicians
Collaborate with Singers from Across the Country
Perform the WORLD PREMIERE of 2 New Choral Works!
Learn and Perform Choral Music
Share Your Performances With the World
Develop Your Musical Citizenship and Support Social Justice
Premiere of "I Am a Voice that Sings"
Listen to a draft by clicking here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUb7UzlmNnQ

About the Festival:

Sing this summer with composer, educator, and social justice advocate Michael Bussewitz-Quarm and renowned clinicians from across the country. Over this summer, we will meet to rehearse, collaborate, learn, play, express ourselves, and deepen our understanding of how we can be a positive force for change in the world. By the end of the festival, you will record and submit your vocal parts for the choral repertoire. After the festival, the recordings will be edited together. We will have a reunion on  Wednesday, September 22 at 8 pm Eastern Time to watch the final choral videos as they are released on YouTube to be enjoyed by your friends and family across the world! Immediately after the virtual concert, we will have an exclusive zoom reception for all the singers to celebrate your accomplishments.

The Festival is an inclusive environment.

We are the Peace and Healing Choral Festival, run by MB Arts.  We celebrate being different together. We value each other by listening and trusting in each others’ truths. These are our strengths and how we connect with each other. We welcome you and your education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs. We welcome and affirm LGBTQ+ singers.

Faculty and Clinicians:

Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, Composer 

Amanda Stevenson, Music Director, Creator and Executive Director of Omaha Children’s Choir

Eric Blatt, Choir Director, Mount Sinai Schools 


This is Not a Drill

I am a Voice that Sings  (World Premiere)

The Great American Choral Reef (World Premiere)

Middle School and High School participants also will learn:

To Avielle, On Her Fifth Sixth Birthday


Choral Rehearsals, Community Circles, Scavenger Hunt, Improv Games

Adult Track (ages 18 and up)

Meets Monday-Friday 7:00-9:00 pm Eastern Time

Reunion watch party and zoom reception: Thursday August 19, 8:00 pm Eastern Time

Faculty and Clinicians:

Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, Composer 

Dr. Lisa Neher, Mezzo-Soprano & Voice Coach

Dr. Derrick Fox, Choral Director 

Rev. Dr. Philip Hobson, Minister


I am a Voice that Sings

The Great American Choral Ree

How Did You Feel?

Come to Me In the Silence of the Night


Choral Rehearsals, Workshops & Clinics, PLUS Exclusive Private Facebook Group, Choral Music Listening Party, Community Circle.


Workshops Wed 7/14, Thurs 7/22, Wed 8/4, Wed 8/11 at 8 pm Eastern Time

Take Charge of Your Vocal Health & Technique with Dr. Lisa Neher

 Acknowledgement, Affirmation and Action: Cultivating an Inclusive Choral Community with Dr. Derrick Fox

Deep Breaths/Deep Spirit: a Healthy Spirituality for Performers with Rev. Dr. Philip Hobson

Workshop Descriptions

Take Charge of Your Vocal Health & Technique

How can you take the helm of your vocal health and technique as a choral singer or vocal educator? In this interactive workshop, Dr. Lisa Neher will share practices for developing and maintaining lifelong vocal ease, flexibility, stamina, beauty, and health. You will learn a framework for building or revamping your own singing practice, plus tools for returning to singing after illness and maintaining vocal efficiency through the aging process.

Acknowledgement, Affirmation and Action: Cultivating an Inclusive Choral Community

Unpacking the bias in our curriculum and in ourselves is a difficult process but necessary journey in creating and fostering an inclusive choral community. In this presentation, Dr. Derrick Fox will present concepts that help you ACKNOWLEDGE your biases (personal, curricular and organizational ) with the hopes that you will identify blind spots that may minoritize and marginalize singers in your ensembles or classrooms, outline methods that support the AFFIRMATION of varied lived experiences represented in your ensembles and offer ACTION steps that break the cycle of oppression and support diversity equity, inclusion, access and belonging. Our journeys are unique and this presentation is intended to be a starting place and not a final chapter for your work towards creating an inclusive choral community.

Deep Breaths/Deep Spirit: A Healthy Spirituality for Performers

Our lives are made up of many elements: family, work, home, relationships, religion, education, identity, and more.  We will begin with the idea that spirituality is not a separate category alongside these others, but a quality found in all aspects of our existence and experience.  We will explore this quality of depth and meaning through practices of rest, gratitude, self-awareness, and integrity.  The goal is to help each person gain a better self-understanding and bring more of their whole selves to their performance.  Our work together will not presume a religious identity and is accessible to people of any faith or no faith.


Tech Requirements

  • High speed internet
  • Laptop or tablet to join the daily sessions, 2nd device (such as smartphone) to use when making recordings of yourself (see below)
  • Headphones
  • Quiet space with a clean backdrop to use when you record yourself
  • Optional: ethernet connection to use during daily sessions for fastest internet, tripod for when you record yourself

When you record your parts for the choral pieces, you will need 2 devices:

  • Device 1 (computer, laptop, etc): to play the guide audio track through headphones
  • Device 2 (smartphone): to video record yourself singing your part. You may want a tripod to hold the device while you record.
  • New to recording yourself? Don’t worry! We will have time to show you exactly how to do this.

Why Peace and Healing?

The last year and a half has been an incredibly challenging one for us all, as we’ve lived through a historic pandemic and come to understand even more deeply some of our society’s biggest social justice challenges. As we look forward to returning to in-person living and singing, it’s time to give our hearts and our voices love and to lift those voices in song to make it clear how urgent these social justice issues are. That’s why this music addresses violence in schools, the climate crisis and its impacts on our oceans. But while these are difficult topics, we believe there is enormous hope and possibility for change, thanks to the work being done in our communities. That’s why we will also sing about the power of singing itself, and the power we each have to make a difference.

You’ll have support with PDF scores of the music, rehearsal tracks, and guidance from the faculty on how to record your vocal parts at home.

After the festival, my team will edit together everyone’s recordings and we will have a reunion on Wednesday September 22 at 8 pm Eastern to have a watch party as the recordings are released in a virtual concert for all of your family and friends across the world to enjoy. In this way, our combined voices from across the world, lifted in song, raising awareness and building urgency on some of the most important issues of our time, will create ripples that will expand across the globe.

What Others Have To Say

Michael is an excellent musician with a clear, engaging musical voice. She has the ability to work quickly and flexibly with collaborating musicians and composes music that is both topical and accessible, while never vapid. Being a conductor herself she understands the learning process, the abilities of singers, and the need to write music that fits the voice. I highly recommend collaborating with this excellent musician and person.

–Dr. Allan Friedman, Director, Women’s Voices Chorus of Chapel Hill

Rarely have we sung a piece where the poetry and music truly combine to create something approaching divine.

–Shelley Hedtke, Soprano with Women’s Voices Chorus of Chapel Hill, about Michael’s work Only Time To Love

About the Faculty and Clinicians

Michael Bussewitz-Quarm

The choral music of Michael Bussewitz-Quarm engages singers and audiences with the leading social and environmental issues of our time. Michael is passionate about effecting change through choral music on topics ranging from the health of the world’s coral reefs to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States to the global refugee crisis. Michael is an active advocate for the transgender community. It is her fervent wish to spread knowledge and understanding of the transgender community through guest speaking and by simply being present in the lives of the talented musicians and artists surrounding her.

A finalist for the 2019 and 2020 American Prize, Ms. Bussewitz-Quarm’s works are performed by leading professional and educational choral ensembles across North America. Recent collaborations include the west coast premiere of The Unarmed Child by Eugene Concert Choir and Orchestra, I’ll Fly Away at the International Society of Contemporary Music’s New Music Days in Vancouver, BC, and Nigra Sum, performed by The Duke University Chorale on their California tour. Michael’s works have been rebroadcasts on Public Radio East, KMUZ, and WCPE, with performances by Singers of New and Ancient Music, musica intima, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Duke University Chorale, the Esoterics, among other exceptional choral ensembles. Michael is published by Peermusic Classical.

Current projects include Peacebomb, inspired by Laotian families who make jewelry from metal taken from unexploded ordnance, Where We Find Ourselves, a pandemic-proof choral project inspired by the portraits of Hugh Mangum, and The Death and Life of AIda Hernandez: A Border Story, based on the book of the same name that tells the story of an undocumented teen’s harrowing experiences with the U.S.’s militarized immigration system.

Ms. Bussewitz-Quarm attended Ithaca College (BM ’94), for piano performance and music education, and received her MM from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queen’s College in New York. For more information, visit her website, https://www.mbqstudio.com/.

Dr. Derrick Fox

Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Distinguished Associate Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He has conducted, presented and lectured in venues, conferences and institutions across the United States and internationally. His compositions/arrangements are published by Hal Leonard and Brilee Music, his book Yes You Can: A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Choirs, is published by Carl Fischer and The Derrick Fox Choral Series publishes works by marginalized/minoritized composers. He created the Professional Choral Collective to collect and create learning activities and teaching strategies for choral music educators during the pandemic of 2020. He partnered with the Country Music Association Foundation to create the 2020 Unified Voices for Music Education Initiative. www.drderrickfox.com

Rev. Dr. Philip Hobson

Philip grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the historic “secret city” of the Manhattan Project of World War II.  Wanting to know the other side of the story, he earned his bachelors in Japanese Studies.  Following his calling to help others, he received his masters from Chicago Theological Seminary, was ordained by the United Church of Christ, and has served churches in Texas, Michigan, and New York.  Philip’s doctoral work focused on listening carefully to the stories of the congregation and community as a way to deepen connections and communication.

Dr. Lisa Neher

Dr. Lisa Neher is mezzo-soprano, composer, and educator on a mission to empower and inspire her students to unlock their unique artistic voices and achieve their dreams. Her teaching style emphasizes transparency, believing that students should always know why they are doing what they are doing. She breaks down vocal technique into easily understandable tools that students can experiment with in between lessons, becoming their own teachers. Lisa’s teaching combines focused work on practical skills, physiological concepts and logical problem solving with exercises to build empathy, tap into your innate communicative instincts, and nurture trust and joy in the artistic process. With advanced training in theatre and movement skills and a background as a triathlete and yogi, Lisa grounds vocal training in the body, promoting holistic wellness and the using the entire body as the vocal instrument. In addition to teaching voice lessons, Lisa coaches singers on advanced acting techniques and composers on writing for singers and building their businesses. For more information, visit her website, www.lisanehermusic.com.

Festival Minimum & Maximum Participation

To keep the festival an intimate experience tailored to our participant, registration is capped at 60 singers.

Festival participation minimum is 20 singers (Adult Track) and 20 singers (Youth Track). In the unlikely event that this threshold is not met and the festival cannot take place, you will be refunded 100%.