Judges Spotlight #3: Dr. Edith Copley

A panel of renowned choral leaders will judge the entries and shortlist the Top 10 choirs that will take part in the America’s Got Choirs Virtual Grand Finale event on Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT. Among this year’s panel of esteemed judges is Dr. Edith Copley, a choral legend. 

Dr. Copley is outgoing Regents’ Professor and Director of Choral Studies at Northern Arizona University, where she conducts the highly acclaimed Shrine of the Ages Choir. She additionally conducts the Master Chorale of Flagstaff that performs major choral/orchestral works each spring with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra (FSO). She has conducted more than 30 all-state choirs, and the ACDA and NAfME National Mixed Honor Choirs. She has also conducted international choral festivals in Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Luxembourg, Tasmania, England, Australia, China, Oman, and Turkey.

Dr. Copley has received the NAU School of Music Centennial Teacher of the Year Award, Arizona Music Educator of the Year, Arizona ACDA Outstanding Choral Director Award, and others. She is an active member of NAfME, Chorus America, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization and has served the ACDA in various capacities over the last 20 years, including President of the Western Division and Arizona State President. 

This summer, Dr. Copley was honored with a Legacy Award at NAUs 13th annual Viola Awards. On that occasion, she reflected on her 30+ year career in music and remarked, “I think music is an important part of our human culture,” she said in a video for the awards show. “Music, art, theater, dance—all of these arts, not just music, they’re an important part of being human, and that’s why I think every young person needs to have music in school.”

After retirement from NAU, she will be starting her journey as the National ACDA President. In addition to being named NAU School of Performing Arts Centennial Teacher of the Year Award in 1999, Dr. Copley has also been recognized as Arizona Music Educator of the Year in 2004 and the Arizona ACDA Outstanding Choral Director Award in 2007. To find out more about America’s Got Choirs High School Edition and how to enter, please click here.

Larissa Varela

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