York County Honors Choirs congratulates York County Senior Honors Choir directors Randy Yoder and Michal Buchanan on their planned retirements at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season in June. Randy and Michal have been exceptional leaders in shaping this unique choral opportunity for students in York County for the past 22 years. They look forward to a smooth transition to new leadership and will assist with future alumni choirs and trips. The organization and choir members, past and present, thank Randy and Michal for the many performance and educational opportunities they have provided for local youth in York County and wish them a fulfilling retirement.
After careful consideration, York County Honors Choirs is pleased to announce the appointment of Carlos Casilla as the new Artistic Director of York County Senior Honors Choir. Student reviews were a major component in choosing Mr. Casilla, and they have already benefitted from his leadership as he assisted with sectionals during several January rehearsals. He will soon be involved in planning for next season’s schedule as he transitions into the role of Artistic Director for the 2020-2021 season. Randy and Michal are delighted to hand the baton to Carlos:
“Carlos is a talented musician and conductor, and he has a heart for gathering young people to sing together. He is an encouraging and positive person with excellent communication skills. We feel extremely fortunate that we found him . . . . and he found us!”
Casilla graduated (summa cum laude) with a Master’s Degree in choral conducting from Louisiana State University, where he studied with Dr. John Dickson. Prior to that he received his Bachelor of Music degree (cum laude) from William Carey University in Mississippi where he studied both piano and voice. In addition to being an accomplished conductor, Carlos has appeared as a baritone/bass soloist in both musical theater and classical performances and has been a versatile church musician as well as a studio piano and voice instructor.
Casilla currently serves as Director of Choirs at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA where he is also 11th Grade Academic Dean. His role in shaping the future of the students under his care has received high praise from both the faculty and administration, and the choral program under his leadership has grown in both size and quality: students seek to prioritize singing at Shipley and always make room for choir with “Mr. Carlos” in their busy schedules.
He will be traveling to York from Bryn Mawr during the choir’s regular rehearsal and performance season and plans to maximize the use of technology to build relationships with the students, local music educators and the greater York community. Casilla is confident that he can lead this auditioned, select ensemble through the transition ahead and into a bright future:
"Since stepping foot in the rehearsal room, I have seen the dedication and determination that the students have in the Honors Choir. When I asked some students what they love most about the choir, so many of them had the same answer: the sense of community. I am honored that I have been chosen to continue this community tradition, and to carry on the legacy that has been put in place by Randy and Michal. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for our organization."
Carlos was born in the Dominican Republic, where he received his early training in piano and voice. Fluent in Spanish, he looks forward to deepening the Senior Honors Choir’s connection and resonance with diverse communities in the area. While he intends to continue many of the traditions that have helped to make this choir a source of civic pride in York, he looks forward to introducing new repertoire, new avenues of expression and new techniques to deliver the quality training and excellent musical results that are the hallmarks of the York County Senior Honors Choir.
York County Honors Choirs is comprised of two auditioned ensembles: York County Senior Honors Choir (grades 10-12), founded in 1998 to participate in York County’s 250th Anniversary Celebration and York County Junior Honors Choir (grades 7-9), developed in 2002 by Donna Knott to provide training and opportunities for younger singers. The choirs, together with two smaller performance ensembles (Concorde and Synergy) serve as choral ambassadors of York County, presenting over 20 concerts annually. Outside performances have included appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Naval Academy, Heinz Chapel, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the National Cathedral, Canterbury and York Minster in England, and the United Nations. The choirs have collaborated with artists as diverse as the Deer Creek Chorale and the Canadian Brass and have received recognition and awards for their excellence in leadership as well as musicianship. More than just a choir, this unique collaboration with school districts, private music instructors, homeschoolers, and community groups gives students the opportunity to reach out and share their talents with others who have the same love of music and level of dedication in a non-competitive environment. York County Honors Choirs, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. York County businesses, sponsors, and private patrons support the group financially.
For more information about York County Honors Choirs, please visit our website at www.theYCHC.org