When Jeffery Redding joined the UCF School of Performing Arts as the director of choral activities in fall 2020, he arrived with a proven track record in music education, performance and direction. In the year since, he’s infused new and exciting energy into the school’s choir ensembles, drawing on his extensive experience in the field — the same experience that earned him the 2019 GRAMMY Music Educator Award.
“My vision for the Singing Knights is simple and exciting, with unity being the key factor,” explains Redding. I want it to be common knowledge that students who participate in our program(majors/non-majors/community) will be amongst a community of singers that truly love singing together. The students will exit our program not only as strong musicians but life long lovers of music. This program isn’t just about music; it’s about creating a safe place of belonging where you can be the best version of yourself that grows past the music and everyday life.”
Alongside Redding, associate professor and coordinator of music education Kelly A. Miller has helped shape the growth of UCF’s choir ensembles. Miller serves as director of both the Men’s and Women’s Choruses, having founded the latter. She also runs the music education program; under her leadership, it has developed into one of the strongest programs of its kind in the nation.
UCF’s choral ensembles include the Chamber Singers, the SoAl (Women’s) Chorus, the TeBA (Men’s) Chorus and the University Singers. This year, through the combined efforts of Redding and Miller, the choral ensembles grew to include two new, community-oriented groups: the UCF Children’s Choir and the UCF Community Choir.
The Children’s Choir provides opportunities for students in grades 1–5, while the UCF Community Choir is open to all adults whether or not they are UCF students. Both choirs are open to all skill levels with no audition required.
“These choirs excite me to my core,” shares Redding. “We are providing a sense of unity. Music is for everyone, and we want to make a place for everyone.”
On December 2, you can hear all of UCF’s choir ensembles onstage at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts’ Frontyard Festival™️ for Knights Season of Joy: A UCF Choral Celebration. This inaugural concert will mark the start of a new annual tradition, as more than 150 singers perform classic holiday songs that define the season.
“This performance is going to become a tradition with the UCF Singing Knights,” says Redding. “We want to become part of your family’s tradition each year in ringing in the holiday season! So come out tomorrow –— we can’t wait to see you!”