An overhead shot of the Warren M Lee center for the Fine Arts.

Choral Directors Institute

The University of South Dakota’s Choral Directors Institute is an intensive program designed to expose music educators to the best in current and standard literature in addition to teaching methods and materials. We are excited to once again offer the institute in person on the USD campus in Vermillion from Wednesday, June 26 to Friday, June 28, 2024.

June 26 - 28, 2024

Register Online Now  Printable Registration Form

Overview & Costs

The University of South Dakota’s Choral Directors Institute is an intensive program designed to expose music educators to the best in current and standard literature in addition to teaching methods and materials. The three-day institute will include large ensemble reading sessions, master classes and clinic sessions that focus on a wide variety of teaching subjects for choral directors. The tuition costs may be paid online, by check with pre-registration or on the first day of the institute. Participants are highly encouraged to pre-register to ensure an appropriate number of reading packets are available. Registration for the institute is $195. Pre-registration by June 1 will lower the fee to $175.

Choral Directors Institute Schedule


GUEST CLINICIAN:  Dr. Jeffrey Murdock

Dr. Jeffrey Allen Murdock is internationally known as a conductor, clinician, and music educator. He currently serves as Director of Choral Activities, Professor of Music, and Founding Director of the Arkansas Center for Black Music at the University of Arkansas. He is a 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, a 2018 recipient of the Golden Tusk Award, the 2019 Most Outstanding Faculty Member among all university faculty, and the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year.

Dr. Murdock appears regularly in concert, recital, and stage performances, having previously conducted the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the (Mississippi) Gulf Coast Symphony and has also performed as a soloist with the Fort Smith Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the Southern Mississippi Opera. Dr. Murdock’s love of scholarship and performance has led him to study and perform around the world. As a music educator, he loves to invest his knowledge and experience in the next generation of young musicians through clinic opportunities with secondary choral programs, conducting honor choruses, and mentoring choral music educators.  Dr. Murdock is highly sought after as a clinician in the field of choral music and education, having conducted All-State and All-Region choirs, or headlined conferences in 27 states and 7 countries. In 2013, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Millington Chorale in a well-received concert of diverse repertoire. The evening concert featuring the ensemble was praised for its preparation and the ensemble’s maturity of sound. 

While Dr. Murdock is an accomplished classical musician, he is also a skilled Gospel musician. He has served on the conducting staff of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and has collaborated with Gospel recording artists, including Donnie McClurkin, Richard Smallwood, Mary Mary, Marvin Winans, Marvin Sapp, Lisa Knowles, Kathy Taylor, and numerous others.

Dr. Murdock’s research interests include cultural hegemony in choral music education, social justice in music education, culturally responsive pedagogy in music education, and music in urban schools. He has been invited to present at the National Research Conference for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) as well as two World Conferences of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) – (Glasgow, U.K., and Helsinki, Finland). Dr. Murdock is also a frequent research presenter at local and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA) where he is president-elect of the Southwestern Division (SWACDA), past president of the Arkansas Chapter, and serves on the national subcommittee for diversity.  Dr. Murdock holds both Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Conducting degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Education from the University of Memphis. In addition to NAfME and ACDA, his professional memberships include the ASCAP and the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO). He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.

Dr. Murdock is married to the Reverend R. Janae Pitts-Murdock, Senior Pastor of the Light of the World Christian Church Indianapolis, Indiana, and they have two amazing children, Jeffrey Allen Murdock, III, and John Patrick Alexander Murdock. 



Participants have the option of staying on campus or planning their own accommodations during the institute. Participants wishing to stay on campus may stay in airconditioned, single occupancy residence hall rooms at a rate of $45 per night plus applicable tax, pending Board of Regents approval. These rates do not include bed linens or towels.


Optional Graduate Credit

Participants have the option to earn graduate credit for participation in certain sessions. Payment of tuition ($40 per credit hour) for graduate credit is due on the day of registration. Tuition rates are set by the South Dakota Board of Regents and are subject to change without notice. Selected clinicians and/or USD faculty instruct all sessions.

MUS790 Instructional Techniques & Classroom Ideas for the Choral Music Teacher

Master classes and clinics focusing on teaching materials, techniques and pedagogy for music educators, grades K–12.

MUS790 Traditional and New Music for Choir

Reading sessions focusing on a wide variety of choral music for public school choirs, grades K–12. Materials will include both standard works and new releases from major publishers.

MUS790 Trends and Developments in Choral Music Education

Seminars and roundtable discussions to allow the choral director to focus on current trends in the area of choral music education.  A written final project is required.

For questions or more information, contact the Chair of Music David Holdhusen at (605)-658-3467, or at


Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in music.
the cello section of the USD Symphony


Develop the skills necessary to be successful in your musical career while gaining lifelong friends and mentors. Whether you are interested in teaching, music performance or music history — or some combination of the three — the Department of Music will provide you with real-world experiences and connections to help you succeed.

student success story

Success story Ben Schultz smiling.
I have always loved the events the College of Fine Arts features. From live theatrical productions, to ever changing art gallery shows, to music concerts and operas; there is ALWAYS something happening and constant opportunities to enrich your life through the arts.

Benjamin Schultz

B.F.A. Theatre Design and Technology '22
Minneapolis, MN

Take the Next Step