Dr. Joseph Paul Dease is a native of Dothan, Ala. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Choral/Vocal Music from the University of Montevallo, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting with advanced studies in Vocal Pedagogy from East Carolina University, and a Ph.D. in Choral Conducting/Choral Music Education from the Florida State University College of Music. Currently, he is the Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of the Magic City Choral Society and serves as Director of Arts and Music at Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Dr. Dease has a wealth of conducting experience ranging from secondary school, church, community, college, and opera choruses. That experience also includes frequent adjudicating and guest conducting in North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and New Mexico. Students and colleagues have described his style as passionate, enthusiastic, engaging, endearing, but above all, positive.
Dr. Dease’s mentors include: Clifford K. Madsen, André Thomas, Kevin Fenton, Kimberly Van Weelden, Judy Bowers, Ronda Fleming, Brad Logan, Kathryn Foster, and Gilda Wilkerson.
ROB BRADLEY, ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR
Rob Bradley received a B.S. degree in Choral Music Education from the University of Alabama with piano as his principal instrument. As a teacher and accompanist, Mr. Bradley has been involved in choral and instrumental music programs throughout the state for more than twenty years.
“I heard the MCCS choirs for the first time at the 2009 MCCS Spring Concert and knew that I wanted to be involved. I appreciate Paul and the choir’s willingness to let me serve in a helping capacity.”
TY ROBERT THORNTON, PRINCIPLE ACCOMPANIST
Ty Thornton received a B.A. in Piano Pedagogy and a M.A. in Piano Performance from Bob Jones University, and an M.M. in Historical Musicology from Florida State University. Mr. Thornton comes to the Magic City Choral Society with an extensive background as a performer, accompanist and teacher. His teaching credits include: Bob Jones University, Hartford Christian Academy, Pensacola Christian College, The University of Alabama, Birmingham Southern Conservatory of Fine and Performing Arts of Birmingham Southern College, and a healthy private studio.
Mr. Thornton served as Music Director for many musical theater
productions for the Birmingham Festival Theater, Dane Peterson’s
Theater, and Terrific New Theater. Mr. Thornton has also been an active church musician since 1992, serving Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations.
DONNA BLETHEN, NBCT – DIRECTOR OF MUSIC EDUCATION
Ms. Blethen received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Instrumental Music Education from The University of Alabama and is a student in Walden University’s Educational Doctorate program in Teacher Leadership. She received National Board Certification in Early/ Middle Childhood Music/Band in 2005 from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. She has taught band in elementary, middle and high schools and is currently teaching 4th through 8th grade band in the Birmingham City Schools.
A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Ms. Blethen has performed in numerous musical ensembles throughout the state, including the Tuscaloosa Symphony and the Birmingham Heritage Jazz Band. She currently performs with the Celebration Winds Community Concert Band, the Birmingham Community Concert Band, and the UAB Community Wind Symphony.
Ms. Blethen conducts music fundamental classes throughout the year for members of the Magic City Choral Society. She believes that if you are truly passionate about music, you are never too old nor is it ever too late to learn to read music.