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College of Arts and Humanities

Dr. Gary Weidenaar

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Portrait of Dr. Weidenaar.Professor of Music
Director of Choral Studies

In 2006, Director of Choral Studies Dr. Gary Weidenaar joined the faculty at Central Washington University, where over 200 singers make up the four traditional choirs and two vocal jazz ensembles which comprise CWU’s choral offerings. Dr. Weidenaar’s duties include conducting the Chamber Choir and Vox Divina, as well as teaching choral methods, choral literature, and conducting at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is also advisor to the student chapter of the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA).

Dr. Weidenaar has a wide-ranging background in teaching. He taught at public or private schools in Michigan, Germany, Norway, and California for a total of fifteen years – nine of those years overseas .  His assignments included teaching everything from 3rd-13th grade students in choral, general and instrumental music courses at various times. In 2012, Dr. Weidenaar received the outstanding teaching award in CWU’s College of Arts & Humanities. He is currently in his 36th year of teaching. 

Having earned BM and MM degrees from Western Michigan and Michigan State Universities respectively, Dr. Weidenaar received his Doctorate from the University of Kansas in 2002, after which he spent four years on the Northern Arizona University faculty.

Dr. Weidenaar spends a great deal of time with directors and/or choirs of all levels. He has presented workshops to music educators in Utah, Arizona, Kansas, Washington, Nevada, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, & Colorado as well as in Switzerland, Sweden, British Columbia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Germany.  He has adjudicated, served as clinician, or conducted over two thousand choirs since 2002. A lifetime member of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), Weidenaar served as President of the Northwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) from 2012-2014, and received the ACDA Leadership Award for Washington state in 2015.

Since 2008, CWU’s Chamber Choir has appeared at two state conferences, and three regional conferences for both ACDA and NAfME. In 2015, the Chamber Choir received an invitation to take part in the prestigious Tolosa International Choir Competition. The choir spent twelve days in Spain, and presented five concerts. including one in the Cathedral in Léon, one of most historically significant buildings in the world. In 2020, the CWU Chamber Choir has been invited to sing at both the WMEA State and NWACDA Regional Conferences. 

The Chamber Choir is known throughout the world, with some fourty professionally edited YouTube Videos, with around four million total views as of Fall 2019. The music of composers Ola Gjeilo and Vijay Singh comprise more than half the videos, with music of Rautavaara, Byrd, Monteverdi, Gretchaninov, Muehleisen, Schreiner, Green, Rheinberger, Hogan, Ešenvalds, Whitacre, and others filling out the rest.  In 2014. Weidenaar produced a concert of 28 of Vijay Singh's compositions.  Dr. Weidenaar conducted the complete Messiah, with 17 student soloists, also in 2014.  Ola Gjeilo returned to the CWU campus in April, 2017 for a fourth recording session with Chamber Choir. In February 2019, Dr. Weidenaar made his debut conducting at Carnegie Hall invited by DCINY and Ola Gjeilo. A choir of 280 singers from the US, Spain, and Britain sang a concert of Gjeilo's music under Weidenaar's baton. 


Western Michigan University
BM in Music Education & Voice Performance, 1981
Michigan State University
MM in Voice Performance, 1988
The University of Kansas
DMA in Choral Conducting, 2002

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