Dr. Patrick Walders
Co-Founder and Artistic Director
A native of Buffalo, NY, Patrick Walders (founding Artistic Director and Conductor) maintains an active career as a professional vocalist, music educator, church musician, clinician, and conductor. He is an Associate Professor and Director of Choral Studies within the School of Music and Dance at San Diego State University conducting the Aztec Concert Choir and SDSU Chamber Choir. He heads the graduate program in Choral Conducting that offers the Masters of Music degree and Artist Diploma. His research interests include Vocal Pedagogy, diction, rehearsal techniques in ensemble settings, and how dance and movement relates to conducting gesture.
He is Founder and Artistic Director of the annual San Diego Summer Choral Festival designed to give teachers, church musicians, students, amateurs, and professionals a high-quality summer choral performing outlet. The Chamber Choir under the umbrella of the San Diego Pro Arte Voices is the Ensemble-in-Residence at the San Diego Summer Choral Festival.
Patrick has served on faculty for the Chorworks Summer Music Workshop based in Washington, DC and directs Voci per l’Arte, a professional chamber choir supplementing the workshop. For four seasons, he was the Associate Conductor of the National Philharmonic Chorale, and Artistic Director of the National Philharmonic Singers based at the state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center at Strathmore (Washington, DC) and received an enthusiastic review from The Washington Post after his debut conducting Handel’s Messiah.
Patrick has been a professional soloist and chorister throughout the northeastern United States and more recently, in southern California. He is a solo-consort artist with the Bach Collegium San Diego, Pacific Bach Project, Orpheus, and the Berwick Chorus– the professional choir of the Oregon Bach Festival. Highly active in the American Choral Directors Association, he is a past-President of Virginia and is a current member of California ACDA fostering a student chapter at SDSU. He served as Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University (Virginia) for seven years where he directed the award-winning JMU Chorale and Madison Singers while developing the largest undergraduate and graduate choral program in Virginia. Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Fredonia, a master's degree in choral conducting from the Westminster Choir College and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Maryland- College Park. He has taught public school (7-12th grade) in western New York and is a published arranger of choral music.
He is passionate about teaching future and current music teachers and directors enabling them to be significant ambassadors not just for choral music, but for all art forms. This mindset led to the creation of the San Diego Pro Arte Voices which offers student and professional artists significant performing opportunities in traditional and non-traditional venues for the advancement of the arts in society.