Michael Today

Conducting

The Academy Chorale (100-voice community chorale that I founded in 1997) and Academy Orchestra (50-piece symphony orchestra that I founded in 1998). Both exist under the Academy Community Concerts Association, now a non-profit organization that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016-17.

Book writing

  • Newest instructional books for choir directors have been published, Rejuvenating Senior Voices, available from GIA in both Directors’ and Singers’ editions, and Igniting Choral Rehearsals with a forward by Anton Armstrong.

Workshop teaching

  • In recent months, I have given Choral Booster Shot Workshops to multiple Philadelphia area retirement home choruses, taking decades off of singers' sounds and increasing their enjoyment.
  • In spring 2016, I presented a similar Choral Booster Shot Workshop for the combined church choirs of northeastern Pennsylvania, sponsored by AGO. Later that summer, I lectured at another NPM in Houston, TX (National Pastoral Musicians Convention for Catholic Music Directors), on the topics of Surefire Recruiting for Church Choirs and Layered Learning for Volunteer Choirs.
  • In 2017, I presented choral workshops to choirs (Pittsburgh) and music directors (Florida).

Voice teaching

I teach several private voice lessons each week, many focused on rejuvenating senior voices.

Personal music making

Looking ahead, I have done much soul searching about what is really important to me in this next decade. I not only want to be of service to my chorale and orchestra and the readers of my instructional books, but after 50+ years of conducting and enticing music out of others, I am back to making music myself as a violist with the semi-professional Academy Festival Trio, comprised of viola, oboe, and clarinet.

Luthier

Over the past five years, I have made from scratch one viola (11 months, almost 400 hours) and restored and re-graduated (re-carved from the inside) another viola and three violins. My next project is to re-stain and varnish two of those violins.

Tennis/Ping Pong

My wife Janet and I play tennis year-round. We often play high-level ping pong after rehearsals. In my 14 years as the choral and orchestral director of Germantown Academy, I coached tennis and ran the ever-popular ping pong club.

Family News

  • My mother, Helen Kemp, passed away in 2015, but our family remains closer than ever. We continue to gather together for story-telling, music making, and good food.
  • In December 2015, Janet and I traveled to Germany to be with my sister Julie, her husband Guy, their children Katja and Bryan and their families. Following in Julie and Guy’s footsteps, both Katja and Bryan are professional opera singers, and we had the opportunity to hear both of them sing. We toured Osnabruck, Hamburg, Eisenach (the birthplace of Johann S. Bach), Leipzig (visiting St. Thomas Kirche where Bach was organist/choir director and Mendelssohn’s home where he composed Elijah, Walpurgis Nacht, etc.), and Dresden.