Professor of Music
BA, Goshen College, 1979
MM, UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO, 1985
DMA, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS, 2003
Debra Brubaker is professor of music at Goshen College, where she is involved in the choral, voice and opera theater programs, teaching related courses, and previously serving as department co-chair. Dr. Brubaker was assistant professor of music at Bluffton (Ohio) College for 10 years, and has taught in public schools in Indiana and Colorado.
Since coming to Goshen in 1999, Dr. Brubaker has directed the Goshen College Chorale and Chamber Choir. In the spring of 2004, she created the Women’s World Music Choir, which performed at the Central Regional Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Grand Rapids, Mich., in February 2008. In addition to touring many parts of the United States and Canada, Dr. Brubaker’s choirs are in demand regionally, having performed with the Toledo Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra and South Bend Symphony.
A recent Toledo Blade review described her choirs as “wonderfully prepared…. Diction was immaculate, pitch focused.” She and her choirs have collaborated and performed with such noted conductors as Alice Parker, Vance George, Donald Neuen and Gregg Smith. A collaboration with Chicago Symphony composer-in-residence Augusta Reed Thomas elicited a description of her singers as “sophisticated and broad musically, as well as elegant and refined individuals.”
Dr. Brubaker’s contacts in churches and schools provide opportunities for her to practice the art of bringing people together through shared song. A focus of her energies is exploring how the use of singing can become a catalyst for connection between people of differing cultures, faiths and circumstances, and to highlight the role of women as creators, sustainers, and disrupters of art and culture.
Goshen College Women’s World Music Choir
The Goshen College Women’s World Music Choir was formed in the spring of 2004. Its goals are to discover and perform music of many cultures, both national and international, particularly indigenous cultures. The choir also serves to highlight the role of women in these cultures, celebrating the unique spirit and energy that women bring to the world as creators, sustainers, and disrupters of life and culture. A triannual tour allows the group to share its unique style and sound of performance with a variety of schools and churches.
The choir has performed music from many places, including India, Mexico, the Philippines, Ireland, South Africa, the United States, Swaziland, Guatemala, Pakistan, the Republic of Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Czech Republic. During performances, the women sing barefoot and wear fabrics from around the world to affirm their connection to the earth and their solidarity with women from all cultures.
“When you sing, you have no evil thoughts and when you are dancing, you feel less hungry.” ~Esma Redzepova, Roma (gypsy) performer and singer
Goshen College Chamber Choir
An auditioned choir focused on primarily a cappella singing has been in existence at Goshen College since its inception in 1894. The Goshen College Chamber Choir, a select group of approximately 26 juniors and seniors, has been performing since the 1960’s. The group of singers, from all majors and minors on campus, performs sacred and secular works from earliest chant to current-day arrangements and compositions of its own singers. Singing on campus and in area churches, the group takes a triannual tour to connect with constituent high schools and churches.
Upcoming Choral Performances
- Women’s World Music Choir at Cincinnati Mennonite Arts Weekend, Feb. 3, 4, 5, 2012
Dr. Brubaker and her choir are the featured presenters and performers at several sessions, focusing on international hymn singing and various methods of female vocal production.
- A Toledo Symphony collaboration with Goshen College, Feb. 19, 2012, Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College Music Center
Goshen College Choirs, select high school singers, and members of the Shout for Joy children’s choir will join with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Vance George, emeritus conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus in a performance of the Fauré Requiem, Bach Cantata kk. 79, and selections from Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.
- Women’s World Music Choir at Manchester College’s Peace Week, April 10, 2012
Recent Choral Performances
- Goshen College Homecoming Gala, Oct. 8, 2011
Goshen’s four choirs, orchestra, and faculty soloists performed their annual opening concert for the 2011-12 academic year
- “Love and Glory,” the Goshen College Fall Choral Concert
Including Mozart’s Regina Coeli, arvo pärt’s “the woman with the alabaster box,” men’s choral treasures, and women’s choral music from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Sweden
Historic Choral Performances
- Women’s World Music Choir – 2008 Central Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Goshen Combined Choirs with the Toledo Symphony singing Verdi’s Requiem, Toledo, OH and Goshen, IN – 2005
- Goshen Combined Choirs with the Toledo Symphony singing Belshazzar’s Feast, Toledo, OH and Goshen, IN – 2006
- Song Leading
- Using Hymnal: A Worship Book as the primary text, an experiential class that teaches students to lead groups of singers in a connective and creative manner.
- Topics: Women and Music
- Exploration of the impact of women upon musical aesthetics, composition, and performance from earliest history to today.
- Aural Skills
- Development of students’ abilities in solfege-based sight singing, ear training, dictation, and Takadimi rhythm counting.
- Topics: Church Music