Choir Information

Festival of Music is designed to be an educational learning experience, in which participants learn methods that improve their musical ability, while enjoying the Midwest’s premier entertainment destination with fellow ensemble members. It is the responsibility of each adjudicator to not only evaluate performances, but to make positive suggestions that directors and ensemble members may use to improve their musicianship.  


2019 Festival of Music Dates

Choir Weekend: April 12-14, 2019
Choir Weekend: April 26-28, 2019


Dr. Robert Lawrence, happily returns as Choir Master for the Worlds of Fun/University of Central Missouri Choral Festival. After 30+ years of teaching at all levels of choral music, he is enjoying retirement as Professor Emeritus from UCM, continuing to clinic and adjudicate, volunteering at community affairs and extensive travel with his wife, Wendy.


2019 Choir Weekend Adjudicators

Worlds of Fun's nationally known adjudicators are exceptionally qualified and recognized as among the best in their fields. A qualified relief judge will be utilized on Saturday to provide assistance to the listed adjudicators.

Weekend I | April 12 - 14, 2019


Dr. Dan Bara

University of Georgia

Daniel Bara is the John D. Boyd UGA Foundation Professor of Choral Music and the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia where oversees seven university choral ensembles as well as the graduate choral conducting program. His university choirs have performed by juried invitation for state, regional, and national conventions of ACDA, MENC, and IMC. In spring of 2014 The UGA Hodgson Singers won the Grand Prix at the International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria and performed at the ACDA Southern Division Convention in Jacksonville, FL. His former MM and DMA conducting students now hold collegiate conducting appointments at Susquehanna University, New England Conservatory, Miami University of Ohio, University of Idaho, William Jewell College, as well as heads of church and school choral music programs throughout the country.

Prior to his appointment at UGA, Dr. Bara was the Director of Choral Activities at East Carolina University, where he received the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching, and released two internationally distributed choral recordings, Greater Love (2007) and Eternal Light (2010) with Gothic Records. In 2001was a winner of the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize given at the Eastman School of Music, and the ACDA National Student Conducting Competition (Graduate Division) awarded at the National Convention in San Antonio, TX.

Dr. Bara is a past-president of NC-ACDA, has held the Artistic Directorship of the New York State Summer School of the Arts – School of Choral Studies (2007-2009), and has served as conductor of the World Youth Honor Choir at Interlochen Arts Camp (2004-2006). He is in regular demand as a guest conductor and clinician, having conducted all-state and honor choirs in 17 states and Carnegie Hall, and has served as clinician for conferences sponsored by ACDA, AGO, and other school and church musical organizations.

Dr. Bara holds the DMA degree in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, organ and conducting degrees from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy. He is the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Youth and Student Activities for the Southern Division Chapter of ACDA and has served on conference planning committees for the 2012 and 2016 Southern Division conferences. At UGA, Dr. Bara conducts the UGA Hodgson Singers, the University Chorus, and oversees the graduate conducting student recital choir, The Repertory Singers.




Karen Fulmer

Past President, ACDA


KAREN FULMER is currently the Executive Director of the community based Rainier Youth Choirs after retiring from teaching choral music for 31 years at the junior high and high school levels and serving as district Music Coordinator. Choirs under her direction consistently earned high scores at area contests and assisted in workshop presentations for the Washington Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Currently serving as National Past President of the 20,000-member ACDA, Karen previously held the offices of Washington State and Northwestern Region President. She was named the 1997 Washington State Teacher of the Year for all subject areas. Karen was a founding board member and singer in the adult community choirs, Northwest Repertory Singers and Chor Anno. She also sings in Choral Union at Pacific Lutheran University, having toured internationally with them four times. She has conducted state honor choirs in Washington, Wisconsin and Minnesota and regularly adjudicates throughout the region.


Dr. Deanna Joseph

Georgia State University


Dr. Deanna Joseph is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the Georgia State University School of Music where she conducts the University Singers and leads the master’s program in choral conducting. In 2015, she was the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award at Georgia State, where she was selected out of a pool of over 800 faculty.

Under Dr. Joseph’s baton the Georgia State University Singers have been invited to perform at two conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. In May of 2013, the University Singers competed in La Florilège Vocal de Tourswhere they placed second overall in the mixed choir category and Dr. Joseph was honored with the Prix du chef de choer (conducting prize).  Additional honors from 2013 include an invited performance at the Georgia Music Educator’s Association annual conference and the North American premiere of David Bintley’s Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Ballet.  The choir’s new professional recording, Evening Hymn (Gothic Records), is available starting in the fall of 2015 through both compact disk and on iTunes.

Dr. Joseph is an active guest conductor and clinician and has conducted all-state and honor choirs in more than eleven states. She is a frequent conductor of choral-orchestral repertoire, and has led performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven Mass in C, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson Mass, Schubert’s Mass in A-flat and Bruckner’s Mass in D Minor.

Dr. Joseph’s research in the area of 19th century choral-orchestral performance-practice has led to invited presentations on the topic at several division conferences of the American Choral Director’s Association and at the national convention for the National Collegiate Choral Organization. In October of 2012 she was selected as one of 25 presenters from ten countries to speak at the Lund Choral Festival in Sweden.

Prior to her appointment at Georgia State University, Dr. Joseph served on the faculties at Smith College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Dr. Joseph holds conducting degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize.  She is the founder and artistic director of the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute (ASCI), a weeklong masterclass that draws conductors from all across the country and takes place annually during June.


Weekend II | April 26 - 28, 2019


Dr. Ryan Beekan

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Ryan Beeken proudly serves as Director of Choral Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he conducts the University Chorale, Chorus, and Chamber Singers and teaches graduate and undergraduate choral conducting. Beeken also serves as Artistic Director for the Blair Concert Chorale, whose mission includes fostering a growing appreciation of quality choral music for the population of south central Pennsylvania. He received Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Drake University and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degrees in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University.

Beeken's choirs have performed at state, regional, and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and have been invited to perform for state and regional conferences for the National Association for Music Education. A frequent clinician and festival director, Beeken is regularly engaged as a conductor, clinician, and adjudicator throughout the United States; since 2013, his engagements include more than 30 All-States and Honor Choirs in twelve states and many invited presentations for symposia across the United States and in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He has served on the executive committee of the American Choral Directors Association at both the state and regional level and is currently serving as the District 3 President-Elect for the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.


Prior to his appointment at IUP, Beeken taught at Michigan State University, where he conducted the Women's Glee Club. Also, while residing in Des Moines, Iowa, he directed the Drake Chorale at Drake University. He also taught elementary, middle school, and high school music for sixteen years, most recently serving as Director of Vocal Music for Waukee Schools in suburban Des Moines where he lead a program of over 300 students and twelve ensembles to national distinction.



Dr. Derrick Fox

Nebraska University - Omaha

Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.  He earned a BME from Arkansas State University, a MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a DMA in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, where he was awarded the prestigious University Enrichment Graduate Fellowship.

Dr. Fox has conducted all state choirs, honor choirs and led professional development workshops across the United Statesand internationally. His professional workshops focus on assessment in the choral classroom, building classroom community, rehearsal strategies, choral conducting techniquesand shape note singing in the African American community. Dr. Fox’s recent engagements included and teaching residencies at the Latvian Academy of Music and Syracuse University, performance tours through Lithuania and Estonia as well as conducting the 2018 Texas All State MS/JH Honor Choir and the SWACDA 7 – 10  Men’s Honor choir. Highlights from his upcoming engagements include presentations at Nebraska ACDA, Kansas ACDA, Kentucky ACDA, South Carolina MEA and North Dakota MEA as well as conducting the Hawaii All State Festival Choir, Alabama All State Choir, New York All State MS/JH Choir, and the National ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir.

As a baritone soloist, Dr. Fox has collaborated with various organizations; among them are the Arkansas Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Columbia Chorale, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Webster University and the Espaço Cultural (Brasilia, Brazil). He can be heard singing selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on the compact disc In This Hid Clearing, available on the Naxos Classical Music label. Dr. Fox is delighted to sing Elijah this season at the University of Missouri Columbia and with the Omaha Symphonic Choir.

Dr. Fox serves on the National ACDA Diversity Subcommittee, the Missouri Music Educators Association Diversity Council and is the Collegiate Coordinator for Student Activities for Nebraska Choral Directors Association. As an author, he has written articles for many organizations and was a contributing author in the Hal Leonard/McGraw Hill choral textbook Voices in Concert. His compositions and arrangements are published by Hal Leonard Sacred Music Series, G. Schirmer Andrea Ramsey Choral Series and BriLee Music. His newest book, Yes You Can: A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Choirs will be published by Brilee/Carl Fischer.


Dr. Michael Hanawalt

Wichita State University

Michael Hanawalt is Associate Professor of Choral Music at Wichita State University, where he conducts the Concert Chorale, the Women’s Ensemble and teaches courses in conducting and choral literature. Prior to his appointment at Wichita State, Dr. Hanawalt served as Visiting Instructor in Music at St. Olaf College, where he conducted the Chapel Choir and the Viking Chorus.

Dr. Hanawalt is a founding member of the professional male vocal ensemble Cantus, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During his eleven-year tenure with Cantus, he performed over 500 concerts throughout North America and Europe, participated in over 200 educational outreach events, and recorded eleven CDs. He also served for six years as Cantus’ Executive Director, overseeing its growth through organizational management, fundraising and board development.

An active performer, Dr. Hanawalt is the recipient of several awards, including first place at the Schubert Club Vocal Competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota, first place at the Thursday Musical Vocal Competition in St. Paul, Minnesota, and first place at Minnesota’s division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Vocal Competition in Collegeville, Minnesota. In 2011, Mr. Hanawalt sang the role of the Evangelist in J. S. Bach’s Weinachts-Oratorium with the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir.

Dr. Hanawalt’s arrangement of “Amazing Grace” was premiered by the Michigan State University Women’s Chamber Ensemble at the National Convention of the American Choral Director’s Association in 2009. His arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne,” co-arranged with his wife, Justine Sasanfar, was premiered by the Michigan State University Women’s Glee Club in November of 2008. Both arrangements are published by Boosey & Hawkes. His arrangement of “Loch Lomond” is featured on Cantus’ CD Let Your Voice Be Heard and is published by the Niel A. Kjos Music Company.

Dr. Hanawalt holds a BM in Vocal Performance from St. Olaf College, an MM in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, and a PhD in Choral Music Education from The Florida State University.



Swing Judges


April 13, 2019 April 27, 2019





 Entry Fee Information

  • A $50 registration fee is due for each performing group. The registration fee is non-refundable/non-transferable and must be received prior to receiving a scheduled performance time.
  • The $50 fee is for registration purposes only and does NOT apply to your ticket purchase.
  • All members of your group, including students, directors, and accompanists are required to prepurchase a Festival of Music Entry a minimum of 10 days in advance.  Chaperones, parents and families may also purchase the FOM ticket.
    • One-Day Entry - $36 (plus tax, if applicable) per person
    • (More details in the Tickets section of site)
  • The Festival of Music Entry fee includes participation in the Festival of Music and one specific day admission to Worlds of Fun.
  • Season Pass Holders will be honored for members of your group, they do not count toward your group size when issuing complementary tickets.
  • One (1) complimentary admission ticket is issued with every 15 Festival of Music Entries purchased when full payment is received a minimum of two (2) weeks prior to performance date.
  • Complimentary tickets are not issued for orders received less than two (2) weeks prior to performance date. Complimentary tickets will be issued on individual orders, not on a cumulative basis.
  • Choirs: Worlds of Fun is closed to the general public on Friday, April 12, 2019 and Friday, April 26, 2019.  Groups performing on 4/12/19 or 4/26/19 are welcome to use their admission during any public operating day in 2019.
  • No refunds or rain checks will be issued on pre-purchased admission tickets.
  • Separate charge for RipCord and Dinosaurs Alive!

Music Requirements

  • While the music selection is at the discretion of the director, Worlds of Fun encourages directors to select music of high artistic merit.
  • Performance of musical selections with scores is allowed.  Musical selections which have been memorized for performance are encouraged.
  • At the time of check-in, the director provides three sets of original scores, measures numbered consecutively.
  • Photocopies are not permitted unless accompanied by written approval from the publisher. For additional information, please contact the Music Publishers Association -
  • The original scores, as well as the adjudicators written and recorded comments and a CD of the live performance, are picked up following the performance at the Festival of Music booth, located at the main entrance of the park.  Please allow a minimum of 30 minutes for packets to be available for pick-up.

Choral Guidelines

  • Total performance time is 10-minutes in length. Time permitting, a 5-minute clinic, with a nationally renowned adjudicator, follows each performance.
  • Festival of Music does not include grades 6th and under, swing, show, or jazz choirs.
  • Ensembles perform a maximum of two (2) music selections for adjudication.
  • Please plan to adhere to these guidelines.  The Choirmaster reserves the right to lower your overall rating if you exceed time.

Performance Classification

  • Groups are classified by school enrollment (official state count for enrollment on or after October 1, 2018).
  • Performance Divisions:
    • Middle School/Junior High School
      • At or Below 245 Students
      • 246 - 750 Students
      • 751 - 1000 Students
      • 1001 & More Students
    • Senior High School
      • At or Below 245 Students
      • 246 - 750 Students
      • 751 - 1,000 Students
      • 1001 & More Students
    • Non-Association* (see below)
  • *Non-Association Division participants are schools that are not a member of their State Activities Association.  This Division is eligible for Honor Awards within its own class, but not for Sweepstakes.
  • Grades 6th & under may perform a non-adjudicated "Performance in the Park" on any day the park is open to the public. Please complete a submission form by clicking here.

 Performance Categories

  • Full Competition – division rating, comments and eligibility for trophy awards
  • Comments Only – performance for adjudicators’ comments only

Performance Arrangements

  • All performing members, directors, and accompanists must wear appropriate performance attire. Acceptable dress includes formal uniforms, costumes, and concert attire.
  • Worlds of Fun provides 2 10'x10' changing tents conveniently located in H parking lot.  H lot is adjacent to the bus parking lot (G) .
  • Worlds of Fun provides the following equipment in the Performance Hall: grand piano, six sections of full-sized, three-step choral risers, choir shells, and director’s podium.

Warm-Up Area

  • Worlds of Fun provides an outdoor shelter as the warm-up facility.  Included is a digital piano, electricity, and privacy during performance preparations.
  • Choir shells and risers are not provided in the warm-up facility.
  • No less than 30-minutes prior to your scheduled performance each group should report to the Festival of Music Check-In Booth (located outside and to the east of the main entrance) with all tickets distributed, group dressed and ready to warm-up.
  • Each group is assigned a personal park escort to assist them throughout their festival experience.
  • All groups are allotted 15-minutes in the warm-up facility.  The policy is strictly enforced.

 Standards for Ratings

  • The Festival of Music Adjudicators use the following standards for performance ratings.  The division ratings are based on industry standards among like festivals.
    • Rating I - Superior - This rating reflects the finest conceivable performance for the event and class of participants being evaluated.  Performance is worthy of the distinction of being recognized as among the very best.
    • Rating II - Excellent - This rating reflects an unusually high level of performance in many respects, but not worthy of the highest rating due to minor defects.  Yet it is a performance of distinctive quality.  The ensemble receiving this rating usually shows the result of sound, fundamental training, but the performance lacks the polish and finesse necessary to qualify for a division I rating.
    • Rating III - Good - This rating is awarded for good performance, but one that is not outstanding.  It shows accomplishment with marked promise and potential, but is lacking in one or more essential qualities.  This rating indicates much room for improvement in many of the fundamental areas listed on the adjudicators' comment sheet.
    • Rating IV - Fair - This rating describes a performance that shows obvious weaknesses.  These may reflect handicaps in the way of instrumentation or lack of rehearsal time, but generally represents a performance that is weak or uncertain.  There are numerous errors and the performance reveals basic weaknesses in most of the fundamental factors listed on the comment sheet.
    • Rating V - Poor - This rating indicates a performance that reveals much room for improvement.  The director should re-evaluate his/her methods, instrumentation, etc., with those of more mature individuals and organizations.  Even the most critical judges rarely use this division.  It indicates a performance in which the performers reveal almost a complete lack of preparedness and understanding.  In some cases, this may be due to immature students attempting music which is far too advanced for them.  In other words, it may be due to an accumulation of careless and poor playing habits which only tend to become accentuated and more noticeable as the player becomes older.

Determining Final Rating

  • The evaluation of each of the three adjudicators will count one third in determining the final rating.
  • Each adjudicator will give ratings as follows: Rating I, Rating II, Rating III, Rating IV, and Rating V.
  • The following points will be assigned to each adjudicator's rating to determine the final rating for each ensemble:  Rating I - 1 point, Rating II - 2 points, Rating III - 3 points, Rating IV - 4 points, and Rating V - 5 points.
  • The following scale will determine the final rating for each ensemble from the ratings given by the individual adjudicators:
    • Rating I - 3 through 4 points
    • Rating II - 5 through 7 points
    • Rating III - 8 through 10 points
    • Rating IV - 11 through 13 points
    • Rating V - 14 through 15 points

Honor Awards

  • An Awards Ceremony is held each Saturday and Sunday following the final performance for that day.  Ensembles participating on Friday afternoon will be included in the Saturday Awards Ceremony.
  • Awards must be picked up each day.  A packaging and shipping fee will be required for any awards that require shipment. 1st place trophies will ship for $50. 2nd place trophies ship for $45.
  • Please plan to have a minimum of one representative from your school attend the Awards Ceremony. 
  • Each school that receives an Honor Award, that is not picked up during the Awards Ceremony, must make arrangements for pick-up with the Festival Coordinator. If you need to have your trophy shipped, there will be a shipping fee that must be paid prior to shipment.
  • Each participating group receives a Certificate of Performance personally signed by each adjudicator and the Bandmaster, recorded and written comments by each adjudicator, and a recorded copy of the performance.
  • "I" rating plaques are awarded to each performing ensemble that achieves a “I” rating.
  • A First and Second Place Honor Trophy is presented in each rated division. Each day performing ensembles compete with other ensembles within their division for the Honor Awards.
  • If, in the opinion of the judges, performances within a division do not achieve a sufficient level of excellence, the Honor Awards may not be awarded.
  • A Sweepstakes Trophy is awarded each Sunday to the best overall performance for that weekend.


Prices, hours, dates, and attraction availability are subject to change without notice. Park reserves the right to be closed to the public and Season Pass holders for private Events, capacity limitations, and other reasons. Certain attractions and/or Park facilities may be closed due to inclement weather, extreme temperatures, maintenance, and/or other reasons.