John Bass, Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo[B.M., University of Southern Mississippi; M.M., Ph.D., University of Memphis ]
John Bass serves as Program Manager for the Mike Curb Institute for Music and Assistant Professor of Music. In addition to directing the Rhodes Jazz Ensemble and instructing jazz guitar students, Dr. Bass teaches classes on the Music of Africa and African American Music. He has been an active jazz guitarist in the Memphis area for over 10 years and has performed on stage with Bob Berg, Ira Sullivan, Bob Brookmeyer, Pat Bergeson, Mundell Lowe, and Kirk Whalum. He is a founding member of the Bluff City String Project, an acoustic jazz group that focuses on American and European jazz from the 1920s and 1930s.
Dr. Bass holds two degrees in jazz performance from the University of Southern Mississippi (B.M.) and the University of Memphis (M.M.), and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Memphis. The focus of his doctoral work and scholarship has centered on the improvisatory practices of the late Renaissance and early Baroque periods; he has presented scholarly papers at national and international conferences and his articles have appeared in Early Music and Performance Practice Review. Dr. Bass is also an early music performer on lute, theorbo, and baroque guitar, and appears regularly with local early music ensembles.
Leah McGray, Rhodes Orchestra and Wind Ensemble
Leah McGray is the Director of Instrumental Studies for the Department of Music at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Ms. McGray conducts the Rhodes Orchestra, Rhodes Wind Ensemble, and teaches classes in music appreciation and conducting, and is an active conductor and clinician.
Prior to her appointment at Rhodes, Ms. McGray completed the coursework toward the degree of Doctor of Music in Wind Conducting at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she studied with Dr. Mallory Thompson. She is the co-director of a Toronto-based wind and choral chamber group Windago, that is dedicated to the performance of music by emerging Canadian composers. A two-time winner of Social Science Humanities and Research Council grants from the Canadian government, her research interest is focused on new works that are being written for the wind ensemble, with an emphasis on the works for winds by Baltimore composer Joel Puckett.
McGray received her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees from Acadia University, in Nova Scotia, Canada and taught band and orchestra in public schools in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia before returning to university to attain a Master of Music degree in wind conducting from the University of Toronto. Professional affiliations include the College Band Directors National Association, College Music Society, Canadian Band Association, Canadian Music Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, and the Nova Scotia Band Association.
Gina Neupert, Harp Ensemble
[B.M., Indiana School of Music; M.M., University of Southern California]
Gina Neupert joins the Department of Music at Rhodes as Adjunct Professor of Harp. Ms. Neupert has performed worldwide as a soloist and accompanist. Prior to moving to Memphis, Ms. Neupert directed her own private studio of classical studies in the performing arts. Currently, she is the director of the Rita Crocker Conservatory and The High Strung Harp Choir in Memphis. Her students have won major national competitions and been accepted at top universities throughout the United States. Ms. Neupert is a member of The American National Harp Society. In addition to composing numerous harp solo and ensemble pieces, she is currently writing a book entitled "Music Conservatories in the Church." Ms. Neupert studied under the direction of world renowned harpist, Ms. Susann McDonald.
John Ross, Guitar Ensemble
[B.M., Northern Illinois University; M.M., Illinois State University]
John Ross has been on the faculty of Rhodes College Music Department as a classical guitarist since 1994. He is also the active Guitar Coordinator, overseeing the guitar program. For the past two years, Mr. Ross has been an active member of the teaching staff at the Collierville First Baptist Music Academy.
Mr. Ross received his B.M. in 1983 from Northern Illinois University and his M.M. from Illinois State University in 1993. As a classical guitarist and lutenist, Mr. Ross performs regularly in concert and public performances.
The Commercial Appeal referred to John Ross as, “... an excellent classical guitarist.”
William Skoog, Rhodes Singers and MasterSingers Chorale
Dr. William M. Skoog is Professor of Music, Elizabeth Daughdrill Fine Arts Chair and Director of Choral Studies in the Department of Music at Rhodes College, in Memphis Tennessee. He conducts the Rhodes Singers (Concert Choir), Chamber Singers and the MasterSingers Chorale, often conducting them with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his appointment at Rhodes College, he served as Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he directed the University Men’s Chorus, University Choral Society, and the Collegiate Chorale.
Choral ensembles under his direction have distinguished themselves at ACDA, MENC and IMC (Intercollegiate Men’s Chorus) conferences, and have performed at special events honoring William F. Buckley Jr., and Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf.
Skoog has conducted various choirs with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Moravian Symphony Orchestra (Czech Republic), the Toledo Symphony (OH), the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra (IN), and the Elkhart Symphony (IN). He served as artistic director/conductor of the distinguished Rome International Choral Festival in 2010, conducting the Tuscan Chamber Orchestra, and the Lucerne Choral Festival, Switzerland, in 2008, conducting the festival choir with the Santa Maria Orchestra in Lucerne, Switzerland. He has been invited to conduct the Salzburg International Choral Festival in 2012, and conducted a special Presidents’ Day Concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 2011.
As a singer, he has participated by audition in the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus and was selected to record with the Institute Singers under Robert Shaw, and has also performed with Sir Neville Marriner, André Previn and Peter Schreier at Carnegie Hall.
Skoog holds a Doctor of Arts Degree in choral conducting from the University of Northern Colorado, master’s degrees from Denver University’s Lamont School of Music in vocal pedagogy and performance and conducting, and a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. In addition to serving at Bowling Green, Skoog served at Indiana/Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, Michigan. He is a proud member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.