Western Slope Choral Festival

Honor Choir    

The 2017 festival is March 2-4, 2017. (Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon concert). This year’s Women’s Choir conductor is Dr. Daniel Afonso from the University of California-Stanislaus and this year’s Mixed Choir conductor is Dr. Jeremy Manternach from the University of Iowa.

Auditions for the Western Slope Honor Choir Festival are held in Fall. Specific information about the Honor Choirs is mailed to individual high schools in September.

Dr. Daniel Afonso

Daniel R. Afonso, Jr. is professor of music and Coordinator of Vocal and Choral Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. He received a degree in Educação Artística from the Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. Dr. Afonso is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has studied conducting with Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Cees Rotteveel, Eph Ehly, and William Hatcher.

Dr. Afonso has performed with choral groups in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and has previously taught music at the Conservatório Brasileiro de Música, Universidade do Rio de Janeiro (UNI-Rio), and Doane College (Nebraska). In 1988, he won the First Prize and the Best Performance of Villa-Lobos Work awards at the Concurso Villa-Lobos de Canto Coral, a national choral competition sponsored by the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. Dr. Afonso is strongly committed to the performance of new music and has commissioned and premiered many choral works in the last few years, including several of his own works and works by young composition students.

He is the founding director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Chorus and, since 2001, has prepared several choral masterworks with the ensemble. He often serves as a guest conductor with the Modesto Symphony and frequently conducts the orchestra and chorus in performances. In the summer of 2012, he had his New York debut, conducting Mozart’s Requiem with members of the MSO Chorus and students from CSU Stanislaus at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.

Dr. Afonso is a composer, arranger, and editor of choral music and has choral works published by earthsongs, Colla Voce, and Alliance Music Publications. He was composer-in-residence with the San Francisco Choral Artists during their 2014-2015 season and has also written works for the Los Angeles Children’s Choir, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and other ensembles in the US and abroad. He has written innumerous arrangements for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra, including a new version of The Star-Spangled Banner for orchestra and chorus, recently premiered at the MSO opening concert for the 2015-16 season. Dr. Afonso is widely recognized for his research and performance of Brazilian choral music and continues to frequently present workshops and lectures about the Latin American choral repertoire—he most recently conducted the South American Honor Choir at the 2016 Eastern Division Convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Boston.

He is very active as a voice instructor, clinician, and guest conductor, and has presented hundreds of choral workshops, clinics, and coaching sessions throughout the United States and abroad. His professional affiliations include the Ordem dos Músicos do Brasil, the International Federation for Choral Music, and the American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Jeremy Manternach

Jeremy N. Manternach is assistant professor of vocal/choral music education at the University of Iowa. He teaches undergraduate and graduate choral pedagogy, voice science, music education, and research courses and coordinates and conducts the UI Youth Chorale, a high school outreach choir. He previously held teaching positions as a faculty member at the University of Arizona and as a high school choral director in Minnesota.


Dr. Manternach is a frequent guest clinician and conductor in Iowa and beyond. He has conducted All-State, All-Region, All-Conference, or All-City honor choirs in Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, and Arizona. He most recently served as the conductor for the Kansas Middle-Level All-State Choir and the Idaho All-State Treble Choir. He also serves on the Iowa Choral Directors Association board of directors as the editor of the state newsletter, Sounding Board. His conducting instructors include Dr. James F. Daugherty, Br. Paul Richards, OSB, and Dr. Axel Theimer.

Dr. Manternach serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing and the Journal of Music Teacher Education. He has multiple research and practitioner publications and frequently presents his research findings at national and international venues. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Pan-American Vocology Association (PAVA), and the VoiceCare Network.