Meet the Director - Choir
Director of Choirs
Ballard High School
Courtney Rowley is in her fifteenth year as Director of Choirs at Ballard High School, where she directs the Concert Choir, Advanced Chorale, Treble Choir, Vocal Jazz, Chamber Choir, and Tenor Bass Ensemble. Originally from Michigan, she earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Choral Music Education from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University.
Under her direction, the Ballard choirs have grown from 36 students to over 120 members strong, and have consistently received Superior ratings at both regional and national choral festivals. The BHS Concert Choir was invited to perform at Lincoln Center in 2010 and at Carnegie Hall in 2016, as part of the Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs Festival. They were also honored to perform by invitation for the NW American Choral Directors Association Conference in 2014. In addition, the BHS Men's Quartet won 1st place in 2013 and the BHS Men’s Ensemble won 2nd place in 2019 at the WMEA State Solo and Ensemble Contest.
Ms. Rowley was honored by the 5th Avenue 2012 Musical Theatre Awards with nominations for Best
Musical Direction and Best Chorus in the state of Washington, and is a past recipient of the Ballard High School Outstanding Educator Award (2010), the Washington State ACDA Outstanding Emerging Choral Director Award (2014), and the Elliott Bay Music Educators Association Outstanding Music Educator of the Year (2017).
Concert Choir is a large performing group for all voice parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass). Students sing and perform quality choral literature from a variety of genres, cultures, and styles. There is an emphasis on building musicianship skills through a program of sight reading, music theory, ear training, and vocal technique. This group performs choral literature of the highest level at four to five school concerts and two to three festivals throughout the year, where they consistently receive Superior ratings. Concert Choir also attends fall choir camp, participates in numerous workshops and invitationals, and frequently travels on a choir tour.
Advanced Chorale is an ensemble made up of intermediate to advanced musicians with soprano and alto voices. Students will sing and perform quality choral literature of the highest level from a large variety of genres, cultures, and styles. This group performs at numerous school concerts and festivals, as well as additional honors and invitational concerts, throughout the year. In addition to their performance schedule, students spend time developing advanced music reading and comprehension skills, as well as refining their vocal technique and their ability to sing expressively. Advanced Chorale attends fall choir camp and frequently travels on a choir tour.
Treble Choir is open to all students with upper voices (soprano and alto) in the school who enjoy music and wish to become better singers and performers. All ninth grade sopranos and altos who wish to join choir will begin their high school choir experience in this ensemble. Treble Choir learns and performs music for the treble voice in a variety of musical styles, from classical to Broadway and pop. Students will learn correct vocal technique, music theory, sight-reading, expressive singing, and how to work together to create a dynamic musical performance. Students are encouraged to take Treble Choir for as many years as they wish.
Vocal Jazz is a small mixed ensemble for advanced singers. Students will sing a variety of choral literature with an emphasis on jazz music. A high level of sight reading, music theory, ear training, and vocal technique is expected. The group participates in vocal jazz festivals throughout the northwest and performs at numerous singing gigs in and around the Seattle area. Auditions are held each spring for the following school year. Sound technician and jazz rhythm section may also be enrolled each year.
Women’s Chamber Choir is an extracurricular ensemble for soprano and alto voices that rehearses twice a week (after school on Tuesdays and before school on Fridays). Students perform advanced choral literature for women’s voices. They participate in Solo and Ensemble and consistently receive Superior ratings. Women’s Chamber Choir also participates in various smaller concerts and gigs throughout the area.
Tenor Bass Ensemble
Men’s Ensemble is an extracurricular ensemble for tenor and bass voices that rehearses twice a week (after school on Tuesdays and before school on Fridays). Students will sing a variety of music including doo-wop, contemporary rock, pop, classical, and folk music. Men’s Ensemble performs for all school concerts as well as assemblies, gigs throughout the area, and at Solo and Ensemble.