SMU High School All-State Choir Camp

SMU Meadows School of the Arts is offering All-State Choir Camp this summer, July 6-8. Any high school choir students who are interested in auditioning for All-State Choir through the Texas Music Educators Association are welcome to attend. During the three days of the camp, participants will be introduced to the all-state audition music, and they will participate in break-out sessions that will include topics such as: audition techniques, sight-reading skills, drumming, and games. The conductor for the event is Mr. Jesse Cannon II, Director of Vocal and Elementary Music for Fort Worth ISD. Section leaders for the camp are Christopher Ahrens (McKinney North High School), Sarah Council (Plano West High School), Doug Council (Berkner High School), and Clorese Porter (Plano Senior High).

  • Dates: July 6-8
  • Times: Thursday and Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
    Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM and 6:30-7:30 PM (informal concert)
  • Cost: $250
  • Includes: All-state music packet, parking, camp t-shirt, reusable water bottle, daily snacks, final day lunch, and final day supper
  • Housing: There is no on-campus housing available for camp.

Register Here

All-State Choir Camp Faculty

Jesse Canon II, Director, is Director of Vocal and Elementary Music in Fort Worth ISD. Prior to working in Fort Worth, he was Director of Choirs in Duncanville ISD. Recently elected President-Elect of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Mr. Cannon currently serves as Vice President and Vocal Division Chair for TMEA. He also served in various capacities on the local, state, and national levels, including TMEA Region 20 President, and the American Choral Directors Association’s (ACDA) Southwest ACDA Repertoire & Resources Chair for High School Mixed Choir.

Choirs under Mr. Cannon’s direction have consistently earned superior ratings at regional and state contests, have been named Overall Outstanding and Grand Champion in choral competitions throughout the US, and have rapidly expanded in enrollment to become one of the largest choral programs in the area. His choirs performed at the 2020 TMEA Convention and at the 2021 National Convention of ACDA.

Under Mr. Cannon’s direction, the Duncanville HS Choir was recognized by The American Prize and The Foundation of Music Education Mark of Excellence as a National Winner. In addition, Mr. Cannon was recognized in 2022 as a Music Teacher of Excellence by the Country Music Association Foundation, as Duncanville HS Teacher of the Year in 2021, and was awarded the Grammy Signature School Award for the Duncanville HS Choral Department. He is an active Region Clinician and adjudicates several times each year for the UIL Concert & Sight-Reading Contest. Mr. Cannon holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Dallas Baptist University and a Masters in Music Education with an Emphasis in Choral Conducting from Mississippi State University.

Christopher W. Ahrens, Bass Section Leader, joined the faculty of McKinney North High School as Choir Director in 2015. Prior to that, he served as the Choir Director at Vines High School in Plano, TX, and Assistant Choir Director at Plano Senior High School. Mr. Ahrens received both a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Texas Christian University, where he performed and studied under the direction of Ron Shirey, Dr. Sheri Neill, and David Brock. In addition to being an active clinician and adjudicator throughout the state of Texas, he serves as the Assistant Director of the TCU All-State Choir Camp each summer.  He served TMEA as Region 25 Vocal Division Chair twice, and is currently the Region 24 Vocal Division Chair.

Mr. Ahrens was honored as the 2013 Teacher of the Year for Vines HS and went on to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award from Plano Independent School District. Choirs under his direction have consistently been successful at UIL and other  competitions around the US. The Vines Chorale Women were selected to perform under Mr. Ahrens’ direction  at TMEA in 2014, and he had the pleasure of co-directing the PSHS Varsity Women at the ACDA National Convention in 2007 and at TMEA in 2009.  Mr. Ahrens serves as the Youth Choir Director and Tenor Section Leader at Transfiguration Episcopal Church in Dallas. His wife Kimberley is the choir director at Robinson Middle School in Plano ISD, and they reside in McKinney, TX with their children Katie and Camden.

Doug Council, Tenor Section Leader, is currently serving his 11th year as Director of Choirs at Berkner HS in Richardson, and 14th year teaching. Mr. Council received his degree in Music Education from The University of North Texas. His choirs have received many honors, including Best in Class Awards, and consistent UIL Sweepstakes Awards.  Choirs under Mr. Council’s direction have been invited to perform with University choirs such as University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M Commerce. Mr. Council’s A Cappella Tenor/Bass choir won the Foundation for Music Education’s Mark of Excellence Commended Winner in 2014. In 2016, the Berkner HS A Cappella Choir was invited to perform in a combined HS choir with world-renowned composer Eric Whitacre and the Dallas Winds.

Mr. Council is an enthusiastic collaborator, having served as music director for 14 musicals and has achieved significant success with students of all music ability levels and learning styles. He is the past TMEA Region 3 Vocal Chair and has served as the TMEA Texas All-State Tenor/Bass Choir Section Leader. Mr. Council has helped to place over 30 students in the TMEA Texas All-State Choir. He is a sought after choral clinician and soloist around the state of Texas. Mr. Council has given workshops at the Texas Choir Directors Association Convention.

Sarah Council, Soprano Section Leader, is in her seventeenth-year of teaching in Plano ISD. Both at Plano West Senior High School and Shepton High School, choirs under her direction and assistant direction have received many honors, including invitations to perform at the 2019 and 2011 TMEA Conventions, as well as the 2014 Southwest ACDA Convention. In addition to her work at Plano West, Mrs. Council was honored to serve as the Vocal Division Chair for TMEA Regions 24 and 25 and Area B. She has served as the Soprano Section Leader for the Texas All-State Mixed Choir and spends summers as a section leader for multiple All-State Choir Camps. Mrs. Council is a member of TMEA, TCDA, TMAA and ACDA. Mrs. Council is a proud graduate of Baylor University. Mrs. Council resides in Plano with her husband, Doug, who is also a Choir Director. Mr. and Mrs. Council have a 4th grade son, Mason.

Clorese Porter, Alto Section Leader, is in her fifth year as the head choral director at Plano Senior High School. Prior to this, she was the head choral director at Grapevine High School and will soon begin  her 17th year of teaching choral music. Choirs under Mrs. Porter’s direction have consistently received sweepstakes awards at UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest, and her former AP Music Theory students have been highly successful earning college credit and scholarships due to her tutelage. Additionally, Mrs. Porter has served as musical director for the annual musicals including productions of “Grease”, “Singing in the Rain”, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Into the Woods”.

Clorese Porter is a proud graduate of Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, earning a Bachelor of Music in Education degree. While at TCU, she was a member of the Women’s Chorus, Choral Union, and Concert Chorale and participated in performances for the TMEA and SWACDA conventions and at Carnegie Hall. Mrs. Porter also has a master’s degree in music education from the University of North Texas. She is the 2010 recipient of TCDA’s Distinguished Young Director Award. She resides in Lewisville with her wonderfully patient husband, Patrick Porter, and their adorable doggy Mia.

Rebecca Morgan Baker, Collaborative Pianist, has had a long and varied career as church musician, educator, entrepreneur and collaborative pianist, as well as choral conductor at all levels. After retiring from Dorian Business Systems, she continues collaborating with North Texas choirs, bands and orchestras. A highlight of her career was accompanying the All-State Mixed Choir - twice! From January 8th through May 10th of this year, she and her husband Michael circumnavigated the world on a Viking World Journey!

Brian Bentley, Collaborative Pianist, has a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Oklahoma Baptist University and Master of Music degrees in choral conducting and piano accompanying from Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Bentley completed additional coursework in sacred music at SMU Perkins School of Theology. He joined the faculty of Meadows School of the Arts as an adjunct lecturer in fall 2015. Upon completion of his graduate studies, Bentley served for three years as a staff accompanist for the divisions of music and dance at Meadows School of the Arts. Bentley is an adjunct professor of music at University of Dallas, where he conducts the UDChorale, the UDSchola, and teaches a course on the history and theory of Gregorian chant. In addition, he serves as music consultant for Cistercian Abbey–Our Lady of Dallas, and is the founding director of the Schola Cantorum Stellæ Solæ, an ensemble dedicated to the study and singing of Gregorian chant.

Jimmy Emery, Collaborative Pianist, serves as Director of Music Ministry at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church in Dallas. He also serves on the staff of Dallas College as Fine Arts Specialist/Collaborative Piano Specialist and is the owner of Elegant Piano Dallas. Mr. Emery earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Performance, Piano Pedagogy, and Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Music Education, summa cum laude, from Southern Methodist University.

Jim Wilson, Collaborative Pianist, has been an active member of the Dallas-Fort Worth music community for the last thirty years. He currently serves as pianist at Christ United Methodist Church in Plano, and is the accompanist for the choral programs at Plano Senior HS, Wylie East HS, the Children’s Chorus of Collin County, the Ken Davis Chorale, and numerous other vocal and instrumental ensembles. Jim has been the pianist for a variety of nationally-recognized events and groups, and is the only pianist to have accompanied all four Texas All-State Choirs in consecutive years. He plays keyboards for the band Boomtown, performs with several jazz combos, and works nationally as a pianist with vocalists and instrumentalists.

For further information about SMU Music Educators Workshops, or to register for one of these classes, visit; or contact Julie Scott, Lisa Beyer, or Courtney Wilson at