Choir Nation member, director, and composer, Braeden Ayres joins us for a very honest conversation about his approach to turning around children that “don’t want to be there” and making them love their choral experience.
Braeden Ayres is a composer, conductor, and instructor of vocal music. Ayres’s repertoire varies widely, with pieces written especially for the developing voice, high school choirs, and collegiate/professional ensembles. His works incorporate a mixture of common-practice-period ideals, popular music influences, extended harmonies, shifting modality and meter, and through-composition; however, as a composer of primarily choral and vocal works, Ayres’s main goal is to use all of these tools to write accessible and interesting pieces that effectively illuminate compelling texts.
Ayres’s Journeyman’s Song premiered in November as part of the 2015 Florida ACDA Male Honor Choir; and his arrangement of Frobisher Bay premiered in October 2015 as part of the inaugural Newfoundland Symposium on Singing and Song. Ayres was a runner up in the 2015 Raymond S. Brock Student Composition Competition, and was an invitee to the ACDA Eastern Division Composition Masterclass as a result. Ayres is the 2nd place winner in the Southwest ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition 2016. He was recently named the University of Northern Colorado’s “Innovator of the Year” and awarded the UNC Spark Prize for his design of a new “‘intelligent’ rhythm-teaching smartphone app,” which is currently in development. He is currently working on a variety of commissions for a variety of individuals, organizations, and school consortiums.
Ayres previously served on the vocal faculty at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado, teaching 6-12 grade students with a team of exceptional educators. In his four years at DCC, the campus’s choral program tripled to over 500 students; 102 singers were accepted into the various Colorado All-State Choirs; two students were accepted into the 2015 ACDA Honor Choir in Salt Lake City; his choirs were consistently awarded top marks at CHSAA competitions; and the Performing Arts Department was a finalist for the “Thomas S. Crawford Team of the Year Award” for Academy School District 20. During this time, Ayres also served as the first-ever Assistant Director of “Out Loud: The Colorado Springs Men’s Chorus” and began his work as an inaugural board member of the Colorado Middle School All-State Choir.
Ayres graduated cum laude in 2011 from the Baylor University School of Music in Waco, Texas with a Bachelor’s of Choral Music Education degree, and is currently a Graduate Assistant in the Choral Conducting department at the University of Northern Colorado. Ayres is a member of the national and state-level chapters of ACDA, NAFME, ASCAP, and the Society of Composers, Inc. He shares his home with his wonderful fiancé, Ryan—who recently completed his Master’s in Music Education—as well as two rescue dogs, Kimmy and Tonks.