Sara Blessing, MM, is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities and is in her fifth year at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. In addition, she is the Co-Chair for the Division of Visual and Performing Arts.
Sara conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, as well as teaches various courses in music, including elementary and secondary choral methods, diction and vocal pedagogy, conducting, and music theory and aural training. Sara is also a supervisor for the music education students at Graceland.
Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she sang under the direction of Weston Noble in the internationally acclaimed Nordic Choir, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from Oklahoma State University, where she studied with Dr. Z. Randall Stroope. Sara is currently A.B.D. and working toward the completion of her Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy through the University of Iowa. Her dissertation research is focused on the choral music of Estonian composer Toivo Tulev.
Sara has conducted a variety of regional honor choirs and has been a guest clinician at several schools around the Midwest. In 2016, she was the recipient of Graceland University’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, for which she was nominated by her students. In April of 2016, her choirs performed the world premiere of “You Guided Me” after commissioning the work from composer Michael John Trotta. Sara’s choirs have toured in Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and Kansas. In addition to teaching, Sara is an active mezzo-soprano soloist and recently participated in Eric Whitacre’s 5th Virtual Choir, “Deep Field.”
Throughout her studies, Sara has had the privilege to work with many choral mentors including René Clausen, Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, John Rutter, Jo-Michael Scheibe, Rollo Dilworth, Eric Whitacre, James Mulholland, Michael John Trotta, Timothy Stalter, David Puderbaugh, and Tim and Sandra Peter. She states: “The passion, diligence, drive, artistry, and scholarly work of these individuals has been an inspiration to my work as a choral conductor.”
Sara is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association, both the Iowa and Missouri Choral Director’s Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the College Music Society. In addition, she is a member of both the Golden Key International Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi – honor societies which recognize academic achievement.
Outside of teaching, Sara loves to travel, play piano, read and spend time with her family and friends. She and her husband, Terry, along with their daughter, Aria, and 1-year-old twins, Ada and Edith, reside in Lamoni, Iowa.