Sara Blessing, DMA, is the Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Graceland University. Additionally, she serves as the VPA Department Chair and Music Department Coordinator and has taught at Graceland since the Fall of 2014.
Sara conducts the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and the Graceland Harmonium, as has taught various courses in music, including elementary and secondary choral methods, music history, diction and vocal pedagogy, conducting, music theory and aural training. She has created two new classes over the past few years, driven largely by her passion for music, social justice, and contemporary issues, including “Musical Citizenship: Artistic Activism and Social Justice” and “From Louis Armstrong to Lady Gaga: A History of American Popular Music.”
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 has led the Graceland choirs on 3 tours since 2016, visiting Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. In addition to teaching, Sara is an active soprano soloist.
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, camp (“glamp”), hike, play piano, read and spend time with her family and friends. She and her husband, Terry, along with their daughters, Aria, and twins, Ada and Edith, reside in Lamoni, Iowa.