MSC Founding Director , Dr. J.D. Goddard
J.D. Goddard, founder and artistic director of the Master Singers Chorale of Northeast Ohio until his retirement in 2018, made his conducting debut at the age of 9. In addition to being the Founder and Artistic Director of the Master Singers Chorale, Dr. Goddard also served as the Artistic Director of the Chagrin Valley Choral Union and as a contributing writer and reviewer for the Cleveland Classical Music website www.clevelandclassical.com.
By the age of 16, he was a professional clarinetist and assistant conductor of the San Gabriel Valley Honors Youth Orchestra in Southern California.
Since that time, he has conducted and served as a clinician for choral and orchestral groups both amateur and professional in California, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Ohio. Dr. Goddard has directed many varied types of musical organizations including symphony orchestras, opera orchestras, master choruses, opera choruses, a cappella choirs, women's glee clubs, men's glee clubs, jazz show choirs, chamber singers, madrigal singers and numerous youth choirs.
He developed his baritone/tenor vocal training with Jess Walters, lead baritone with the Covent Garden Opera in England. This led to Dr. Goddard's recognition as a performing artist with the Los Angeles Co-Opera Company, San Francisco Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera Company, and Kenley Players (Actors Equity). He also has performed as a guest artist with the Amarillo Symphony, the San Gabriel Valley Symphony, the DePauw University Orchestra and the Akron Symphony. Dr. Goddard was twice a southwest regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and has performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
He received his formal training and two choral conducting degrees under the internationally acclaimed choral conductor/teacher Dr. Howard Swan. Further choral training included studies with Dr. Charles White (USC), Robert Shaw and Roger Wagner. While an undergraduate student at Occidental College, he was awarded first prize in the Southern California Collegiate Choral Conducting Competition. At the University of Texas, Dr. Goddard conducted the nationally acclaimed UT Men's Glee Clubs, while earning further degrees in operatic performance, and choral/orchestral conducting. Dr. Goddard became a graduate assistant to Dr. Walter Ducloux, director of opera at The University of Texas. Dr. Goddard served as head of the voice and opera departments at Amarillo College, attaining tenure and full professorship. He also was director of opera and teacher of voice at The University of Akron, where he implemented and founded the University's first totally student run full-time opera program. In his second and third years at The University of Akron, (in addition to the full time opera program) he was also director of four choral organizations. He has also held the title of conductor/director of opera (1 year interim) at Kent State University.
MSC chorus members appreciated Dr. Goddard's extraordinary ability to teach, prepare and empower singers, in a limited amount of rehearsal time, to present profound and exciting choral and instrumental performances of outstanding quality. His sincere interest in the singers, as individuals, made MSC a very unique and special organization.