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Meet the Conductor

Dr. Rebecca Raber

Director of Cappella
Assistant Professor in Music

Catholic Studies Fellow

Dr. Rebecca Raber Headshot Conductor

Dr. Rebecca Raber grew up on the Lovcik Family Farm in Pisek, North Dakota. She graduated with Special Honors in Music from Jamestown College (1994), earning Bachelor of Arts degrees (and College Fellow Awards) in both music education and history/political science. She graduated with her Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of North Dakota (2001) and continued teaching there, directing their popular men's choirs from 2000-2005. She earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting at North Dakota State University in 2018. She has been a dedicated vocal and instrumental music educator for 29 years to students ranging from kindergarten to university, leading performance tours across the United States and internationally.

Dr. Raber is very active in the American Choral Director's Association, previously having served as State President, Repertoire Chair for Male Choirs, and Membership Chair. She has presided and presented at state and regional ACDA conferences, in addition to organizing and facilitating them. She has been the webmaster for the award-winning NDACDA website since 2009. She has also proudly served as editor/publisher of the NDACDA professional journal (The Chorister), pioneering an online format for the organization. Dr. Raber has researched spirituals extensively in her academic studies and is a co-founder of the Prairie Jubilee Singers, a choral ensemble dedicated to building community through singing spirituals.

Dr. Raber enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, and their three dogs: Murphy, Dot, and Radar. Other interests include photography (, college hockey, travel, and gardening.

Dr. Raber is the conductor of Cappella, the new University of Mary Chapel Choir, which specializes in sacred music for campus liturgies. She was the Program Director for the new Master of Arts in Music degree, a Catholic Studies Fellow, and teaches undergraduate and graduate music courses.

Dr. Raber teaches the following courses at the University of Mary:

  • Music History I & II

  • Experiencing the Sacred in Music (MUS/CTH)

  • Secondary Choral Methods

  • Advanced Choral Conducting

  • Cappella (Liturgical Choir)

  • Class Voice

  • Graduate Music History & Literature

  • Graduate Applied Music: Choral Conducting

  • Graduate Choral Methods & Literature

Presentations, Articles, & Research

  • 2020 "Steal Away: Music of the Underground Railroad" — with the Prairie Jubilee Singers and the Bismarck Mandan Symphony Orchestra

  • 2020 "Coded Message Songs" — MLK Celebration (Bismarck)

  • 2019 "Building Community Through Spirituals" — North Dakota American Choral Directors Association Conference

  • 2018 "Conducting the Coded Message Songs of Slavery: Context, Connotations, and Performance Preparation" — Lecture Recital

  • 2015 "Music Technology in the Classroom" — North Dakota American Choral Directors Association Conference

  • 2014 "Study to Stage: Informing and Enhancing the Choral Rehearsal and Performance of the African-American Spiritual Repertory" — Choral Music of the Americas Conference through American Choral Directors Association

  • Numerous articles published by the Chorister (NDACDA), Melisma (NCACDA), and the New Earth 

  • Research Interests: Spirituals & Coded Music, Gullah, Requiem Masses, Sacred Music, Music Education


Recognition, Honors, & Awards

  • 2020 "Rebecca Raber Choral Excellence Award" established as an annual student award — Shanley High School

  • 2019 "Choral Director of the Year" — North Dakota American Choral Directors Association

  • 2019 Appointed to Executive Board of the International Music Camp

  • 2015 "Commissioned Composer of the Year" — North Dakota Music Teachers Association

  • 2009 "Outstanding Music Educator" — National Federation of State High School Associations

  • 2009 "Choral Director of Note" — Choral Director Magazine

  • 2005 "North Dakota Governor's Chorus" — as selected by North Dakota Governor John Hoeven

  • 2007 "Invited Performing Choir" — NDSU Choral Festival

  • 1997 "Invited Performing Choir" — South Dakota ACDA Conference

  • College Fellow Awards in both Music and History — Jamestown College

  • Phi Kappa Lambda, American honor society for graduate students and professors of music

  • Photograph Awards & Features:  AAA North Dakota, AAA Magazine, AAA Illinois, AAA Florida, ND Governor's Photo Award Winner, ND Horizons Magazine, North Dakota Horizons Calendar, Highline Notes Magazine, Fargo Forum, City Scan Magazine, Microsoft/Arts Partnership, Medora Foundation, Travel North Dakota, Kilbourne Group Calendar, Bismarck Cancer Center Calendar, FM Area Foundation.

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