J.D. Goddard, Artistic Director (beginning 2007-2008), made his conducting debut at the age of 9. By the age of 16, he was a professional clarinetist and assistant conductor of the San Gabriel Valley Honors Youth Orchestra in Southern California. At the age of 17, he accepted his first church choral conducting position at the First Presbyterian Church in "beautiful downtown Burbank," California.
Goddard is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Master Singers, Inc. Chorale and Orchestra of Northeast Ohio, and correspondent/concert reviewer for www.clevelandclassical.com.
He has conducted and served as a clinician for choral and orchestral groups both amateur and professional throughout the United States. 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 voice while studying 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 (Equity). He has also 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 regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and has performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
He received his formal choral training and two choral conducting degrees under the internationally acclaimed choral conductor/teacher Dr. Howard Swan. Further choral/orchestral 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 conducting. Dr. Goddard became a graduate assistant to Dr. Walter Ducloux, director of opera at The University of Texas. Goddard served as head of the voice and opera departments at Amarillo College, attaining tenure and full professorship. He was also director of opera and teacher of voice at The University of Akron, where he implemented and founded its first and only student run full-time opera program in the University's history. In his second and third years at The University of Akron, he directed four choral organizations (Men's Glee Club, Women's Glee Club, Jazz Show Choir and Madrigal Singers) in addition to the full time opera program. He has also held the title of conductor/director of opera (1 year interim) at Kent State University.
"Your conception of the (Dvořák) Mass (in D) was brilliant, and your conducting was a model of clarity."
....Daniel Hathaway, Founder and Editor in Chief of clevelandclassical.com
Singers and audiences are united in their praise of 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, is what makes his choral/orchestral organizations unique and special.
Dr. Goddard's vocal/solo performances have been described in concert reviews as "resonant of bass, towering both vocally and physically." Also, Dr. Goddard's conducting has been reviewed as "clear and adroit," "blissfully antic," and "splendidly imaginative, while maintaining smooth control over the proceedings." .....Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer.