University of Arizona
College of Fine Arts - School of Music

Choral Studies

Distinguished Speakers Series – Students and Alumni/ae

Shekela Wanyama

Undine Smith Moore (Scenes from the Life of a Martyr) and Courtney Bryan (Yet Unheard)

Shekela Wanyama is a DMA student in conducting at the University of Minnesota. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Wanyama taught middle and high school choir for 10 years in Minneapolis and Seattle. She currently serves as music director at Mountain Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Tucson). Wanyama previously directed the Treble Glee Club while studying at the University of Arizona and was assistant conductor of the Tucson Masterworks Chorale. She has sung with Border CrosSing, the Minnesota Chorale, The Singers, Seattle Pro Musica, and the Philharmonischer Chor Berlin. Her primary teachers are Kathy Saltzman Romey and Elizabeth Schauer. She holds a Masters degree in choral conducting from Temple University and Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Minnesota.

Suggested Reading


  • Courtney Bryan
    • Bryan, Courtney. “”A Time for Everything,” for Chorus: Analysis of a Musical Meditation.” Order No. 3619904, Columbia University, 2014. In ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.
    • Fosler-Lussier, Danielle. “Composing the Mediated Self.” In ​Music on the Move​, 151-79. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2020. Accessed October 16, 2020. doi:10.3998/mpub.9853855.15.
    • Jess, Tyehimba, and Courtney Bryan. “An Interview With Courtney Bryan.” ​Callaloo 36, no. 3 (2013): 600-07. Accessed October 16, 2020​.
  • Undine Smith Moore
    • Brunelle, Philip. “The Centenary Year of Undine Smith Moore: Dean of Black Women Composers.” ​The Choral Journal​ 44, no. 7 (2004): 39-41. Accessed September 30, 2020​.
    • Harris, Carl. “The Unique World of Undine Smith Moore: Teacher – Composer – Arranger.” ​The Choral Journal​ 16, no. 5 (1976): 6-7. Accessed September 30, 2020.
    • Jones, John Robert Douglass. 1980. “The Choral Works of Undine Smith Moore: A Study of Her Life and Work.” Order No. 8110694, New York University. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.
    • Moore, Undine Smith. Scenes from the Life of a Martyr: (to the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.). New York: Carl Fischer Music, 1981.
    • Walker-Hill, Helen. From Spirituals to Symphonies: African American Women Composers and Their Music. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.


  • Courtney Bryan’s website contains links to many of her pieces on Soundcloud.
  • A full performance of ​Yet Unheard​ can be seen on YouTube, with the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
  • An insightful conversation between Dr. Bryan, Sharan Strange, and Helga Davis can be heard on online. ​
  • Numerous recordings of Undine Smith Moore’s works appear on YouTube or Spotify
  • Special thanks to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for their permission to use excerpts from ​Scenes from the Life of a Martyr​ in this presentation. The full performance can be viewed online. ​