MUSIC DEPARTMENT

Kavanaugh Gillespie Photo of Kavanaugh Gillespie

Kavanaugh Gillespie is Voice Specialist, director of the Vocal Arts Program, and an instructor in musical theater classes at the Patel Conservatory at the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal music education from James Madison University (JMU) where he studied conducting with Dr. Patrick Walders and voice pedagogy with Dr. Carrie Stevens. He then went on to receive a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of South Florida (USF) where he studied with Grammy-nominated singer and conductor, Dr. James K. Bass.

Gillespie has been the director of the Vocal Arts program since 2012 and has seen the program expand into four choirs with a combined student body of nearly 70 members. He has also directed numerous summer show choir camps and is the director of the Patel Conservatory Summer Choral Intensive. Music directing credits at the Patel Conservatory include: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables: School Edition, A Little Princess, Oklahoma!, A Year with Frog and Toad, Fiddler on the Roof, Shrek the Musical, Showstoppers and others. He has taught classes in group voice, music theory, song interpretation, musical theater, and private voice.
 
Gillespie served as an assistant conductor for the JMU and USF college choirs during his time there. He has conducted rehearsals with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and has previously prepared the Opera Tampa chorus for numerous professional engagements, including a performance with Andrea Bocelli. He was also the director of the Opera Tampa Children’s Chorus in the Straz Center’s productions of La Boheme, Carmen, and Tosca.

As a singer and soloist, Gillespie has performed at The Kennedy Center with the JMU Chorale and with the National Philharmonic Orchestra at The Music Center at Strathmore. He has also sung with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay with The Florida Orchestra and was a member of the featured choir for the 2011 Florida Regional ACDA Convention. He was a member of the Opera Tampa Chorus for many seasons, performing under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola and Maestro Daniel Lipton. He has also performed alongside such greats as Andrea Bocelli and Marcello Giordani.

A native of Virginia Beach, Gillespie is a founding member of the Symphonicity Chorus and frequent tenor soloist when he visits First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach. He is also Co-Choir Master with his wife at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church in Florida. He is a professionally certified music teacher in the state of Florida and a proud member of FMEA.
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