A Conductor with a Purpose!
Maestro Ronnie Sanders made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut on June 13, 2005.
His expertise on the podium comes from instruction at the hands of Milton Katims who
served as assistant conductor to Arturo Toscanini at the NBC Symphony Orchestra in
New York City, Kenneth Fulton at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, Judith
Clurman at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City and Charles Hausmann of the
Moores School of Music at the University of Houston.
Sanders served for two years as the Vice President of the Church/Community Division of
the Texas Choral Directors Association. He served as the Artistic Director of the Corpus
Christi Chorale and as the Director of Choral Activities at Del Mar College in Corpus
Christi, Texas. He has also been an instructor on the music faculty of Montgomery
College in Conroe, Texas and Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
Sanders served as the Associate Conductor of the San Antonio Choral Society for three
years. Diane Windler of the San Antonio Light wrote that "[Sanders] conducts with
authority on the podium." He directed the Choral Program of over a hundred students at
New Braunfels Middle School in New Braunfels, Texas where his Varsity Honor Choir
brought home the first Sweepstakes trophy in UIL competition in eleven years and six of
his students earned a chair in the Texas All-Region Choir. He currently serves as the
head choir director at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas which is the
Fine Arts Magnet School for the San Antonio Independent School District, which is also
his high school alma mater.
"To be back at Jefferson is huge for me," says Sanders. "This is where I fell in love with
music [and where] the teachers inspired me to pursue my dreams. Now I feel it is my turn
to inspire the next generation of students."
Ronnie Sanders has served in local churches for the last seventeen years. Highlights of
his career include performances of Fauré's Requiem, John Rutter’s Gloria and Mass of
the Children, Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, Beethoven's
Egmont Overture, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn's Te Deum, Schubert's Mass in G, Luigi
Cherubini’s Requiem in C Minor, Mozart's The Impresario and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
As a composer, he was recently commissioned by the University of Texas at San
Antonio to compose a choral work that was premiered by the UTSA Concert Choir and
Concert Women's Choir conducted by Dr. John Silantien. He has composed numerous
hymns and choruses for use in the local church. His popular hymn arrangements and
lush orchestrations published by Prism Music have been performed in churches across
Sanders' highly imaginative choral rehearsal techniques are published by Alfred Music
Publishing Company, Southern Music Company and he has numerous reviews of choral
music published in the Choral Journal, the official publication of the American Choral
Director’s Association. In 2006, while searching for subject matter for his dissertation,
Sanders was introduced to the choral music of composer Tarik O'Regan by John Rutter.
"The first piece of music I listened to was [Tarik O'Regan's] Locus Iste, and something
about [that piece] captured an element of perfection in choral music that I had never
heard before." Sanders now focuses much of his writing on scholarly, critical reviews
and compositional techniques of O'Regan's music.
Sanders holds degrees from Charter Oak State University, Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary and the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. He
has completed all the course work required for a Doctorate in Music Arts with a research
concentration in music education from Boston University. His research will concentrate
on the sight-reading methods used by secondary choral directors in Texas.
While studying at the University of Houston, he was assigned teaching and conducting
responsibilities with the University's Men’s Chorus and Chamber Singers. He also
assisted in the preparation of the Houston Symphony Chorus in critically acclaimed
performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem, and Berlioz’
In January of 2003, Sanders attended the International Conducting Workshop in Macon,
Georgia where he conducted the Macon Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's Egmont
Overture and portions of Mozart's Requiem and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony from
memory. Maestro Adrian Gnam said, "Ronnie's [conducting] skill goes far beyond his
technical abilities - he's an interpreter."
Ronnie Sanders’ passion for the arts is communicated through his baton each time he
leads an ensemble. “Ronnie Sanders brings something unique to the podium when he
conducts,” says Dr. Charles Hausmann, Director of Choral Studies at the University of
Houston, "he not only brings musical talent but he also brings energy and this leads to
enthusiasm in his choirs.”
But Sanders' excellence in conducting is not simply demonstrated by musicians who play
or sing the right notes at the right time; he remains convinced that excellent music is
made through the medium of those who are committed to make music.
“Conductors do not conduct notes,” Sanders says, “they conduct people. People
respond positively or negatively to a conductor [as a person] well before he or she picks
up a baton. I cannot stand boring rehearsals; so I try not to be boring. I also make sure
that everyone understands that his or her artistic contribution is vitally important to the
ensemble – this helps sustain their commitment and team-like effort as well as their
intensity and desire to put in hours of hard work!”
His ability to recruit people in his ensembles over the years is nothing less than
remarkable. In May of 2004, the Corpus Christi Chorale had 34 singers in the last
concert before Ronnie took over the reins. Using an aggressive publicity campaign that
involved letters, television and radio appearances, interviews, posters and word of mouth
- the Corpus Christi Chorale saw an incredible 107 auditioned singers at Ronnie's first
rehearsal. In May of 2005, the Chorale's membership list exceeded 160 singers!
Singers and players under Sanders' leadership often comment about the difference they
experience when performing with him. "The number of people [who attended the
concert] speaks volumes about the enthusiasm that Chorale members have for the
artistry, creativity and vitality of [Ronnie Sanders]. [His] energy and enthusiasm are
infectious" [Op ed] The Corpus Christi Caller Times.
“When Ronnie is conducting,” says soprano Danica Dawn, “somehow he makes you
sing with more intensity and focus.” Alto Eva Nawara feels that Sanders is the best
music teacher she has ever had, "He makes you work really hard, but he makes it fun at
the same time." Opera coach Dr. Roger Keele observes that, "Ronnie just simply has a
presence when he conducts; I can't really explain it but I've seen it - I know it 's there."
University of Houston baritone Eben Geer says of Sanders, "He has a phenomenal ear;
he can hear everything in the rehearsal - and when something is wrong he knows exactly
how to fix it."
“I love watching Ronnie Sanders conduct,” says Mary Walker who sings with the Corpus
Christi Chorale, “It is pure poetry. The way he takes a baton and coaxes an orchestra to
full voice is magical in my eyes. His masterful use of his baton is a joy to behold. But, to
me, it is when he lays the baton aside that the creative art is fully realized and its sheer
"Using just his hands, with every subtle gesture and nuance, his fingers mold, create and
sculpt that most basic of the elements – Air. He combines the art forms of sculpture and
painting, for he paints the air with every motion, to create yet another art form: music.
Ronnie Sanders doesn’t just conduct - he creates Music."
Patricia Furley, Principal Harpist with the Corpus Christi Symphony says Sanders is a
very gifted musician. "I played three concerts with him. His rehearsals are well run and
this makes the concerts very secure. I was most impressed that he memorized all of his
music and gave wonderful cues. Being a harpist, this is how I judge a good conductor."
As an educator, Sanders brings the same kind of enthusiasm from the podium into the
classroom. He knows how to build teamwork, self-esteem and a tremendous sense of
accomplishment and he strives to build these qualities in every ensemble.
His class syllabus sums up Sanders’ thoughts about what kind of level of dedication he
expects from each person in his ensemble:
“The Thomas Jefferson High School Chorale has distinguished itself as a performing
choir of excellence! Each member’s contribution must add to that pursuit of excellence.
Each of you will be held to a high standard of music with rigid and exhausting rehearsals
- but this is what it takes to be the best! When we cannot achieve perfection, we can be
satisfied with excellence.”
Ronnie Sanders is a conductor with a purpose - whether he is conducting a full symphony
orchestra, a great choral masterpiece or a simple hymn of faith, Sanders delivers
sensitive, musical artistry fueled by his passion to communicate excellence in education
through the arts.
Sanders is in demand as clinician, adjudicator and is available for conducting
engagements, commissions, conferences and workshops. For more information or for
booking details please send an email to info @ ronniesanders. net.