Matt Huth - Scoring Judge
Matt Huth is in his twenty-seventh year of directing vocal music in Iowa. He is on staff at Waukee Schools in Waukee, Iowa where he is one of six directors in the 9-12 vocal program. High School show choirs under his direction consistently received Grand Champion honors as well as caption awards of: Best Vocals, Best Choreography, Best Band, Best Soloists, and Best Sportsmanship. Groups under Huth’s direction have been nationally recognized for their achievements.
Huth has served the on the Iowa Choral Directors Association Board in many capacities during his thirteen tenure including Symposium Chair, President-Elect, President, and Past-President. Huth currently serves as the chair for the Iowa High School Music Association Liaison Committee for All-state/Contest Affairs. This committee reviews and revises policy for the all-state music festival and other state sponsored music festivals.
Matt holds a Bachelors of Music Education and a Masters of Arts in Teaching degrees from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. He was the recipient of the 2015 Paul MacCollin Distinguished Alimni Music Achievement Award from the Morningside College Alumni Association. He is an active clinician, guest director, and adjudicator throughout the Midwest as well as the South. Matt has guest directed many ACDA district, regional, and state festivals around the Midwest.
Mark Kretschmer - Combo Judge
Mark Kretschmer (combo judge) retired after thirty-nine years of instrumental music education, thirty-eight here in Davenport. Mark has had the opportunity to direct award-winning bands at competitions in San Antonio, Texas, Orlando, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia. He has also directed bands at the intermediate and elementary levels. Mark also directed the band for West Connection, West High’s varsity show choir for 14 years garnering Best Band Captions and numerous top three finishes. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa, studying under Morgan Jones, Robert Yeats, and Frank Piersol. Mark received his Masters degree in Educational Administration from Western Illinois University. He has completed post-graduate work at the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, and Western Illinois University. Mark and his wife Deb are the proud parents of Steven and his wife Ellie who reside in Overland Park, Kansas, Kelly and her husband Michael, who live in Des Moines, and Molly, a senior music education major at Drake University, and grandparents to Charlie, John and Baker.
Tara Tober - Critique Judge
Tara Tober received her BA in Dance with a concentration in Jazz from the Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts . She is a nationally recognized show choir choreographer, clinician and competition adjudicator. Her innovative work over the past 15 years has spanned hundreds of different high school and college performing ensembles throughout 20 states and has won multiple awards for show design and choreography. Besides owning and operating her own dance studio in Akron for 4 years, she was also an adjunct professor of dance Kent State University for 4 semesters. She spent four years training and dancing in Chicago, where she was a principle dancer for the Dunco Funk Hip Hop Dance Company, and held internships with both the Gus Giordano Dance company and the Lou Conte Dance Studio - host of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She currently resides in Northeast Ohio and serves locally as Artistic Director for ETC Heid's School of Musical Arts, a non-profit community group which includes 4 show choirs with kids ranging from the 3rd to the 12th grade.
Recreationally, she enjoyed social dancing - primarily West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, and Hustle. Most recently she began intensive studies in preparation to compete in ballroom dance - Rumba, Cha-Cha, Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Swing. She continues to travel and design staging for show choirs and musicals as well as adjudicate, critique, and give clinics.
Debora Utley - Scoring Judge
Debora Utley graduated from Elmhurst University, receiving a Bachelor of Music Education Degree, with a double major in Theatre and a Certificate in Vocal Performance. She received her Master of Music from Northern Illinois University in 2000 and Master of Education from Olivet Nazarene University in 2010.
Debora received the “Outstanding Music Educator of the Year 2000” award from the Music Educators National Conference (MENC). She has been a clinician and guest conductor for various schools across the nation and Canada and was on the adjunct faculty of Elmhurst College as the Director of Women’s Chorus. In 2011, she earned the “Outstanding Contribution to Education” award from Buffalo Grove High School. Debora has served as the ACDA Show Choir Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Midwest and ILMEA District 7 Vocal Jazz Representative.
Debora’s responsibilities as Director of Vocal Music at Buffalo Grove High School currently include Chamber Singers, Bison Chorale, Concert Choir, 4 Vocal Jazz Ensembles, 5 competitive A Cappella Ensembles and the community A Cappella ensemble, ACute ACappella for area 6th, 7th & 8th graders. Debora also manages an active National Anthem Program, Caroling Party, serves as the Vocal Director of the Spring Musical and Co-Fine Arts Coordinator. Debora’s ensembles have been selected to perform at the Illinois Music Educators Conference in 2016 and 2018 and travel to Europe every three years to perform and visit sister school, Kundmanngasse Gymnasium in Vienna, Austria. Debora also directed the Buffalo Grove High School’s award-winning Show Choir, The Expressions from 2007 - 2017. As a performer, Debora has appeared in lead roles in over 30 theatrical productions, was a featured performer at Worlds of Fun Amusement Park in Kansas City, and was a National Anthem performer for the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Comets.
Matt Watson - Critique Judge
Matt Watson is a freelance choreographer currently residing in Lincoln, Nebraska. His
show choir journey began at Lincoln Southwest High School, where he eventually became a
dance captain and two-year member of the award-winning show choir, Resonance. He attended
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. During his time at
UNL, he was a four-year member and dance captain of the nationally recognized collegiate
show choir, Big Red Singers. Additionally, Matt was a member of the university’s top choral
ensemble, University Singers. He spent several summers at the Nebraska Show Choir Camp as
a camper, counselor, and dance captain for multiple choreographers and directors.
Five years ago he began his professional choreography career. He now choreographs
over 20 competitive show choirs throughout the Midwest. Additionally, he is a clinician and
assistant choreographer for another 10 groups. This year Matt has traveled throughout
Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Texas to work with various
award-winning show choirs. Aside from show choir, Matt has enjoyed choreographing musicals
for a few different high schools. He wants to thank all those who have helped guide him the past
few years, and wishes luck to all the groups competing today.
Brent Peterson - Scoring Judge
Brent Peterson is a vocal music director in the Waukee Community School District. Now
in his 31st year of teaching, he is currently at Timberline School where he directs all of
the 8th grade ensembles and show choir EN FUEGO, assists with the 9th grade mixed
chorus and show choir, gives voice lessons, and also assists with the other HS show
choirs in the district as needed. In addition to his work with the choirs in Waukee, he is
also a volleyball coach and track coach in the district, and was named the Iowa
Association of Track Coaches Junior High Track Coach of the Year in 2015. Brent was
the conductor for the Boys OPUS Honor Choir in 2006, and has also received the WOI
Channel 5 “My Favorite Teacher” award.
Mr. P., as he is known at Waukee, graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in
1991 with a B.S. Ed. in Vocal Music Education. In 1999 he completed a Master of Arts
in Effective Teaching degree from Viterbo University, where he has also served as an
adjunct professor. When not working with students at Waukee, Brent is an active guest
director, show choir clinician and judge, IHSMA All-State Choir Lead Auditor, and
speaker around the Midwest. He is married to Anne Peterson, an elementary music
teacher at Eason Elementary in Waukee, and proud Dad to 14 year old Joel Peterson, a
9th grader at Timberline School in Waukee. When not working, the family loves to travel
to Florida, golf, and enjoy boating at their lake home on Sun Valley Lake.
Davenport North High School
626 W 53rd St, Davenport, IA
Middle Schools - Auditorium January 31
High Schools - Gym