Mark Sheldon Conducting Internship

History and Description of the Program

In 2003, after a long battle with cancer, beloved KVOD radio host, St. Martin’s singer and assistant conductor and all-around music educator Mark Sheldon passed away. A legacy was established in his memory to be used in part for educational outreach. The Mark Sheldon Conducting Internship was established to fulfill this part of his legacy.

The conducting internship is one of the few, perhaps the only one of its kind in the US. It provides this unique opportunity for college conducting students to conduct a professional choir on an ongoing basis during a concert season. Potential interns go through an application process and the intern is selected by St. Martin’s Artistic Director, Tim Krueger. The intern is expected to attend all rehearsals, assist in rehearsals and conduct when Mr. Krueger is unavailable. Perhaps most unusually, the intern is also assigned at least one piece to conduct in nearly every concert. The intern is warmly welcomed into the St. Martin’s family and builds a rapport with singers and staff, is encouraged to attend St. Martin’s board meetings and serves on the Education and Outreach committee of the board. With all these duties also comes an internship stipend. The expectations are rigorous, but the rewards are immeasurable (see quotes below.)

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St. Martin’s 2011-2012 Conducting Intern Hannah Wunsch

2018-19 Mark Sheldon Conducting Intern

Blake Nawa: 2018-19 Conducting Intern
Originally from Washington state, Blake Nawa’a has called the Denver area home for nearly 15 years. He is thrilled to be this season’s Mark Sheldon Conducting Intern and to sing and collaborate with the talented musicians of St. Martin’s. Currently a University of Denver choral conducting graduate student under Dr. Catherine Sailer, Blake also studied conducting heavily during his undergraduate at DU, from which he received a degree in vocal performance.
A musician of many hats, Blake works around the Denver metro area as a voice teacher,  music director for various musical productions, and classical and musical theatre performer. He has also sung with many of Denver’s choral ensembles in venues ranging from Red Rocks to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. He can be heard weekly and in major works concerts throughout this season as the tenor soloist and AVE quartet member at Augustana Lutheran Church.

Past conducting interns and their universities

  • 2005 – 2006 :: Heather Kohl, University of Denver
  • 2006 – 2007 :: Gabrielle Dietrich, University of Colorado
  • 2007 – 2008 :: Ace Edewards, University of Denver
  • 2008 – 2009 :: Jill Schroeder, University of Denver
  • 2009 – 2010 :: Brian Stone, University of Colorado
  • 2010 – 2011 :: Adam Kluck, University of Northern Colorado
  • 2011 – 2012 :: Hannah Wunsch, University of Colorado
  • 2012 – 2013 :: Taylor Martin, University of Denver
  • 2013 – 2014 :: Brett Kostrzewski, University of Denver
  • 2014 – 2015 :: K. James Howe, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 2015 – 2016 :: Matt Stewart, University of Denver
  • 2016 – 2017 :: Ana Spadoni, University of Denver
  • 2017 – 2018 :: Michael Johnson, University of Denver

Quotations from past Mark Sheldon conducting interns

  • “Working as the Mark Sheldon Intern was one of the most valuable experiences I had as an aspiring conductor. It was a rare and privileged opportunity to stand in front of an ensemble of professional singers, who were also kind and supportive!” – Jill Schroeder
  • “This is a singularly unique opportunity where we as conductors are able to have the high caliber musical experience of a professional choir.” – Brian Stone
  • “The Mark Sheldon Internship proved to be a most rewarding educational and artistic experience. Conducting an ensemble of the highest musical caliber, in such a warm and supportive environment, is of infinite value to the young conductor.” –  Ace Edewards

Future opportunities

The Mark Sheldon conducting internship is ongoing. If you are a conducting graduate student in Colorado, please consider applying for this program. If you are a college choral music professor, or if you know of Colorado conducting students who would be interested, please let them know about this internship.

All inquiries and applications should be directed to St. Martin’s Artistic Director, Tim Krueger.