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Academic Programs


Wishart Bell

Wishart Bell
  • Title Adjunct Instructor of Voice
  • Work Phone 574.807.7390
  • Office 1001 Bethel Circle Mishawaka IN 46545 USA EST

Wishart Bell continues as a leader in arts education, performance, and church music in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. In addition to his work at Bethel, he serves as founding Artistic Director of Vesper Chorale Inc. of South Bend, IN. In that capacity he conducts Vesper Chorale, Vesper Chamber Orchestra, the Vesper Chorale Octet, and the Children’s Choir of Michiana. He is Director of Music Ministries at First United Methodist Church, and directs Cantus Cathedralis, a polyphonic choir based at St. Matthew Cathedral of South Bend. He is active as a choral clinician with adult and children’s choirs and handbells.

He has developed Vesper Chorale Inc. into one of the premier performing arts companies in Northern Indiana, earning numerous awards for unique collaborative, educational and performance programming. Vesper Chamber Orchestra began in 1998 to join Vesper Chorale in the performance of masterworks for chamber chorus and orchestra. In these events, now known as the Basically Baroque Concert Series, choir and orchestra collaborate with college, university, high school and church music departments to study and perform oratorio from the 17th and 20th Centuries. Vesper Chorale and the Children’s Choir of Michiana collaborated with the Dowagiac Union Schools to anchor their Choral Festival, in November of 2006. Under his leadership, the Children’s Choir of Michiana has performed in various venues throughout the region – including many area public schools. Bell is active as a choral clinician with adult and children’s choirs.

His pursuit of intellectual and artistic accuracy in the performance of historic and contemporary repertoire has also involved church music programs. Orchestral players have joined the choir at First United Methodist Church on oratorio projects as well as the major literature for organ and orchestra – including the complete Mozart Church Sonatas and Poulenc’s Organ Concerto. Further, in the fall of 2004 Dr. Bell formed Cantus Cathedralis (Cathedral Singers), a liturgical vocal ensemble that studies liturgical music ranging from medieval chant to the 20th Century, focusing on repertoire of the 15th and 16th Centuries. In October of 2006 he traveled with the ensemble to Belmont Abbey College (North Carolina), where they presented a clinic and concert.

His published articles include a set of program notes relating to Mozart’s Requiem in the 2006 Journal of the Conductor’s Guild, and additional articles in Creator Magazine, The American Organist, and Worship Arts Magazine. Artistic awards include the Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation Award, the Leo Heim Memorial Award, and Elnora Stickley Foundation grants. His work has gained Vesper Chorale and the Children’s choir of Michiana grants from the Indiana Arts Council, the St. Joseph County Community Foundation, and the Josephson Music Trust. He was appointed to a Senior Artist Residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada) in June of 2004.

Wishart Bell is a graduate of Trinity College and the American Conservatory of Music, with the advanced degrees Master of Music in piano, and Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting. With emphasis in both choral and orchestral conducting, he has studied with Charles Heffernan, Harold Decker, Tsung Yeh, and Harold Farberman, and has attended classes with Kenneth Kiesler, Helmut Rilling and Robert Shaw. He has also taken advanced study in vocal pedagogy, with Richard Miller, at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Teaching Interests:
Applied Voice Lessons, Choral Conducting, Church Music Ministry, Church Music Literature
Publications and Research:
  • “Authenticity” – Worship Arts Magazine
  • “Music as Prayer” – Creation Magazine
  • Research in performance practices of the 17th & 18th Century
  • Research in repertoire for small chorus & orchestration
  • Presentations on Bach’s St. John’s Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah
Awards and Achievements:
  • Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation Award
  • Leo Heim Memorial Award
  • Elnora Stickley Foundation Award(s)
  • Senior Artist Residency
  • Banff Center for the Arts
  • Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy with Richard Miller
  • Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Community Involvement:
  • Guest conducting throughout the region
  • Founder and Conductor of Vesper Chorale and Vesper Chamber Orchestra
Professional Associations:
  • American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)
  • Indiana Choral Directors Association (ICDA)
  • The National Association for Music Educators (MENC)
  • Indiana Music Teachers Association (IMEA)
Personal Interests:
Cross-country motorcycling, Off-roading in his Jeep Wrangler
Professional Links: