About The Choir

The Essence of Joy Alumni Singers®, under the direction of Dr. Anthony T. Leach, perform sacred and secular music from the African and African-American choral traditions. The choir, founded in 2005, is composed of alumni of the Essence of Joy Choir of The Pennsylvania State University. EOJAS has performed extensively in locations such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, New York, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington D.C., Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. The choir released its first CD, "Joy" in July 2011. EOJAS' mission is to learn, present, and promote African and African-American sacred and secular music in an effort to entertain, inspire, affirm and unify the worldwide community. EOJAS is an official Alumni Interest Group (AIG) of the Penn State Alumni Association. The choir is a non-profit corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a tax exempt organization as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Tax Code.

The Essence of Joy Alumni Singers would like to thank the organizations, churches, schools, and concert halls that have hosted the choir since its inception in 2005.

About The Director

Picture \u002D pic_leach_thumb.jpgDr. Anthony T. Leach, professor of music and music education at The Pennsylvania State University, is director and founder of Essence of Joy, the Penn State University Choir and Artistic Director of The Essence of Joy Alumni Singers. Dr. Leach teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music education. Leach holds a Ph.D. in Music Education and the M.M. in Conducting from Penn State University, and the B.S. in Music Education from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA.

Dr. Leach taught music in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York City for fourteen years. His choirs have performed at festivals throughout the United States and Canada as well as tours of England, Scotland, Italy, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Luxemborg, France and South Africa. He also served for ten years as music consultant at the Maryland Summer Center For The Arts at Goucher College, Towson, MD. He has appeared as a guest conductor for choral festivals and workshops in Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Utah, Vermont, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina and Connecticut. International events include concerts, workshops and symposium presentations in Sweden, Venezuela, Manila (The Philippines), Taiwan and Japan. He was an accompanist for The United Negro College Fund Choir (NYC) and has accompanied the Howard University Concert Choir, Washington, D.C. Leach was co-conductor of the 2004 World Youth Choir sponsored by the International Federation of Choral Musicians in South Korea.

For 23 years, Leach served as music director of the Capital Area Music Association, Harrisburg, PA. He is a past national chair of the American Choral Directors Association Repertoire & Standards Committee on Multi-cultural & Ethnic Perspectives. Currently, he serves as a guest artist at New Bethel Baptist Church, Washington, DC.

Dr. Leach has presented seminars and workshops for numerous professional and music organizations in America and beyond. Some of the seminar topics have included the following: Print Resources in Black Gospel Music for Choral DirectorsTwo Generations of Burleigh: Harry T. Burleigh and Glenn E. BurleighBlack Gospel Music: Strategies and Techniques for Performance and Non-Performance Music Classes. His article, Does Gospel Music Have a Place In General Music? was published in General Music Today, Winter, 1993. His seminar A Spiritual For The New Millennium was presented at the Second IFCM Multicultural and Ethnic Conference held in Jokkmokk, Sweden in 2003. New arrangements of African American Spirituals by Moses Hogan, Marvin Curtis, Rosephanye Powell, Roland Carter, Keith Hampton, Glenn Burleigh and Robert Morris were included in this presentation. As a recitalist, Dr. Leach has presented organ dedications and concerts in the eastern region of the United States as well as Ohio. He is also a piano accompanist for numerous faculty and student recitals at Penn State. He is a member of The American Guild of Organists, American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and The Gospel Music Workshop of America. His composition Walk Together Children is published by Earthsongs.

Host Organizations

  • American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Pennsylvania Chapter
  • Capital Area Music Association (CAMA), Harrisburg, PA
  • The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (Arts Fest), State College, PA
  • The Community College of Allegheny County
  • Cumberland Valley School District, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Groupe Vocal Variations, Metz, France
  • The International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), Namur, Belgium
  • The Noah Ryder Society, Norfolk, VA
  • Urban Coalition Initiative of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Eastern Division
  • Williamsport School District, Williamsport, PA
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