About Susan LaBarr
Susan LaBarr (b. 1981) is a composer living and working in Cleveland, Tennessee. Susan was born in Aurora, Missouri, and lived in Monett, Missouri until moving to Wilmington, North Carolina at the age of 8. She returned to Springfield, Missouri at the age of 12. Susan attended Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Music in Music Theory and studied piano with Dr. Peter Collins and composition with Dr. John Prescott.
While at Missouri State, Susan sang in the Concert Chorale from 2000-2007 under the direction of Dr. Guy B. Webb. Susan toured to Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Germany and across the United States with the Chorale and was a featured soloist on several songs from 2004-2007. In 2004, Susan was chosen to represent Missouri State in the Missouri All-Collegiate Choir at the Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) Conference, under the direction of Dr. Jerry McCoy. Susan traveled with the Chorale to perform at the 2005 National American Choral Director’s Association Conference in Los Angeles, singing in the Walt Disney Concert Hall. In 2007, Susan was named the Concert Chorale Outstanding Singer, and throughout her years in the Chorale and in years after her graduation, Susan composed three pieces for the Chorale which were performed across the United States and Europe.
During her time at Missouri State, Susan was a member of the all-female a cappella group, A Cub Bella, from its origination in 2002 to her graduation in 2007. Susan held several leadership positions throughout her time in the group, including Music Director from 2002-2003, President from 2003-2005, and Choreographer from 2005-2007. Susan competed with the group in five consecutive years of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, in which the group won first place in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and in which Susan won the “Outstanding Soloist” award in 2004 and the “Best Choreography” award in 2006. Susan was also a recipient of the Varsity Vocals Scholarship for excellence in a cappella singing and leadership in 2004, and arranged over 20 songs for the group.
In 2007, Susan moved with her husband, Cameron, to Dallas, Texas, where Susan started working at Choristers Guild, a non-profit music publisher and children’s choir resource organization founded in 1949. The mission of Choristers Guild is to enable leaders to nurture the spiritual and musical growth in children and youth. Susan currently works as the Choral Editor, Permissions & Licensing Administrator, and Content Editor of The Chorister, a bi-monthly journal sent to children’s and youth choir directors across the world. Susan’s passion for the importance of choral singing in children’s lives has been greatly strengthened during her time at Choristers Guild.
Susan is an active, published composer, with pieces published and in print through Santa Barbara Music Company. In 2013, Susan was named a semi-finalist for the American Prize in Composition, Professional Division. In 2011, Susan won the Opus Award for her compositions Two Songs of Love Lost: Forever Gone and At Dawn of Day, an award nominated and voted on by members of the Missouri Choral Directors Association. Susan served as the Missouri Composer Laureate for 2012 and 2013, a position chosen by the organization Verses and Voices, chaired by Missouri First Lady Georganne Nixon. As the Composer Laureate, new works for Missouri were commissioned and performed in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City, Missouri. Susan is the composer-in-residence for the Chattanooga Girls Choir (TN) and the Tennessee Chamber Chorus (Cleveland, TN).
Susan and her husband Cameron reside in Cleveland, Tennessee where Cameron is an Assistant Professor of Choral Music at Lee University and Susan continues her work with Choristers Guild and as a composer. Susan believes not only in the excellence and importance of choral singing, but also in preserving folk music and song of America, which is evident through her compositions and her involvement with various institutions in her home state of Missouri.