Our History

About the Downingtown East Choir Program:

The choral music program in Downingtown has a long history of traditions and performances that enrich the lives of its members. There are four curricular choirs offered at Downingtown East, one of the district’s three high schools. Many of the students also take part in one or more of the four additional extracurricular choirs that meet after school and in the evenings. Many Downingtown East Choir students participate in PMEA District, Regions, All-States, and NAfME All-Eastern ensembles. Last year, Downingtown East had the highest representation out of 33 Philadelphia area high schools in the PMEA District 12 Festival and Downingtown was named one of the country’s best communities for music education by the NAMM Foundation with our students having scored an impressive 100% pass rate on the AP Music Theory Examination. As a model public school choir program, Downingtown East is in high demand by local universities for student teacher placement. High school students also take active roles in learning via opportunities to conduct, compose, and arrange under guided supervision. The Downingtown East Choirs often perform at Philadelphia professional sporting events, as well as provide service to the community through countless local performances facilitated by an active Tri-M Music Honor Society. 

 

 

 

About the Choir:

 

A wide range of vocal techniques are explored through the study of advanced classical a-cappella works, ranging from Renaissance motets to newly commissioned modern compositions. Comprehensive musicianship skills such as score analysis, sight-singing, and music theory are also emphasized. Members of the choir have participated in workshops with the Barbershop Harmony Society, Sweet Adelines International, and with collegiate ensembles from Roanoke College, James Madison University, West Chester University, Ithaca College, and Susquehanna University. They have also taken part in some very special collaborations including a performance in The Forbidden City in Beijing, China with Eric Whitacre, an appearance with the National Youth Choir in Carnegie Hall with Dr. Christopher Aspaas, and a shared concert in Notre Dame Cathedral with le Chœur de Chambre de l'Académie de Musique de Paris. Having toured Canada, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Austria, the Czech Republic, and China, these exceptional young artists have gained an international reputation for excellence. In national competitions, they generally garner first place, superior ratings, and special awards for student and staff leadership.

 

About the Director:

Mr. Adam Speakman has been the Choral Director at Downingtown East since 2006, having previously taught at the Renaissance Academy in Phoenixville, PA, where he began his teaching career in 2004. Currently at Downingtown East, he conducts all of the numerous choral ensembles, teaches AP Music Theory, and is the Vocal Director for musical theater productions. He holds a Master of Music degree in Music Education with certifications in both Kodály Methodology and Music Technology (TI:ME) from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where he also completed post-graduate studies in choral conducting. Additionally, he holds a Principal Certification from Cabrini College and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education with dual emphasis in voice and composition from Susquehanna University. Mr. Speakman is a published arranger whose works (licensed by Tresóna) are often debuted by the Downingtown East Choirs. He is also a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America. He has been very active over the last 15 years in researching, writing, and receiving numerous grants to provide more resources and opportunities for his students. He was recently honored as the high school recipient of the Citadel Heart of Learning Award in Chester County, PA and has also earned recognition from the European Cultural Initiative for the Young Generation for his “artistic excellence, intellectual engagement” and “[contributions to] the global network of culture, peace and mutual respect between the world’s people.” He has received citations from both the Pennsylvania State Senate and Pennsylvania House of Representatives for his “dedication, care, and leadership [in preparing his students for life-long challenges]” as well as his “high professional standards …vision, energy and enthusiasm for teaching”.

History of Excellence: 

 

2006 - 1st Place, Superior Rating, Best Overall Choir Award- Festivals of Music Competition in Montreal, Canada. Performed at the invitation of composer Eric Whitacre in Shanghai, China.

 

2007 - 1st Place, Superior Rating, Outstanding Accompanist Award- Festivals of Music Competition in New York, NY. Performed at the Basilica of Sant'Agostino in Rome, Italy.

 

2008 - Performed at Disney World in Orlando, FL. 1st Place, Superior Rating, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award- Music in the Parks Competition in Hershey, PA.

 

2009 - 1st Place, Best Overall Choral Choir Award, Outstanding Accompanist Award- Festivals of Music Competition in Boston, MA. Performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.

 

2010 - Performed at Disney World in Orlando, FL. 1st Place, Superior Rating, Best Overall Choir Award, Outstanding Accompanist Award, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award- Music in the Parks Competition in Hershey, PA.

 

2011 - 1st Place, Superior Rating, Outstanding Accompanist Award, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award- Festivals of Music Competition in Washington, D.C. Performed at Lobkowicz Palace in Prague, Czech Republic and at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. 

 

2012 - Performed at Disney World in Orlando, FL. 1st Place, Superior Rating, Best Overall Choir Award, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award- Music in the Parks Competition in Hershey, PA.

 

2013 - 1st Place, Superior Rating, Best Overall Choir Award, Outstanding Accompanist Award- Festivals of Music Competition in New York, NY. Performed at Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany.

 

2014 - Performed at Disney World in Orlando, FL. 1st Place, Superior Rating, Best Overall Choir Award, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award, Esprit de Corps Award- Music in the Parks Competition in Hershey, PA. 

 

2015 - Gold Rating, Sweepstakes Award, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award- WorldStrides Heritage Festival in Nashville, TN. Performed at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.

 

2016 - Performed at Disney World in Orlando, FL. 1st Place, Superior Rating, Best Overall Choir Award, Outstanding Vocal Solo Award- Music in the Parks Competition in Hershey, PA.

 

2017 - Performed at the National Youth Choir Festival- Carnegie Hall in New York, NY.

2018- Superior Rating- Festival Disney competition in Orlando, FL. Gold Rating, Outstanding Achievement Award- Roxbury Invitational in Roxbury Twp., NJ.

2019- Gold Rating, Outstanding Achievement Award- Roxbury Invitational in Roxbury Twp., NJ.

2020- Selected by blind recorded audition to perform at Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Annual State Conference at Kalahari Resort in the Poconos.