Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins has been named director of choral activities at Northwestern State University. Cummins replaces Dr. Burt Allen, who retired this summer after 32 years at NSU.
Cummins joins Northwestern State’s faculty after four years as director of choral activities at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. In that role, he was responsible for conducting all choral ensembles, teaching beginning and advanced choral conducting, choral literature and choral methods courses. He handled all recruiting activities related to the vocal-choral area at Delta State. In collaboration with the vocal faculty, Cummins quadrupled the number of entering music majors and tripled the number of non-majors in the choral area over four years. Cummins was the coordinator and administrator for the Delta State University Honor Choir, which comprised 150 students from a three state region each February and worked with a nationally renowned conductor.
“The program is remarkable, and I want to build upon the successes of my predecessor and friend, Dr. Burt Allen,” said Cummins. “My overall goal for the choral program at Northwestern State University is being a visible and positive ambassador for the university and the School of Creative and Performing Arts. We will achieve this with a series of new events, performances and activities over the next few years. We will begin working towards invitational performances at state, regional and national conferences for the choirs at NSU.”
Cummins said he is working to set up a symposium and honor choir for middle and high school choirs and their directors with world renowned conductors and composers each January.
“These are just some of the ideas we will begin working on in the next few years to make the choral program at NSU more visible and exciting,” he said. “However, we will continue the rich traditions of Lessons and Carols among other important performances each year. Our task is to create new and exciting choral events while continuing the traditions already in place.”
A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Cummins earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting at Louisiana State University. While completing his doctorate at LSU, Cummins was a graduate teaching fellow where he was instructor of voice and conductor of the LSU Women’s Chorale and Chamber Singers. He was an instructor of music at UAB and served as conductor of the Women’s Chorale and assistant conductor of the Concert Choir. Cummins also taught public school music for five years in Texas and Alabama, and has been involved with church music for nearly 20 years.
“I and my wife Whitney along with our daughter Emma are thrilled to be in Natchitoches, and to be a part of the family in Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University,” said Cummins.