Professor of Music
Director of Choral Ensembles
Mary Ellen Junda, Professor of Music at the University of Connecticut, is a nationally recognized conductor, educator, scholar and recording artist. She is the recipient of a number of grants for her research with Dr. Robert Stephens on the music and culture of the Gullah people of the Sea Islands and is the co-director with Dr. Stephens for their Landmark Grant in History and Culture,Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations, awarded $180,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities. NEH also provided supplemental funding to document the proceedings from Gullah Voices to share with a global audience. In 2011, Dr. Junda was selected as a Summer Scholar for the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute on Global Music and Culture.
Dr. Junda is known for her exemplary work as a choral conductor. She was awarded a 2002 Howard Foundation Fellowship in Music Performance from Brown University, has conducted numerous festival choruses including the 2001 Organization of American Kodály Educators National Treble Choir and presented sessions throughout the country on American folk music, rehearsal techniques, musical literacy and creativity. Her Singing with Treblemakersrecordings have earned four Parents’ Choice Awards, including a coveted 2008 Parents’ Choice Classic Award, and are used throughout the country as a model of the artistry of childrens’ singing voices. She authored the K-6 Vocal Development Sequence for the Silver Burdett Ginn ©2002 Making Music and recorded numerous songs for the series as conductor of Treblemakers. From 2004-2011, Dr. Junda was founding artistic director of The Main Street Singers, a community children’s choir in New Britain, Connecticut that performed at civic events and conferences throughout the state.
At the University of Connecticut, Dr. Junda is known for her innovative concerts as director of the UCONN Women’s Choir. She is the recipient of two Provost Grants to develop Earthtones, the new world music vocal ensemblethat performs the music of culturally diverse groups and Sing and Shout! a unique general education course that integrates history with communal singing and song-writing. Teaching these courses reaffirms her belief in the power of singing to create community and as means to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for cultural diversity. In 2012 she was selected as a Service Learning Fellow, and will add service learning to her courses in the coming years. She has shared her innovative pedagogy at the College Music Society National Conference, National Association for Music Education Conference, International Cultural Diversity in Music Education Conference, the International Phenomenon of Singing Symposium and International Arts and Humanities Conference.
Dr. Junda earned a B.M. from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, M.M.Ed. from Holy Names University and an Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.