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Desert Voices Fostering Community Through Song
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Artistic Director/Conductor

 Shawn Cullen

Mr. Cullen joined the Desert Voices staff in 2013 making him one of the few conductors nationally to serve as Artistic Director for two GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association) Choruses simultaneously. Under Shawn’s leadership Desert Voices has grown from 22 singers to more than 60 singers in only three full seasons, helped to quadruple audience sizes with fresh programming and re-focus the organization to promote safe people inside a safe space with a new mission: Fostering Community Through Song. Desert Voices is proud to provide a unique and much needed musical community as the only LGBTQI and Ally mixed choral experience in Southern Arizona. Desert Voices recently performed at the 2016 GALA Chorus Festival sharing a song by former Tucsonan and nationally touring transgender singer-songwriter Namoli Brennet during a blockbuster concert entitled “Gender Blender, Gender Queer” at the Buell Theater in Denver, CO. Their performance has inspired the programming of this piece, “Choose a Box”, to be performed by the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles and one of the first GALA choruses, The Anna Crusis Women’s Choir of Philadelphia, PA. In January 2017 Mr. Cullen accepted a three-year term as a national Board of Director for GALA Choruses helping to lead the North American LGBTQ and LGBTQ-allied choral movement.

Shawn joined the Reveille Men’s Chorus staff in 2009. During his 8-year tenure, the Chorus has grown dramatically in terms of members/ singers, audience, and local and national recognition. More than 60 singers now perform in a concert cycle to consistently packed houses moving venues to both the Temple of Music and Art and the Leo Rich Theater for needed space drawing some of the largest audiences for choral programming in Southern Arizona. Under Shawn’s leadership, Reveille has earned a reputation for musically excellent, entertaining, relevant programming with humor and heart. This includes productions with thematic presentations from classical choral repertoire, Broadway, music written for and by the LGBTQ community, original stories of LGTBQ history and members’ personal stories of living an authentic life. Through these moving concerts that entertain and educate, Shawn has enabled the Chorus to achieve its mission: Changing Lives Through Music. During the past 8 years Shawn has conducted the chorus at two quadrennial GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association) Chorus festivals and travelled internationally to perform with the Puerto Vallarta Gay Men’s Chorus. Mr. Cullen also led Reveille to make their debut performance with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in 2013 for “Broadway Rocks!” as the first LGBTQ chorus to perform with a professional symphony orchestra in the state of Arizona. 

Since 2011 Cullen has served as conductor for University of Arizona’s ART (Arizona Repertory Theater) with 9 production credits including “Into the Woods”, “Avenue Q”, “The Full Monty”, and most recently “EVITA”. Over the past 12 years Cullen has held various teaching and leadership positions in Tucson Unified School District along with five years directing the University of Arizona "Pride of Arizona Pep Band" in the Fred Fox School of Music.

In the Fall 2017 Mr. Cullen will begin a Ph.D. fellowship at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music teaching undergraduate music education and completing course work towards his doctoral degree in Music Education. Mr. Cullen holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Master’s of Music in Conducting from the University of Arizona. Shawn Cullen is a proud member of GALA Choruses, American Choral Director’s Association, Arizona Music Educator’s Association, and the National Association for Music Education.