Winston R. (Robb) Dennis
Robb Dennis, singer and conductor, was head of the music faculty at Avondale College in Australia from 2005-2011. Prior to that appointment he taught at San Bernardino Valley College in California, where he was an adjunct professor in voice, and also at Scripps College. He began his career teaching in Seventh-day Adventist academies, including Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Mesa Grande Academy in Calimesa, California; and Redlands Adventist Academy in Redlands, California.
A 1984 graduate of Pacific Union College, Dennis completed an MA in Educational Leadership at La Sierra University in 1992 and received a D.M.A. in Vocal Performance from Claremont Graduate University in 1998. He studied choral conducting at Arizona State University with Douglas McEwen and at the University of Oregon Bach Festival with Maestro Helmut Rilling.
In 1999 he made his professional conducting debut with the Canto Bello Master Chorale and members of the San Bernardino Symphony in their final performance of the 1998-1999 season when he conducted the German Requiem by Brahms. In his two seasons with CBMC he conducted performances of Ralph Vaughn-Williamsí Mystical Songs, the Faure Requiem, and Mozartís Grand Mass in C Minor.
He was invited to become the Artistic Director of the Moreno Valley Master Chorale in the fall of 2001. Under his leadership, the chorale performed symphonic choral works by Handel, Schubert, and Beethoven as well as Verdi's Quattro Pezzi Sacri with the San Bernardino Symphony. During the 2002-2003 season the chorale sang Handel's Messiah in Palm Springs and gave two performances of the Brahms Requiem and Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury.
For his efforts with the Moreno Valley Master Chorale, Dennis received the National Leadership Award in the autumn of 2002, presented by Congressman Tom De Lay. This award recognizes individuals who provide outstanding leadership in their community.
A frequent soloist with orchestras and choral groups, Dennis has won in several competitions. In 1991 and 1996 he was a winner in the San Bernardino regional Metropolitan Opera Auditions and advanced to sing in the regional finals.
In Australia, Dennis performed acclaimed recitals at Newcastle Conservatory, one of which was aired on radio six times. His success in those recitals led to an appearance in 2007 as a soloist in an opera concert for the Hunter Performing Arts Society. A year later, he sang as a soloist in a production of La Boheme presented by HPAS in Newcastle.
Dennis was interviewed on ABC television's affiliate 2NUR in Newcastle in January 2010, an appearance which included his singing a solo from La Traviata. It was broadcast again several times.
His leadership of the choral groups at AC led to several successes and invitations for the groups to perform. In August 2009 the ensembles received high ratings in the Macquarie Choral Festival at Warners Bay. Both the Avondale Singers, which took top honors, and The Promise vocal ensemble were praised for their dynamic control and vocal solo work.
Also in 2009, the Singers performed in the Sydney Opera House as part of an international music festival, singing gospel and folk selections by American and Australian composers. Additionally, they were featured in the City of Newcastle's 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the United Nations.
Sources: Numerous conversations and correspondence, 2000-2011, California Birth Index, Ancestory.com; personal knowledge.