Hear from choral conductors and past students who have worked with Jim, and why they are looking forward to their next workshop.

 

Jim McCullough is an exceptional music educator whom I’ve come to appreciate and admire more and more over the years that I’ve known him.  He is a talented pianist, a remarkably gifted choral director, and he has an impeccable ear for tone and intonation, in addition to an encyclopedic knowledge of musical repertoire.  

These outstanding qualities would be more than enough for most musicians and music educators to be justifiably proud of, but they only scratch the surface of what Jim McCullough means to his students.  He is beloved for his caring nature and intuitive sensitivity for each of his students, even as he challenges them to achieve more than they ever thought possible.  He is respected for his ability to bring students together to collectively create music as a team that far surpasses what any could achieve on their own. Most importantly, Jim has inspired a lifelong love of music-making for hundreds, if not thousands of students, many of whom now teach music and share that timeless love of making music together with a new generation of students.

-Mike Benshish, Music Accompanist & Professional Pianist


Jim McCullough is the musician and educator that I strive to be every day. His knowledge of vocal jazz and standard choral literature, technique, and pedagogy surpasses most. As a former member of his choral program I fondly remember feeling consistent support from Jim. He fosters such a positive learning environment, everyone loves to sing for him! If ever given an opportunity to work with Jim do so without reservation or hesitation. It will be a musical experience you will not want to miss!

-Monica Bertrand, Choir Director at Plainfield North High School and former student


I spent two years in Chorale and Vocal Jazz Workshop under the direction of Jim McCullough…and if I had my way, it would have been twenty-two. His technical knowledge, firstly, is invaluable. We spent generous amounts of time on every element of a piece, making sure that each one was as strong as the next. The skill that this produced gave us the freedom not only to learn with quick precision, but also to explore the deeper emotional elements that lie within the technicalities.

But for me, one of the most significant lessons that Jim taught was passion. As any great teacher does, he encouraged patience, diligence, and zeal for the things I care about. He helped turn artistry from an enjoyable pastime to a life calling, and has informed the way I approach not just music, but any area of passion in my life. Anyone who has the opportunity to work under his direction will always be thankful that they jumped at the chance.

-Jacob G., former student


Singing under Jim McCullough was one of the most inspiring and influential experiences of my career. Jim approaches music in a way that makes students not only sing with incredible musicality, but with a genuine attention to the meaning and story of a piece. Every phrase of music was discussed and dissected in a way that didn’t let students just glaze past without carrying out the meaning. Students would talk about word stress, what a phrase means, and why the dynamic is what it is. This would make the music truly speak to an audience, and especially speak to the students in ways that they could relate to in their own life.

Jim also teaches students to communicate with each other through music in ways that I have not seen any director come close to. In his choir, I found myself truly performing each piece of music even when it was just a rehearsal. 

He was able to get his students to truly come out of their shell. I have never sung with choirs that tuned better, that knew the meaning of what they were singing more, and that truly enjoyed themselves more than in Jim’s choirs. He is a dynamic director, that even with his tremendous talent, is genuine and makes every individual student feel as though they can communicate what they feel through singing in a choir. I would recommend Jim to any group that wants to have a genuine, informative, and heartfelt choral experience.

-Jess Palmisano, Choir Director at Geneva High School and former student