Zebulon M. Highben is appointed director of chapel music for Duke University Chapel, Durham, North Carolina. An Ohio native, he leaves positions as associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio, and as director of music at Trinity United Methodist Church, Columbus, Ohio. As the head of the chapel’s music program, Highben will provide leadership for a program of sacred music in worship and in concert, which comprises students, volunteer singers, staff choral singers, instrumentalists, and professional colleagues. He will be the primary conductor of the Duke Chapel Choir, which sings regularly in the chapel’s Sunday morning worship services and also presents annual performances of Handel’s Messiah and other major choral works.
As a choral director, Highben has conducted choirs in worship services, hymn festivals, and concerts for more than two decades. At Muskingum, he led choirs on international tours and at choral music conferences. At Trinity United Methodist Church, he helped plan the worship services for the 1,500-member congregation, conducted the church’s Chancel Choir, and managed a staff of instrumentalists and professional singers. In 2015, he won the American Prize in Choral Conducting in the College/University Chorus Division. In 2016, he was selected as the Central Division Fellow for the American Choral Directors Association’s International Conductors Exchange Program with South Korea.
As a professor of music, Highben has taught courses on topics such as choral methods, conducting, and the musical heritage of the Reformation. His work as a scholar includes the publication of sacred choral anthologies and choral compositions, essays on the practice of church music, as well as lectures on rehearsal techniques, choral literature, choral composition, and related topics. He earned an undergraduate degree in music education from Ohio State University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Luther Seminary with St. Olaf College, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University.
Highben serves on the board of the Ohio Choral Directors Association and the Advisory Council for the Institute of Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana. He is a deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. For information: https://chapel.duke.edu.