A Michigan native, Richard (Rick) Phelps attended school from Kindergarten through college in Mt. Pleasant. He received his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University. Rick also holds a Master of Arts in New Testament Studies from Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, PA.
He has served as an adjunct member of the faculties of Central Michigan University and Mid-Michigan Community College, where he taught choral literature and private voice, as well as directed musicals and choral ensembles. After assuming the leadership of the Mt. Pleasant High School choral program, he led the choirs to continuing success in District and State choral festivals. His choirs have sung around Michigan and in Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, and New York, having twice appeared at Carnegie Hall; in 2004 they sang the Vaughan Williams “Dona Nobis Pacem” under the direction of CMU’s Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson, and in 2009 sang a collection of shorter works with Dr. Eph Ely, one of America’s most celebrated choral conductors. In October 2014 he led the Kalamazoo Singers in a performance at the American Choral Directors Association-Michigan Chapter’s Fall Conference in Flint, and he has spearheaded bringing the conference to Kalamazoo beginning in October 2016.
Since 1997 he has served on the summer faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp where he is a music director in the Theater department. When not making music he enjoys hiking, weeks-long canoe trips, winter camping, and being staff to his cats Molly and Maddy. He is loved and supported by his wife Emily and their three grown children, Lilia, Galina, and Vladimir.