Joel Knapp joined the First UU family in 2007. He was raised in the Kansas City area and received a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Wichita State University in 1981, summa cum Laude. From 1981-86 he was the Director of Vocal Music at Circle High School in Towanda, Kansas. Choirs under his direction performed at state and regional conventions and consistently received top honors.
Dr. Knapp earned an M.M. and D.M.A., summa cum Laude, in Choral Conducting , studying with Dr. Eph Ehly and Kirby Shaw work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 1989 - 2003 taught at Utah State University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Akron. From 2003 â€“ 2009, he served as Director of Choral Activities at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. His choirs performed to sold-out audiences each year as they presented a Renaissance Madrigal Dinner in the fall and a Valentine's Day Concert in the spring. Jacksonville State University choirs performed at state AMEA conventions and the Georgia Renaissance Festival.
In the fall of 1999, Knapp accepted a position as Director of Choral Activities at Southern Illinois University. An active performer, Knapp has appeared in area recitals as well as performances of Amahl and the Night Visitors (Balthazar), South Pacific (Emile), and Bending Towards the Light. In 2001, He was named Assistant Conductor of the Bach Society of St. Louis, and Conductor of the Masterworks Concert Choir.
Dr. Knapp has served as an adjudicator/clinician in eleven states . He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Illinois Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, and is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.