Richard L. Banks, is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He has studied at Lincoln University in Missouri, where he earned the B.M.E. He also did graduate study at The University of Illinois at Carbondale. Mr. Banks earned a Masters Degree at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has nearly finished all of his coursework toward the completion of the D.M.A. degree at The U. of M.
Mr. Banks 19 25 years of teaching experience spans all educational levels. He taught elementary school, middle school, and high school. He credits the five years of high school choral directing as the early experience which honed his skills as a conductor. His choirs and madrigal groups were considered among the best high school ensembles in the state of Missouri.
Professor Banks has also held teaching positions at several colleges, universities, and nationally recognized programs. These would include the choral positions at The State University of New York (SUNY) in Plattsburgh, NY., Knoxville College in TN., Talladega College in AL., Saint Augustine 19s College in NC., Voorhees College in SC., and recently, is the director of the newly formed, Operatorio Performance Ensemble here at NCCU. He also taught choral music for the All-State High School program at the Interlochen National Music Camp in Interlochen Michigan, and was co-director of the famed Boys Choir of Harlem in NY.
Mr. Banks 19 first love is as a dedicated teacher. However, Mr. Banks has also performed extensively. He has sung many opera roles with several companies including, the Chautauqua Opera Co. in NY., The Grand Rapids Opera Co. in MI., The Long Leaf Opera Co. in NC., among others. He has extensive performing experience in oratorios, cantatas, and Broadway musicals. His latest performances occurred in Memorial Hall on the UNC Chapel Hill campus which included an international cast in the critically acclaimed 1CWill The Circle Be Unbroken 1D. Mr. Banks is also an accomplished recitalist and, when time permits, appeared often.
Mr. Banks is a much sought after judge and clinician for choral ensembles and vocal soloists. He judges often in contests, competitions, and private studios. He does master classes in vocal pedagogy at colleges and universities. For four years he has held the position as coordinator of vocal studies at Central.
Some memorable experiences include performances at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis MO., and the Apollo Theater in NY. Mr. Banks has conducted choirs several times in The Kennedy Center for the Performance Arts in Washington D.C., and performed in Carnegie Hall in NY. His ensembles have also performed at Duke Chapel in Durham, North Carolina. Mr. Banks also has conducted a choir and recently, appeared in performance at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
Mr. Banks has been a member of the Inter Collegiate Music Association (IMA), the ACHE Choral festival, the African American Heritage Choral (AAH) festival, the National Association of Negro Musicians (MANM), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Mr. Banks is also listed as a member of Outstanding Young Men of America (OYMA), numerous citations fellowships and community service awards and recently cited for Exemplary Teaching and Scholarship, at NCCU.