Dr. Stephen Bolster

Mary M. McGaw Endowed Chair in Music;
Berea College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers;
Honorary Alumnus, 2012
Professor of Music
At Berea College since 1980

Contact Information

Presser Hall, 203
CPO 2194
Email: bolsterst@berea.edu
Phone: 859-985-3460
Fax: 859-985-3994

Dr. Steve Bolster

Fall 2017

Office Hours

Thursday: 10:00 am – 12:00 p.m
Wednesday: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Friday: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Class Schedule

  • MUS 131 (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday: 5:00 pm – 6:10 pm)
  • MUA: Voice (Monday: 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm; Tuesday/Thursday; 9:00 am – 10:00 am, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm)
  • MUS 130 A (Monday/Wednesday: 4:00 pm – 4:50 pm)


  • A.B. Music, Dartmouth College, 1973
  • M.M. Choral Arts, University of North Carolina, 1977
  • D.M.A. Literature and Performance of Choral Music, University of Colorado, 1980


  • MUS 115: Music Literature
  • MUS 130A : Chamber Singers
  • MUS 131: Concert Choir
  • MUS 337: Conducting
  • MUS 326: Vocal Methods
  • MUS 400: Senior Seminar
  • MUA 105-400: Applied Lessons in Voice


 Dr. Stephen Bolster, Program Chair of Music, is the Mary W. McGaw Endowed Chair in Music at Berea College, where he has taught for 34 years.   Professor of Music, he conducts the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and teaches voice, vocal methods, conducting, and the music senior seminar. He holds music degrees from Dartmouth College (A.B. Music, 1973), the University of North Carolina (M.M. Choral Arts, 1977), and the University of Colorado (D.M.A. Literature and Performance of Choral Music, 1980) and conducted major choral organizations at each school before joining the Berea faculty in 1980.  In 1989, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati.  Under his direction the Berea College Concert Choir and Chamber Singers have toured annually for three decades in the eastern United States, and have performed on international tours in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Czeck Republics, Hungary, and China.   The Concert Choir has also performed multiple times for the Kentucky Music Educators Association annual In-Service Conference, and has twice performed under Dr. Bolster’s direction at the American Negro Spiritual Competition in Cincinnati’s famous Music Hall.

Dr. Bolster has a long record of leadership and service to the American Choral Directors Association. He served two terms as President of the ACDA for the Commonwealth (1985-1987 and 2003-2005) and from 1989-1994, he served as Chair of College and University Choirs for Southern Division ACDA. From 1989-2003, he was the Kentucky State Chairperson of the Youth and Student Activities Committee. In the fall of 2000, Bolster spent twelve days in China as a member of an ACDA choral delegation of the People to People Ambassador program.  In July, 2002, Bolster received Kentucky ACDA’s highest honor–the Robert K. Baar Choral Excellence Award–for his active service to the organization and dedication to choral music education in the State.

A recipient of many other honors and awards, Bolster was chosen as the 1999-2000 College-University Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA).  He has also received numerous awards from Berea College, including the Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching (Spring, 1988), the Presidential Award for Excellence (Spring, 1995), and the Man of the Year Award (Spring, 1995).  In 1997, he was named Berea College’s Phi Kappa Phi Professor of the Year. In the fall of 2012, he and his wife, Sandy, Director of Developmental Math at Berea College, were made Honorary Alumni of the institution in 2012.  From 1996-1999 he was a member of the prestigious Robert Shaw Festival Singers. His biography appears in numerous volumes of Who’s Who.

Dr. Bolster is in frequent demand as a lecturer, clinician, and adjudicator in Kentucky and Tennessee. An expert on acoustical phonetics, especially vowel modification and choral blend, Bolster has presented lectures on this topic to several professional music organizations and at colleges and universities in surrounding states.