Ken Galbreath earned his B. A. in Music from Spring Arbor College in 1972 and a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College in the late 90's. His teaching career began in 1973 with the Carman-Ainsworth School District where he taught vocal, instrumental and general music for 13 years.
In 1986, he accepted a position in the Mt. Morris Schools where he directed the high school and junior high choirs and taught a class in music composition. He was on staff at the University of Michigan-Flint Summer Music Academy for 4 years where he taught classes in music composition. He and his wife, DeeAnn, team-taught two of the high school choirs for 12 years and retired together in June of 2007. Ken has also served as a church music director for 15 years.
As an accomplished composer, Ken has composed and arranged many musical compositions, several of which were commissioned. Five of his choral compositions have been published with Shawnee Press, Alfred Publishing Co. and Mark Foster Music. They include Psalm 103 which was performed by the Michigan State Junior High Honors Choir, Give Thanks, Sing Praise which was written for the Spring Arbor University A Cappella Choir under the direction of Dr. Charles Livesay, Depart in Peace, written in honor of the retirement of Helmut "Fritz" Petrich from Flint Central High School, Reflections of the Heart, a collection of three a cappella settings to the poetry of Michigan poet, Jane Mayes and Where Does Summer Go? which was requested and sung by each of his Junior High Choirs during his entire teaching career.
Last year Ken composed a TTBB arrangement of Findlandia entitled O, Michigan, My Home which was performed by the 2007 Michigan State TTBB Honors Choir under the direction of Nathan Degner.
Ken served the Michigan School Vocal Music Association as District 3 Manager for six years. He hosted the District festival twice. He consistently sent students to the State Honors Choir and District and State Solo and Ensemble Festivals. Each year he took three choirs to District Choral Festival where he frequently earned superior ratings and participated in the Junior High and High School State Choral Festivals. Ken was honored by being selected to compose the high school sightreading exercises for the 2006 District Choral Festivals. He received an emeritis award from MSVMA in January 2008.
On July 30, 2007, Ken went home to be with the Lord that he loved and served, after a seven year illness from Pulmonary Fibrosis. At his funeral, a thousand people gathered to celebrate and pay tribute to his extraordinary life which was exemplified by faithfulness to Christ and family, kindness, generosity, humor and a passion for teaching.
A choir made up of 150 former students, colleagues and friends, under the direction of Dr. Kirk Aamot and Carolyn Mawby, sang his moving composition, Depart in Peace and Lutkin's The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
His life and beautiful music will continue to touch lives and bring inspiration to many. He is deeply missed by his adoring wife DeeAnn, his three children, (Pamela Singer, a music educator in the Holly Schools, Dr. Andrew Galbreath, a chief resident in Neurology at Duke University Medical Center and Aaron Galbreath (a businessman and free-lance musical composer and performer in the Indianapolis area), as well as 4 beautiful grandchildren, treasured colleagues, friends and students.
~ Acknowledgements ~
One of the greatest rewards for any composer is hearing his or her music performed by other musicians. In addition to the pleasure of "trying out" and performing my compositions with my own choirs, I have enjoyed the performances of several fine choirs and directors throughout the state. Although I have not been able to attend every performance of my compositions, I have enjoyed hearing about each one. Many of the directors are close friends, but some, I hardly know. I would like to thank each performing group and director who has performed my music and inspired me to keep writing. I apologize for inadvertently omitting anyone from the list.
Byron Center HS Choirs, Christopher Card
Cadillac HS Choirs, Christopher Card
Carolyn Mawby Chorale, Carolyn Mawby
First Presbyterian Church of Fenton Sanctuary Choir, Bruce Nieuwenhuis
(Flint) Calvary Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir
(Flint) Carman-Ainsworth HS Chorale, C. Bruce Stevenson
(Flint) Central HS A Cappella Choir, Helmut "Fritz" Petrich
(Flint) Central Church of the Nazarene Sanctuary Choir, Stan Martin
(Flint) Community Presbyterian Church, Julia Goodfellow
(Flint) Kearsley HS Choirs, Richard Bushey
(Flint) Kearsley HS Band, Mark Van Hoose
(Flint) Resurrection Reformed Church Choir, Patty Pratt
Flushing HS A Cappella Choir, Nathan Degner
Flushing JHS Choir, Nathan Degner
Grand Blanc HS Chorale - Lavonne Bomeli
Grand Rapids Northview HS Varsity Voices, Judy Hameline
Huron Hills Baptist Church Choir (Ann Arbor), Dr. Jerry Blackstone
Lansing Waverly HS Choir, Benjamin Knapp
Marion HS Choir, Barb Edwards
Marshall HS Singers, Kathryn Petrich
Missouri HS Honors Choir, Sally Albrecht
MSVMA SATB Junior High State Honors Choir, John Tyner
Mt. Morris HS Vocal Ensemble, DeeAnn Galbreath
New Century Chorale (Grand Blanc), W. Gene Coburn
Sandbridge Community Church (Virginia Beach), Miriam Wilson
Small Church Choir Festival - Mass Choir (Virginia Beach), Miriam Wilson
Spring Arbor University Concert Choir, Dr. Charles Livesay
Swartz Creek HS Chorale, Benjamin Knapp
University of Michigan-Flint Chamber Choir, Dr. Kirk Aamot
University of Michigan-Flint Summer Academy Choir, Dr. Kirk Aamot