The American conductor, Gary McKercher, was born, raised, and educated in the rural upper Midwest, earning his undergraduate music degree at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. After a year of public school teaching in Minnesota, he spent a research year at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, England singing with several Cambridge University choral ensembles including the Cambridge University Music Society conducted by David Willcocks, longtime conductor of Kings College Choir, Cambridge. His advanced degrees in choral music were earned from California State University, Fullerton (MA), and University of Southern California (DMA).
Over the past thirty years Gary McKercher has held college/university choral positions in Wisconsin, Iowa, California, and Kentucky. In addition, he completed post-doctoral study at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France (1987), and in summer of 2004 studied and performed with the famed The Tallis Scholars (Director: Peter Phillips) at Oakham, England.
While in California, Gary McKercher sang with several distinguished choral organizations including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the William Hall Chorale, the John Biggs Early Music Consort, the Carmel Bach Festival, and conducted the celebrated “Music at Immanuel concert series at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.
Since 1998, Gary McKercher was active in Madison, Wisconsin, founding the Wisconsin Chamber Choir, while freelancing seasonal productions with area musical and light opera companies. The chamber choir has been invited to perform for several state events including the opening of Madison's Overture Center, Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasts, and state choral conventions, in addition to recording and producing several CD’s. In 2007, he left Madison for the sunny shores of San Diego to conduct the San Diego Master Chorale.
Over the course of his career, Gary McKercher has conducted over forty choral/orchestral works including J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) and Mass in B minor (BWV 232), Benjamin Britten's Cantata Academica and Cantata Misericordium, Haydn's Creation; George Frideric Handel's Messiah, Ode to St Cecilia, and Dixit Dominus; W.A. Mozart's Solemn Vespers of the Confessor and Requiem, Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius; Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem and Naenie, Purcell's Fairie Queen, and Igor Stravinsky's Mass and Symphony of Psalms.