A native of Plano, Texas, Ms. Melanie Stapleton has been an active member of Texas choirs throughout her life. She holds a Master of Music Education from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Music Education from Louisiana State University, where she minored in English. During her time at LSU, she served as President, Classroom Panel Coordinator, and Social Coordinator of Spectrum, the on-campus organization for LGBTQ+ students and their allies. As President of Spectrum, she helped be part of the initiative to add "gender expression" and "gender identity" into the campus EEO policy, was a guest speaker in many classrooms and public events, and even gave a speech on the steps of the Louisiana Capitol. Additionally, she assisted in the founding of Louisiana Trans Advocates (LTA), the first statewide non-profit organization in Louisiana dedicated to the improvement of transgender rights in the state. In addition to her LGBTQ advocacy, Stapleton served as President of the LSU student chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association.
Stapleton completed her Master of Music Education from UNT in August 2020, where her primary research focus was on social justice, advocacy, and working with transgender students in the music ensemble. A highly sought after clinician, she offers clinics for choirs as well as professional development sessions for music educators and school districts. She has presented at National ACDA, TMEA (Texas 2021) AMEA (Arizona 2021), and numerous other conferences. She co-authored the chapter "Can't I Sing With the Girls?" with Sarah Bartolome in the book "Marginalized Voices in Music Education", edited by Brent Talbot. She is a co-founder of the organization "(Trans)position", an organization dedicated to the support of transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive music educators globally. Additionally, she helps moderate the "I'm a Choir Director" PLC on Facebook consisting of over 27,000 choir directors from around the world.
Ms. Stapleton began her career in Lamar CISD, teaching elementary music, before moving to La Porte ISD, where she was the Head Choral Director at Lomax Junior High and Baker Sixth Grade Campus. After her time in La Porte, she served as the Director of Choral Studies at Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School and then the Director of Choral Activities at Furr High School in Houston ISD. Choirs under her direction consistently received Sweepstakes and Superior scores at UIL. She now is pursuing her Ph.D. in Music Studies with a Specialization in Music Education at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
Stapleton holds active membership in Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA), and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Her choral career has allowed her to sing under the batons of conductors such as Dr. Ken Fulton, Derrick Brookins, Dr. Allen Hightower, Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, and Dr. Anton Armstrong. She is a strong believer in the power of the choral ensemble to create a musical family where all are respected and offered unconditional love. When not jamming to the latest choral hits, she can be found spending time with friends, cooking in her Instant Pot, playing video games, or binge-watching her latest TV show obsession.
Conferences and Professional Developments hat Melanie has presented at:
Blurring the Binary: Transgender Students in the Choral Ensemble (3/18/2021)
Blurring the Binary: Teaching the Transgender Singer (2/12/2021)
Transgender and Non-Binary Students in the Secondary Choral Environment (July 22 & 23, 2021)
Blurring the Binary: Transgender Students in the Choral Ensemble (1/30/21)
Working With Transgender Musicians (6/13/2019)
Blurring the Binary: Disrupting False Transgender Narratives (5/28/2020)
Blurring the Binary: Transgender Students in the Choral Ensemble (7/15/2021)
Teaching Transgender Students in the Fine Arts (September 2020 & July 2021)
Panel for Alliance for Active Music Making (AfAMM) (10/29/2020)
Books that have Melanie's writings or contributions in them:
Edited by Brent Talbot. Melanie is a co-author of Chapter 7: "Can't I Sing With the Girls?"
By: Matthew L. Garrett and Joshua Palkki. Melanie was one of the TGE contributors.
Podcasts or Interviews of Melanie
Hosted by: Stephanie Gregoire
Hosted by Christopher T. F. Hanson
Hosted by: Joshua Lund
Articles Melanie has been quoted in:
Article: "A Baritone Finds a Safe Way Choirs Can Sing Together Again: Over Car Radios" by Richard Read , January 14th, 2021
Articles: "The LGBTQ Community Has Some Words About Tolerance" by: Kira Schutte, February 12th, 2014; "Vigil Honors Victims of Violence" by Lauren Duhon, November 18th, 2011 ; "BR Community Remembers Transgender Victims of Violence" by: Rachel Warren, November 19th, 2010
Journal articles that reference Melanie or her contributions:
"Melanie's Story: A Narrative Account of a Transgender Music Educator's Journey". By Sarah J. Bartolome (2016)
"Teaching Transgender Singers" and "Teaching Lucas"By Loraine Sims
Blogs written by Melanie:
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