Anthony T. Leach, emeritus professor of music/music education is director and founder of Essence of Joy. He served as conductor of the Penn State University Choir from 1994 – 2015 and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in choral music education. Currently, Leach teaches a graduate music education seminar and coordinates the African American Music Festival at Penn State. Dr. Leach has returned in 2021-2022 academic year from retirement.
Leach holds a Ph.D. in music education and master’s degree in conducting from Penn State, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA. During the 2009 – 2010 academic year, Leach served as Penn State University Laureate.
Leach taught music in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York City for fourteen years. His choirs have performed at festivals throughout the United States and Canada as well as tours of England, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, St. Thomas/U.S. Virgin Islands, and South Africa. He has appeared as guest conductor for choral festivals and workshops in Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, New York, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Massachusetts. He has also served as guest conductor for festivals in France, Japan, Venezuela, and the Czech Republic. In 2004, Leach was co-conductor of the World Youth Choir sponsored by the International Federation of Choral Musicians (IFCM) in South Korea and Japan.
In addition to his responsibilities at Penn State, Leach serves as conductor of the Essence of Joy Alumni Singers and Essence 2 Ltd. He is also director of music at Monumental AME, Steelton, PA. He also serves as chair for Lifelong Music for the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. Leach retired in spring 2018.