Dr. Michelle Folta is an associate professor of choral/general music education at Columbus State University and the artistic director for the Voices of the Valley Children's Chorus. Dr. Folta earned her Ph.D. in Music Education at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Previous degrees include a bachelor's degree in Music Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's degree in Music Education from the University of North Texas.
Prior to graduate work, Dr. Folta taught middle school choir for eight years in Austin, Texas, where she was recognized as “Teacher of the Year.” While teaching in the public schools, Dr. Folta was instrumental in transforming her campus into a Fine Arts Academy, preventing the school from possible closure. Her choirs received consistent superior ratings in festivals and contests during her tenure as well as many opportunities to perform with community choruses and religious organizations.
The Voices of the Valley Children's Chorus at Columbus State University has achieved excellence under Dr. Folta's direction. Voices of the Valley has been selected to perform for the West Georgia Choral Society' Choral Festival in LaGrange, Georgia as well as the Columbus Ballet's production of the Nutcracker. In addition to local performances, Voices of the Valley collaborated with the Columbus State University Wind Ensemble in the spring of 2017. In the summer of 2018, Voices of the Valley performed their first international tour in Norwich and Cambridge, England.
Dr. Folta has served as the guest clinician for the GMEA Muscogee County Middle School Chorus as well as local middle schools and high schools in the Chattahoochee Valley. In 2017, she was the guest clinician for the GMEA Statewide Sixth Grade Honor Chorus in Athens, Georgia. In addition, she has served as an adjudicator for state-wide festivals and contests and as a guest lecturer at Iowa State University, the University of North Texas, and Georgia State University. Dr. Folta served as the guest clinician for the Georgia Music Educators Association Sixth-Grade Honor Chorus, and was the guest clinician for the West Georgia Choral Society's Choral Festival in the spring of 2018. In February of 2019, Dr. Folta was the guest clinician for the Region XIII Tenor Bass All Region Choir in Austin, Texas.
Dr. Folta has presented research in a variety of state, national, and international venues, including Texas Music Educators Association conference, the Florida Music Educators Association conference, the Georgia Music Educators Association conference, the National Association for Music Education conference, the Society for Music Teacher Education conference, the Race, Ethnicity, and Place conference, and the Narrative Inquiry in Music Education conference. Additionally, she has published research articles in state, national, and international music journals.
Dr. Folta was recently named a quarterfinalist for the GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Award and Columbus and the Valley's "Rising Star" award. Dr. Folta and her husband, Zach, reside in Columbus, Georgia with their daughter, Lena.