Our Story

The Kern County International Youth Choir exists as an opportunity for students to travel and share choral music with audiences around the world. Artistic Director, Jack Bertrand, has been afforded experiences singing and conducting in several countries outside the United States, each of which has shaped his view of the world by strengthening his knowledge and understanding of various cultures. While the local university and college often takes students abroad, Mr. Bertrand felt founding the KCIYC provides this life-changing opportunity to high school students, something he wishes he had been able to do in high school.

Your Experience

Joining the Kern County International Youth Choir affords students the opportunity to study additional choral repertoire outside of their school choir with three accomplished choral directors in the Bakersfield area. Students will be challenged to sing music from a variety of languages, styles, and cultures further broadening their scope of singing and how it relates to the world.

Jack Bertrand earned a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education from Western Michigan University, where he also studied choral conducting and voice. He is in his fifth year as the Director of Vocal Music at North High School. Under his direction, the North Star Choirs have earned superior and excellent ratings at choral and solo festivals, developed a vocal jazz ensemble, and have toured southern and coastal California. His students have been selected for the Central Region and All-State Honor Choirs and the Kern County Honor Vocal Jazz Ensemble.


A passionate traveler, Mr. Bertrand has been fortunate to conduct and perform across the United States, Mexico, France, and Australia. Since moving to Bakersfield, he has performed as a clarinetist, bassoonist, and baritone vocalist in various community and collegiate ensembles. He also serves the Kern County Music Educators Association as 1st Vice President.


Ryan  Clippinger is currently the Director of Choirs and the Fine Arts Department Chair at Arvin High School. He also serves as the Chair of the Kern High School District Professional Learning Team, is the Membership Chairperson for the California Music Educators Association, and sings bass for Bakersfield’s Meridian Voices. 


Ryan earned his B.A. in Music Education and his teaching credential at California State University, Fullerton , where he studied with Christopher Peterson, Robert Istad, James Martin-Shaefer, and Alvin Brightbill. During his time at Fullerton, Ryan performed with the prepared choruses for A.R. Rahman, John Williams, and Andrea Bocelli at the Hollywood Bowl and the Honda Center.  He also possesses a minor in Child and Adolescent Development, also from CSU Fullerton. As a teacher, he strongly believes that music has the ability to positively impact the development of  all students and their life journeys by instilling passion and a sense of drive.  Eventually, Ryan hopes to earn his Masters and Doctorate degrees and to mentor the next generation of future choral music educators.   



Jennifer M. Garrett is the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Bakersfield College and recently became the Performing Arts Department Chair. She conducts the Chamber Singers, College Choir, and Men’s Chorus, serves as Musical Director for the BC summer musicals, and oversees the Applied Vocal Music Program. Under her direction the BC Chamber Singers have performed in several international venues including the Sydney Opera House in July 2018 with Craig Hella Johnson and along the Italian Peninsula in 2015. By invitation the Chamber Singers performed at the 2018 California All-State Music Educators Conference (CASMEC) and are honored to be selected again for CASMEC in 2020. Before joining the faculty at Bakersfield College Dr. Garrett conducted the 95-voice Arizona State University Women’s Chorus along with the Arizona Deseret Chorale. Prior to ASU she worked with choirs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and taught high school choir in Heber City, Utah. 

Dr. Garrett is a popular clinician, adjudicator, presenter, motivational speaker, guest conductor, and devotes a great deal of time to working with the middle school and high school choirs in the Kern County area. Dr. Garrett also conducts the Bakersfield Deseret Chorale and for the past 20 years she has dedicated much of her time and energy to church choirs and her private voice and piano studio. Dr. Garrett’s honors include: Choral Educator of the Year, Collegiate Music Educator of the Year, a President’s Leadership Award, and the 2018 Bakersfield College McCall Outstanding Professor of the Year. She also serves on the National Collegiate Choral Association Review Committee and is the Northern California Choral Representative for the Music Association of California Community Colleges. Dr. Garrett is a native of Washington state and received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Brigham Young University, a masters in Choral Conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a doctorate in Choral Conducting from Arizona State University. She currently lives in Bakersfield with her husband and three delightful daughters.



Scott Dirkse holds a BA in music from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, an MM in piano pedagogy from the University of South Carolina, and a PhD in Musicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is recognized as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music by the Music Teachers National Association and was the recipient of the 2013 UCSB Excellence in Teaching Award. His has presented at the national conferences for the College Music Society, the Music Teachers National Association, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and Teaching Music History Conference. He has also published articles in Clavier Companion, American Music Teacher, the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy, and the Journal of Music History Pedagogy.   


Dr. Dirkse remains an active scholar, performer, and music educator in the Bakersfield area. In addition to teaching piano lessons, he currently serves as an adjunct instructor at Bakersfield College and is the Associate Director of Instrumental Music at Stockdale High School. He also serves on the Board of the Bakersfield Youth Orchestra and writes program notes and pre-concert lectures for the Bakersfield Symphony.



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