Current Directors’ Bios

Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by Curt Cassingham

Dr Roger Nickerson, PhD, EdD, Music Director

Dr. Roger Nickerson has returned from sabbatical, summer 2021.

Roger’s first musical training began with piano lessons in the third grade.  In the sixth grade, he became the Sunday School Assembly accompanist, continuing through his senior year in high school.  At age 16, he became the Chancel Choir Director, and continued until he left for college.  With the church service accompanist’s assistance, he continued as Sunday School accompanist and then directed the Senior Chancel Choir during worship services.

In junior high, he joined the school band program as a tuba player, and continued through high school, college, and advanced university programs.  He continued his love for choral music while in college by directing several church choirs in Ashland, Oregon.  On his retirement in 1998 from public education, he had taught for 32 years, and directed church choirs for over 36 years.

Through the years with the band, piano, and choral music, he became a skilled orchestra director.

His music education’s broad scope began at Southern Oregon College (Ashland, Oregon), Lewis and Clark College (Portland), and San Diego (California) State University.  While teaching 14 summer semesters in Reading, United Kingdom, and teaching at The Coombes Primary School, he earned his Ph.D. in Music Education and Administration from Reading University.

Curt Cassingham, Assistant Music Director

Curt Cassingham’s mother is a talented classical pianist, so he was listening to music even before he was born.  By third grade, he was playing his grandfather’s flute in his school’s orchestra.  Once his parents were confident he’d continue, they got him his own instrument.  His first exposure to band music was in his early teens, in the award-winning Burbank (California) Police Boys’ Band, playing in concerts and marching in many parades, including the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.  He also grew up singing in church choirs.  As a young adult, Curt produced and directed his church’s long-running Living Christmas Tree program, whose choir comprised of high school-aged boys and girls.

After moving to the Portland area, Curt and a business partner opened and ran a recording studio, providing its services to local musicians and bands.  Curt honed his listening and performing skills during the studio’s many recording sessions.  Besides flute and piccolo, he plays guitar and bass guitar.

Curt and his flute and piccolo joined ECCO in its 2016-2017 season.  He began serving as Assistant Music Director for the 2021-2022 season.  He also plays flute and piccolo with the Portland Metro Concert Band, and is Assistant Music Director there, as well.