Bryan Helsel earned a Ph.D. in music education with emphases on choral pedagogy and curriculum/instruction from Kent State University. His Masters degree is in piano performance from Duquesne university, and he received bachelor degrees in music education (vocal) and in piano performance from Westminster College. He is the director of choirs and music technology at Butler Area Senior High School, teaching recording and songwriting in addition to running the choral program. His choirs have appeared at the PMEA State Conference twice, and they are regularly assessed at the superior and excellent levels. They travel every other year, and on the non-traveling years, they perform a large choral masterwork. Past masterworks have included Mozart’s Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rutter’s Gloria, the Mass of Hope by (and performed with) Joe Negri, the Holocaust Cantata, performed with a Holocaust Survivor, and Steve Dobrogosz’s Mass. The most recent masterwork they performed was Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols. Helsel's recording and songwriting classes are active in creating inventive music in various forms of media in these project-driven, student-centered courses.
Active in the arts in Western Pennsylvania, Dr. Helsel plays piano in the Butler Symphony, organ and keyboards at various churches, trumpet in the Butler Brass Quintet and Musician's Concert Band, and can be found playing recitals locally or playing jazz and rock music at Pittsburgh area venues and private functions. He is listed in “Who’s Who among America’s Educators” as well as “Who’s Who in America.” His professional affiliations include PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association), NAfME (National Association of Music Educators), TI:ME (Technology Institute of Music Education) and ACDA (American Choral Directors’ Association).
Dr. Helsel has composed several choral works and has released albums of his own contemporary music. He has appeared on public radio as a pianist. He has been the conductor for the community choir of Butler County, and he is in demand as accompanist and guest conductor at county and District festivals, most recently in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. In the fall of 2019, he served as guest conductor for the Armstrong County Honors Choir. He has presented research and rehearsal strategies at state conferences in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has appeared as guest artist in concertos with Regional Symphonies and bands playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, I Got Rhythm Variations and Saint-Seans’ Carnival of the Animals. As a pianist and singer, Helsel has shared the stage with the likes of Shirley Jones, Garrison Keillor, Rosemary Clooney, and Maya Angelou. Aside from performing and conducting, he owns and operates Helsel Music, a full production recording studio. Dr. Helsel resides near Saxonburg, Pennsylvania with his wife Heather, also a music educator, son Colin, and daughter, Elyse.