Michelle Willis is a composer of religious-themed music, often clearly Latter-day Saint related in content. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has had some of her work published in the Ensign magazine. Much of her work has been in arranging the works of previous composers. Among her more widely cited arrangements is I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. She has also written orginal compositions such as Three Songs, The American Scout, and The Tender Mercies of the Lord, which was inspired by David A. Bednar's talk of the same title.
She created commissioned works for the Idaho Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, the Chorister’s Guild of Boise, Fifth Wheel, and Borah High School. Her works have been performed by ensembles such as the Ricks College Concert Chorale, Meridian High School Chamber Singers, Idaho Falls High School A Cappella Choir, and Boise State University Meistersingers.
Willis also works as a private teacher of children in the arts of composition. She also teaches voice, violin, and piano, and as an on-call teacher in her local school district. She has served as an adjudicator for music ensembles in the Utah Valley and as an instructor in the Suzuki School of Music at Albertson College of Idaho. She has given several guest lectures on her experiences with composing. She also served for a time on the Herriman Arts Council.
Willis is also the composer of over twenty children's operas and two full-length musicals. "Princess and the Pizza" was her first musical that was based on the children's book by Mary Jane Auch, was staged with 92 children from her community. The second, "Once Upon a Thyme," premiered in 2007 and was performed by students at Fort Herriman Middle School and put on by the Herriman City Arts Council.
Willis was born on November 16, 1974, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As a youth she sang in community and public school choirs, participated in school and community musical productions, and studied piano, violin, and voice. She later studied the harp, harpsichord, and various medieval instruments. She is a graduate of Ricks College (now Brigham Young University - Idaho) and Boise State University where she studied music education. She currently lives in Herriman, Utah, with her husband, Spencer, and daughter, Melody.
- Michelle Willis biography
- http://www.tetonmusic.com/about.html website of Teton Music, Willis' distributor]
- nowplayingutah.com bio
- Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 2008 article about Herriman Arts Council
- [http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=6140444&itype=NGPSID Salt Lake Tribune, June 14, 2007 article about "Once Upon a Thyme"