Anthony T. Leach, professor of music/music education is director and founder of Essence of Joy. He served as conductor of the Penn State University Choir from 1994 – 2015 and taught under-graduate and graduate courses in choral music education. Currently Dr. Leach teaches a graduate music education seminar and coordinates the African American Music Festival at Penn State. Leach holds the Ph.D in music education and the M. M. in conducting from Penn State, and a B.S. in music education from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA. During the 2009 – 2010 academic year, Leach served as Penn State University Laureate.

Leach taught music in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York City for fourteen years. His choirs have performed at festivals throughout the United States and Canada as well as tours of England, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, St. Thomas/U.S. Virgin Islands and South Africa. He has appeared as guest conductor for choral festivals and workshops in Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, New York, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, Nebraska and Massachusetts. He has also served as guest conductor for festivals in France, Japan, Venezuela and the Czech Republic. In 2004, Leach was co-conductor of the World Youth Choir sponsored by the International Federation of Choral Musicians (IFCM) in South Korea and Japan.

In addition to his responsibilities at Penn State, Leach serves as conductor of the Essence of Joy Alumni Singers and Essence 2 Ltd. He is also artist in residence at New Bethel Baptist Church, Washington, DC. Dr. Leach is the immediate past chair for the Music in Worship committee of the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association.