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Meet the Staff Monday: Dan Mayo

 

Today on Meet the Staff Monday, we introduce you to our Choir Manager Dan Mayo.Dan Mayo

Mr. Mayo joined the SLCC staff last summer and stays busy coordinating all of our Tours and making sure all weekly rehearsals run smoothly. He earned a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance with an emphasis in Arts Administration from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Illinois.  Mr. Mayo has been a bass section leader with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and the Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church choir. Read on to learn more…

  1. What brought you to SLCC? I have fond memories of my time in SLCC as a young person. My years in choir enabled me to meet life-long friends, build and hone great musical skills, and take advantage of unique high-level performing opportunities throughout my life. It is so satisfying to help provide this opportunity to others.
  2. What is your earliest musical memory OR How was music a part of your childhood? Some of my earliest memories were of my mother playing the piano non-stop at home. I would fall asleep to her practicing great keyboard music nearly every night! My own musical experiences began with taking piano lessons and then joining SLCC at the age of 9. I have been in a choir nearly every year since then!
  3. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite? This is too difficult to narrow down. I do enjoy reading biographies of opera singers from the past.
  4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again? So many great ones—perhaps Aladdin or The Mighty Ducks?
  5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music. I have played chess and several competitive card games since I was a kid. I enjoy traveling to tournaments when I am able to do so.

    One of Mr. Mayo's hobbies is playing chess.

    One of Mr. Mayo’s hobbies is playing chess.

  6. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate? I typically don’t eat much for breakfast, but I do tend to have coffee!

7. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band tour? I toured Russia with my choir in college and later traveled to Venezuela for a Latin American New Music Festival in Caracas where I co-presented a masterclass and was a guest soloist. I traveled with the St. Louis Symphony Chorus to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2013 and 2015.

Barbara Berner selected as 2017 Missouri Arts Award winner

Barbara Berner

Barbara Berner

Mrs. Barbara Berner, Artistic Director of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs, has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 Missouri Arts Award for Arts Education.

Since 1983, the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring our state’s arts heroes—the people who make the arts happen. The annual Missouri Arts Awards celebrate people, organizations, and communities that have made profound and lasting contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state.

Honorees are selected by an independent panel in six categories: Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy.

Mrs. Berner and fellow award winners from each of the other categories will be recognized during the 2017 Missouri Arts Awards presentation, which will take place in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City on February 8, 2017. The public is encouraged to attend.

Mrs. Berner directing the Holiday Concert Dress Rehearsal at Powell Hall.

Mrs. Berner directing the 2014 Holiday Concert Dress Rehearsal at Powell Hall.

ABOUT THE ST. LOUIS CHILDREN’S CHOIRS

The mission of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs is “shaping young lives through musical excellence.” With a focus on including all young people who love to sing regardless of where they live or attend school, the Choirs includes 460 talented young singers (ages 6 to 18) from more than 200 schools and 85 zip codes in Missouri and Illinois. These young artists bring their musical talents and love of classical, sacred, contemporary, and world music to the concert stage for everyone to enjoy. Program scholarships are provided on a needs-based sliding scale.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Berner, an outstanding music faculty trains young singers through a challenging and diverse curriculum with six ensemble levels that match the children’s musical abilities. The St. Louis Children’s Choirs offers young artists world-class performance opportunities and a choral music experience that emphasizes musical excellence and character education. To learn more about The St. Louis Children’s Choirs, please visit our website: www.slccsing.org.

ABOUT THE MISSOURI ARTS COUNCIL

The Missouri Arts Council is the state agency dedicated to broadening the growth, availability, and appreciation of the arts in Missouri and fostering the diversity, vitality, and excellence of Missouri’s communities, economy, and cultural heritage. This is accomplished by providing funds to support quality arts programming to communities both large and small throughout the state. Established as a state agency in 1965, the Missouri Arts Council is a division of the Department of Economic Development and is funded through the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri Cultural Trust, and National Endowment for the Arts.

To learn more about the Missouri Arts Council and arts opportunities across Missouri, go to www.missouriartscouncil.org.

Meet the Staff Monday – Mrs. McFarland

Welcome to a new year everybody! We are starting 2017 by introducing you to Mrs. Elizabeth Hogan McFarland.

Mrs. McFarland is the co-director of Choristers, teaching the Wednesday night 3B section. She brings a passion for helping people discover beauty in themselves and the world around them through the study of music to her work as a conductor, teacher, and clinician. Mrs. McFarland is currently a PhD candidate in Learning, Teaching and Curriculum with emphases on choral conducting and vocal pedagogy at the University of Missouri.  Her research interests include middle school/junior high singers, choral music for women’s voices and school community partnerships involving choral music. Read on to learn more about Mrs. McFarland… Mrs. McFarland

  1. What brought you to SLCC?

I was asked to sub for a rehearsal by my friend, Brandon Williams, who was the conductor of Chorale at the time.  Little did I know that Mrs. Berner was subbing for Mr. Frazier (the accompanist) that evening as well!  It was a memorable first rehearsal!

  1. How was music a part of your childhood?

Music was a part of my life from very early on.  My mom was an elementary music teacher while I was growing up – music was always in our house.  We sang, danced, and played musical games as a part of daily life!  I participated in the church bell and children’s choirs, and took piano lessons from Mrs. Pikaard’s mom!

  1. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?

I loved reading growing up.  Two of my favorite series were “The Babysitters Club” and Nancy Drew mysteries.  I loved reading stories of brave and resourceful girls who weren’t afraid of adventure.

  1. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?
beauty-and-the-beast

Beauty and the Beast is one of Mrs. McFarland’s favorite movies.

My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast!  At one point in my life, I knew every word.

  1. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.

I love to travel with family and friends.  I’m writing this from O’ahu, Hawaii!  Traveling, especially by myself, makes me notice the world and understand my place in it in new ways.

  1. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?

My favorite breakfast is a piece of whole grain peasant bread from Breadsmith, toasted, topped with something like peanut butter and banana, or butter and homemade jam along with a fresh cup of coffee with cream.  I don’t get to eat this every day – more often I eat bites of fruit, egg, etc. that my daughter Ellie doesn’t finish, or a quick bowl of cheerios and a banana.

  1. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band tour?

My most memorable trips I took as a performer in a group were to Austria/Hungary and Disney World.  I’ve taken my students to many places, including 7 trips to Disney, New York, New Orleans, and Chicago/Wisconsin.  This year, I have traveled to North Carolina, Colorado, Hawaii, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Florida.

  1. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?

I’m a music teacher at Parkway North High School, part-time.  I work part time for my church, The Gathering, as the connections coordinator for the Clayton site.  And, I will finally finish my PhD in music education in May of this year!  I’m also wife to Kyle and mom to Ellie, which is more fun than work!

Meet the Staff Monday – Harry

Today on Meet the Staff Monday, we have a special surprise for you! Our new intern, Harry the Hippopotamus, would love to meet you next time you stop by the Choir Office. Harry leads an active lifestyle, and even has a famous sister! Read on to learn more…

Harry posing with his favorite singers, the Music Makers!

Harry posing with his favorite singers, the Music Makers!

1. What brought you to SLCC?

My friend Mrs. Belinda Burnworth told me about her Music Makers singers, and I just had to come and meet them.  I loved visiting their rehearsal last year!

2. What is your earliest musical memory OR How was music a part of your childhood?

I remember hearing the birds sing as my mother and I went for our morning swim.

3. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?

The Princess and the Pea story is wonderful. I feel like I can really relate to the princess, it’s so hard to get comfortable when you’re trying to fall asleep.

4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?

Fantasia. My sister Sharlene was an extra in the dance scene.

hippopotamus-fantasia

Harry’s sister Sharlene danced in Disney’s Fanstasia

5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.

I love to play tennis. My racket has a special handle so that I don’t drop it.

6. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?

A vegan smoothie with lots of lemongrass. Mmm delicious!

7. Where have you travelled? Was it with a choir or band tour?

I was born near Lake Victoria in Kenya, and then came to the U.S. with my friend, noted mezzo-soprano, Kathy Lawton Brown. I’ve been to almost all 50 states, I just need to visit North Dakota and Connecticut and then I’ve seen them all!

8. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?

I teach water aerobics at the mid-county YMCA. It is great fun!

Meet the Staff Monday – Miss Alicia

Today on Meet the Staff Monday we introduce you to Alicia Harrison, ensemble assistant for Chorale 2UC. 

  1. What brought you to SLCC?

I heard about SLCC through a friend who came to the Music Teacher Workshop. When I moved to St. Louis for my husband to start seminary, I was excited to see openings for ensemble assistants. My undergraduate degree is in music education, and I used to be an elementary music teacher. I love having a way to keep music a part of my life!

  1. What is your earliest musical memory OR How was music a part of your childhood?

I remember learning a lot of concepts through song! My mom taught me to sing my phone number and address in case I got lost and needed help, and I continued to memorize facts through melodies even through college! I also loved playing rhythms around the house. I would turn anything I could into a drum. I turned out to be a vocalist and percussionist myself!

  1. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?

One of my favorite picture books to share with

Toy Story is one of Miss Alicia's favorite movies

Toy Story is one of Miss Alicia’s favorite movies

kids is Jazz on a Saturday Night by Leo and Diane Dillon. It brings jazz music to life through the vibrant pictures and roles of famous musicians all coming together to put on a concert in the story.

  1. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?

I love Toy Story!

  1. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music. 

I love running and also writing.

  1. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate? 

I love eating cereal at any time of day!! If it is actually breakfast time, though…my favorite is an omelet and chocolate milk or coffee to drink.

  1. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band tour?

I’ve been to Senegal West Africa, Brazil, Okinawa Japan, Austria, Italy, France, and Mexico. Most were for mission trips, but my European tour was special to me because I won it through a writing contest! I entered my senior year of college when an education organization I was a member of partnered with EF Tours to fund a trip anywhere in the world. Future teachers were asked to write about where in the world they would travel and how they would use the experience to impact future students. I talked about the rich music history of Europe and being able to bring that to life for my students through experience. I couldn’t believe it when I was told I was one of twenty college students in the nation selected for a trip! They created an itinerary specifically based on music history and the places I wrote about. I enjoyed SO much, visiting many places, but especially Vienna and Salzburg, where I saw pieces of Mozart’s life, firsthand! I would love to go back one day and see even more!

  1. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?

I am currently a teacher at Lincoln Elementary in the City of St. Charles School District. I teach K-4 English as a Second Language, working with students who speak or have another language spoken in their home. This is my ninth year of teaching, and I taught elementary music my first five years before switching to ESL.

Meet the Staff Monday – Mrs. Cairns

Today on Meet the Staff Monday you’ll get to meet Mrs. Whitney Cairns, Director of the Chorale 2A ensemble. Mrs. Cairns

Mrs. Cairns joined the Choirs’ artistic staff in the fall of 2011 as co-director of the Chorale ensemble. She is a Lecturer of Ear Training and Aural Skills at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and has taught private piano and voice lessons. She has a Bachelor of Science in K-12 Music Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester where she served as conductor for the Repertory Singers and the Women’s Chorus. She has studied conducting under Susan Conkling, Lynn Drafall, Joseph Flummerfelt, Lee Kesselman, Lone Larsen, Mandy Miller, Doreen Rao, Sandra Snow, and William Weinert. Mrs. Cairns has directed and accompanied middle and high school choirs, and church choirs in Pennsylvania, New York, and Missouri. She has accompanied choirs in the Kirkwood, Parkway, and Rockwood School Districts, and currently accompanies the Concert Choir ensemble of Kirkwood Children’s Chorale. Mrs. Cairns also served as guest conductor for the Kirkwood Children’s Chorale during their 2013-2014 season. She received her Level III Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education in 2014.

 

  1. What brought you to SLCC?

When I moved to St. Louis with my husband’s new job, I sought out the St. Louis Children’s Choirs because I thought I might be able to volunteer and work with the singers and staff.

  1. What is your earliest musical memory OR How was music a part of your childhood?

My earliest musical memories are 1) my mom singing “Tomorrow”, from the motion picture Annie, at our piano at home, and me learning to sing it with her, and 2) my dad singing me to sleep at night (he’s tone-deaf but LOVES music!) with the rock-n-roll song “Sh-Boom”. Those are two very good examples of the first types of music I ever heard!

  1. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

  1. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?

Enchanted. It’s got the best of all the fairytale worlds! And I love the wittiness of the songs!

  1. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music. 

I’ve always loved counted cross-stitch and have made lots of pieces throughout my life.

A counted cross-stitch project that Mrs. Cairns made for a friend.

A counted cross-stitch project that Mrs. Cairns made for a friend.

  1. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate? 

A bowl of oatmeal with a little brown sugar and a big, tall glass of orange juice. Orange juice is like coffee for me in the mornings. It’s a MUST-HAVE!

  1. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band tour?

I’ve been lucky enough to travel nationally and internationally, both with choirs and with my family. I sang in Germany, Austria, and Italy with my college Concert Choir, which was sublime. I toured, Scotland, England, and France with my mom and sister. And most recently, I traveled to Budapest for an International Music Conference with my husband.

  1. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?

I teach college freshmen and sophomore music majors Ear-training (it’s like music reading for big kids!) at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, accompany for the Kirkwood Children’s Chorale’s Concert Choir, and am a mommy to five-year-old Evangeline and 16-month-old Samuel. Life is busy but often fun!!

Meet the Staff Monday – Christina Cacciatore

Today we introduce you to our Administrative Assistant, Christina Cacciatore. Christina joined the SLCC staff one year ago, and if you’ve called the Choir Office in that time you have probably talked to her on the phone! Read on to learn more about Miss Christina…

christina

  1. What brought you to SLCC?

After interning for a summer in the development office of the Kansas City Symphony, I was very active in my search for a job in a non-profit arts organization. I sang in children’s choirs for 7 years in Des Moines growing up, so when I saw the opening for SLCC, I knew it would be a good fit. I’m so glad to have found such an outstanding organization to work for!

  1. What is your earliest musical memory?

Both of my parents are lifelong musicians. My dad was a high school choir director for the majority of my life. One week, his concert fell on my birthday and he took a moment from the podium to have the entire audience sing Happy Birthday to me. I must have been about five at the time, but it has always stuck with me.

  1. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?

I am very much a member of the Harry Potter generation. I grew up alongside Harry and finished high school shortly after the last movie was released. I love reading fan theories and finding out more about each book whenever I can.

  1. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?

Lion King. Hands down one of the best Disney movies ever made, in my opinion. Great music, strong emotions, and beautiful animation.

  1. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.

I have been swing dancing for over five years now. I began in college and have never looked back. There’s something very freeing and fun about reaching back to an era when partner dancing was an art form that involved so much physicality and finesse. It’s very different from the dancing that we see today. Further, the music from that time period is so fun!

Christina is a competitive swing dancer and teaches lessons around town.

Christina is a competitive swing dancer and teaches lessons around town.

  1. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?

Always at least one egg. Usually an egg or two with a bowl of cereal or half a grapefruit.

  1. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band tour?

I’m not a very well-traveled person at this point in my life. When I was a member of the Heartland Youth Chorus in Des Moines, we took part in the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans. We were there just months before hurricane Katrina, so the city was in its full glory. We rode a riverboat, visited the warehouses that stored floats from Mardi Gras, and ate beignets in the French Quarter. It was an amazing experience and I hope to go back sometime soon!

Meet the Staff Monday – Miss Olivia

Today, we introduce you to Ensemble Assistant (and SLCC Alum!) Olivia Leek.

photo-aug-17-4-31-49-pm

1. What brought you to SLCC?
I joined SLCC a little over 7 years ago as a student. My aunt knew of the Choirs and told my parents about them. At first, I was hesitant about joining, but my parents encouraged me to do it and I have not regretted that decision!

2. What is your earliest musical memory?
One of my earliest musical memories took place when I was about 5 years old. I sang a solo for a Mother/Daughter Tea Party at the church my family and I attended when we lived in Wisconsin. It was going pretty well until I mixed up the words toward the end of the song, hesitating momentarily. Fortunately, I remembered the rest of the words and finished the song like a real performer! The audience loved it!

3. Is there a book or story that is your favorite?
One of my favorite book series is the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

narnia-books

The Chronicles of Narnia are some of Olivia’s favorite books.

4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?
One of my favorites is the Disney, live action Cinderella; I love her ball dress!

5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.
Something that I enjoy doing with my family is watching old movies from the late 1930s to the early 1960s.

6. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band?
I have been to Arizona, South Dakota, Louisiana, Florida, and lived in Wisconsin. I also went to New York City with SLCC in the summer of 2013.

7. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?
I am a full-time college freshman at Missouri Baptist University, majoring in Music Performance. I also work part time at Club Fitness as a front desk receptionist.

Meet the Staff Monday – Maria Ellis

Maria

Welcome to SLCC Maria!

Today on Meet the Staff Monday, we introduce you to our newest SLCC staff member, Community Outreach Coordinator Maria Ellis! Maria is currently a student at UMSL where she serves as the collegiate assistant choral director for the University Singers. She is also an Arts and Administration Fellow with the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON choral program, and is an E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Collaborative Intern. Maria loves a cappella music and sings in a talented quartet named “The Vaughans.”

1. What brought you to SLCC?
The level of EXCELLENCE displayed by SLCC is top notch! I wanted to be a part!

2. How was music a part of your childhood?
My father and his siblings had a gospel group called The Chapman Singers- I loved to watch them sing and rehearse. I would imitate their singing.

3. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?
My favorite book is Harry Potter (I am a POTTERHEAD)

4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?
Beauty and the Beast

5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.
Outside of music I can be found with my husband and children on some type of adventure.

6. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?
Grits with sugar, bacon (extra crispy), 2 waffles with butter and syrup

Maria's favorite books are the Harry Potter series

Maria’s favorite books are the Harry Potter series

7. Where have you traveled?
For my 30th Birthday my husband and I traveled to London, England and Paris, France.

8. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?
I am a student at the University of Missouri- St. Louis.

Meet the Staff Monday – Miss Jennifer

Today on Meet the Staff Monday, we introduce you to Ensemble Assistant Jennifer Franzen.

photo-aug-17-4-24-00-pm

1. What brought you to SLCC?
A love for teaching children and some encouragement from my college professors. They knew I would love working with SLCC. (And they were right!)

 
2. What is your earliest musical memory?
When I was 2 years old my big sister went off to Kindergarten. As my mom and I sat on the curb watching the bus pull away I made up a song about her going to school. “Where is Becca? Where is Becca? Schoo, schoo, schoo…. Schoo, schoo, schoo…”

3. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?
Not one in particular…but I love to read!

4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?
Tangled. The scene with Rapunzel, Flynn, and the floating lanterns is just dreamy!

The lantern scene from Disney's Tangled

The lantern scene from Disney’s Tangled

 
5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.
I love painting canvases to give to my friends.

 
6. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?
Fried eggs over easy and a blueberry muffin! Orange juice for some Vitamin C and a coffee to-go.

 
7. Where have you travelled?
The coolest places I have been are Hawaii and Colorado. I am mesmerized by beautiful scenery.

8. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?
I am student teaching and will graduate from Lindenwood University in December 2016. After that I will be pursuing an elementary music position.