Meet the Staff Monday – Miss Jennifer

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


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.

Meet the Staff Monday – Mrs. Schneller

Today on Meet the Staff Monday, we introduce you to Mrs. Kathy Schneller, one of the Accompanists for Music Makers. Mrs. Schneller earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Liturgical Music/Pipe Organ from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Religion from Webster University. She joined The St. Louis Children’s Choirs artistic staff in 1998, and continues studying piano with Donna Vince, an adjunct faculty member of Webster University. Mrs. Schneller accompanies Oakville High School Band students at Solo- Ensemble Festivals. She has accompanied elementary choirs in the Mehlville and Parkway School Districts, and at St. Paul UCC and Concord Trinity UMC.


  1. What brought you to SLCC?
    Donna Vince, Adjunct Professor at Webster University, suggested that I apply for an accompanist position.
  2. What is your earliest musical memory?
    My earliest musical memory is my mother playing piano.  I wanted to learn to play piano because of her example.
  3. Is there a book or story that is your favorite?
    I love to read. I was an English Major in college.  One of my favorite books is The Little Prince that I read for the first time in high school.  It is such a delightful story about what is truly important in life – love, friendship and remaining child-like.  I do have a special place in my heart for young children!


  4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?
    My favorite Disney film is Cinderella.
  5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.
    I like making scrapbooks.
  6. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?
    For breakfast I like fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and blueberry pancakes.
  7. Where have you traveled?
    My husband and I have traveled to Alaska, British Columbia, Panama, and throughout the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, and the Southeast.  We enjoy staying at B&B’s where we have met many interesting fellow travelers.
  8. What is your occupation outside of the Choirs?
    Outside of SLCC, I am “retired” but I am active volunteering at church, and accompanying Solo-Ensemble OHS band students.  Keeping up with my four darling grandchildren, and many other family members who all live out of state, is also a delightful “occupation”!

Meet the Staff Monday – Miss Heather

Today on Meet the Staff Monday, we introduce you to Ensemble Assistant Heather Hamilton. photo-aug-17-4-33-32-pm

1. What brought you to SLCC?
I was recommended by a fellow student for the Ensemble Assistant position. SLCC’s former Choir Manager, Heather McKenzie Patterson, is also my voice instructor.

2. What is your earliest musical memory?
I remember singing my first solo on Mother’s Day at church when I was three years old. I still remember some of the words!

3. Is there a book or story that influenced your life or is your favorite?
As a freshman in high school, we had to read “Tuesdays with Morrie” and that book completely changed my perspective and made me value my friends and family even more.

4. Which animated/Disney movie can you watch over and over again?
Pocahontas! It’s my favorite.

5. Tell us about one of your hobbies outside of music.
I like to spend time with my family and cuddle up with my cat Paisley!

Paisley says "hello!"

Paisley says “hello!”

6. It’s time for breakfast… what is on your plate?
Usually a bagel or fruit, I eat on the go!

7. Where have you traveled? Was it with a choir or band tour?
I have been on band and choir tours to Chicago and Orlando. This spring, however, my choir is singing in Carnegie Hall!

8. What is your current occupation outside of the Choirs?
I am currently a Junior at Webster University where I am studying Choral Music Education

Meet the Staff Monday – Mrs. Burnworth

Welcome to the first post in our Meet the Staff Monday series! Today you’ll meet Mrs. Belinda Burnworth, director of the Music Makers ensemble.


Mrs. Burnworth holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree with honors from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and a law degree from Saint Louis University. After working as an attorney, Mrs. Burnworth found she missed teaching and returned to the field of music education. She teaches vocal music and guitar at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School in Belleville, Illinois. Mrs. Burnworth taught music reading for Choristers and Concert Choir for ten years and served on the Choirs’ Board of Directors from 2000 to 2008. In 2014, she completed Level III Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education.

1. What brought you to SLCC?

Our new next door neighbor from Indianapolis had a son who was in the Indianapolis Children’s Choirs with Henry Leck and was referred to The St. Louis Children’s Choirs when they moved to Belleville. His little sister was in my daughter Sara’s class at school and she invited Sara to bring a friend night. She went and loved it. Sara auditioned and then sang in the choirs for ten years (a total of seven with Mrs. Berner) and somehow I was recruited to teach Music Reading. I was hooked (as was my daughter, obviously) and I have been here ever since!

2. What is your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memory is listening to my parents play duets on the piano when I was laying in bed going to sleep as a young child.

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

I love to read but no particular book has influenced my life.

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

I have three daughters and have enjoyed many a Disney movie. I do not have a favorite, but have watched Cinderella LOTS of times because we had it when my girls were very small (they are all two years apart) and it was a favorite.

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

Mrs. Burnworth sewed a wardrobe for the Music Makers mascot, Scott Angus. Here he is pictured wearing his custom bear sized Sing t-shirt.

Mrs. Burnworth sewed a wardrobe for the Music Makers mascot, Scott Angus. Here he is pictured wearing his custom bear sized Sing t-shirt.

I like to run and I like to sew.

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

This question gets me in trouble. The answer is coffee and that is all. I have never liked breakfast and even as a child I did not eat it.

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

I have travelled to many wonderful places but I will admit that many of my favorite trips were either as a tag-along or as a chaperone for my daughter’s choir trips. I have gone with SLCC to Oregon, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Little Rock, Champaign (Illinois), New York, Vienna, Salzburg and Prague. It was a pleasure to travel with such delightful young artists and I especially enjoyed listening to the singing and watching how many lives were touched by their music.

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

I teach music at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School to Pre-K through 8th grade students.

Oregon Tour 2016 – Day 8 – Seaside and Cannon Beach

Dear Parents and Friends,

After a long travel day yesterday the students were very happy to sleep in until 8:00 am this morning!

After breakfast we visited Cannon Beach and saw the famous Haystack Rock. Although it was chilly the students had a great time dipping their toes in the cold ocean waves and walking the beach!

After lunch in the little town of Cannon Beach we took the bus back to explore the town of Seaside where our hotel was located. Students were able to do some souvenir shopping and play ultimate frisbee on the beach. Although overcast, it was relaxing to walk and play on the beach.  We saw a man who had crafted an amazing sandcastle!

We had a delicious final banquet at “Bigfoot Restaurant” where we expressed our gratitude to our wonderful chaperones, Mr. Parrish, and Mrs. Patterson for their care and dedication in making this such a fabulous tour. We also honored and said farewell to Jordan and Tessa who are moving away and will not be returning to choir in the fall. We will miss them and wish them all the best!

After the banquet Mrs. Patterson had planned a special surprise –  a bonfire on the beach to roast marshmallow and have s’mores. We loved singing around the campfire and treasured our final evening together.


The students are now tucked in bed. We get up at 4:30 am to leave for the airport at 5:00 am to get to Portland for our flight.

A final note you’ll appreciate hearing is this, throughout the tour people have complimented our students on their politeness and good behavior. The hotel staff said they wished every group would be as considerate and gracious as our students. The emphasis you place on character education in your families and that we work so diligently to reinforce in choir is noticed by others.

Our thanks to all of our parents for their support of this grand adventure. It’s a joy to travel with your students!!


Mrs. Berner

Oregon Tour 2016 – On the Oregon Coast

IMG_4333Monday morning we said goodbye to our friends from the other choirs and headed for the coast! The road took us through beautiful forests and mountains. Our first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean was breath taking! Our bus driver stopped at the beach so the students could wade in the Pacific. The seaside views have been stunning! For an extra treat, we managed to stop by a seaside aquarium just before lunch. The sea lions, otters, leopard sharks, eels, and jellyfish were amazing.

Later in the day we saw a historic lighthIMG_4467ouse and continued up the coast. We had a fun stop at the Tillimook Cheese Factory for dinner and delicious ice cream.

We look forward to time on the beach today and sightseeing in Seaside and Cannon Beach. We are having a fantastic time!!

We are enjoying the 60 degree weather and don’t mind wearing sweatshirts! The chaperones are terrific. The students are relaxed and happy – and we’ve heard lots of singing on the bus!

We hope you are enjoying all the pictures!

Mrs. Berner, Mr. Parrish, and Mrs. Patterson

Oregon Tour 2016 – Weekend Update!

20160626_210338Dear All,

We’ve had a busy and very happy weekend!

Saturday:  We had our final two rehearsals and sang for the first time with a famous jazz quartet called the “Yellowjackets.” The “Yellowjackets” include a pianist, saxophone player, drummer, and guitarist. Three of the members have been together for 36 years!

The jazz quartet accompanied the choir on a new composition by Bob Chilcott that was premiered here at that festival. The students had an absolutely wonderful time working with the quartet and gained a new appreciation for jazz.

On Saturday we also had some recreation time to visit the farmers market. Some of the students went for a swim and played water volleyball at the pool. One of the hits at the farmers market was a place called “Voodo Donuts” that is famous in Oregon. They have an incredible variety of donuts – most of which have icing – and the students had fun trying them.

Sunday: The choir went to share their music at a church service for the Presbyterian Church here in Eugene. We sang Jordan’s Angels, For the Beauty of the Earth, African Benediction, and I Will Sing. The congregation really enjoyed hearing the choir and afterwards the organist let a number of the students try the beautiful organ.

In the afternoon after lunch the students had time to pack and rest before the final rehearsal and concert this evening. The weather was gorgeous!

Barbara and Heather were on the special team to help with the logistics for the concert. Lining up to 296 children is quite an adventure and we had eight steps of risers and two rows on the floor for a total of 10 rows of students. In the end it all turned out beautifully!

Bob Chilcott was absolutely delighted with concert this evening! The students did an awesome job! The tenors and bases sang three numbers by themselves and the women sang two compositions by themselves. After a set played by the Yellowjackets, the students came back and closed the concert with the premiere of the new work by Bob Chilcott which was accompanied by the Yellowjackets.

The entire concert was recorded and later on in the summer the recording will be put on the PICFEST website for you to hear. We were all very proud of the students and the caliber of the work done at the festival was very high. All the choirs were very well prepared and Mr. Chilcott said this was the best Picfest festival choir he has ever connected and he’s been doing it quite a few years.

After a fun pizza party we all came back to the dorm to finish packing and get to bed. We left very early this morning for the Oregon coast!

With all good wishes,

Barbara Berner, Brian Parrish, Heather Patterson, and the SLCC team of chaperones

Oregon Tour 2016 – Day 4 – Friday

Dear All,

Day 4 (Friday) started bright and early this morning with a 7 o’clock breakfast! After breakfast we had another rehearsal with Bob Chilcott to prepare for this coming Sunday’s festival concert.

A special guest showed up at rehearsal this morning – it was “Puddles” the Oregon University duck! He actually conducted one piece on the rehearsal. You may have seen the video posted on Facebook. The university is doing a great job of recruiting with all these young singers here this week.

This afternoon we rehearsed our students in preparation for this evening’s “Sharing Our Songs” concert. Choirs from Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota, and California performed. Our St. Louis singers closed the concert.

It’s hard to think of an adjective that describes tonight’s performance! Every singer poured their heart into each piece and it was really exciting to see how they instantly connected with one another and with the audience. When we finished all the other choirs and audience members were standing and cheering! “I Will Sing” brought down the house!

Actually, all of the choirs brought everyone to their feet, each in a unique and wonderful way. The standard of the performances was very high, so the students have really learned a lot from hearing one another sing.

What was significant to me was that once again the other conductors said they were moved to tears by how joyfully our students sang. Brian and I are very proud of them!!

So I’ll sign off for tonight. I’m going to sleep with a grateful heart for everyone of the young people on this tour – and for our terrific chaperones, Heather Patterson and Brian Parrish. It’s a fantastic tour team!

Barbara Berner

Oregon Tour 2016 – Day 3 – Thursday


Rehearsal outside














Last night was the first of two “Sharing your Songs” concerts where we heard five choirs perform. The five west coast choirs from California and Washington gave wonderful varied programs. The mid-west and east coast choirs will perform on Friday evening giving our students a little more time to catch up from the change in time zones. We are also getting lots of great exercise walking on campus. Yesterday one of the chaperones clocked that we walked 7 miles.  Everyone was really ready for bed last night and had a great sleep.

This morning we were up early and left for breakfast at 7 AM to avoid the lines at the cafeteria. The food is excellent! We had a choice this morning of French toast,  scrambled eggs, hash browns and sausage. Plus, there is a yogurt bar and fresh fruit at every meal.

Students had a little time to relax after breakfast and then we had rehearsal from 9:30 until 11:30. Tonight the festival choir will sing at the Hult Performing Arts Center for the beginning of the Oregon Bach Festival. This afternoon we  have time for a rehearsal with our ensemble to prepare for tomorrow night’s performance.  Then will have a rest time (great artists take naps!) and another rehearsal this afternoon.

Thank you all for your support! We’re having a wonderful time with your young people. They are a joy to travel with!

Kind regards,

Mrs. Berner and Mrs. Patterson

Oregon Tour 2016 – Day 2 at the Festival

PICFEST Rehearsal

Rehearsal with Bob Chilcott at PICFEST

PICFEST Excitement



Everyone woke up bright and early this morning after a great night’s rest.  Boys and girls are on separate floors in the dorm with central bathrooms and shower rooms on each floor.  It’s a good introduction to college life!

All 10 visiting choirs are in one dorm complex with four wings arranged in a square around a quad with grass for games and socializing.  Participating PICFEST choirs are from all over the country.  There are a total of 296 singers from Maryland, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, California, Chicago, IL, and Oregon.  More later!