Barbara Berner, Artistic Director
Barbara Berner conducts SLCC’s advanced touring ensemble, Concert Choir, and oversees all aspects of the Children’s Choirs as Artistic Director. Under Mrs. Berner’s direction Concert Choir has performed at the Oregon Bach Festival, the national American Choral Directors Association convention in Los Angeles, the national American Orff-Schulwerk Association Conference, the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference, at Carnegie Hall, and at the White House. In June 2013, Barbara Berner had the honor of conducting the National Children’s Festival Chorus at Lincoln Center in New York City and Concert Choir appeared as a featured ensemble on the program.
Mrs. Berner has prepared Concert Choir for over ninety performances with the St. Louis Symphony under numerous conductors including David Robertson, Ludwig Wicki, Peter Oundjian, Carlos Izcaray, Hans Vonk, Eri Klas, David Amado, David Zinman, and Ward Stare. Mrs. Berner has conducted the young singers in performances with the Ambassadors of Harmony, the Bach Society of St. Louis, and The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, and on international tours to Australia, England and Wales, Austria and the Czech Republic, Germany, Scotland, and Scandinavia.
In June 2013, Barbara Berner had the honor of conducting the National Children’s Festival at Lincoln Center in New York City. Members of Concert Choir performed as an ensemble at the festival concert and then were joined by Choristers and young singers from Georgia and Minnesota under Mrs. Berner’s direction. In 2010, Concert Choir appeared at Carnegie Hall and performed as one of two featured choirs in the Ensemble Debut Series of the National Children’s Festival Chorus.
The ensemble and selected young singers perform regularly with the St. Louis Symphony and in recent seasons performed John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, Orff’s Carmina burana, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, Shore’s The Lord of the Rings, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and “The Matrix.”
Barbara Berner joined the artistic staff of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs in 1996 and was appointed Artistic Director in 1999. She serves as a clinician for Kodály workshops and has conducted state honor choirs in Kentucky and New Mexico. As an accompanist, music teacher, and choral conductor, Mrs. Berner has had the opportunity to work with young singers from kindergarten through high school in the inner-city schools of Detroit and Boston; on military bases in Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Germany and West Point, New York; and in the culturally diverse schools of the Washington D.C. area.
In 2017, Mrs. Berner received the Missouri Arts Award for excellence in Arts Education, the state’s highest arts honor awarded annually by the State of Missouri and the Missouri Arts Council.
She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Principia College and a Master of Music degree from Ithaca College. Barbara Berner was awarded an Artist/Teacher and Master Teacher Diploma from the Institute for Choral Teacher Education, where she studied conducting with Dr. Doreen Rao, and holds an Advanced Certificate from the Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Kecskémet, Hungary.
Accompanist, Concert Choir, Choristers 3A, and Music Makers ensembles
Billie Derham joined the Children’s Choirs in 2000 and performed with Concert Choir at Carnegie Hall in 2001 and 2010 and at Lincoln Center in 2013. A member of the music faculty at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she has been a staff accompanist for the UMSL Music Department, St. Louis Conservatory of Music, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Mrs. Derham has played for the St. Louis Symphony Chorus, the Bach Society, and many soloists including Christine Brewer, Robert McFerrin, Mark Madsen, and Jay Willoughby. She has performed on the Premiere Performance concert series, Christ Church Cathedral concert series, The Sheldon concert series, and many other venues in the St. Louis area and the Midwest as an accompanist and soloist. She has also been the organist for Our Savior Lutheran Church in St. Charles, MO since 1995. Mrs. Derham graduated magna cum laude from Lindenwood University and with the highest honors from Southern Illinois University with degrees in piano performance.
Accompanist, Children’s Choir 1A ensemble
Michael Frazier is a graduate of Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, where he received his Master of Arts degree in Piano Performance and Accompanying. In addition to his work with The St. Louis Children’s Choirs, he serves as accompanist for Main Street United Methodist Church, Lindenwood University, the Ladue School District, and is an adjunct professor of Piano at Missouri Baptist University. Mr. Frazier also serves as musical director and accompanist for several theaters in the St. Louis metro area and is a private piano instructor.
Sarah Gallaher McGuirk
Accompanist, Choristers 3B ensemble
Sarah Gallaher is a graduate of the University of Minnesota– Twin Cities where she completed a Masters of Music degree in Collaborative Piano and Coaching. A St. Louis native and Cor Jesu Academy graduate, she joined the St. Louis Children’s Choirs artistic staff in 2016. Ms. Gallaher is on faculty at St. Charles Community College and the Community Music School at Webster University, teaching class piano proficiency and private lessons. In addition, she leads youth music ministry at Our Lady of Providence Church and works as a freelance pianist in the St. Louis metro area.
Accompanist, Chorale 2A/2UC ensemble
Linda Radick graduated from SIUE with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Mrs. Radick accompanies for the Parkway School District and accompanies singers and instrumentalists at Solo and Ensemble Festivals. She has served as the music minister at several large St. Louis churches, and currently leads the contemporary worship at St. Lucas UCC. Mrs. Radick has served as the musical director/pianist for many high school and community theater productions, including Webster Groves High School, Marble Stage Theater, Insight Theater, and Kirkwood Theater Guild. She volunteers as a pianist at the David C. Pratt Cancer Center at Mercy Hospital.
Katie Beth Smith
Accompanist, Children’s Choir 1B/1UC ensemble
Katie Beth Smith holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music History from the University of Missouri-Columbia and dual Master of Music Degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Washington University in St. Louis. Ms. Smith joined The St. Louis Children’s Choirs artistic staff in 2016. Ms. Smith has accompanied for various soloists and ensembles in the St. Louis area, including the choirs of Lutheran High School-St. Charles, Kirkwood Children’s Chorale, Trinity Presbyterian Church, and the Rockwood South Middle School choral program. In addition to accompanying for Children’s Choir 1B/1UC, Ms. Smith maintains a private piano studio and currently teaches K-8 music at Immacolata Catholic School in Clayton.
Dr. Joseph Welch
Accompanist, Young Men’s Chorus
Dr. Joseph Welch is Visiting Professor of Music at Blackburn College. An advocate for the vocal and keyboard arts, Dr. Welch is the Founder and Artistic Director of St. Louis Art Song. He coaches studios in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Artists-in-Training program and is the Director of Music at First Congregational Church in Bunker Hill, IL. Dr. Welch is the Assistant Music Director for Variety Theatre, which produces professional musicals incorporating an inclusive children’s ensemble. His previous music direction credits include Opera Edwardsville, SIUE’s Summer Showbiz, Marble City Opera, Midwest Institute of Opera, and many summer programs. Dr. Welch is the resident pianist for Opera Edwardsville and frequently works with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. As choral accompanist, he plays for The St. Louis Children’s Choirs’ Young Men’s Chorus and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Festival Chorus. Dr. Welch serves on the boards of the Southern Illinois Young Artist Organization and the Bunker Hill Education Foundation. Recent awards include Member of the Year for the Illinois State Music Teachers Association – Gateway Arch East Chapter and Adjunct Instructor of the Year at Blackburn College. Dr. Welch enjoys genealogy, gardening, photography, farming, and home remodeling in his free time.
Director, Children’s Choir ensemble 1B and 1UC
Adrienne Broyles holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance with a minor in languages and a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Indiana University- Bloomington. Mrs. Broyles became a member of the artistic staff of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs in 2001. She has completed Level II in Kodály, Level II in Orff-Schulwerk, and was awarded an Artist-Teacher Diploma from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education. Mrs. Broyles was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2010 at Mason Ridge Elementary School in the Parkway School District. She was a presenter at the 2014 Orff-Schulwerk National Conference and for the St. Louis Kodaly Chapter, and has presented choral workshops and served as a guest conductor/clinician for numerous districts. Mrs. Broyles currently teaches at Parkway West Middle School.
Director, Music Makers ensemble
Belinda 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 2017, she was awarded an Artist-Teacher Diploma from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education.
Director, Chorale 2A and 2UC ensemble
Whitney Cairns holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, where she served as conductor for the Repertory Singers and the Women’s Chorus. Her Bachelor of Science degree in K-12 Music Education is from the Pennsylvania State University. She has studied conducting under Lynn Drafall, Susan Conkling, Lone Larsen, Joseph Flummerfelt, and William Weinert. Most recently Mrs. Cairns has studied with Doreen Rao, Mandy Miller, Sandra Snow, and Lee Kesselman. In August 2017, Mrs. Cairns was awarded the honor of Artist Teacher through the Institute for Choral Music Education.
Mrs. Cairns is an experienced teacher having taught secondary education in Pennsylvania and at the Rochester School of the Arts in New York as well as elementary education at St. Louis’s Community Education Center. 2019 marks the beginning her ninth artistic season as Director of the Chorale for the St. Louis Children’s Choirs, where she has premiered works by Amy Bernon, Zachary Cairns, and Jim Papoulis. Active as a guest conductor and clinician, Mrs. Cairns will appear once again with the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Acappellooza Festival, has guest conducted the Kirkwood Children’s Chorale, the Fort Zumwalt Middle School Choral Festival, and the Metro 8 Elementary Honors Choir. In 2019, Mrs. Cairns was invited to give multiple presentations at the Missouri Music Educators’ Association State Conference. Mrs. Cairns has served as Lecturer of Ear Training and Aural Skills at the University of Missouri-St. Louis since 2011. She directs the Children’s Choir at Central Presbyterian Church. She and her husband and their two children reside in St. Charles.
Director, Children’s Choir 1A
Lauren Honz has been a part of The St. Louis Children’s Choirs since 1999 when she joined Music Makers. She graduated from Concert Choir in 2011, and was also an SLCC ensemble assistant from 2012-2016. Ms. Honz is now in her third year conducting Children’s Choir 1A. She studied conducting at Webster University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2016. Ms. Honz is the music teacher at Seckman Elementary School in the Fox School District and the children’s choir director at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves. She completed Level II Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education in 2018.
Dr. John McDonald is Assistant Professor of Music Education and Director of Choirs at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. John holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, as well as a Master of Music degree in conducting from East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He previously taught choral music at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. John also maintains a career as a professional ensemble singer with the Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton; Pro-Arte St. Louis; and the Missouri Choral Artists. He lives in Swansea, Illinois with his wife Alyssa, and two sons, Tyler and Charlie.
Director, Choristers ensemble
Emily Pikaard joined the artistic staff of the St. Louis Children’s Choirs in 2014 as the director of Children’s Choir 1A. Mrs. Pikaard graduated summa cum laude from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 2009 where she studied voice, piano, horn, and conducting. She was on the choral faculty at Parkway North High School from 2010-2016, and Webster University in 2014-2015. In addition to her work with Choristers, Mrs. Pikaard is currently the pianist and choir director at Mount Zion Methodist Church, and teaches private voice and piano lessons. She completed Level II Certification from the CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education in 2018.