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!!