Erin Gray

Founding Artistic Director and Conductor

 

 

Erin, a Nashville native, moved to MN and received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, specializing in vocal music, from the University of Minnesota in 2002 where she studied with renowned conductor, Kathy Saltzman Romey. As a music educator and conductor, Erin served as the Vocal Music Director at Nacel International High School from its inception in 2003 until 2008 where she developed the vocal music program and its curriculum. Her responsibilities included teaching several music courses: choir, theory, history and appreciation, as well as directing the annual musical. Erin also sang with and served as Assistant Conductor of the Oratorio Society of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. George S. T. Chu. As a music specialist at her church, she has served as a clinician, a regional and local adult choir director, children’s chorister and music director of various regional youth productions. Erin has also enjoyed teaching and managing her private voice and piano studio. She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA). She and her husband, Matthew, have two beautiful daughters and reside in New Brighton.

 

Barb Thibaudeau

Assistant Director

 

 

Barb holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota, with an emphasis in music. She studied both piano and vocal performance, and sang in the Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) A Cappella Choir. She has taught piano in her private studio for nearly 20 years, and has performed both as an accompanist and vocalist. She has taught professionally in the elementary classroom, music classrooms and high school choir. She taught and developed a music appreciation program in the elementary schools, and is the founding director of Bravo Performances for Schools, a program specializing in introducing children to the performing arts. As a music specialist in her church, she has conducted regional children, youth, and adult choirs that have performed in church and community settings. She has written and produced two productions that included vocal, theatrical, dance, multi-media and instrumental performers. She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA). She and her husband, Patrick, reside in Maplewood and find great joy in their six children, all of whom are musicians.

 

 

Kate McWilliams

Orchestra Director

 

Kate McWilliams holds a BM in Music Education and an MM in Violin Performance, with a concentration in Early Music, from the University of Delaware (1999), and an MA in Musicology from the University of Minnesota (2002). She teaches violin and viola performance in private lessons and frequently gives lectures in schools about different aspects of music in society. A professional instrument builder, Kate enjoys researching and recreating underappreciated medieval instruments. Her instruments can be found in the hands of professional and amateur players, as well as in university collections. She lives in Shoreview with her husband and two children.

 

 

Shauna Elwood

Accompanist

 

Shauna Smith Elwood received her BM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University. She has taught family and friends the language and art of piano for 20+ years, and enjoys working with musicians of every level. She is a long time member of Minnesota Music Teachers Association, has served on and chaired MMTA’s Theory Development Committee. She is involved in her community of Delano, supporting and strengthening music and arts programs and enjoys accompanying students for their solo and ensemble events. Collaborating with Musicians will be a lifelong adventure. She finds her greatest joy in her husband and five children.

 

DeAnna-Larson

Accompanist

 

DeAnna was introduced to the piano at the age of three by her mother, an accomplished pianist. Her father owned a music store in Dallas and also tuned pianos. DeAnna took piano lessons from her mother until the age of 18, including 10 years of auditions for the National Guild of Piano Teachers. DeAnna taught piano lessons in her mother’s piano studio during high school and also enjoyed playing flute in her high school band and singing alto in the church choir. Since that time, DeAnna has accompanied choral and instrumental groups for church performances. She also enjoys playing duets and has recorded an album of duets with a friend from college. She has frequently performed at senior assisted living centers with roommates and friends, and currently performs at Maranatha Place in Brooklyn Center with her husband, Fred, a vocalist and clarinetist. Together, they also play in the Minnesota State Band, DeAnna as a second flute, and Fred as principal clarinetist. The couple enjoys singing together as well as serving in the Anoka Stake as Stake Music Chairs.

 

 

Susan Quick

Soprano Section Leader

 

Susan Quick attended MIT and minored in vocal performance. She studied under John Oliver, the choral director of the Tanglewood Chorus. She was a soloist for MIT choral society, a member of MIT chamber chorus, and the founder/director of the MIT Muses, an all female A Capella choir. She joined the Minnesota Mormon Chorale in 2004 and has served both as a section leader and assistant director. Professionally, Susan hold an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, and is an ophthalmologist at the St. Paul Eye Clinic. She is married and the mother of five children.

 

Lynell Williams

Alto Section Leader

‘Lynell’s ensemble career began as a child when she sang in the St. Paul LDS Children’s Choir in the mid 1970’s. She later sang with the A Cappella Choir at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), where she served as alto section leader and assistant student director, and was a soloist in the college’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah three years. She is a former member of the Rexburg Tabernacle Oratorio Society, where she featured as a soloist in Fauré’s Requiem. For three seasons she directed “Praise Him,” a Christmas chamber choir focusing on sacred repertoire. Beyond the classical genre, she sang with the LDS fireside trio “Listen,” the vocal jazz sextet “Sing-copation,” and the seasonal mixed octet “Arlen and Friends” for twelve years. This is her third year with the Minnesota Mormon Chorale. She has also taught many private voice and piano students over the years. When she is not singing you can usually find her hard at work at the University of Minnesota, where she is Director of the SMART Learning Commons, a campus-wide academic resource center serving all UofM Twin Cities undergraduates.

 

Brian Gardner

Tenor Section Leader

 

Brian joined the Minnesota Mormon Chorale at the age of 17. He studied voice under the direction of Teresa Tierney, and has continued to pursue singing and performance for the past 9 years. As a church music specialist, he serves as a choir director for his local congregation and as a stake music director. He has also organized and performs with “The Gardner Quartet” – a men’s quartet that has performed sacred music in a variety of settings. He served for two years as a missionary in Córdoba, Argentina. Brian is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota.

 

Carl Volk

Bass Section Leader

 

Carl Volk received an Associates of Fine Arts in Music from the College of DuPage. He has performed in Concert Choirs, Madrigals, Jazz Choir and various musicals during high school and college. He began a music degree in Northern Illinois University, sang in the concert choir, and studied vocal performance. He also plays guitar and piano, and played guitar and lead vocal in a cover band. He has directed church choirs for 4 years. He received a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University, and is currently an account manager for Infor, the 3rd largest enterprise software company in the world. He is married, has two children and resides in Eagan.

 

Lawrence-Gray

Accompanist

 

Larry received a Ph.D from Cornell University in Mathematics. He currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Math Department at the University of Minnesota where he has taught all levels of math for more than 30 years. Larry has been a serious pianist most of his life. He enjoys performing as a soloist and has accompanied many professional musicians.