Clinician for Massed Rehearsals
Karen Kenaston-French is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas Arlington, where she conducts the A Cappella Choir, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, and heads the Vocal Area. Under her direction the UTA A Cappella Choir performed at the Texas Music Educators Association state convention (2014), appeared with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2012 & 2016), and was named a finalist in the 2014 American Prize for Choral Performance for its CD, The Road Home. In February 2015 the choir served as Ensemble-in-Residence for the National Student Conducting Competition at the American Choral Directors Association conference in Salt Lake City, and in March 2016 will give an auditioned performance at the Southwestern Division Conference of ACDA in Kansas City.
Prior to her arrival at UTA, Dr. Kenaston-French served as Director of Choral Activities at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where she led the Chamber Singers in two appearances at the Tennessee Music Education Association state conference, and in master classes with Chanticleer, Cantus, and Libby Larsen. She taught conducting at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, and was director of music ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas from 1986-1998. Dr. Kenaston-French has been guest conductor for honor choirs in Colorado, Tennessee, and for several TMEA region choirs. She cultivates a close connection with Texas high school programs, having conducted clinics for more than 80 choirs over the past six years, and runs the highly successful UTA All-State Choir Camp, which attracts 250 students each summer. She continues to share her experience in church music as a faculty member for SMU’s Church Music Summer Seminar and the Chorister’s Guild Midwinter Workshop.
Dr. Kenaston-French holds a B.A. in vocal performance from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.M. and M.S.M. degrees in choral conducting from Southern Methodist University, and a D.M.A. in choral conducting from the University of North Texas, where she was named outstanding graduate student in conducting and ensembles and the Pi Kappa Lambda outstanding doctoral student. She studied conducting with Jerry McCoy, Mel Ivey, Lloyd Pfautsch, Jane Marshall, and Larry Parsons, and in 2011 was a conductor for the Choral/Orchestral Master Class of the Oregon Bach Festival, under Helmut Rilling and Jeffrey Kahane. Vocal studies include graduate work with Lynn Eustis at UNT and Linda Baer at SMU. Her article “The Teachings of Jean‐Antoine Bérard” was published in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Journal of Singing in November 2009. She sang in the Dallas Symphony Chorus from 1993-2003, and was in the first Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 1991.
Dr. John Wayman is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he conducts the University Singers and guides our future choral music educators. Prior to his arrival to UTA, Wayman served as Music Education Coordinator and Director of the Concert Choir at Young Harris College in Georgia. Dr. Wayman has a BAMEd from Wayland Baptist University, a MMEd and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. As a choral director, Dr. Wayman brings a wealth of information having taught all levels (elementary-college in Texas and Georgia) in a variety of settings. He is in great demand as an adjudicator and clinician, regularly working with school music programs and directing honor choirs throughout the nation.
Dr. Wayman’s areas of specialty consist of the male changing voice, music as an educational tool for the traditional classroom and the development of the preservice teacher. His research has been presented regularly at professional conferences in state (Texas Music Educators Association, Tennessee MEA and Georgia MEA), nationally (National Association for Music Educators, Society of Research for Music Education, Society of Music Teacher Educators) and international venues (International Society of Music Education [Greece and Brazil] , Research in Music Education [England], PASME [Uganda], and most recently working with the choirs and future music educators at the University of Internationalities in Chengdu, China). His work can be found in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Teaching Music, Georgia Music News and Symposium on Music Teacher Education: Enacting Shared Visions.
Jo Ann Antinone
Soprano Section Leader
Jo Ann Antinone is the Director of the LD Bell High School Choral Department. Mrs. Antinone was raised in Bryan, TX, and earned her Bachelor Degree in Music Education from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and her Master Degree in Choral Conducting from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. This is Mrs. Antinone’s 17th year of teaching. She is proud to have taught at Wilkinson Middle School in Mesquite and Euless Junior High in Euless before coming to LD Bell. Mrs. Antinone is often called upon as a guest conductor around the DFW Metroplex. This year she is performing with the choral ensemble Schola Cantorum. Mrs. Antinone is proud to serve as the TMEA Region 5 Chair-Elect and holds memberships in TMEA, TCDA, TMAA, as well as Pi Kappa Lambda. Mrs. Antinone serves as the primary instructor for the A Cappella, Varsity Women, Varsity Men, Choralier Men, and Bell System performance ensembles.
Soprano Section Leader
Sarah Council is the Director of the Plano West Choirs. She is in her sixteenth year teaching in Plano ISD. Both at Plano West and Shepton High School, choirs under her direction and co-direction have received many honors including 2019 and 2011 Texas Music Educators Association Invited Performing Choirs, 2014 SWACDA Invited Performing Choir, Best in Class at competitions, UIL Sweepstakes awards, and many students earning places in All-Region and All-State Choirs. In addition to her work at Plano West, Mrs. Council was honored to serve as the Vocal Chair for TMEA Regions 24 and 25 and Area B. Mrs. Council is a proud graduate of Baylor University. (Sic ‘em Bears!) She has served as the Soprano Section Leader for the Texas All State Mixed Choir, and has spent many summers as a section leader for All-State Choir Camps. She values her involvement in choral music education and adjudication professional organizations. Sarah is proud to have several former students enjoying careers in Music Education, Opera and Musical Theatre, and even more who are enjoying being lifelong musicians while pursuing other careers. Mrs. Council resides in Plano with her husband, Doug, who is also a Choir Director. Mr. and Mrs. Council are proud parents of a 3rd grade son, Mason, and 3 big rescue dogs: Sadie, Sully and Stella!
Alto Section Leader
Chi-Chi King has been the Head Director of Choirs at Keller High School for 21 years where her choirs have consistently won the Sweepstakes Trophy at UIL Concert and Sightreading Contests and 1st place trophies at music festivals in Texas, Florida, and California. Her choirs have also traveled to Europe where they performed in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Bath Abbey in Bath, England, Sant Stefano al Ponte in Florence, Italy, Sant’ Agnese in Agone in Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and Chartres and Rouen Cathedrals in France. Mrs. King served as the Region 2 Vocal Chair from 2010-2012. She has been a member of Ft. Worth Chorale since 1984 and serves as the Soprano Section Leader of this performing group.
Mrs. King began her freshman year at Texas Tech University as a cello major. She decided to take voice lessons during summer school following her freshman year and felt an absolute kinship with the singing voice. When she appeared in her 1st opera production as a gypsy in Bizet’s Carmen, she was hooked. She sold the cello for a piano and never looked back. She has performed in many college and repertory musicals and operettas, and has sung as a soloist in many churches, weddings, and at other functions. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Texas Tech University, and a Masters in Music Education with Vocal Pedagogy Emphasis degree from the University of North Texas. Mrs. King has been nominated several times to Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers and received the UIL Sponsorship Excellence Award at Keller High School in 2000. In 2012, her Varsity Mixed Choir was asked to perform for the State Board of Education in Austin. And in 2013-2014, her Varsity Treble Choir, the Chanteurs, was selected to perform for the Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio, a huge honor only given to a few choirs each year. She is also the recipient of the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year for Keller High School. Mrs. King resides in Keller with her husband.
Alto Section Leader
Ms. Simmons is currently the Artistic Director of the Singing Girls of Texas (grades 7-12) at Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts and runs the Community Conducting Class for Texas Music Conservatory, all programs of Texas Center for Arts + Academics (TCAA). Kerra Simmons earned her BM from the University of North Florida (UNF) in Vocal Performance with a Choral Conducting cognate and her MM in Choral Conducting at Texas State University. Ms. Simmons has been involved with choral music since junior high and has sung in multiple Florida All-State Honor Choruses, three Divisional and National ACDA Honor Choirs, and top vocal ensembles at her respective alma maters touring to places like South Africa, South Korea, and the Czech Republic.
At UNF, she was deeply involved in Choral Leadership and was the Assistant Conductor to the UNF Chorale, UNF Chamber Singers, and UNF Women’s Chorus. During her time at Texas State, she was the Assistant Conductor of the Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus, University Singers, and the Texas State Chorale. She also assisted in creating an undergraduate lab choir, was the Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate conducting class, and had the opportunity to work with Dr. Craig Hella Johnson during conducting seminars and to perform his masterwork, Considering Matthew Shepard, as a member and soloist of Texas State Chorale with Dr. Johnson as the conductor. Her Master’s research was on Women in Music and The Development of Korean Choral Music.
After completing her MM, Ms. Simmons used her gap year to teach Music and English in Seoul, South Korea where she rewrote an English as a second language music curriculum and taught ages 5 to 12. After her gap year, she served as the Associate Artistic Director and Interim Artistic Director of the world-renowned and GRAMMY© award-winning, Texas Boys Choir, a program of TCAA. During her transition from directing Texas Boys Choir, she re-established the Singing Girls of Texas as its own independent organization within TCAA and helped to bring the singers to the same level of professionalism as the Texas Boys Choir through advocacy that the girls in her program were worthy of the same experiences and opportunities as the boys. Ms. Simmons is incredibly passionate about equity and consistently works to bring opportunities to her students that she feels will give them lifelong lessons, experiences, and stories to share.
Ms. Simmons is currently working on a new project with composer Sarah Quartel, and in partnership with Texas Center for Arts + Academics called, “The Songbird Collective”, which will offer treble honor choir clinics, promote the commissioning of new treble works by female and female-identifying composers, and eventually provide services to conductors and future educators on wellness and skills to help them build tight-knit communities in their ensembles. Through this, she hopes to bring more positive attention to treble choirs and help to produce works that show the full female or female-identifying experience, not just flowery love or sadness in the absence of love. In her free time, she likes to cook vegetarian food, do yoga, and hang out with her cats, Bubba and Peaches.
Tenor Section Leader
Doug Council is currently serving his 10th year as Director of Choirs at Berkner HS in Richardson, and 13th year teaching. Mr. Council received his degree in Music Education from The University of North Texas. His choirs have received many honors, including Best in Class Awards, and consistent UIL Sweepstakes Awards. Choirs under Mr. Council’s direction have been invited to perform with University choirs such as University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M Commerce. Mr. Council’s A Cappella Tenor/Bass choir won the Foundation for Music Education’s Mark of Excellence Commended Winner in 2014. In 2016, Berkner A Cappella choir was invited to perform in a combined HS choir with world renowned composer Eric Whitacre and the Dallas Winds. Mr. Council is an enthusiastic collaborator, having served as music director for 13 musicals, and has achieved significant success with students of all music ability levels and learning styles. Mr. Council is the past TMEA Region 3 Vocal Chair, and has served as the TMEA Texas All-State Tenor/Bass Choir Section Leader. Mr. Council has helped to place over 30 students in the TMEA Texas All State Choir. He is a sought after choral clinician, and soloist around the state of Texas. Mr. Council has given workshops at the Texas Choir Director’s Association Convention. He holds professional memberships in TMEA, TCDA, TMAA, and ACDA.
Bass Section Leader
Eric Cooley is in his 15th year as a music educator and his 9th year as the Director of Choirs at Centennial High School in Burleson ISD. Mr. Cooley holds a Bachelor of Music Education, magna cum laude, from Baylor University and a Master of Choral Music Education from Florida State University. Under his direction, the Choirs of Centennial have been consistently recognized with "Superior” ratings at UIL Concert & Sight-Reading Contest and are frequently named "Best-In-Class" at local, regional festivals. The CHS Varsity Treble Choirs have been awarded “honorable mentions” at Festival Di Voce (DBU) and the CHS Chamber Singers have been honored with “Performance of Distinction” captions at the American Classic’s Madrigal & Chamber Choir Festival for the past four years. Before arriving at Centennial, Mr. Cooley served as the assistant director of the LD Bell High School Choir Program in Hurst, TX with Jo Ann Antinone. During his time at LD Bell, he served as the artistic director of the HEB ISD Elementary Honor Choir, a chorus of approximately 100 singers drawn from the district’s 19 elementary schools. Professionally, Mr. Cooley maintains active membership in the Texas Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association, the Texas Choral Directors Association. He is currently serving as the co-organizer of the graded honor choirs for the 2022 SWACDA Convention and recently finished a two-year term as the Secretary of the Texas Choral Directors Association. Prior appointments and positions with these organizations include co-chair of the TCDA DEI Committee for the Revision of Mission and Purpose Statements, Vocal Chair of TMEA Region 30, and organizer for the 2018 and 2019 All-State Tenor-Bass Choirs.
Soo Hong Kim
Dr. Soo Hong Kim, a lyric soprano, performed major rolls in many professional opera companies such as Dallas Lyric Opera, Fort Worth Opera and Shreveport opera. She made her New York debut as soloist in Mozart’s Vespers at Lincoln Center. She has also received many awards and recognition as the winner in competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera Guild Audition (Southwest Region winner) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (National winner, Mary Wolfman Award). The Hemphill-Sorantin Competition named her the overall winner of the competition and the vocal division winner. Early recognition of Dr. Kim’s abilities earned her the International Rotary Club Scholarships and the Dallas Opera Career Development Grant. In addition to her many solo recitals and guest artist presentations, she has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival, with the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and the Texas Wind Symphony. As a clinician, Dr. Kim has presented master classes and lecture recitals through the local, national and international venues every year. She presented a lecture recital at the Texoma Regional NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) conference and performed as the soprano soloist for Messiah with Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 2013. Dr. Kim has recitals invitations at various universities nationwide for the upcoming year. Her directing career took an international venue in the summer of 2013. She was invited to Southern Young Artist Opera Project, a summer opera program in Taiwan, where she served as a voice faculty and directed the production of Dido and Aneas by Purcell. Dr. Kim serves as a regular adjudicator at Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest and NATS student auditions. Graduated from the University of North Texas with the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance, Dr. Kim has been teaching at University of Texas at Arlington since 1998. In addition to applied voice lessons, she teaches Vocal Literature, Vocal Pedagogy and directs the Opera/Music Theatre workshop.
Julie Liston Johnson
Julie Liston Johnson is currently on the voice faculty of the University of Texas, Arlington while also finishing her DMA at The University of North Texas. Ms. Liston Johnson received her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School where she held teaching fellowships and was later hired on the adjunct faculty teaching Ear Training. She has sung solos at Carnegie Hall, Teatro Communiale a Bologna, Alice Tully Hall, Trinity Church Wall Street and this past summer sang the solos in Verdi’s Requiem at Durham Cathedral in northern England. A frequent performer in the Metroplex, recent solo highlights include Handel's Messiah, Dona Nobis Pacem with Craig Jessop conducting; John Rutter’s Requiem with the composer conducting; and the American premiere of Bob Chilcott’s St. John Passion, also with the composer conducting.
Favorite opera roles include Donna Anna, Dido, and Madama Butterfly. While on full fellowship with Aspen Music Festival, Ms. Liston Johnson won the concerto competition with The Queen of the Night's vengeance aria and was also featured singing Gilda in Rigoletto. Julie lives in Dallas with her husband Bert Johnson and their daughter Ava Grace.
David Grogan has performed extensively throughout the Southwest to critical acclaim. The Dallas Morning News hailed Mr. Grogan as the “perfect Christus” after a performance of the St. Matthew Passion with the Dallas Bach Society. The Albuquerque Tribune, in reference to a performance of Messiah with the New Mexico Symphony, said, “David Grogan had all the range and power required of the part, sounding like the voice of doom in ‘The people that walked in darkness’ and the light of revelation in ‘The trumpet shall sound.’” A recent performance of Elijah had critics praising his ability to “move easily from stentorian declamation to lyrical aria.” Another critic said that he “….brought an impressive vocal power to the lead role of Elijah, and his rich emotive gift set the level for the other chief performers.” He has performed as a soloist with many Dallas area arts groups including the Dallas Bach Society, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Mesquite Civic Chorus, and the Allegro Artists, as well as at several Texas universities. Recent performances include Elijah with the New Mexico Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Arlington Master Chorale, and the Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the Plano Civic Chorus. Grogan looks forward to his performance of the Brahms Requiemunder Helmuth Rilling this fall.
Grogan joined the faculty at the University of Texas Arlington in the fall of 2009, first as visiting professor and in 2010 as tenure-track Assistant Professor of Voice. In addition to providing private vocal instruction for voice majors, Grogan teaches vocal pedagogy, voice class, and choral methods. His background in choral music education is extensive, including experience directing programs in both private and public schools across the metroplex. As choir director at Dallas Christian School from 1996 to 2000, Dr. Grogan increased choir participation from 15 members to 115, and took the choir to one of the first TPSMEA competitions. He has taught voice and served as assistant choral director in some of the most prominent programs in the area, including at Arlington High School under Dinah Menger, and Manor Middle School under Tommy Haygood.
Grogan holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Texas Christian University, where he studied voice with Sheila Allen and pedagogy with Vincent Russo. His love of choral music was solidified under the tutelage of the late Ronald Shirey, who taught Grogan much of his musicality. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy in 2010 from the University of North Texas, where he studied voice with Jeffrey Snider, pedagogy with Stephen Austin, and worked closely with Lyle Nordstrom in the early music program. Dr. Grogan’s dissertation was on the vocal pedagogy of Frederic W. Root, who was an American vocal pedagogue of the 19th century. A shorter version of the dissertation was published in the January 2010 Journal of Singing under the title, “The Roots of American Pedagogy.”
Mason Barlow is the currently the head director of the Arlington High School choral department, where he was previously an assistant director at the school for three years. Upon his graduation from college, he was hired by the Nacogdoches School District and taught at McMichael Middle School. During his time there he built the choir program from 50 to 110 students and took the choirs to the UIL Concert and Sightreading contest—a first for the school.
While at Arlington High, Mr. Barlow co-directed the Colt Chorale Varsity Men in their performance at the American Choral Directors Association’s 2013 national convention with his colleague, mentor and friend-Dinah Menger. The varsity choirs have received consistent sweepstakes awards at the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest under his direction. He also directs the Chamber Singers and Choraliers, who won Grand Champion at the Lonestar Show Choir Invitational in 2013.
Mr. Barlow received his Bachelor of Music degree from The University of Texas at Arlington and studied voice with Dr. Samuel Savage. He was the founding President of the UTA chapter of the Texas Collegiate Music Educators Association. While at UTA, Mr. Barlow sang with the A Cappella choir and Chamber Singers under the direction of Jing Ling-Tam. He toured with the choirs in Austria and Canada, as well as throughout Texas. Mr. Barlow has performed regionally in musical theater and has been in musical productions such as The King and I, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and The Music Man.
He is currently serving as Vocal Chair-Elect for Region V. Mr. Barlow is a member of TMEA, TCDA and PTA.