Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City Bios:
Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Conductor
Often noted for their keen sense of ensemble blend with joyous spirit, the Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City is reflective of the unique musical background of their conductor, Dr. Rebecca Johnson. Assuming the leadership position in 1998, Johnson combines extensive instrumental and chorale skills with a love of music education and history resulting in an ensemble and repertoire as varied and unique as the conductor herself.
Prior to assuming her position as conductor of the Metropolitan Chorale, Johnson served as interim conductor for the Pride of the Prairie orchestra, a tri-state "town and gown" ensemble in Colby, Kansas; chair of the choral department for McCook Community College in McCook, Nebraska; and principal flutist for the woodwind quintest, Quintessence. Dr. Johnson's ensembles toured annually throughout the United States and Great Britain. Johnson's degrees include a bachelor's in instrumental music from the University of Northern Colorado, a master's in music education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and a doctorate in choral conducting from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Those with whom Johnson has studied include Eugene Corporon, Dr. Ryan Board, Dr. Charles Robinson, Dr. Howard Skinner, Dr. John Buckner, Dr. Robert Olson, Suzanne Jauvenout and Dr. Walter Smith.
In demand as adjudicator and clinician, Johnson works with Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska State High School activities as well as numerous festivals and competitions. In addition, Johnson has served as guest conductor for honor orchestras festival choral ensembles in all three states.
As a frequent guest lecturer, Johnson recently teamed up with her husband Dr. Robert Johnson to provide lectures for the "At East With Opera" series sponsered by the Lyric Opera Guild of Kansas City. Together they have presented lectures on the Pirates of Penzance and The Magic Flute. Johnson also recently presented Teaching Music at the Community College for the University of Missouri - Conservatory of Music's Friday afternoon lecture series.
Off the podium, Dr. Johnson is coordinator of music and instructor for Metropolitan Community College - Blue River and serves on numerous boards including the MCC Foundation Board of Directors, George Caleb Bingham Academy of the Arts and the Lyric Opera Guild of Kansas Ctiy. Johnson is the recipeint of the Certificate of Honor from Pi Kappa Lambda and holds memberships in the American Choral Directors Association, the National Music Educators Association, Tau Beta Sigma and Pi Kappa Lambda.
Johnson is proud of the relationship the Metropolitan Chorale has with MCC Blue River. "Metropolitan Chorale members are committed to serving the music with excellence, and they work hard to that end, " says Johnson, but "giving life to sound through voice and character is an almost magical thing, well worth the effort."
Amy Jolley, Chorale Manager
Amy's interest in music began with her first solo performance at the age of 8. When she was 11 years old she composed her first song, which received state-wide recognition for Grand Prize in a music writing competition. She was again awarded this recognition at the ages of 13 and 17. While in junior high Amy discovered that she enjoyed accompanying choirs as well, and she quickly developed a passon for music as she continued to sing, play the piano, accompany, compose and arrange.
Currently Amy is a mother of four and enjoys staying involved in music as much as time allows and sings frequently with her family. She has been a member of the Metropolitan Chorale of Kansas City since 2005 and is coordinator of Metro Pops, a small group of singers from within the large ensemble who go out in to various places in the community to perform and represent the Chorale.
Nathanael Brown, Vocal Coach
Bass-Baritone Nathanael Brown is putting the final touches on his MM from Indiana University where he studied under Metropolitan Opera Baritone, Timothy Noble. During his years at IU, he enjoyed considerable stage time in shows such as The Light in the Piazza, The Love for Three Orange, La Traviata, Rigoletto, A Wedding, Les contes d’Hoffmann, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Rondine, and La Bohème.
On the concert stage, Brown has been fortunate to be the bass soloist in the Hadyn Lord Nelson Mass, Schubert Mass in G, D167, and many performances of Handel’s Messiah. He has also given various private recitals spanning from arias and art song to early American classic Broadway.
On the professional opera stage, he has performed in Tosca, Ariadne auf Naxos, Don Giovanni, The Death of Klinghoffer, La fille du regiment, and Cosí fan tutte. Happy to have moved back to his home town, Nathanael is excited to share his experiences and connections with the students of MCC.
Charles Dickinson, Accompanist
I began my serious piano studies around the age of 14, when I joined Rice University's Shepard School of Music pre-college division in my hometown of Houston, TX. During this period, I took lessons with Dean Shank and Dariusz Pawlas, and also received tutoring in other fields such as theory and composition. I began my BA when I was 17 at Adams State College (Alamosa, CO) with William Lipke. Currently, I am pursuing a MM in performance at the University of New Mexico, where my teacher is Falko Steinbach. In the summer of 2011, I traveled to Lindlar, Germany with Dr. Steinbach to participate in his own two-week piano festival. During the festival, I performed my first ever international recital.
I am an ambitious pianist who wishes to excel in many ways. My primary focus right now is to develop a high standard for my own playing as a soloist and to be successful in performances and competitions. I also am eager to work with other musicians while I refine my own abilities so as to perform chamber concerts at a professional level. Ultimately, I also seek a reputation as a respected pedagogue who inspires students to reach ever-greater heights!
As a musician, I consider myself quite open to new ideas and projects. I am always interested in new works, and in the near future will be working hard to increase my contemporary repertoire. My recent interests include the piano music of Michael Finnissy, Brian Ferneyhough, John Corigliano, Salvatore Sciarrino, and works for speaking pianist.