Dr. Jefferson Johnson, Music Director and Conductor: Jefferson Johnson is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kentucky where he conducts the University Chorale and Men’s Chorus. He also teaches advanced choral conducting, choral methods and literature, and directs the graduate program (MM and DMA degrees) in choral music. A native of Atlanta, Johnson received the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia (magna cum laude, 1978), the Master of Music from the University of Tennessee (1981), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado (1992). While living in Atlanta, Johnson was also a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus conducted by Robert Shaw.
Dr. Johnson’s recently released video “Ready…Set…Sing!” is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. It has been featured at music educators’ conventions from Ohio to Hawaii. In addition, Johnson maintains an active schedule as an adjudicator and guest conductor for high-school and collegiate choirs throughout the United States. He has recently conducted honor choruses in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, and South Dakota. He has also been a clinician for the ACDA-National Convention (Washington, D.C.), ACDA-Central Division (Detroit, MI), ACDA-Southern Division (Charleston, SC, and Orlando, FL), North Carolina ACDA, Michigan ACDA, Ohio ACDA, Georgia ACDA, Kentucky ACDA, and Iowa ACDA. The University of Kentucky Chorale, under Dr. Johnson’s direction, has performed at regional and state conventions of ACDA and MENC.
Dr. Johnie Dean, Assistant Director and Composer: Dr. Dean received his Bachelor of Music from Campbellsville University, his Masters in Church Music from Southern Seminary in Louisville, and his Doctorate in Music from the University of Kentucky. He currently serves as an administrator and faculty member of Midway University. He served as an adjunct professor of Music Theory at the University of Kentucky for 10 years. Dr. Dean is the arranger/orchestrator for UK’s annual productions: Grand Night for Singing and Alltech Celebration of Song at Victorian Square. He is also a composer/arranger/ orchestrator for other groups, schools, and universities across the United States, as well as various international ensembles.
A Kentucky native, Dean has been composing and arranging music for nearly 40 years and has more than 200 published works. A recently published work, The Pirates of Penzance Medley, National Music Publishers, was performed by the Florida All-State High School TTBB Chorus in 2012 and by the Texas All-State Men’s High School TTBB Choir in 2013. Other current published works include three piano books published by FJH Music Publishing Company in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, a solo piano CD of his arrangements titled I Need Thee Every Hour, and numbers included on The American Spiritual Ensemble’s Christmas CD. Dr. Dean arranged and orchestrated nearly all of the music for the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion Centennial Celebration on September 20, 2014. KET (Kentucky Educational Television) filmed the program and broadcasted this celebration event in the 2014-15 season. In 2015, Dr. Dean had a couple of his arrangements performed at two different concerts at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.
Michael Rintamaa, Accompanist: Michael Rintamaa has been the full-time director of music at Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in downtown Lexington since May 1993. As organist and director, he leads voice and handbell choirs for children, youth, and adults. Michael has a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from Northwestern University, and a master of music degree in organ performance from Emory University. He has an unfinished Ph.D. in music history from the University of Kentucky.
On being asked by Dr. Johnson to play for the Elijah rehearsal portion of the Lexington Singers 59th season, “It is most certainly my honor and delight.”
Dr. Lori Hetzel, Artistic Director Lexington Singers Children’s Choir: Lori Hetzel is the Associate Director of Choral Activities and Full Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Kentucky where she conducts the UK Women’s Choir and the ever-popular a cappella group “Paws and Listen”. In addition to her conducting duties, Dr. Hetzel supervises student teachers and teaches undergraduate methods and choral conducting courses where she has pioneered a unique partnership program with area high schools and middle schools allowing undergraduate students to begin classroom teaching early in their curriculum and gain true ‘hands-on’ experience.
Hetzel is a contributing author to the new textbook Conducting Women’s Choirs: Strategies for Success. Among her many academic accomplishments, she was the recipient of the University of Kentucky “Great Teacher of the Year” award in 2000, a finalist for the Provost Awards for Outstanding Teaching in both 2009 and 2010, and the winner of the Robert K. Baar Choral Award in 2011 (“given to one choral director in the state who exhibits outstanding leadership in choral music and promotes music education in the state of Kentucky.”
Lori Hetzel received the Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wisconsin/Green Bay, the Master of Music from the University of Missouri/Kansas City and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. Outside of the university, Dr. Hetzel serves as Artistic Director of the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir and conducts the LSCC Chamber Choir.
Rob Vanover, Accompanist of the Chamber Choir: Rob Vanover serves as a full-time choral music faculty member at Lexington Catholic High School and as Organist/Music & Worship Associate at Centenary United Methodist Church, serving there as staff organist, accompanist, and handbell director.
Previously, he has held many positions as a choral conductor and accompanist. Included among these are Organist/Choir Director of Woodland Christian Church from 2000-2007, Director of Music Ministries at St. Peter Church from 2006-2009, accompanist for the University of Kentucky Women’s Choir from 2000-2007, staff accompanist at Georgetown College for 2006-2007, and studio accompanist for the Voice Studio of Gail Robinson at UK from 2001-2007. In addition, he is currently Organist/Choir Director for the Lexington Latin Mass Community, and director of the Sister Sound community choir.
Mr. Vanover earned the Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Kentucky and is currently finishing the Master of Music in Sacred Music.
Daniel E. Wesley, Director of the Advanced Choir: Daniel E. Wesley is the Director of Choirs at Lexington Christian Academy, where he serves as the Fine Arts Department Chairman, conducts the intermediate and advanced choral ensembles and teaches courses in theatre and music theory. He is also the Director of the Advanced Chorus of the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir and Minister of Music at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Nicholasville.
Mr. Wesley has conducted school and community honor choirs and adjudicated choral festivals throughout the southern United States. His ensembles have consistently received superior ratings at regional, state, and national festivals. During his tenure at LCA, Mr. Wesley’s choirs have performed at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Walt Disney World and the 2012 Kentucky Music Educators Association’s Annual Conference. Mr. Wesley’s ensembles have also toured extensively throughout the eastern United States. A frequent lecturer, he has presented clinics at church music conferences across the nation.
In 2013, Mr. Wesley received the Ruth Coppler Outstanding Teacher Award. He holds a degree in Music Education from the University of Kentucky School of Music and professional memberships to the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Kentucky Music Educators Association, and National Guild of Organists. He is also an advocate for hemophilia research and education. He and his wife, Kendra, reside in Lexington with their awesome son, Ezekiel.
Lisa Stephens, Accompanist of Advanced Choir: Lisa Braswell is involved with much of the local music scene and enjoys accompanying whenever she can! She is also member of the Lexington Singers. She has a choral music education degree and a piano performance minor from the University of Kentucky and is currently the choral director at Trinity Christian Academy’s Upper School.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Berea College where her focus was in studying children’s choirs, and a Master’s of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Kentucky where she also completed the courses for certification in K-12 vocal music education.
Amy has been a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the Kentucky Music Educators Association, the Organization of American Kodaly Educators, and the Kentucky Association of Kodaly Educators. Mrs. Black is a member and assistant section leader of the Lexington Singers in which she has had several solos and been featured in several small ensembles. She was one of the founding committee members of the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir and has been involved throughout the choirs’ growth.
Jeremy Howard, Director of the Preparatory Choir: Jeremy Howard received a BME in vocal music education and an MM with an emphasis in the Kodály philosophy from Morehead State University. He holds certification in all three levels of Kodály (a teaching methodology with music literacy at its core). Additionally, he studied at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary during the summer of 2011.
Mr. Howard currently serves as the 3-Year-old through 8th Grade General Music Teacher and Choir Director at Christ the King Cathedral School in Lexington, Kentucky. He is an adjudicator for KMEA events and a clinician and conductor for Honor and Festival Choirs. He is a member of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA), and the Kentucky Music Educators’ Association (KMEA).
Deborah Sogin, Director for Communications and Public Relations: Deb Sogin is a retired FCPS choral director/drama coach and taught at Morton Middle School and worked with SCAPA and Lafayette musical productions. She is still active in the local musical theatre community. She is employed as a Standardized Patient, where Sogin works with UK medical, dental, and pharmacy students. Ms. Sogin is in Lexington Singers, and New Horizons Jazz and Concert Bands. Deb earned a BMEd from Texas A&M, Commerce; an MM in Piano and Pedagogy from Texas A&M, Commerce, and Rank One from the University of Kentucky. She holds full certification in Orff Schulwerk and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Deb is married to Dr. David Sogin, UK School of Music faculty, and is a mom to Celia and Ari.
Whit Whitaker, Choral Business Director: Whit is a performing artist who earned his Bachelors of Music in Music Performance and Master of Arts in Arts Administration degrees from the University of Kentucky. He serves as a board member for several local organizations. He started playing violin at age 8 and has played timpani and percussion as well as being a regular performer with The Lexington Singers, The Kentucky Bach Choir, and The American Spiritual Ensemble. Whit can also be seen performing on the local and regional theatre stages in many leading roles including Othello, Dr. M. L. King, Jr., and King Arthur. Many may remember Whit as a singer and dancer in UKOT’s annual musical revue “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” as well as featured appearances in performances with the Lexington Ballet and the Kentucky Opera.
Whit is also a personal fitness trainer, instructs fitness and group exercise classes at the YMCA, and is a lead singer and drummer/percussionist for his band the Mercy Men.