Jeanne Wohlgamuth, Artistic Director
Internationally celebrated for her artistic vision and top-tier choirs, Jeanne is a champion for choral education. Since beginning her tenure as the Columbus Children’s Choir Artistic Director in the spring of 2011, Jeanne has paved the way for a new and exciting era of the organization. Under her direction, the New World Singers will perform with the Vienna Boys’ Choir in Austria this summer. Beyond tours and accolades, Jeanne has expanded community engagement efforts to make Columbus Children’s Choir a point of pride for our city.
Alongside her work with Columbus Children’s Choir, Jeanne is the Fine Arts Department Chair and Director of Choirs at Dublin Jerome High School, a sought after clinician and adjudicator, the Vocal Affairs Chair for the Ohio Music Education Association, and a recipient of countless awards including the Community Champion Award presented by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
Jeanne is a fervent advocate for higher education. She serves as an adjunct professor in the Master’s of Music Education program at the Kodály Institute at Capital University and teaches Choral Methods. She has presented workshops on developing sight-reading in the choral rehearsal and middle school choral techniques and repertoire for The Midwest Kodály Music Educator’s Conference, The Ohio State University, Capital University, Columbus City Schools, the Tri-City Kodály Music Educators, and The Ohio Music Educators Association state professional conference.
Jeanne currently serves as Vocal Affairs Chair for the Ohio Music Education Association and is a member of the Repertoire and Standards Committee for the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE). She has served as the National Children’s Choir Coordinator and Secretary for the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) and Treasurer for the Tri-City Kodály Music Educators (TRIKE) and Creative Affairs Chair for the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA).
Jeanne is the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award at Dublin Jerome High School, Karrer Middle School, Wright Elementary, and Bowen Elementary. She was also honored with the Golden Shamrock Award for Excellence in Education from Dublin.
Kerry Haberkern, Managing Director
Dr. Kerry Haberkern’s work with Columbus Children’s Choir brings her full circle to the music and theatre education programs she enjoyed while growing up in Columbus, Ohio. As an active performer, educator, and administrator, she is devoted to reaching new audiences. Since she assumed the role of managing director in 2015, Columbus Children’s Choir has commissioned and premiered new choral works, received one of just four Kiwanis Centennial Grants, and booked debut performances at the Independents’ Day Festival and the Columbus Arts Festival. In July, the choir will embark on an international tour to perform with the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
Dr. Haberkern is the faculty instructor of bassoon at Otterbein University and a founding member of the Columbus Ohio Discovery Ensemble (CODE). She is the second bassoonist for the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra and held past appointments with the Niagara Symphony Orchestra and the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. In 2013, she earned the doctor of musical arts degree from The Ohio State University, where her research focused on bassoon pedagogy. Dr. Haberkern also served as a facilitator for the university’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching, where she worked with artists to translate their skills into tools for the classroom. She was a resident artist of the Music and Sound Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and holds degrees from the Louisiana State University and the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, Canada, as well as The Ohio State University. She lives in Clintonville with her husband, clarinetist Justin Johnston, their cat Kissy, and their dog Wellington.
Tammy Gebara, Interim Program Manager
Tammy has been involved with Columbus Children’s Choir since 2007 when her daughter joined the Isabella Choir. Over the past ten years as her daughter developed into a strong confident musician, Tammy has been actively involved in the program, volunteering and serving as a choir manager for several of the choirs. Now, as Interim Program Manager, Tammy is a passionate advocate of the program’s mission and vision. Tammy is also a life-long educator with over 25 years teaching experience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Baylor University, a Master of Education in Teaching from University of Texas at Arlington, and a PhD in Psychological Perspectives in Education from The Ohio State University.
Sarah Santilli, Santa Maria Director
Sarah Santilli teaches Vocal/General Music at Jones Middle School in Upper Arlington. Sarah’s background in music includes Vocal, Instrumental, Jazz, Gospel, Musical Theater, and Dance. As an active performer, Sarah was Vice President and Producer for the Findlay Light Opera Company where she held several leading roles. She is a member of American Choral Directors Association, Ohio Choral Directors Association, Organization of American Kodály Educators, and Ohio Music Educators Association, through which she presented at state conference and chaired district level events. Sarah received her Bachelor Degree from The Ohio State University and Masters in Choral Education and Kodály Certification from The Kodály Institute at Captial University where she has been featured as a soprano and clarinet soloist.
Molly Rule, Pinta Director
Molly McCorkle Rule received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education and Master of Music in Music Education with Kodály emphasis from Capital University. She completed a portion of her master’s degree at The Kodály Institute in Hungary. Growing up in central Ohio, she was part of all-state choirs, bands, and a trombonist with the Columbus Youth Symphony. She taught music for several years at Fairfield Elementary School in Pickerington, where she was chosen Teacher of the Year for 04-05. She has also taught early childhood music classes for WeJoySing. In 2013, Molly was selected as a soprano to sing under the direction of John Rutter for the Music In Worship Festival Chorus at the American Choral Directors’ Association National Conference. Currently, she teaches at The Ohio State University School of Music, preschool music classes at the Hilltop Lutheran Church, and cares for her three young children. This past year, she hosted the Link Up concert and a Young People’s concert with the Columbus Symphony. She is a member of the Organization of American Kodály Educators and the American Choral Directors’ Association, serving on the state children’s honor choir team.
Tracy Conway, Nina Director
Tracy Conway teaches vocal and general music for grades PK-6 at Oakland Park Traditional and Stewart Alternative School in the Columbus City Schools district. She graduated from Capital University with a degree in Music Education in 2012 and has since returned to begin her Masters studies with Kodály emphasis. She loves to travel and spent a semester abroad in Kecskemét, Hungary at the Kodály Institute. Her travels have also led her all over the world, some highlights include trips to: South Africa, Ireland, Italy, Austria, and the UK. Mrs. Conway currently sings alto with the Capital University Choral Union and has also performed with the Capital University Chapel Choir and the Lancaster Chorale.
Matthew Parker, Isabella Director
Matthew Parker received his Master of Music in Music Education, with an emphasis on Kodaly, from Capital University. He currently teaches at Johnnycake Corners Elementary School in the Olentangy Local School District. In Olentangy, Matthew was voted Teacher of the Year during the 2008-2009 school year. Matthew was also selected as the Columbus Symphony’s Elementary Music Educator of the Year in 2015. He centers his teaching around the Kodaly Philosophy, where students are actively engaged in learning. At his school, he directs two elementary choirs with over 200 students participating. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Matthew worked with, and hosted, the Grammy nominated Carpe Diem String Quartet to bring an online, interactive concert series to students in several states across the nation. Matthew also is a core director with the Columbus Children’s Choir, where he directs the Isabella Choir. Outside of teaching and directing, he has presented at numerous music conferences, and is President-Elect of T.R.I.K.E. (Tri-City Kodaly Educators). An active composer, the Columbus Children’s Choir has premiered Matthew’s work. As, a performer, Matthew has performed with the Capital University Chapel Choir, Columbus Symphony Chorus and the Lancaster Chorale.
Katie Thornton, Young Musicians Director
Katie Thornton joined the Columbus Children’s Choir team in August of 2013 as the Young Musicianship Class instructor. She teaches music at Scottish Corners Elementary School in Dublin. Previously, she taught at Pickerington Local Schools and Washington Court House City Schools. She received her bachelor of Music Education from The Ohio State University in 2008 and is currently working on her Master of Music Education with Kodaly emphasis at Capital University.
Chad Baker, Accompanist
Chad Baker currently serves as the Director of Worship & Music at Christ Lutheran Church in Bexley, Ohio. As a faculty member of the Capital University Conservatory of Music his assignments have included teaching organ and class keyboard as well as serving as an accompanist in the vocal area and assisting with weekly Chapel services as University Organist. In addition he also teaches in the Sacred Music program at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Baker is a 2004 cum laude graduate of Capital University with a bachelor of music degree in keyboard pedagogy with an emphasis in church music. Chad accompanies CCC’s New World Singers.
Ben McMurray, Accompanist
Ben McMurray is a 2016 graduate of The Ohio State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in music, studying trumpet and piano. As a trumpet player, he could be seen performing with The OSU Marching Band for Buckeye fans during weekly football games, at events across the country, and at a 2015 NFL game held in London, England. Primarily a pianist, Ben began accompanying in high school and continued his interest in collaborative piano through college. He has accompanied numerous student recitals at Ohio State and Capital University and continues to play for pit orchestras, community choirs, local churches, and public schools around Central Ohio. In addition to his piano work, Ben also serves as an operations assistant at the McConnell Arts Center of Worthington. Ben accompanies the Santa Maria and Pinta Choirs.
Katie Wynkoop, Accompanist
Katie Wynkoop teaches K-5 general music at Westfall Elementary School in Pickaway County. She graduated from Capital University in 2009 with her Bachelor’s degree in vocal music education and recently returned to Capital to completed her Master’s degree and Kodály certification. Katie is the organist, pianist, and children’s choir director for Covenant Presbyterian Church in Upper Arlington. She serves as Treasurer for Tri-City Kodály Educators and the Archivist for Midwest Kodály Educators of America. Katie accompanies the Isabella and Nina choirs.