MIMI STEELE, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of KCC, holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Music Education (Vocal and Instrumental) from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is certified in the Kodaly Method and the Orff Approach, Level III, and the Choral Music Experience.
Mimi taught Elementary Vocal Music in public schools and churches starting in 1971 in Mississippi and Missouri. She retired on May 31, 2011 after teaching 27 years in the Kirkwood School District where Mrs. Steele directed children's choruses and produced many school musicals. She taught instrumental music for 16 years and is a flute soloist.
Mimi is certified in the Creative Artistry and Choral Music Education in conducting children's choirs. Mrs. Steele has served on staff for the Indianapolis Children's Choir Summer Festival. She has studied Choral Conducting with Joan Gargorki, Angie Broeker, Henry Leck, and Dr. Doreen Rao.
She is a member of MMEA, MENC, ACDA, OAKE and the St.Louis Orff Schulwerk Association, of which she is a past President. Mimi served as the American Orff Schulwerk Association’s Local Co Chairperson for the 2012 National Professional Development Conference that was held in St. Louis.
RAYNARD BROWN, Concert Choir Director, received his Bachelor’s degree from Southwest Baptist University and begins his teaching career at Lebanon Junior High School in Lebanon Missouri where he remained for 15 years. The Lebanon Junior High Concert choir under his direction received many honors under his direction as well as performed four times for the Missouri Music Educators Conferences. Raynard took the position of Director of Choirs at Parkway Northeast Middle School in Creve Coeur, MO in the year 2000. Under his direction the concert choir at Northeast Middle performed at the Missouri Music Educators conference in 2005.
Raynard went on to receive his Masters of Education from Lindenwood University and continued to work at Parkway Northeast Middle where the choral program grew to over 400 students.
Raynard retired from Northeast Middle School in May of 2015. Raynard is adjunct professor of choirs and choral conducting at Maryville University in Chesterfield Missouri. He is also actively involved as guest conductor at Kantorei Music Camps, honor choirs, choral festivals and gospel music workshops throughout, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. His greatest blessing is being the husband of Ann and the father of their son Simeon.
JORDAN BLACK, Director of Cambiata, completed his Bachelors in Music Education in 2008 at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Jordan has just completed his Masters in Education Administration at Lindenwood University. He taught elementary general music at River Bend and McKelvey in the Parkway School District as well as serving as an assistant with the Parkway Central High choirs where he directed the all male a cappella ensemble. Beginning in the Fall of 2012, Jordan teaches choir at Northeast Middle School in Parkway. A composer and arranger as well, Jordan has had pieces performed by various school and community ensembles in St. Louis and Columbia. Outside of his teaching, Jordan sings bass in Vocal Edge, St. Louis' premier vocal band and Voices of Prometheus, a vocal chamber ensemble that tours during the summer. Jordan holds Orff Level 1 certification and is a member of MENC.
Katie is a choral director with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale, an award-winning select choir training program, consisting of three choirs of children in grades 2-8 from all over the St. Louis Area. In her fifth year with KCC, Katie directs Choristers, the 2nd and 3rd grade choir.
Katie Brown is a certified Orff-Schulwerk teacher. She attended the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and earned her K-12 vocal and instrumental certification. She is working towards her Master’s degree in Music Education from Adams State University. She is a member of the American Orff Schulwerk Association, as well as the St. Louis AOSA Chapter, where she serves as treasurer.
BROOK BASAILLON, Concert Choir Accompanist, recently earned her Master of Music in Collaborative Piano from Illinois State University. Prior to returning to St. Louis, Brook worked as an accompanist in the musical theatre department at Illinois Wesleyan University and played for the national tour of "Wicked". She teaches middle school music at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, accompanies Marquette High School's show choir, Center Stage, and sings with the St. Louis Chamber Chorus.
WHITNEY CAIRNS, Choristers Accompanist, is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where she is a Lecturer in ear training and aural skills. She has a private piano and voice studio in University City. She also serves as a choir director for the St. Louis Childrne's Choirs. Whitney has a Master of Music in choral conducting from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester and a Bachelor of Science in K-12 Music Education from Pennsylvania State University. Mrs. Cairns has directed and accompanied elementary , middle, high school and church choirs in Pennsylvania, New York and Missouri.
KATIE BETH SMITH, Cambiata Accompanist, has been a freelance pianist, collaborator, and private teacher in the St. Louis area for the past four years. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree in 2010 at the University of Missouri-Columbia as a Phi Beta Kappa and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Washington University in St. Louis as a student of Annette Burkhart. This 2014-15 season marks Katie Beth's inaugural year with KCC. She is very excited to be playing for this organization and working with the Cambiata singers. Prior to playing for KCC, Katie Beth spent three years accompanying for the choral program at Lutheran High School-St. Charles under the direction of Jennifer Brauer. In addition to playing for KCC, she currently accompanies for the adult choir at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Kirkwood under the direction of Mimi Steele.
HEATHER JOHNSON, Choral Assistant for Choristers, is an Assistant Band Director in the Rockwood School District and teaches choir at two Rockwood middle schools. Heather also teaches elementary music at Bowles Elementary. Heather is also a flute soloist.
JOANNA IMBEAULT, Cambiata Choral Assistant, returns to KCC this year. Joanna was a singing member of KCC for several years in the 1990s. With Concert Choir, under the direction of KCC co-founder Mary Poshak, she traveled to Norway for touring and several performances, including at the home of composer Edvard Grieg. In addition to her time singing in KCC, Joanna explored other musical avenues, including piano and flute, and played in the Kirkwood High School Marching, Concert, Symphonic, and Orchestral groups. She attended Webster University and received a Bachelor in Elementary Education and Master in Educational Technology. Joanna will be teaching Technology at St. Gerard Majella School this year, in addition to her other teaching positions at various public, private, and parochial schools around St. Louis.
Joanna has a life-long love of music – she currently sings with her church in Webster Groves, and in the Bel Canto Women's Chorus in Kirkwood, under the direction of Mary Poshak. She is also a world traveler, adding to her list the countries of France, England, Canada, and Namibia. Joanna currently lives in Crestwood and has a black standard poodle named Max.
DIANE SMITH, Bookkeeper, in addition to her work with KCC, Diane works at Commerce Bank. She has worked in banking for over 28 years. Diane resides in Oakville with her husband Bill, and children Bryan and Jennifer. Both children graduated from Oakville Senior High where the participated in choir all for years. Diane's passion for music began with her children and continues to be a part of her life. She enjoys working for KCC and seeing the children at rehearsal every Tuesday.
CURTIS FEARS, Director of Community Relations, has been associated with KCC in a variety of roles since his oldest child joined the Chorale in 2000. Both of his children are KCC alums. Curtis has been a member of various KCC committees and served on the Parent Board. He has filled a number of volunteer roles from stuffing envelopes to ushering concerts. He has helped plan and produce concerts, national and international choir tours and has chaperoned several tours. He has been the "official" photographer for KCC since 2004. His current position involves working with and reporting to the Administrative Board, working closely with the Artistic Staff and Artistic Director, pursuing grant and other funding opportunities and promoting KCC in the community.
Curtis has had a lifelong love of singing and was a member of several singing ensembles in college. He also participated in stage performances in high school and college appearing in several plays and musicals. In addition to KCC, Curtis has served on boards and committees in the community for such organizations such as the Kirkwood School District and the St. Louis Civil War Round Table. Curtis has worked for Washington University Medical School for the past 27 years.