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.
JEFF LACKEY, Concert Choir Director, has been directing choirs of all ages for over 18 years. He has been with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale (KCC) since 2007. He currently is the Fine Arts Coordinator for the Parkway School District where he oversees art, music, and theatre for 28 schools. Previously he taught at Lebanon Junior High School, Lebanon High School, Parkway Central High School, Parkway West High School, and Parkway Central Middle School.
Mr. Lackey has received a number of honors and recognitions including the 2003 Missouri Choral Director’s Association Prelude Award. His choirs have performed for the Missouri State Music Educators Conference as well as across the United States, Canada and Europe. Mr. Lackey also directs and judges at a variety of conferences and festivals around Missouri. Mr. Lackey is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association for Music Education. Mr. Lackey received his Bachelors Degree, Magna Cum Lade, from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. He holds a Masters Degree in Music Education and is currently pursuing his PhD in Education at University of Missouri, St. Louis.
Mr. Lackey loves spending his time outside of work with his family and two lovely children, Christian, 8 & Selena,7.
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.
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.
WHITNEY OSTERCAMP, Choral Assistant for Cambiata, is a neurologic music therapist who has clinical experience working with a variety of populations including pediatrics (oncology/hematology, rehabilitation, neonatal intensive care unit, general), older adults with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and children and adolescents with special needs. Ms. Ostercamp earned a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Missouri and a graduate degree in music therapy from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. She remains an active member of The American Music Therapy Association, having presented at local, regional, and national music therapy events. In 2013, Ms. Ostercamp was named by Provider magazine as one of the "20 to Watch," an award that "...highlights some of the most caring, committed, and compassionate up-and-coming leaders..."
Ms. Ostercamp works as a full time music therapist for the Special School District of St. Louis County, where she provides music therapy services to students in the public school system with special needs. Using music interventions, Ms. Ostercamp helps students meet academic, speech and language, motor, cognitive, social and emotional goals.
Ms. Ostercamp is an alum of KCC, having sung with the choir 3rd through 8th grade. She is dedicated to helping each singer succeed and discover the same love of music that KCC fostered in her years ago.
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.
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 committees including the Parent Board. He has served in various 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.