Ron Carpenter, the Artistic Director of the Phoenix Children’s Chorus, is a native of Arizona. He began his musical training as a child in the Phoenix Boys Choir and was fortunate to be a student of Bart Evans at Dobson High School. He studied Conducting with Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe at Northern Arizona University where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Master of Educational Administration.
Mr. Carpenter taught choral music in kindergarten through twelfth grade in the Gilbert School District from 1990 to 1993. From 1993 to 2011, he was the director of choirs at Hendrix Junior High School and Poston Junior High School respectively. In 2011 he became the Director of Choirs at Dobson High School. Mr. Carpenter began conducting the Phoenix Children’s Chorus in 1993 and has been their Artistic Director since 2000. He has taught summer workshops on choral music education at Arizona State University. In addition, he was a faculty member of the University of Miami Annual Summer Choral Camp in Choral Gables Florida for seven years. He has served as a clinician for choirs in Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida.
Throughout his career, Mr. Carpenter’s choirs have consistently earned superior ratings at festivals. His choirs have been selected to perform for the Arizona Music Educators on nine separate occasions. In 1997, the Hendrix Junior High Concert Choir was selected to perform for the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association. Under his direction the Phoenix Children’s Chorus Concert Choir earned a bronze certificate at the 2000 World Choral Olympics in Linz, Austria and a Silver Certificate at the 2004 World Choral Olympics in Bremen, Germany. In addition, his choirs have toured to Ireland, Mexico, Russia, Canada, China, Italy and several US cities. Mr. Carpenter’s biography has been published in the 2000 and 2004 edition of “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” and the 2003 edition of “Who’s Who in America”.
Mr. Carpenter is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference. He has presented on the topics of junior high vocal warm-ups, junior high choral literature, and managing the choral classroom at Arizona Music Educators Conferences and has held offices in both organizations.
Encore Director & Music Literacy Instructor
Troy Meeker is the Encore Choir Director and the proud parent of a PCC chorister. Mr. Meeker is a graduate of Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s in Music Education, a Master’s in Educational Technology, and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting studying under Dr. Edith Copley and Dr. Ryan Holder. While attending NAU, Mr. Meeker enjoyed the pleasure of conducting the NAU Men’s Chorale and High Altitude Vocal Jazz Ensemble. During this time he also served as the interim director for the Church of the Red Rocks and Sedona Academy of Chamber Singers. Mr Meeker has taught at the middle school, high school and university level. Currently, he is the Associate Choir Director of Trevor G. Browne High School Choir a thriving urban choir program with 450 singers.
Mr. Meeker in an in demand presenter and clinician. He has presented at the Western Division and AZACDA (Arizona Choral Director’s Association) Conventions as well as the AZ Music Educator’s Convention on topics ranging from rehearsal techniques to technology integration in the choral classroom. He has served as a clinician for ACE (Arizona Choral Educators) and AzACDA, as well as a conductor for the Greater Phoenix Junior High Honor Choir, Northern Arizona University Curry Summer Music Camp, Paradise Valley USD Honor Choir, Deer Valley USD Honor Choir, and many others. In his free time, Mr. Meeker enjoys watching movies, creating websites, hiking, and biking. His home is in Glendale, Arizona with his wife Adrienne, and their children Grant and Annika.
Bravo Director & Music Literacy Instructor
Dr. Jason Thompson—the director of the Bravo Choir—received music education degrees from Northwestern University (PhD) and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM, BM). As an Assistant Professor of Music Education in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, he teaches courses and conducts research on sociocultural issues in arts education, socially engaged practice in design and the arts, and arts in urban contexts. His popular gospel choir is the largest vocal ensemble in the School of Music and boasts of more than 100 singers at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Before moving to higher education, Dr. Thompson taught choral and general music for 10 years in North Carolina and Virginia. Dr. Thompson maintains an active schedule as a choral conductor, conference presenter, and music education clinician. He also is published in Music Education Research, Music Educators Journal, and Antiphon. Additionally, Dr. Thompson has served on the board of directors the Society of Music Teacher Education, the Southern Division of America Choral Directors
Association, and the AZ American Choral Directors Association.
In his spare time, Dr. Thompson owns Duende Boxers and is loved by two show Boxer dogs named Maximus and Rylee. He enjoys handling both dogs and competing at confirmation shows.
Concert Choir Director & Music Literacy Instructor
Andrea Squires, director of Concert Choir, is also the Director of Choirs at Desert Canyon Middle School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Ms. Squires is a native of upstate New York where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance, Summa Cum Laude, from the State University of New York at Geneseo. She continued her studies at Arizona State University where she received her teaching certification and Master of Music degree in Music Education.
During Ms. Squires’ time at Desert Canyon Middle School, the choral program has doubled in size and the choirs have consistently received Superior ratings at festivals both in and out of state. In 2011 the school’s auditioned ensemble, DC Voices, was selected to perform at the Arizona Music Educators Association Conference. The group also records a holiday CD each year and travels with the other ensembles to California annually.
Ms. Squires is an active member of both American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education, attending and presenting at annual conferences. In 2011, she has served on the board for ACDA as the chair of our state junior high Honor Choir, Cantaremos. Ms. Squires has been singing in choirs since the age of five and continues to to sing with Cantilena, a group of both professional and non-professional musicians, where she has been featured as a soloist.
Ms. Squires resides in Chandler with her husband Nate along with their three cats and sheltie.
Cadet Choir Phoenix Director & Music Literacy Instructor
Mrs. Wade holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Education, Cum Laud from California State University Fullerton. She also holds Kodaly II certification and Orff I certification from ASU. Mrs. Wade teaches choir and general music at Terramar Academy of the Arts and also enjoys teaching private voice and beginning piano after school hours at Desert Ridge Music Academy.
Not only does she enjoy conducting choirs, but she also enjoys singing in them and currently sings with the Inspire Chorus in Mesa. Some of her favorite choir experiences have been singing with choirs abroad in Italy, France, London, and also at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of film score writer, John Williams.
Mrs. Wade serves as the Vice President of Middle/Elementary School Choral activities for ACE (Arizona Choral Educators), as member at large on the Organization of Arizona Kodaly Educators board, and us an active member of AMEA and AzACDA. Mrs. Wade has directed the DVUSD elementary Honor Chorus and the Dysart District Elementary and Middle School Honor Chorus.
Cadet Choir East Valley Director & Music Literacy Instructor
Melanie Openshaw, East Valley Cadet Choir Director, graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2009. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education with a Choral Emphasis as well as her Arizona teaching credential. She began her career in the Higley Unified School District where she taught choir in grades 6-8. She has been teaching in the Mesa Public Schools for the past 6 years where she has directed choirs at Kino Jr High School, Red Mountain High School, and currently is Director of Choirs at Stapley Jr High School. In 2013 Melanie was named the Arizona New Music Educator of the Year by the Arizona Choral Educators.
She has served on the board of the Arizona Choral Educators and has served as the Arizona All-State Vocal Jazz Festival Chair. She is currently in her fourth year as the Jr. High/Middle School Repertoire and Resources Chair for the Arizona Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Melanie is an active member of both the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.
Prep Choir Director & Music Literacy Instructor
Mrs. Huyett began her involvement with the Phoenix Children’s Chorus in 2006. Her first role with the organization was as a Prep Choir parent and soon thereafter as a music literacy instructor. She became the Prep Choir director in 2008.
Mrs. Huyett is originally from the mid-west but considers Arizona her home. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Iowa and a Master of Arts in Education: Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix.
In addition to her work with the Phoenix Children’s Chorus, Mrs. Huyett serves as a general music, band and choir teacher in the Mesa Public School District. She held the position of District Band Specialist in Mesa from 2001-the spring of 2013, but has since decided to return to the classroom full-time.
Mrs. Huyett is a member of the National Flute Association (NFA) and has performed at two national conventions. She is also an active member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA). She has presented conference sessions on elementary vocal warm-ups and has had both her elementary band and choir perform at the AMEA conference. Mrs. Huyett lives in Chandler with her husband Greg, and her daughter Rachel (who has sung with Prep, Cadet, Concert and Bravo Choirs).
Bravo Collaborative Pianist & Music Literacy Instructor
Lori first came on board with PCC in 1996 as the accompanist for the newly formed Encore Choir. Over the years, she has also worked as the Encore Choir Director, the Prep Choir and Concert Choir accompanist and has currently moved with Mr. Carpenter to assist and accompany the Encore Choir. She is also a Music Literacy Instructor for PCC.
Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts in Choral Education and has worked in the Mesa Public School District since 1996. She has worked as a vocal coach in assisting and accompanying choirs at Hendrix Jr. High, Poston Jr. High and currently is working at Dobson High School. also with Mr. Carpenter. She has also had the opportunity to accompany many Regional Honor Choirs, both Junior High and High School, within the state of Arizona. Lori has also taught at the community colleges in Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler.
At home in Mesa, Lori has run a professional vocal and piano studio for the last fifteen years. She has studied and teaches the International Phonetic Alphabet for Diction in Italian, French and German. She has prepared numerous students for successful auditions in Regional and All-State Vocal Competitions, and in the Musical Theater field.
She started her studies as a pianist at age six, spending four of her early years enrolled with the Royal Schools of Music, and the Trinity College of Music within the British system. Since the age of 14, she has performed in, played and musically directed Musical theater productions, ranging from professional youth theaters to college productions in Louisiana, Utah and Arizona. Lori is now and has spent many years directing choirs within her church.
Lori is married to Scott Woods and three of her four children have spent numerous years as members of Phoenix Children’s Chorus, and have continued with music as adults. She has had many life changing experiences working and traveling around the world with this amazing organization.
Encore Collaborative Pianist & Music Literacy Instructor
Ms. Decker graduated from Northern Arizona University with degrees in Choral Music Education and Piano Performance/ collaborative emphasis in December 2013. She completed student teaching placements in elementary general music and middle school chorus, guitar and drama in her hometown of Prescott, Arizona. A long-time accompanist for vocal, choral, and instrumental music, she is thrilled to be serving her first year as an accompanist and literacy instructor with the Phoenix Children’s Chorus. She is a member of the Music Teacher’s National Association, the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, the Arizona Educator’s Association, and the American Choral Director’s Association. Ms. Decker works at West Wing Elementary School, a K-8 in Deer Valley Unified School District. There, she teaches choir, general music, drama, public speaking, and guitar. Ms. Decker enjoys teaching private piano lessons in Northern Phoenix as well. In addition to her musical activities, Ms. Decker teaches Zumba and various other group exercise classes in gyms throughout the greater Phoenix area.
Concert Choir Collaborative Pianist & Music Literacy Instructor
Jennifer Griffith has taught since 1997 at Noah Webster Basic School in Mesa where she is the Performing Arts and Orchestra Instructor. At Noah Webster, she teaches General Music, some theater and dance, and directs the after-school show choir program. She also worked for the City of Mesa/Mesa Arts Center for six years teaching music classes for their Summer Arts and Teen Arts Camps. Mrs. Griffith was the Musical Director for PCYT’s production of “Once on this Island”. She was the Assistant Musical Director at Chandler-Gilbert Community College for “The Music Man” in 2003 and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 2004. Other theater experiences include playing in pit orchestras for the Gilbert Fine Arts Association, and Chandler-Gilbert, Mesa and Scottsdale Community Colleges. She has also taught private piano, voice, violin, and music theory lessons since 1988. Mrs. Griffith has been with the Phoenix Children’s
Chorus since September 2000. Jennifer was married on 11-11-11 to her husband, Gravity.
Cadet Collaborative Pianist & Music Literacy Instructor
Ms. Price serves as an elementary music educator and choral director for grades K-6 at Summit Academy in Mesa. Ms. Price holds Level III Certification in both the Kodaly method and the Orff Process and uses these extensively in her classroom. She has taught 24 years in both Kansas and Arizona, as an elementary music educator, and private voice and piano instructor. Ms. Price has served on the Arizona Orff Board as well as on the board of the Kodaly Music Educators of Kansas. She has served as an instructor, at Wichita State University, for other educators working on Kodaly certification, as well as a Kodaly and Orff clinician in numerous states. While teaching in Kansas Ms. Price was an active part of KMEA and was the head of the KMEA state conference/ general music sessions. Ms. Price has been the musical director and/or accompanist for many musical productions throughout her teaching career including West Side Story, Grease and Oklahoma. She received her Bachelor of the Arts in Vocal Music Education at Central University of Iowa. Ms. Price completed her Master of Arts in Vocal Music Education at the University of Iowa along with an Equivalency Degree in Music Therapy. Ms. Price has been part of the Phoenix Children’s Chorus artistic staff since 2012.
Prep Choir Collaborative Pianist
Elizabeth Schrank is excited to begin her first season accompanying the Prep Choir with the Phoenix Children’s Chorus! A lifelong musician, she began piano studies at the age of 3 in the Suzuki method. She went on to study piano performance at Concordia University Irvine, CA and graduated summa cum laude in 2007. She has experience performing and teaching aborad in Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa as well as locally in Texas, Florida and Arizona.
For the last two years Elizabeth has been the K-6 music teacher for American Leadership Academy in Gilbert and Mesa. Since 2006, she has been teaching private piano lessons and beginning this fall, she will be transitioning from the classroom to teaching full time from her piano studio in East Mesa. She also directs the adult choir at Gethsemane Church in Tempe.
When she’s not doing something musical, Elizabeth enjoys photography, hiking and camping with her husband Joel and their two dogs, reading a good mystery or updating her family blog. She also runs a nonprofit called Elephantopia that raises awareness about African elephants and the ivory trade.
Music Literacy Instructor & Assistant Director
Mr. Granger is excited to begin his first season with the Phoenix Children’s Chorus. A native of Pennsylvania, he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Westminster College in rural New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. He is currently finishing his Master’s in Music Education through Kent State University. Since 2011, Mr. Granger has been the director of the vocal department at Silvestre S. Herrera School for the Fine Arts and Dual Language just south of Downtown Phoenix. Under Mr. Granger’s direction, the choirs have performed at various locations throughout the Phoenix area including the State Capitol during a holiday press conference given by the Governor. Apart from being a choral director at Herrera, he is also the co-lead for the Fine Arts team. Mr. Granger is highly sought after in his district to lead choral clinicians as well as mentor new teachers. Mr. Granger is also an accomplished pianist. He currently teaches private piano lessons at The Scottsdale Studio of Music in north Scottsdale. As an active collaborative pianist, he has performed with several school ensembles, chamber ensembles, and soloists in the Phoenix Metro area. He is also the Pianist in Residence for the La Forza Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Granger is an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NafME), Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA), and Arizona Choral Educators (ACE). In his spare time, Mr. Granger enjoys spending time being outdoors. He enjoys camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. In the future, Mr. Granger is looking forward to pursuing new hobby interests such as flight training. He currently resides in Scottsdale.
Prep Assistant Director
Benny Dominguez is starting his second season with Phoenix Children’s Chorus. He earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education with Choral Emphasis from Northern Arizona University, where he studied under Dr. Edith Copley and Dr. Ryan Holder. He is currently in his third year as Director of Middle School Choirs at Veritas Preparatory Academy. Additionally, he directs choirs in the high school choral program at Veritas, as well as directs middle school recorder ensembles, and teaches music theory and history.
Recently, he became the Assistant Conductor of the Mesa Community College Community Chorus and also sings with MCC’s chamber choral ensemble, Canto Vivo. An avid cellist, he maintains an active schedule performing in pit orchestras for musical productions and collaborating with choirs in various capacities across the valley. Benny is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.
Poco Voce Instructor
Stephen Wibe is starting his first season with Phoenix Children’s Chorus as the Poco Voce instructor. He moved from the mid-west to Arizona in 2000 to begin his teaching career. His first job was with the Florence Unified School district where he taught K-5 general music for two years. In the fall of 2002, Mr. Wibe began teaching for the Mesa Unified School District. From 2007 to 2013, he held the position of District General Music Specialist in Mesa. In this position he designed curriculum, presented inservices, and advised other district general music teachers. In the fall of 2013, he returned to full time teaching and now serves as the general music teacher for O’Connor and Salk Elementary Schools in Mesa. In addition to his public school teaching, Mr. Wibe is also an adjunct faculty member at Paradise Valley Community College. He teaches the Movement and Music for the Young Child class as part of the Early Childhood program.
Mr. Wibe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Truman State University (Kirksville, MO) and a Masters in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lives in Mesa with his wife Tina and their son Tyson.