Board of Directors

Kantorei Board of Directors

The Kantorei Board of Directors is a working board with the purpose of furthering Kantorei’s mission of sharing a passion for lifelong singing.

Kantorei’s Board of Directors includes:

John Sauer, President

John Sauer is a 1979 graduate of St. John’s University, Collegeville with a degree in liturgical music. After serving as Director of Music and Liturgy for the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona he entered the seminary and after studies in Rome was ordained to the priesthood on June 19, 1985. In addition to pastoral assignments in Winona, Rochester, Mankato, Austin and Owatonna he taught high school religion for a number of years. Presently the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Owatonna and Holy Trinity Parish in Litomysl, John is also the Director in the Office for Divine Worship of the Diocese of Winona. John began singing in Kantorei in the early 1990s and singing with Kantorei was often what he called “a sanity saver.” Despite sometimes lengthy drives the act of singing helped release the stress of the week and was a great outlet for him. In addition to the Kantorei Board John currently serves on the boards of the Glacier Park Foundation and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. He believes that Kantorei is a unique and important part of the artistic community of Minnesota and is honored to serve on the Board since 2015.

Donna Hackler, Director

Donna joined the Kantorei board in 2015. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ performance from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Donna was a full-time church musician until 2003, when she became a tour director, guiding adults and students in the Twin Cities, across the country, and abroad. While an active church musician, she chaired a national committee for the American Guild of Organists and served two times on the national board of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. She can frequently be heard in churches around the Twin Cities.

Michelle Plombon, Director

Michelle is a former singer in Kantorei and past president of the Kantorei Board of Directors from 2002 to 2006. She is an organist at churches in the Twin Cities. These include the Church of St. Anne/St. Joseph Hien, the St. Paul Seminary, and the Church of St. Thomas More. Michelle currently sits on the board of the Association of Liturgical Ministers serving the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Michelle and rejoined the Kantorei board in 2012.

JoBeth Ranfranz, Director

JoBeth has a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the College of Saint Benedict with further study at San Jose State University, and the University of St Thomas towards an MFA in Music Education. She is a choral director, Handbell director, singer, flutist and clinician throughout the greater Twin Cities area. She is the founder and director of the Holy Name Handbell Choir, a church handbell choir that performs around the Twin Cities. In addition she conducts the General Mills Choir, a mixed chorus corporate choir that entertains at functions and special events. Past musical activities have included singing with Kantorei, conducting the Holy Name Youth Choir and the Plymouth Rockers, a senior citizen touring choir.

Ranfranz currently sits on the Kantorei Board, the College of Saint Benedict Alumna Board serving as co-chair of the Alumna Development Committee and the General Mills Employee Club Board as Special Interests Director. She has served on the Handbell Musicians of America National Membership Working Group and as the Area 7 Membership Coordinator as well as serving as Chair for the 2014 Area 7 Handbell Musicians of America Festival in La Crosse WI. JoBeth resides in Medina with her husband Mike.

Joe Polta, Director

Joe joined Kantorei in 1989, one year after the founding. He is from Willmar, MN, and has a B.A. from Saint John’s University. He is currently a legal professional at Prime Therapeutics. He enjoys baking bread by hand, and he is an avid bike commuter, riding his bike to work year-round. He is a retired Scoutmaster, and a trainer for the Boy Scouts. He enjoys spending time with wife Karen and sons, Dan and Tom.

Everett Vass, Director

Since moving to the Twin Cities 12 years ago, Everett has been active in local choral music, performing as a soloist and with several ensembles, including: The Metropolitan Male Chorus, The South Metro Chorale, and The Sacred Voice, all the while singing with his church choirs at Prince of Peace in Burnsville and at Diamond Lake Church in South Minneapolis, where he now lives. Everett has a BA in Modern Languages (French, Spanish, and German) from McGill University and earned his graduate degree, an MBA in Operations Research, from Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) in his native Canada.