Kantorei draws its singers from state and national universities’ finest choral alumni, and most are professional musicians or have degrees in vocal music. Singers’ names link to brief biographies, below.
* Section Leader
Kantorei Singer Biographies
Jill Brown, soprano,
Jill joined Kantorei in 2013. Jill lives in Blaine with her husband, Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo, and three teenage daughters. She maintains her family roots in Paynesville, MN, with a lake cabin. For 20 years, Jill has managed a public relations consulting business.
Maria Crea, soprano,
Maria is very excited to be joining Kantorei this year. After graduating from the College of St. Benedict in 2013, she is in her second year as a grad student at the University of Minnesota studying economics.
Megan Girgen, soprano,
Megan joined Kantorei in 2016. She holds a BA in both Music Performance and History from the College of Saint Benedict. When she's not singing, Megan enjoys reading, quilting, and other needle crafts such as knitting and cross-stitching.
Regina Hanson, soprano,
Regina joined Kantorei in 2012. Regina holds a B.A. from the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University in English Literature, with minors in French and music. Regina works in arts management and marketing. She enjoys reading, traveling, trying out new recipes, and taking in the Twin Cities arts scene.
Lynn LeMoine, soprano,
Lynn joined Kantorei in 1996. She is from Cross Plains, WI, and has degrees in German and Vocal Performance from Lawrence University, a M.M. in Vocal Performance from Kansas State University, and a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law. Lynn works as the Assistant Director of Admissions at Hamline University School of Law. She was formerly a judicial law clerk to Hennepin County Judge Jane Ranum. She enjoys camping, watching football, and spending time with her husband and three daughters.
Maryanne Poliseno, Soprano Section Leader,
Maryanne joined Kantorei in 1988 (a founding member). She is originally from Little Falls, MN, and has a B.A. in music with an emphasis in piano performance from the College of Saint Benedict. She is currently a Municipal Bond Trader at Wells Fargo, and enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, yoga, and spending time with friends over a good glass of wine.
Becky Schneider, soprano,
Maggie Akhavan, Alto Section Leader,
In her 21st season, Maggie owns Worship Arts Company, providing textiles and appointments to congregations across the US. From Ridgewood, NJ, she and her husband Dariush have three adult daughters and season tickets to the Twins.
Whitney DeLong, alto,
Whitney joined Kantorei in 2015. After growing up in Northern California and living in Tucson for 10 years, she moved to Minneapolis with her husband and step-kids in 2014. Whitney attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where she majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and minored in Music, and now works as an environmental scientist and GIS specialist. When not working or singing, she enjoys yoga, cycling, running, exploring the great outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.
Marlene Dingmann, alto,
Marlene is in her 18th year with Kantorei. She is a music specialist with the Sartell School District and she is also the therapy dog trainer at the St. Cloud Hospital.
Lily Griffith, alto,
Lily joined Kantorei in 2015, the same year that she graduated from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University with degrees in Dietetics and Music Performance. She was born and raised in Plymouth, Minnesota. Lily is a personal trainer at Steele Fitness, a Twin Cities fitness boutique. She has been a ballet dancer and pianist since she was three years old. Her other passions include traveling, backcountry camping, and being a movie buff.
Katy Husby, alto,
Katy is new to Kantorei this season. She grew up in Lino Lakes, but currently lives in Roseville. She was in the Chamber Choir at The College of St. Benedict/St. John's University for 4 years, graduating with a degree in Nursing. She is currently employed as a Labor and Delivery Nurse at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. In her free time you might find her singing in her church choir, reading a good book on her Kindle, or spending time with friends and family, including her twin brother!
Kayla Jennissen, alto,
Kayla is thrilled to be singing with Kantorei for her first season. While she is originally from Denver, CO, Kayla has called Minnesota her home for several years now and graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 2014. Kayla now teaches music at Kennedy Community School. When Kayla is not singing or teaching, she is often found enjoying the outdoors through hiking, biking, and climbing.
Marianne McCoy, alto,
Marianne is originally from Little Falls, MN. She received a B.A. in music from the College of St Benedict, and now teaches music and directs the middle school choir at Ave Maria Academy. She also directs the Latin Mass Choir at Sacred Heart Church in Flensburg, MN. Her other interests include reading, classical ballet and equestrian sports---particularly dressage. This is her second season singing with Kantorei.
Ann Skemp-Cook, alto,
Ann is a founding member of Kantorei. She is from LaCrescent, MN, and has a B.A. from the College of Saint Benedict, a Teaching Certificate from Augsburg College, and an M.Ed. from Hamline University. She is currently a Language Arts teacher at Hopkins High School, and enjoys running, reading, skiing, helping her family build a cabin, and spending time with husband Tom, step-daughter Stella, and their Lab/Retriever, Angus.
Kayla Ward, alto,
Kayla has been singing with Kantorei for four seasons. She is a native of Cold Spring, MN, and an alumna of the College of Saint Benedict. She is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and works with people of all ages at Doctors Park Mental Health Center in St. Cloud. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her alpacas, watching hockey games, bugging her cats, and attending musicals and concerts.
John Chambers Dunn, tenor,
John is excited to be singing with Kantorei for his 5th season. Originally from Blaine, MN, John works and lives in Minneapolis with his husband, Shea, and their terriers, Linus and Ricky. When not singing with Kantorei, John enjoys cooking, Netflix, reading, and People Magazine crossword puzzles.
Josh Countryman, tenor,
Josh is excited to be singing with Kantorei. He received his BME in choral music from UW Eau Claire and his M.Ed. from the U of MN Twin Cities. Josh is in his fifteenth year of teaching, and his first year as the choir director at Columbia Heights Secondary. He lives in Richfield with his amazing wife Amy and his three energetic, brilliant children.
Mike Fairbairn, tenor,
Vernon Hamberg, Tenor Section Leader,
Vernon joined Kantorei in 2000. Vern has recently uncovered an energizing passion for musical theater. In 2012, he was music and/or vocal director for three Chameleon Theatre Circle productions. He also plays accordion, plays in a community band and, in his spare time, is a software developer. Degreed in both music and mathematics, he has a distinct approach to both the performing arts and to writing software.
Patrick Moe, tenor,
Patrick is in his third year of singing with Kantorei. A recent graduate of St. John’s University with a degree in Studio Art, Patrick spent the last year serving as a member of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps in Rome. When he is not singing, Patrick can be found in Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota working towards his Masters of Architecture.
Adam Petroski, tenor,
Adam joined Kantorei in 2016 and is originally from Park Falls, WI. Adam earned his B.A. in Vocal Music Education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. While attending UMD, Adam traveled to Germany with the University Singers under the direction of Dr. Stanley Wold, Beijing, China with the Lake Effect Vocal Jazz Ensemble with Dr. Tina Theilen-Gaffey, and to Ireland with the Lake Superior Youth Chorus as their student director. Adam currently teaches 7th-12th grade choir at Benilde-St. Margaret's School in Saint Louis Park and is a tenor section leader and cantor at Saint Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in Hopkins.
Jonathan Posthuma, tenor,
Jonathan joined Kantorei for the 2015-2016 season. He recently received his Masters in Music Composition from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and studied composition privately at Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA where he received a degree in Secondary Music Education: Choral - Instrumental. He has always had a passion for vocal music, both as a performer and composer. He is also an active church musician and was music director at his home church in Waupun, WI before moving to the Twin Cities. Other than music, Jonathan enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, camping, and being the "crazy uncle" to all his nephews and nieces.
Tyler Forsythe, bass,
Tyler joined Kantorei in 2010. A native of Becker, MN, he studied vocal music education at Luther College, in addition to graduate coursework in sacred music at Luther Seminary and St. Olaf College. He teaches choir at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope.
Steven Heaton, bass,
Steven is new to Kantorei this season. Steven sings with several Twin Cities ensembles. He also owns and manages Events and Exhibits Management which provides trade show marketing and strategic services for high-tech and medical device companies. Steven was born in Honolulu, HI, and grew up in Baltimore, MD. He holds a BA in vocal performance from the University of Maryland.
MIchael Karaman, bass,
John Kelly, Bass Section Leader,
John is a founding member of Kantorei, having joined in 1988. John is a pediatrician in Maplewood. Originally from Simsbury, CT, he enjoys travel, fitness, and anything by Ken Burns.
Ron Pearson, bass,
Ron joined Kantorei in 2013. Ron studied voice with Charles Peterson at St. Cloud State University. He is married to Tricia and has three grown children – Carl, Jayne, and Willie – all musicians. Ron has a graduate degree from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and consults to businesses in the evaluation and control of chemical safety. He enjoys singing, of course, cross-country skiing, and traveling.
Joe Polta, bass,
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.
Will Robertson, bass,
Will joined Kantorei in 2014. He graduated from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY) in 2014 with a degree in music composition. Will runs a freelance arranging and composing business while also working for Schmitt Music and coaching nordic skiing and track at Highland Park Senior High school. Will loves the outdoors and has spent his last two summers leading wilderness and community service trips for teenagers in the North Cascades in Washington and in Puerto Rico.
Mike Steiner, bass,
Mike joined Kantorei in 2005. He holds a B.A. in Choral Music from Michigan State University, an M.A. in Choral Music Ed from the University of Montana, and a B.F.A. in Furniture Design from the Kendall School of Design. Mike is a retired a choral director, now teaching string bass to young musicians. He is currently a self-employed landscaper and handyman. He is married to Barbara, a long-time piano teacher and they have a son, Sean, also a singer.
Everett Vass, bass,
Everett is thrilled to be singing with Kantorei. 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.