Meet the Director
Ryan Lakanen has been a singer and board member with the Chorus since 2007. She steps in front of the choir as interim director for the 2019-2020 season. (Keep an eye out for when we begin our director search in the spring!)
Ryan is a graduate of the University of Michigan's Choral Music Education program. She currently teaches private voice and piano lessons in her home studio. In addition to singing with the Germantown Chorus, Ryan also sings with the Memphis ChoralArts, OperaMemphis, and has done solo work in the area.
Meet the Accompanist
John Scott has been accompanist for the Chorus since 1999. An accomplished pianist and gifted musician, John studied music at The University of Memphis before joining the U. S. Navy and continuing his education at the Navy School of Music. He toured and performed with the Second Fleet Navy Band, playing a variety of genres.
He was featured accompanist of the Shelby Singers, a group of Shelby County choral directors. John has performed as accompanist for many choral groups of Audubon Park Baptist Church where he recently celebrated 42 years as pianist/accompanist. He is a celebrated area accompanist for many private events, has accompanied the National Association of Teachers of Singing and has played for many notable soloists. When he is not accompanying or enjoying music, especially jazz, you can find him teaching piano at Lane Music, Germantown.
John, it has been said, "has hearts in his fingertips and the ability to express feeling at the keyboard." His experience in a wide variety of musical styles, which he makes seem effortless, is amazing! We are grateful to John for his support as our accompanist for these many years. His ability to recognize specific problem areas in individual choral sections is particularly beneficial during rehearsal time. A gentle soul, John is a treasured member of the Germantown Chorus. Thank you, John!
The Germantown Chorus is a non-profit, non-auditioned group of singers from a wide variety of backgrounds who wish to foster their love of singing and share that joy with the greater Memphis area through professional-quality performances and community outreach.
The Germantown Chorus began as a summer program sponsored by the City of Germantown's Parks and Recreation Department. They were asked to sing for civic functions in the summer of 1986. When the summer - and the funding - ended, the group decided not to disband. Now, more than thirty years later, the group still sings and performs four to six concerts annually with volunteer singers from all over the Mid-South.
Germantown Chorus Day
Sunday, April 22, 2007 was proclaimed "GERMANTOWN CHORUS DAY" by Germantown Mayor, Sharon Goldsworthy during the Chorus' 20th Anniversary Celebration Concert at GPAC. Mayor Goldsworthy presented the Chorus with a certificate of merit and high praise for the Chorus' civic and community service and "for the joy it has brought to all who have heard its voices raised in song."
Thank you, Mayor Goldsworthy and the City of Germantown for support and encouragement.
Director, 2002-2006, 2015-2019
Tommy Gaines, M.M., returned in the 2015-2016 season after having lead the chorus for four years, starting in 2002. Tommy has sung professionally with the Southern Opera theatre, Memphis Oratorio Society and others. He is the former Associate Professor of Music at Christian Brothers University and voice faculty member of Rhodes College, Crichton College and the University of Memphis. At the Tommy Gaines Vocal Studio, he teaches both youth and adults from beginning to advanced levels. Many of his students have won competitions including Miss Tennessee, National Association of Christian Schools National Vocal Competition and National Association of Teachers of Singing in regional and local competitions. His conducting skills include sanctuary and youth choirs within church and school settings from grade school to college level as well as church orchestra.
As well as being the president of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA; MS Chapter), Catherine is the choral director at Center Hill High School, where her responsibilities include directing three choirs and teaching general music. She received her BA in Music (magna cum laude) from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and her Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Mississippi.
She maintains active memberships in Chorus America and the National Association for Music Education. She was also inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa in 2007. She has participated in workshops with Chanticleer, Rodney Eichenberger, Carol Krueger, and Rene Clausen.
The strong call of music moved Rick from his career in architecture in 1978 to receive a degree in voice and choral conducting from the School of Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. He has performed as a baritone soloist in various works as well as been a soloist and member of choral groups including the Memphis Symphony Chorus, the Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale and the American Choral Directors Association. Rick has also directed and produced musical pageantry, dinner theaters and choir tours in the U. S. and South America. Prior to directing the chorus, Rick was an active member for four years. Rick Marshall came from within the Chorus ranks - a first in the history of the Chorus.
Mona is an adjunct faculty member at Rhodes College where she teaches voice and directs the Women's Chorus. She holds a BM in Music Therapy from Mansfield University, an MM in Vocal Performance and Literature plus a Performer's Certificate in Voice from the Eastman School of Music, and a PhD (ABD) in Historical Musicology from the University of Memphis. As a soprano, Mona has appeared in solo recitals and chamber music concerts at Rhodes College, the University of Memphis, Christian Brothers University, and Lyon College in Arkansas. In addition to her time at Rhodes, she teaches music history and co-directs the Collegium Musicum at the University of Memphis. She has also served on the music faculties of Northwest Mississippi Community College and Lausanne Collegiate School.
The Chorus' founding director, Anthony is the former Associate Professor of Music at Christian Brothers University where he taught vocal and choral music since 1988, and was Chair of the Fine Arts and Speech Department since 1992. Anthony, a tenor, has been a featured soloist throughout the Southeast adn in Europe, singing various masterpieces including Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem and Bach's B-minor Mass. He served as Director of the St Francis of Assisi Adult Choir since 2000. Anthony was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera auditions, Mid-South Region, in 1972, 1973 and 1974, and was awarded the Nancy Merriweather Memorial Award.
Mary Elizabeth Griffith
The Chorus' original accompanist, Mrs. Griffith helped form the Germantown Chorus by recruiting singers and serving as its accompanist for the first nine years. Due to her accomplished skills as both piano accompanist and organist, the Chorus was gifted with a wide variety of repertoire to perform, including Durufle's Requiem and Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols. Mary Elizabeth holds a degree in Music Education from Henderson State University and Masters degrees in Sacred Music and Organ Performance from the University of Memphis. She served as organist and choir director at many churches throughout the Memphis area and most recently retired as Director of Music at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Memphis.