Staff

 

Amanda Stevenson

Founder & Managing Artistic Director

Amanda Stevenson is the Founder and Managing Artistic Director of the Omaha Children’s Choir. Previously, Mrs. Stevenson taught at Fort Madison Middle school in Fort Madison, Iowa and at Harding Middle School in Des Moines, Iowa. While at Harding Middle School, she grew the program from 2 choirs with 125 students to 4 choirs with over 200 students. While at Harding, she committed herself to bringing young people of all backgrounds together through music. She has previously taught voice at Iowa Western Community College and Elementary and Middle School Music Methods at Grace University. She teaches Middle School Choral Methods at University of Nebraska at Omaha and is a teaching artist for WeBop, an early childhood jazz program, through Omaha Performing Arts.

Ms. Stevenson holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Iowa Wesleyan University (2006) and a Master of Music with an emphasis in choral music education from Western Illinois University (2010). Her thesis entitled The Effect of Specific Strategies on the Sight Singing Performance of High School Singers was presented at the Iowa Music Educators Association Conference. Additionally, she has presented sessions regionally that focus on connecting the choral experience with community needs. She has been an active performer as a vocalist and instrumentalist in various vocal and instrumental ensembles, performing a wide range of musical styles from classical traditions to jazz. Currently, Ms. Stevenson sings with NExus Vocal Jazz Ensemble as well as the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Choir. Ms. Stevenson has conducted choirs of all levels including elementary, secondary, university, and adult choirs in a variety of settings. She is an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA). Ms. Stevenson serves on the National ACDA Diversity Subcommittee and is the the Children’s Choir Repertoire and Resource Chair for the Nebraska Choral Director’s Association. She remains an active choral adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician in the Midwest. Ms. Stevenson is a recipient of the Jefferson Award, an award which recognizes a local citizen that engages in social good, inspiring others, and drives lasting solutions for the communities.

For inquiries regarding Voices for Unity, Ambassadors of Change, collaborative partnerships, adjudication opportunities, or teacher support, contact Amanda: amanda@omahachildrenschoir.org.

 

Kaitlin Beck

Associate Director of choirs, Director of Marketing & development

Kaitlin Beck is the Associate Director of Choirs and the Director of Marketing and Development of the Omaha Children’s Choir. In the fall, Ms. Beck will be serving as a long term music substitute at Trumble Park Elementary within the Papillion La Vista Community Schools district and directing OCC's Urban Harmony ensemble. Within the community, Kaitlin directs the WOW! children's choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Most recently, Kaitlin has begun work on a donor development campaign to ensure that all students have financial assistance to participate in OCC.

Kaitlin graduated in 2016 with her Bachelor of Music in Education with an emphasis in K-12 vocal music from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. While in college, Kaitlin served as the Cherub Choir Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she worked with children ages 3-5 to develop basic music skills. A passionate researcher, Ms. Beck was the winner of a student-faculty collaborative research grant at NWU in 2014, taking her to Washington, D.C., to study the transmission and interaction of cultures and music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival featuring the bio-diverse nation of Peru. Kaitlin’s research findings from this grant were presented at the 2016 NWU Spring Student Research Symposium, the 2016 UNL No Limits! Gender Conference, and the 2015 Wartburg College Regional Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities. Outside of academic research, Kaitlin is an active member of the Great Plains Orff Chapter (GPOC) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).  In the future, Ms. Beck hopes to pursue a Masters of Education in culturally responsive pedagogy in hopes of better serving her students in an urban school setting.

For inquiries regarding Urban Harmony, individual memberships, corporate and small business sponsorships, and donating to Omaha Children's Choir, contact Kaitlin: kaitlin@omahachildrenschoir.org.

Samuel Bertino

Director of Operations and Community Engagement

Samuel Bertino is the Director of Operations and Community Engagement for the Omaha Children’s Choir. Growing up watching Turner Classic Movies and listening Ella Fitzgerald albums, Samuel was drawn to film, art, and jazz at an early age. Though originally a trumpet player, his interest in clarinet was sparked by hearing the opening clarinet solo to Rhapsody in Blue when he was a teenager. That summer, he picked up a clarinet and never looked back.

During his clarinet studies, Samuel performed abroad in France and Switzerland, took masterclasses with clarinetists Wesley Ferreira, Eric Mandat, and Frank Kowalsky and flutist Christopher Lee, and made his concerto debut in the winter of 2015 with the 2nd Weber Clarinet Concerto in E-Flat after winning the Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto and Aria Competition.

Today, Samuel performs contemporary music regularly, adding monumental composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Luciano Berio, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies to his repertoire. In July of 2016, he was a featured soloist on the Omaha Under the Radar Festival and performed a world premiere piece for solo clarinet by Australian composer Anthony Zatorski.

Samuel graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Music Performance degree in May of 2016 from University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he studied clarinet under Mrs. Cynthia Nichols. He is passionate about the Arts and accessibility, and is excited to be working for Omaha Children's Choir to help bring the arts and education to the next generation of musicians. In his free time, Samuel enjoys reading biographies and continues to listen to Ella Fitzgerald.

For inquires regarding general programming, community engagement, and events, email Samuel: samuel@omahachildrenschoir.org.

 

 
 
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Janelle Skoog-Shafer

Early Childhood Music Specialist

Janelle Skoog-Shafer is the Early Childhood Music Specialist for the Omaha Children's Choir. She was raised in a musical family with a rich musical heritage. Her grandfather played in several bands, including the Six Fat Dutchmen! For the past 8 years, she has been a teacher with Arts for All and has been a licensed teacher of the Music Together program. She is excited to work with the OCC Early Childhood program and watch the children start their own musical heritage.

For inquiries regarding Itty Bitty Music Makers program, contact Janelle: janelle@omahachildrenschoir.org.