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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Operations and Community Engagement
Samuel Bertino is the Director of Operations and Community Engagement for the Omaha Children’s Choir. As a musician and arts enthusiast, Mr. Bertino is very active and dedicated to the arts community of the Omaha Metro Area. Samuel is an incredibly accomplished clarinetist and made his concerto debut in the winter of 2015 after winning the Heartland Philharmonic Concerto and Aria Competition. He is also extremely interested in contemporary classical music, and has performed with various new music ensembles, adding monumental composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Luciano Berio, Julia Wolfe, and John Zorn to his repertoire. In July of 2016, Samuel was a featured soloist on the Omaha Under the Radar Festival for contemporary performance and performed a world premiere of a piece for solo clarinet by Australian composer Anthony Zatorski.
Professionally, Samuel has been very present in the realm of arts operations. Through college, he served as orchestral librarian, head of operations, and a rehearsal manager for both orchestras at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Samuel has also dedicated time to volunteering for Opera Omaha and the UNO BOCH festival, and has taught clarinet sectionals for Omaha Area Youth Orchestras on numerous occasions. Recently, Mr. Bertino has taken a position as a gallery attendant at the KANEKO, helping the Omaha community explore creativity and individuality through the arts, sciences, philosophy, and performance.
Samuel graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Music Performance degree in May of 2016 from UNO, where he studied clarinet under Mrs. Cynthia Nichols. He is thrilled to be a part of the Omaha Children’s Choir staff, and is very excited to help bring the arts and education to the next generation of musicians.
For inquires regarding general programming, community engagement, and events, email Samuel: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.