I believe whole-heartedly in the innate human gift to make and share music. The music educator's job is to teach all regardless of skill or experience. As we sing together, we explore our personhood in a way that is impossible to replicate either alone or through any other medium. This art is an amazing demonstration of the human spirit, and I hope to share the beauty of this experience with as many incredible people as I can.
Career & EXPERIENCE
Claire began her career in St. Louis, Missouri after graduating with her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois where she served in various leadership roles, including Vice President for the internationally renowned Millikin University Choir. With the choir, she traveled across the United States as well as Ireland, Scotland and England, performed for national and regional ACDA conferences, and worked closely with Director of Choirs, Dr. Brad Holmes.
After graduating, Claire taught full-time for five years in Parkway School District. She demonstrated exemplary teaching in middle and high schools, grades 6-12, leading choirs ranging from 12 students to 108 students, and repeatedly earning "Superior" ratings at music festivals. In addition to public teaching, she directed the Kirkwood Children's Chorale's premiere ensemble, Concert Choir, as well as their intermediate group, Cambiata, spanning ages 8-18.
In 2014, Claire was approached to direct a local community choir of adults. The group had lost funding and support in their current affiliation, so the group reformed with Claire as the director and became the St. Louis Community Chamber Singers. The group partnered with a local church to produce a concert entitled "Home: The Place We Long to Leave Yet Yearn to Find." The free concert incurred no cost to the organization and raised over $1000, fully donated to The International Institute of St. Louis, benefiting immigrants and refugees relocating to the United States.
Claire's journey in intentionally purposeful community music continued as Artistic Director of CHARIS: The St. Louis Women's Chorus. Under her direction, the choir gained significant new membership and grew its audiences by incorporating community partnerships into their performances. Partnering organizations included Planned Parenthood, PROMO, St. Louis Black Pride, League of Women Voters, and more. The group's inherent commitment to social justice combined with its passionate volunteer core made CHARIS an incredible agent for social change in the St. Louis area, drawing enough attention for invitations to perform at the Women's March on St. Louis and other community events.
Shortly after relocating to Grand Rapids, Michigan, Claire began her Masters Degree in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership and assumed the role of Music Director at Trinity United Methodist Church, a progressive and inclusive faith community. Here, she founded and directed Justice Choir - Grand Rapids. Justice Choir GR utilized local partnerships to produce multimedia concerts with the mission to amplify local voices building justice and fighting systems of oppression. In its first season, the chapter brought more than 500 people through Trinity’s doors, developed more than $750 for justice organizations, and sang for over 5000 community members at various mobile advocacy events throughout the year!
In addition to choral directing and public education, Claire maintains a private studio in voice/percussion/piano, and performs acoustic folk/indie/alternative with her guitar/ukulele/banjo whenever she can!
If she's out of the office and the sun is shining, she is most likely playing games and drinking a gin and tonic on a dog-friendly patio with her husband, Jared, and their very good dog, Samson.