Justice Choir GR was my first experience with a community chorus, though I had such with church and school choirs in the past. I have never experienced such an exuberant director—or person!—as Claire. She makes it easy to get involved, encourages everyone to try out for solos, and knows how to draw the best of out her chorus. As a writer, I appreciate her dedication to highlighting each song's literature and how it contributes to our performances' overall theme. Claire is one in a million and will light up the world wherever she goes!
Ashley, Justice Choir Grand Rapids
I had the honor of being involved in Social Justice Choir GR in its first season and formation under Claire. I was an experienced singer who had been away from choirs for some time and was looking to become more involved in my community. Claire did a fantastic job blending easily accessible music with more challenging and interesting artistic works. She brought along less experienced singers without losing the more experienced and artfully wove in social justice themes and activities to expand our thinking and engagement. Under Claire’s support I found the courage to sing a solo for the first time and have become a stalwart member of the Justice Choir movement. She will be greatly missed but I can’t wait to see what amazing art and energy she will spread through any community she touches.
Ellie, Justice Choir Grand Rapids
CHARIS has been so fortunate to have worked with Claire! As a non-audition community choir, our members range from shower-only novices to experienced professionals. Claire made all of us feel that we were valuable singers with great gifts to share. Every one of us learned and improved through Claire's vivid visual and kinesthetic exercises designed to help us breathe properly, shape vowels, listen to each other, and reach notes we didn't think we could. She has a wonderful knack for interpreting music, paying attention to nuances that bring a piece to life. Our rehearsals were always intense and productive, but at the same time Claire's exuberance and spontaneous sense of humor made them the highlight of each busy week.
Debbie, CHARIS: The STL Women's Chorus
CLAIRE, an acrostic poem:
Challenges singers of every level to improve their tone, artistry, and range
Leads rehearsals that feel fun and safe
Allows each choir member to contribute and feel valued
Integrates music from a wide variety of sources, carefully and respectfully
Redefines complex musical terms in simple and memorable ways
Emanates light, energy and joy everywhere she goes
She has helped me out with my vocal range so much. She also helped me try out for solos and duets. I would like to thank her for the opportunity to be my middle school choir teacher for the 3 years I was there.
Tim, Parkway West Middle School - 8th Grade
I was in Ms. Minnis's 2nd hour class at West Middle School! I was not confident with my voice when I came from fifth grade. She helped me reach my potential and become the strong singer I am today! Ms. Minnis made class fun! As I walk from world geo to choir, I have to biggest smile on my face because I am excited to sing! Thanks Ms. Minnis for a great year!
Olivia, Parkway West Middle School - 6th Grade
Ms. Minnis always had fun and energetic new ways to teach us new songs. We had many different games, warm ups, and activities to do all year long. She taught us many new techniques to make our singing better.
Grace, Parkway West Middle School - 6th Grade
Claire Minnis stepped in on short notice to direct our community chorus during the 2017-18 season. She planned and executed two very different musical programs using a varied repertoire, a bit of light staging, and a powerful message. She was an effective teacher for novices and seasoned singers alike, and she demonstrated an amazing breadth of vocal technique. Our chorus grew by at least one third in a single season, because she made sure everyone had fun and felt welcome.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to sing for several accomplished directors. I learned a great deal from each of them and enjoyed each experience very much. That said nothing comes close to my experience singing for Claire. Like other directors, she was challenging and informative and I learned a great deal. I am truly a better singer than I was before she arrived. But, no other director made it so much fun to practice and learn. At times, while singing for other directors, I’ve experienced a lull in the middle of preparations for a concert. That never happened with Claire because practicing was always a really enjoyable experience and she was always challenging us creatively.
I have had the opportunity to sing with Claire as our artistic director for 2 concert seasons. Her enthusiasm, joy of teaching, positivity and humor were infectious and heart warming. She used her beautiful voice to demonstrate many singing techniques that helped me personally in my singing and helped create a better sound for our group. Her knowledge and explanations of the songs we performed also helped deeper our connection to the music.
In my many years in choral music, I've had the pleasure of being under the leadership of many talented directors, but none more so than Claire Minnis. Claire brings an infectious enthusiasm, paired with a solid mastery of choral technique and an overall excellence of musical knowledge. As the daughter of two dedicated musicians, Ms. Minnis has talent in her DNA!
Catherine, St. Louis Community Chamber Singers
If you have sung for or worked with Claire, please consider sharing your experience through this form or directly to Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.