Kantorei KC gathers musicians of the highest caliber from within our community. It is our mission to bring music to KC performed by professional KC musicians, teachers, and performers.
Kantorei KC Board of Directors:
- President-Ryan Gerding
- Vice President- Dr. Stephanie Henry
- Secretary- Alex Russell
- Steve De Wilde
- Kim Williams
Tenor, Artistic Director, Founder
Chris Munce is an accomplished choral performer, conductor, educator, clinician and arts administrator, and most recently the host of The Choralosophy Podcast. As a performer/conductor he is a member of Kantorei KC, as well as its founder and Artistic Director. Under Mr. Munce’s direction, Kantorei has recorded and published three albums, and has been an invited featured performer at National and State ACDA conventions as well as the National American Guild of Organists convention. At Lee’s Summit High, Mr. Munce has lead his choirs to performances at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, the Missouri Music Educators Convention, Alice Tulley Hall at Lincoln Center and on a Masterclass with the multiple Grammy Award winning vocal group Chanticleer. Most recently, his school district awarded him with its “Excellence in Teaching” award for 2019.
Media reviews of his directed recordings with Kantorei KC include praise from the KC Star for “Music and Sweet Poetry” for its “lush and full bodied sound…gorgeous singing.” The Observer (London) called “To Bethlehem” one of the best Choral albums of the year and “the most interesting festive album.” He has also performed with the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, and the Grammy Winning Kansas City Chorale. Chris was fortunate to be a part of the Chorale’s Grammy Nominated album, “Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works.”
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Paul Davidson joined Kantorei KC in 2014. He is a voting member of the Recording Academy and performed as a professional musician in South Korea, England, Canada, the District of Columbia and fourteen US States. He is a soloist on two Grammy-winning albums. He also performs locally with the Kansas City Chorale, Cardinalis (William Jewell), Festival Choral Society (Spring Hill, KS), Schola Cantorum (Immaculate Conception) and Trinity Choir (Trinity Lutheran – Mission, KS); he sings with the Cecilia Ensemble in Augusta, GA. He lives in Kansas City, KS where he maintains a private voice studio. Since May, 2020, in response to the pandemic, he produced four crowd-funded projects (recordings and live concerts), each one employing four to seven other musicians, and he serves as a cantor for three low-income Catholic Parishes on Strawberry Hill, in Kansas City, KS which have been unable to have chancel choir since March, 2020.
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There are few hats in the classical music world soprano Suzanne Hatcher hasn’t worn, from teaching kindergartners to conducting local semi-pro orchestras; singing backup for one of Shakira’s albums to having her choral arrangements recorded on Grammy-nominated albums; being a soloist under noted conductor Michael Tilson Thomas to accompanying for local high school choirs. Suzanne did her BA in Music at California State University, Stanislaus, and her Masters of Music in Voice from The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She then went on to complete the coursework for a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Miami, but passing her dissertation defense proved a struggle. A few years ago, Suzanne switched from being a full-time musician to a career in retail. She currently manages the Kansas City Store for Tuft & Needle, and continues to dabble in music through church work and a variety of gigs.
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Soprano– founding member
Beth Kakacek-Munce, a coloratura soprano, is renowned for her “beautifully effortless” and “stunning” singing. Beth is passionate about the choral arts and actively sings in several professional choral ensembles and as a featured soloist for chamber works. Beth has sung with Kantorei of Kansas City since its inception in 2009 and has been a featured soloist on Kantorei’s albums “To Bethlehem,” and “Music and Sweet Poetry,” recorded by the London-based label, Resonus Classics. Beth has also been a member of the Grammy-award winning Kansas City Chorale and was fortunate to add her voice to the recording of “The Sacred Works of Joseph Reinberger” which was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Recent projects Beth has enjoyed lending her voice to include performing the production of the Medieval musical play of “Daniel” under the direction of Anne Azema, a collaboration with Boston Camerata and KC’s Te Deum Antiqua. Beth has also recently performed the soprano solos for Handel’s Dixit Dominus under the baton of Dr. Jacob Narverud, the soprano solos for The Biber Requiem under the direction of Matthew Shepard as well as the soprano solos for Handel’s Messiah under the direction of Dr. William Baker. Beth also frequently lends her voice to professional demo recording projects under the direction of Ben Spalding. Prior to the 2020 Covid-19 shut down for the arts, Beth was in rehearsals for “A Night’s Tale: A Tournament of Love” collaborating once again with The Boston Camerata, under the baton of Anne Azema as part of Kansas City’s Friends of Chamber Music Concert Series which was set to be performed in April of 2020.
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Julia Kasten is excited to be singing her second season with Kantorei! A recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, she has a Bachelor of Music in both Vocal Performance and Music Theory. Julia works as a church musician and also sings with Te Deum and the Tallgrass Chamber Choir. Outside of music, Julia loves her cats, Disney, and traveling.
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Soprano/alto- founding member
Courtney Williams (mezzo-soprano) completed her Bachelor of Science in Vocal Music Education from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2006 and her Master of Arts in Music at the University of Central Missouri in 2012.
She is currently the vocal music director at Pleasant Lea Middle School in Lee’s Summit, Missouri where she teaches seventh and eighth grade vocal music and general music classes. Prior to working in Lee’s Summit, Courtney taught for eleven years in the Pleasant Hill School District where she holds the title of 2016 Educator of the Year.
Courtney served as the director of music at First Presbyterian Church of Lee’s Summit from 2015-2018 where she directed an adult chancel choir, a youth choir, and a junior high choir. She currently serves as keyboardist and vocalist for the contemporary worship service at First Presbyterian Church.
Courtney was a vocalist in the premier variety dance band, Multiphonic, for ten years, performing for weddings and corporate events around the Kansas City Area. Courtney is a founding member of the choral ensemble Kantorei of Kansas City, having performed with the group since its first season in 2010.
Courtney currently resides in Lee’s Summit, Missouri with husband, Josh, and two sons, Oliver and Theodore.
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Vince Woods (tenor) graduated from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance with a bachelor’s degree in voice performance. While at UMKC, he had the pleasure of performing in many of the Conservatory’s main stage opera productions, including Cendrillon (Massenet), Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. In May 2015, Vince had the privilege of singing the tenor solo from Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms at the Conservatory’s Finale concert in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center. He has studied voice with Vinson Cole, and has also studied under the tutelage of Dale Morehouse and Chris Munce.
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Christopher Fülling moved to Kansas City three years ago after twelve years in Europe and five in LA as an oratorio/opera tenor and theatre director. He specializes in early sacred music as well as contemporary music theater. (He co-founded the 17thC Polish/Italian Cappella Confluentes in Koblenz, creating several liturgical reconstructions and recordings both with them and with the Gregorian Chant ensemble Hartkeriana. In 2020, he hosted a chant workshop in Kansas City with its conductor, Prof. Eugene Liven d’Abelardo).
He performed across Europe and recorded with several choirs, including Gabriel Garrido’s Ensemble Elyma and Daneil Reuss Cappella Amsterdam. He also performs modern opera and experimental music theatre roles from Teater Bielefeld to the Bali Arts festival and Burning Man, including rock operas and his own immersive and ritual theatre creations. Since moving to KC, he sings at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and with choirs including Te Deum and Madrigalia bar None.
Educated at Princeton and CalArts, he moved to Europe in 1999 as a Beebe Fellow to study Baroque voice with Max von Egmond and Peter Kooy and continued his studies in Mediæval music with Eric Mentzel. For the last decade, his singing has been secondary to his career as a theatre director and his “Theater of Love” Teatro Korazon (after co-founding the Art Monastery in Italy and The Alchemy in Los Angeles)
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Leah Owen, mezzo-soprano, has been singing low notes on the side with Kantorei KC since 2016. With most of her time, Leah is teaching choir at Lee’s Summit High School as the Associate Choral Director, nannying cute kids in the evening, and working as a professional home organizer with her small business, Creating Calm. She is also an active voice instructor and teaches a handful of private students. Leah occasionally sings with other local ensembles such as Te Deum Antiqua and Missouri Choral Artists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance from Pepperdine University as well as a Master of Arts in Music with an emphasis in music education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In her rare moments of free time, Leah enjoys hanging out with her BAE, Cole, and playing with their cats, Dabble and Dakota.
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Thou Yang, received his Bachelors of Arts in Music Education and Teaching Credential from Fresno Pacific University in California under the direction of Dr. Roy Klassen. He taught choir for three years at Selma High School and Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Selma, California where he was able to develop and expand the growing choral music program in the district. He recently graduated from The Conservatory of Music and Dance – University of Missouri-Kansas City with a Master of Music in Choral Conducting.
Thou Yang is currently teaching Vocal Music in Kansas City and is in his first season with the Kansas City Chorale. He currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri’s with his wife Susan and four children – Alene, Mark, Jean, and Corinne.
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Asher K. Tillman is a fresh face to the Kansas City area, having joined us from Springfield, MO in the fall of 2020. While there, he received his undergraduate education in music and theatre at Drury University and performed plentifully within those realms. Under the baton of Dr. James R. Davidson, Tillman sang for such works as Orff’s Carmina Burana and Händel’s Laudate pueri Dominum, the latter delivered in concert with the Hlahol Society of Prague in the Czech Republic. He also filled a diverse array of leading roles theatrically, most notably as El Gallo in The Fantasticks under the direction of Josh Inmon. Outside of academia, Tillman enjoyed three seasons with the Springfield Chamber Chorus under conductor Chris Brammer, offering him a unique opportunity to hone his craft, and he was invited to appear with the Missouri Choral Artists in 2019. He is ecstatic to be in his first season with Kantorei KC and is eager to see what lies ahead here in the big K-C-M-O!
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Alexis Duffy, mezzo-soprano, has been singing with Kantorei KC since the spring of 2016. She has been the Vocal Music Director at Barry Middle School in the Platte County School District in Kansas City, Missouri for the past 5 years where she has taught 6th through 8th grade choir and general music classes. Alexis received her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Kansas in 2016 where she double emphasized in Voice and French horn. This summer, she will be moving to Colorado to pursue her Master of Music Education and work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Colorado Boulder. In her free time, Alexis enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband Nick and their dog Ava.
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Want to sing with us next season?
Join Friends of Kantorei KC in 2021
Our Friends of Kantorei List is easy to join! Donations of any other size can be sent directly via PayPal to email@example.com or via check to PO Box 494 Lee’s Summit, M0 64063