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IN UNISON Chorus Director & Staff Bios

Kevin McBeth, Director

Kevin McBeth was appointed Director of the IN UNISON Chorus in January, 2011. Kevin is the Director of Music at Manchester United Methodist Church in suburban St. Louis. He serves as full-time administrator for the Music Ministry, which includes 18 choral and handbell ensembles, involving nearly 500 children, youth and adults. Kevin has also recently served as Adjunct Professor in Choral Music at Webster University. Over the past 20 years, he has conducted honor, festival and touring choirs (choral and handbell) in the United States and Canada. Previous appointments include Assistant Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and Music Director of the St. Louis Metro Singers. His 30-year career in church music has included appointments in churches in Houston, Texas and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

McBeth is a graduate of Houston Baptist University, and has done graduate studies in Choral Conducting at the University of Houston. In addition to being a published composer and author, he was also choral music editor for Abingdon Press. McBeth has served on the board of the Iowa Choral Directors Association (ICDA), the Missouri Choral Directors Association (MCDA), and the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers (AGEHR). He was also the Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Influential teachers in conducting have been David Wehr, Robert Linder and John Yarrington. A strong advocate for training future conductors, he has presented several workshops and interest sessions at the state and national levels.

McBeth has recently conducted concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Choirs under his direction have also performed at regional and national gatherings for choral and handbell music, including both state and division ACDA conventions, and at the American International Choral Festival. Mr. McBeth has prepared choruses for performances with Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, John McDaniel, Andy Williams, Billy Porter, Take 6, Larnelle Harris, Jenifer Lewis, Wintley Phipps, and Hugh Smith. In the fall of 2002, the National Religious Music Week Alliance named him as one of the top ten Church Music Directors in the country. In the church music field, he has collaborated with Mark Hayes, John Leavitt, Hal Hopson, Joseph Martin, Howard Helvey, John Purifoy, Michael Burkhardt, Craig Courtney, David Morrow and Jeffery Ames.

His orchestral conducting credits include performances with the Indianapolis Symphony, Houston Civic Symphony, the New England Symphonic Ensemble and with members of the St. Louis Symphony in a concert featuring Garrison Keillor. Most recently, McBeth conducted a Festival Chorus in his first European concert tour to Great Britain, and prepared choruses for a concert at Lincoln Center.

McBeth is the proud father of two talented sons, Cameron and Austin.

Henry Palkes, Accompanist

Henry Palkes, pianist and vocal coach, offers more than thirty years of professional experience as both soloist and collaborative pianist in classical, musical theater, opera, jazz, r&b, and gospel genres. A graduate of The Juilliard School, his solo and ensemble performances include concerts throughout the United States, most notably at Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center, as well as in Canada and Europe. An affiliate keyboard artist for the St. Louis Symphony since 1992, he joined the IN UNISON program in its premier season and has been the chorus pianist for the last seven seasons. Palkes is currently a Lecturer for the Washington University Performing Arts Department and has been a member of the teaching community there since 1998. He has been honored twice with Kevin Kline Awards for Outstanding Musical Direction.

Susan Patterson, Manager

Susan Patterson, Manager of Choral Activities at the St. Louis Symphony, holds a master’s degree from Washington University in Music Education. Patterson became a member of the Symphony staff in 2009 following a lengthy tenure at the St. Louis Art Museum. She now manages both the STL Symphony Chorus and the STL Symphony IN UNISON Chorus and sings in the alto section with both groups.