Leadership Blog


An Interview with President-Elect Jonathan Owen

Brian Reeves - President

Q.  Congratulations on being the soon-to-be President of MCDA. How are you
feeling about it? 

A. I am excited...and honored...and nervous.  All at the same time.  In my years of membership, there have been such great leaders in the role of MCDA President.  I think that is what makes me nervous.  Can I live up to what has been done in the past and make a difference for the future?!?!?! 

Q. Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Brothers? Sisters?
A. I grew up in Chanute, Kansas.  My father (who is 87) was an elementary principal and a minister and my mother was a homemaker.  I have three older sisters.  When I was born my sisters were 16, 11 and 5.  The youngest child and the only boy....probably explains a lot.   My wife says I was spoiled.  I am not sure about that....
Q.  Where did you attend college?
A. I received an AA degree from Neosho County Community College.  It was in my home town and was free due to academic/music/theater scholarships.  My only fee was a $30 activity card.
I graduated from Evangel University (College) in 1988 with a Bachelor of Music Education and then received an MM in Choral Conducting from Missouri State University (SMSU) studying with Guy Webb.

Q.  Where have you taught choral music?
A. I taught for 8 years (elementary, jr. high and hs) in Conway, Missouri.  I was my own feeder program which can be a blessing and/or a curse.  Elementary music was not my calling and I wouldn't choose to go back to teaching middle school.  BLESS ALL OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHERS OUT THERE. 
I taught 2 years at Nixa High School, 7 years at Kickapoo High School in Springfield and am in my 8th year at Parkway South High School in St. Louis County.

Q. Is it true that you have taken a choir to MMEA at every school you've worked?
A. That is true.  The Male Chorus performance in 2013 marked the 7th MMEA performance.  I have to say in listening to old recordings, not every performance was perfect, although I am proud of each of those choirs and the growth that happened in the preparation for each of those performances.  Each of the choirs did the very best that they could on that day, for that performance.

Q.  What is your proudest moment as a choral director?
A. I think knowing that I might have made a difference in somebody's life.  Currently there are seven music teachers in Missouri who I had in choir during their high school years.  At MMEA this past year, six of them were there and we took a picture together.  I LOVED that more than just about anything else.
Q.  What invigorates you about directing choirs?
A. I love teaching.  I love working towards perfection (even if it isn't acheived).  I love seeing students get excited about a piece or about their performance.

Q. What do you look forward to the most about leading MCDA?
A. I look forward to meeting new people and young teachers. I look forward to working close with people that I respect.  There have already been so many people who have stepped up to help and offered assistance in the future.  MCDA is a great organization, made great by the people that are in it. 

Q. Any specific plans, ideas?
A. Nothing specific that I can think of right now.  I have been so impressed with all of the technology items that Brian Reeves has brought to MCDA over the past two years.  I hope to continue many of those things (with a little help) and in the next few months hope to gain a better idea of what I would like to work on for the organization.
Q.  Tell us about your family?
A. I have been married to Patty for 23 years.  She is a first grade teacher in the Lindbergh School District.  She is very organized and keeps things in order at home.  Without her calendar, I would probably never know what was going on.  Garrett is a sophomore at Parkway West High School.  He is involved in soccer and volleyball at school and plays on an off-season indoor soccer team.  Lauren is a 7th grader at Parkway Southwest Middle.  She loves theater and art, and is a very good artist.  In the past she has taken horse riding lessons and hope to again one of these days.  She has been involved in the summer MCDA Honor choirs in the past and hopes to continue.  Benjamin is a 5th grader at Wren Hollow Elementary.  He currently plays cello, although is planning to join the band in 6th grade playing the trumpet.  He also sings in his school's honor choir.  Oakley is our dog.  He was a rescue and we aren't exactly sure what breed he is.  He has an underbite, so even if he is just sitting there, he looks like he is bearing his teeth at you. 

Q.  What's the funniest thing that has happened to you as a choral director?
A. I really can't think of one thing right now....or at least nothing than can be put in a blog.....

Quick Notes on Choral Music - Kelly Dame

Kelly Dame, West Plains, discusses her process for selecting repertoire.


Quick Notes on Choral Music - Raynard Brown

Raynard Brown, Parkway Northeast Middle, discusses how to get young boys to match pitch.


Quick Notes on Choral Music - Dr. Kristina MacMullen

Dr. Kristina MacMullen - The Ohio State University


Quick Notes on Choral Music - Dr. Karen Kennedy