Biographies 2017-08-14T17:51:08+00:00

Key Personnel

Richard Phelps, Music Director and Conductor

A Michigan native, Richard (Rick) Phelps attended school from Kindergarten through College in Mt. Pleasant. He received his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University. Rick also holds a Master of Arts in New Testament Studies at Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, PA.

He taught as an adjunct member of the faculties of Central Michigan University and Mid-Michigan Community College, where he taught choral literature, private voice, and choral ensembles and musicals. After assuming the leadership of the Mt. Pleasant High School choral program, he led the choirs to continuing success in District and State choral festivals. His choirs have sung around Michigan and in Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, and New York, having twice appeared at Carnegie Hall; in 2004 they sang the Vaughan Williams “Dona Nobis Pacem” under the direction of CMU’s Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson, and in 2009 sang a collection of shorter works with Dr. Eph Ely, one of America’s most celebrated choral conductors.

Rick has spent the past 20 summers on the faculty of Interlochen Arts Camp in “The Most Beautiful Place in America”–northwest lower Michigan. He has conducted choral ensembles and is currently the music director of the Intermediate Musical Theater Workshop, which creates two brand-new, themed, shows over two three-week sessions, from existing material, with the help of 26 enthusiastic teens and a team of theater professionals.



John C. Griffin, Ph.D., Pianist, Composer, and Arranger

Dr. Griffin is a professor of music at Western Michigan University and Associate Director of Music at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Portage, Michigan.  Griffin earned his Ph.D. in composition from the University of Iowa, where he studied with David Gompper.  He received his BM and MM in music from Western Michigan University.  While at WMU, he studied piano with Lori Sims and composition with Richard Adams, C. Curtis-Smith, and Robert Ricci.  Besides accompanying the Kalamazoo Singers, he has performed as a pianist with the new music ensembles Opus 21 and Birds on a Wire.

His music has been featured at many festivals throughout the United States, including the UAHuntsville New Music Festival, Kentucky New Music Festival, and the Boston New Music Initiative Concert Series, as well as multiple conferences of the Society of Composers, Inc. and the College Music Society.  His compositions have been performed at CMS International Conferences in Croatia (2009) and South Korea (2011).  Griffin is a Finalist of the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition and a winner of the ASCAPlus award.  In 2012 he was a semi-finalist for the American Prize in Music with his choral work “When Music Sounds”, commissioned by the Kalamazoo Singers.  More information can be found at


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