Meet the Staff Recital Singers

By Richard Gray, Director of Music

Last Fall, I realized that, while our liturgies can feature our talented staff singers within the planned choir anthems, there aren’t always opportunities to hear them as featured solo artists.

The staff singers are beloved by our choir. They are our teachers in addition to our fellow musicians. They make the choral and vocal experience so wonderful each time we meet and they are incredibly insightful. 

Each of our St. John’s staff singers have such unique and beautiful vocal instruments. So I proposed the opportunity of planning a concert with them, and with excitement, we began planning! 

Our staff singers include opera singers; teachers; performers with chamber and large orchestra groups; and much more. This concert is a great opportunity to hear each of their voices outside of the usual liturgical context and get to know what makes their music and artistry so special and beneficial to our music program at St. John’s. You will hear a variety of composers spanning several genres and eras that they’ve chosen. 

Join us on Sunday, April 14 at 2:30. Not only for the performance, but for the reception afterward. It will be a great chance to talk with each of them about their love of music, what brought them to St. John’s, and hear opportunities about what each are up to outside of the church. 

We look forward to seeing you!

Krista Palmquist has been a staff singer at St. John the Evangelist since 2005. She has enjoyed a long career as a singer and pedagogue in the Twin Cities. Krista has toured internationally and is on numerous recordings.. 

Her teaching career, although centered mostly in higher education, also includes elementary and middle school general music, children’s  choirs, high school vocal education, and community vocal instruction at St. Joseph’s School of Music in Saint Paul. Recently, Krista has pivoted in a new direction as the Music Library Coordinator at the Music Library at the University of Minnesota.

Krista has earned the BA, MA, and DMA degrees in Music: Applied Performance. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband and son, and also enjoys human-feline contentment with her cat, Dopper.

Krista will perform: Hermit Songs by Samuel Barber

Jennifer Sylvester is in her second season as a staff singer at St. John the Evangelist.  Jennifer currently sings with the Minnesota Chorale and has performed as a soloist for the Minnesota Chorale Messiah Sing-a-long and for other select projects. She performs regularly with Summit Music Senior Outreach and has also performed recitals with the Thursday Musical Performing Artists recital series and Schubert Club Courtroom Concert Series.

In addition to singing, Jennifer is a speech language pathologist for the Anoka Hennepin School District’s Early Intervention Program. When not working or singing, she enjoys knitting, cycling, painting, horseback riding and spending time with her family, friends and furry creatures that inhabit her home. 

Jennifer will perform: Cuatro madrigales amatorios by Jaquín Rodrigo

Charlie Carroll is the newest staff singer at St. John the Evangelist, starting just last month in March 2024. He is originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, but moved to Minnesota in 2018 to attend St. Olaf College. He graduated from St. Olaf in December 2023 with a degree in B.M. Vocal Music Education and he is currently working as a long-term substitute at Johnson Senior High School where he teaches choir and piano.

Charlie currently lives in Saint Paul with his two roommates and enjoys going birding on the weekends and playing the fiddle in his spare time.

Charlie will perform: Selections from Handel’s Messiah

Originally from Oklahoma City and arriving by way of Portland, Oregon: Griffin LaVictoire has been a resident of Minneapolis and a staff singer for St. John the Evangelist since January of 2023. Since that time he has had the privilege of singing with groups like St. Mark’s Cathedral of Minneapolis, the Sonomento Opera Chorus and the Exultate Chamber Choir. 

Griffin lives in Minneapolis with his partner, Savira. and not too many house plants.

Griffin will perform: Après un rêve & En prière by Gabriel Fauré

Phill Takemura Sears has sung as a bass/baritone with St. John’s illustrious choir since the beginning of 2019 and has sung with Minnesota Opera since 2018. Phill holds a Master in Music Performance from Boston University, at which he studied with the late Dr. Jerrold Pope.  Able to switch between tenor and baritone, Phill has helped premier new operatic works such as Puckett’s The Fix as Ben Short and Prestini’s Edward Tulane as Tuna/Drifter/Doll.

Phill will perform: “Being Alive” from the musical Company

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