Mary Kay Geston, Artistic Managing Director
Dr. Mary Kay Geston, Great River Chorale's artistic managing director, has led the ensemble since 2010. She has taught at the University of Northwestern St. Paul, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Northern State University, and has directed choirs as an interim faculty member at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, University of Minnesota - Morris, Concordia University - St. Paul, and Saint Olaf College. Choirs under her direction have performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, at state and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and for the Minnesota Music Educators Association.
Geston has directed all-state and honor choirs across the USA and has been a choral clinician in Taiwan and South Korea. She was the founding director of the Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists and the Minneapolis Vocal Consort, associate conductor of the Longmont Chorale and conductor of the Longmont Chorale Singers (Colorado), and was a church musician for 25 years.
In addition to her work with Great River Chorale, Mary Kay conducts the annual Minnesota Music Teachers Association Honors Concert and is past president of ACDA North Central Region and ACDA of Minnesota, and past chair ofthe F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Fund Committee. She has been a presenter at state, division, and national professional conferences for ACDA, American Guild of Organists, National Association for Music Education, and National Association of Teachers of Singing. Dr. Geston was named ACDA of Minnesota’s 2012 Choral Director of the Year.
Barbara Brooks, Collaborative Pianist
Barbara Brooks is an active vocal coach, pianist and music director in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Ms. Brooks has served as a vocal coach for several opera companies including Canadian Opera, Minnesota Opera, New Orleans Opera, Opera Banff, Kentucky Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Berkshire Opera. She has served as Music Director for the Tony Award winning theaters, Theatre de la Jeune Lune and The Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company. Ms. Brooks is on the music staff of the nationally acclaimed Wesley Balk Opera/Music Theatre Institute. She has served as opera coach at the University of North Texas School of Music, Colorado State University Department of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the University of Minnesota School of Music. Ms. Brooks received her Masters of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music where she studied with Gyorgy Sandor, internationally renowned concert pianist. Ms. Brooks studied with Martin Isepp at the Banff Center of the Arts and the Britten-Pears School in England.