Founding Artistic Director and Conductor
Erin Gray, a Nashville native, received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, specializing in vocal music, from the University of Minnesota where she studied with Kathy Saltzman Romey. Her teaching career has included both classroom and choral music education in the Twin Cities for the past fifteen years.
Erin founded the Minnesota Mormon Chorale in 2004 and has enjoyed working with and being inspired by its dedicated artistic staff and members. Her favorite moments with the choir have included organizing collaborations with a variety of outstanding ensembles in the region as well as working with talented guest artists from around the country for major concerts such as the annual Easter Oratorio “Lamb of God” by Rob Gardner.
Erin previously served as Director of Vocal Music at Nacel International High School in St. Paul from its inception in 2003. She developed the vocal music program including the choir, music theory and history courses and established the annual musical. During this time, Erin sang with and served as Assistant Conductor of the Oratorio Society of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. George S. T. Chu.
As a music specialist in her church, she has been a clinician, a regional adult and youth choir director, and a children’s music instructor. She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN) and credits her high school choir director, James Story, for leading her down this path because of his encouragement to her as a young musician.
Erin’s happiest moments are with her family, especially when her husband, Matthew, strums on the ukulele and sings with their two beautiful daughters.
(Photo Credit: Pink Parasol Photography)
Artistic Director and Conductor
Barbara Thibaudeau is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Minnesota Saints Chorale. She has been with the Chorale since 2007. She attended BYU-Idaho, Brigham Young University, and the University of Minnesota where she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in music. In addition to professionally teaching music at the high school and elementary school levels, Barbara is also the founding director of Bravo Performances for Schools, a performance-based music appreciation program which introduces elementary school children to the performing arts. She has studied both piano and vocal performance, and she sang in the a cappella choir at BYU-Idaho. She taught piano in her private studio for 20 years and has performed both as an accompanist and vocalist. As a music specialist in her church, she has conducted regional children, youth, and adult choirs, including performances in church and community settings. She has written and produced two stage-productions that included vocal, theatrical, dance, multi-media, and instrumental performers. She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA-MN). She and her husband, Patrick, reside in Oakdale and find great joy in their six children, all of whom are musicians.
Kate McWilliams holds a BM in Music Education and an MM in Violin Performance, with a concentration in Early Music, from the University of Delaware (1999), and an MA in Musicology from the University of Minnesota (2002). She teaches violin and viola performance in private lessons and frequently gives lectures in schools about different aspects of music in society. A professional instrument builder, Kate enjoys researching and recreating underappreciated medieval instruments. Her instruments can be found in the hands of professional and amateur players, as well as in university collections. She lives in Shoreview with her husband and two children.
Shauna Smith Elwood received her BM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University. She has taught family and friends the language and art of piano for 20+ years, and enjoys working with musicians of every level. She is a long time member of Minnesota Music Teachers Association, has served on and chaired MMTA’s Theory Development Committee. She is involved in her community of Delano, supporting and strengthening music and arts programs and enjoys accompanying students for their solo and ensemble events. Collaborating with Musicians will be a lifelong adventure. She finds her greatest joy in her husband and five children.
Soprano Section Leader
Britta Peterson is a native Minnesotan who has many years of experience as a soloist, choir member, and stage actress across the country. Some of her favorite performances have been singing Carmina Burana at Orchestra Hall, singing at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, singing at both the Tabernacle and Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, performing in Les Misérables, Shrek the Musical, The Addams Family Musical, and singing lullabies to her children. This is her second year singing with the Minnesota Saints Chorale.
Alto Section Leader
Lynell’s ensemble career began as a child when she sang in the St. Paul LDS Children’s Choir in the mid 1970’s. She later sang with the A Cappella Choir at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), where she served as alto section leader and assistant student director, and was a soloist in the college’s annual performance of Handel’s Messiah three years. She is a former member of the Rexburg Tabernacle Oratorio Society, where she featured as a soloist in Fauré’s Requiem. For three seasons she directed “Praise Him,” a Christmas chamber choir focusing on sacred repertoire. Beyond the classical genre, she sang with the LDS fireside trio “Listen,” the vocal jazz sextet “Sing-copation,” and the seasonal mixed octet “Arlen and Friends” for twelve years. This is her third year with the Minnesota Mormon Chorale. She has also taught many private voice and piano students over the years. When she is not singing you can usually find her hard at work at the University of Minnesota, where she is Director of the SMART Learning Commons, a campus-wide academic resource center serving all UofM Twin Cities undergraduates.
Tenor Section Leader
Brian joined the Minnesota Mormon Chorale at the age of 17. He studied voice under the direction of Teresa Tierney, and has continued to pursue singing and performance for the past 9 years. As a church music specialist, he serves as a choir director for his local congregation and as a stake music director. He has also organized and performs with “The Gardner Quartet” – a men’s quartet that has performed sacred music in a variety of settings. He served for two years as a missionary in Córdoba, Argentina. Brian is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota.
Bass Section Leader