The Shawnee Choral Society was established in July of 2000 by a group of singers who felt that the Topeka-Shawnee County metropolitan community could support a quality community chorus. Members come from diverse backgrounds and professions. The mission of SCS is to “provide a venue for volunteer singers to rehearse and perform a variety of quality music and to perform in a concert setting for the citizens of our community.” Each member is not only a volunteer but pays a modest membership fee to help support the cost of music, staff, and any special instrumental needs. The SCS on occasion performs at local events when requested, and several members have performed in Carnegie Hall as part of an ensemble with other talented choirs from across the United States. SCS is grateful for the community’s support and will continue to strive for excellence. Director Nicolas Carr provides dedication, good humor and positive encouragement throughout the weekly rehearsals. The SCS members are privileged to rehearse every week at Countryside United Methodist Church and to perform twice a year at White Concert Hall on the Washburn University Campus. The Shawnee Choral Society is composed of experienced singers who thoroughly enjoy singing. With weekly practices in season, membership is a rewarding commitment.
Director Nicolas Carr
Nicolas Carr has conducted Shawnee Choral Society since 2009. During this time, the group has grown and received consistent praise from the Topeka community. Nicolas is Director of Choral Studies at Shawnee Heights High School, Tecumseh, Kansas. He holds a Master of Music Education, Choral Conducting emphasis from Kansas State University and a Bachelor of Music Education from Washburn University. Nicolas has 20 years’ experience directing a variety of musical groups including strings, band, handbells, choral groups (secular and religious) and barbershop groups. He is gifted at making music theory, conducting, music history, and instrumental/vocal techniques accessible to all ages. Nicolas’ primary instruments are trumpet and voice (baritone). He enjoys singing, playing trumpet and ringing handbells locally. Nicolas, his wife, and their two sons live in Topeka, Kansas.
Collaborative Pianist Ben Holcomb
Ben Holcomb joined Shawnee Choral Society as its Collaborative Pianist in the Fall of 2023. Ben is the director of choirs at Washburn Rural High School. He earned his Master’s in Choral Conducting from Georgia State University and his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Theory from Belmont University. During his Master’s degree, Ben held musical director positions at Eastminster Presbyterian Church and in the Atlanta Homeward Choir. In 2021, he worked with colleagues to form the Voces Amicis choral ensemble. Ben has also worked heavily with and arranged for a variety of contemporary a cappella ensembles. In 2019 his A Cappella Group, the Belmont Pitchmen, were International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella finalists. Since then, he has remained active as an arranger for both collegiate and high school a cappella groups.
Board of Directors
President: Laurel Vogt
President-Elect: Catherine Chmidling
Secretary: Jona Tatrn
Treasurer: Stephanie Reynolds
Membership: Marge Whelpley (Music Librarian), Stephanie Reynolds (Treasurer)
Music: Nicolas Carr (Choir Director), Ben Holcomb (Collaborative Pianist), Marge Whelpley (Music Librarian)
Concerts: Emilie Lunsford (Production Manager), David Schaefer (Stage Manager), Leslie Carr (Programs/Flyers)
Finance: Stephanie Reynolds (Treasurer), Brenda Zimmerman (Fundraising/Grants)
Marketing: Jan Lunsford (Chair), Debbie Stanton (Social Media/Website)
Soprano: Marilyn Mott
Alto: Marjorie O’Konski
Tenor: Duane Hines
Bass: Bill Stelzner
Other SCS Roles
Liaison to Choral Director: Emilie Lunsford
Communications: Nadine Shaw
Immediate Past President: Debbie Stanton
2023-2024 Shawnee Choral Society Singers
Barnett, Mary Laura
Corwin, Janet Diehl
Foster, Virginia Kay
Holt, J D
Thomas, Delano D.