Shawnee Choral Society logoThe 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

2023-2024 Officers

President:   Laurel Vogt
President-Elect:   Catherine Chmidling
Secretary:   Jona Tatrn
Treasurer:   Stephanie Reynolds

Standing Committees

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)

Section Leads

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

Shawnee Choral Society Constitution and By-Laws


2023-2024 Shawnee Choral Society Singers

Adams, Leila
Alexander, Tami
Allen, Mark
Apter, Jane

Barnett, Mary Laura
Barnwell, Cindy
Baruth, Mavvie
Bergkamp, Jacinta
Boutz, Bryan
Boutz, Melissa
Bowen, Douglas
Brenkman, Lili
Buening, Vicki
Burtin, Jeff
Burtin, Tiffany
Busby, Jean

Carr, Leslie
Chanay, Kristin
Chmidling, Catherine
Clair, Alicia
Collett, Caroline
Cross, Michele

Daniel, Barbara
Davidson, Mark
Davidson, Ruth
Dewar, Carol
Dittmer, Tom
Dodge, Donna
Duguid, Eleanor

Edwards, Bill

Foster, V. Kay
Fowler, Eddie
Free, Sandy
Fuller, Mark

Gardner, Kathryn
Glenn, Gay
Greathouse, Barbara

Hahn, Lisa
Hall, Blair
Harrel, James
Harsch, Tyler
Herreman, Cale
Hines, Duane
Holloway, Mary
Holm, James
Holm, Susan
Howard, Toni

Jones, Janie

Kaul, Joyce

Lunsford, Emilie
Lunsford, Jan

Malsbury, Gary
Martin, Andrew
Martinson, Inga
Massey, Elizabeth
Mergenmeier, Shonna
Meyer, Jamie
Michael, Caitlin
Moreland, Natalie
Morelington, Gretchen
Mott, Marilyn
Mullen, Bella
Mundy, Katherine
Murray, Alisa

O’Konski, Jim
O’Konski, Marjorie
Osborne, Anne
Osborne, Donna
Oubaid, Mariam

Padilla, Judette
Patrick, Elyse
Petterson, Patricia
Pohlenz, Melanie

Rambo, Emma
Reynolds, Matthew
Reynolds, Stephanie
Reynolds, Susan
Rice, Allison

Schaeffer, David
Schrickel, Tammy
Selbee, Penny
Sewell, Lynette
Shaw, Nadine
Shepherd, Elva
Silsby, Janine
Slawson, Kathy
Smith, Laura
Smith, Monty
Stambaugh, James
Stambaugh, Robert
Stanton, Debbie
Stelzner, Bill
Stone, Donna
Sullivan, Maggie
Swartz, Lloyd
Switzky, Stephanie

Tatrn, Jona
Tongier, Randy
Towle, Chris
Tucker, Gwen

Van Blaricum, Jay
Vogt, Laurel

Wagnon, Joan
Whelpley, Marge

Youngclas, Ted

Zachariasen, Mary
Zima, Janet
Zimmerman, Brenda