Being in MCO is a total physical and spiritual immersion project.
MCO is the light that has cut its way through a darkening world. It has changed my outlook on life, and has given me new hope
If ever there was a time I felt part of a heavenly host in this life, it is repeatedly at the rehearsals and performances of the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras.
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Cory Mendenhall and his wife, Aprel, are the parents of four children–Leah, Nicholas, Miranda, and Mallory. Mendenhall serves as Dean & Musical Director of Millennial™ Choirs and Orchestras (MCO). His post with MCO has taken him to conduct ensembles in stunning concert halls throughout the West, including Abravanel Hall (Salt Lake City, Utah), Segerstrom Concert Hall (Costa Mesa, California), Meyerson Symphony Center (Dallas, Texas), and Mesa Arts Center (Arizona). In June 2016, Mendenhall and the MCO conducting staff produced a culminating tour performance where thousands of MCO adult and youth singers and a symphony orchestra combined in concert and for a three-day recording session at The Music Center at Strathmore, Washington, D.C. Mendenhall has served as conductor for two of MCO’s albums: To Be American (debuted at #1 on the Traditional Classical Billboard Chart) and Amazing Grace: Songs of Atonement.
Under the direction of Dr. Barlow Bradford, Mendenhall is a candidate for the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting, with cognate studies in orchestral conducting, at the University of Utah.
Mendenhall also served as the Director of Choral Activities at Maple Mountain High School from 2009-2017 in Spanish Fork, Utah, where the choirs earned a celebrated reputation since the school’s opening in 2009. Selected via rigorous audition, Mendenhall conducted the MMHS Choirs and Orchestra in a solo performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria RV 589 in New York City’s Carnegie Hall in February 2016, under the direction of Mid America Productions.
Prior to joining MCO, and inaugurating Maple Mountain High School’s renowned choral program, Mendenhall enjoyed a successful six-year tenure as Director of Choral Activities and Performing Arts Department Chair at Provo High School. In March 2009, the PHS Chamber Singers were recognized for their standing-ovation performance in Carnegie Hall as the featured choir in the National High School Choral Festival, under the direction of Field Studies International. Mendenhall also served as Conductor and Artistic Director of the Mapleton Chorale from 2004-2013.
Mendenhall earned a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Brigham Young University and a Bachelor of Music degree in choral music education from Utah State University, with related studies in organ performance. During his graduate work at BYU, he served as the Assistant Conductor of the BYU Men’s Chorus and conducted the BYU University Chorale. His mentors include Barlow Bradford, Ronald Staheli, Rosalind Hall, Jean Applonie, Will Kesling, Lane Cheney, Douglas Bush, James Drake, Jessica Nápoles, Robert Baldwin, and Jared Rawlings.
Dr. Cherilyn Worthen
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Cherilyn Worthen has dedicated over twenty years to choral arts in Utah. In addition to her post as Associate Musical Director of Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras, she is the professor of Choral Music Education at Utah Valley University, where she directs the Women’s Choir & Concert Choir. Since 2006 she has served as the director of the Choir School for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, where she oversees the training programs for the newly admitted singers, as well as in-service training for current choir members.
For twelve years Worthen directed the choral music program at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah, where she also served as both a student dean and music department chair. She has conducted the Brigham Young University (BYU) Women’s Chorus and Concert Choir, the Legacy Chorale, and the Deseret Chamber Singers. As a singer, she has performed with Canti con Brio, BYU Singers, the Deseret Chamber Singers, the Temple Square Chorale, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Worthen received a doctorate degree in music education from the University of Utah, in addition to a master’s degree in choral conducting and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Brigham Young University. Worthen is an active member of ACDA, MENC, NCCO, and Chorus America, and has served on the choral committee for the Utah Music Educators Association. She is presently the Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women’s Choirs for ACDA Utah. Her research interests include choral music curriculum, resources, and educational programs for youth and adult singers.
Dr. Joni Jensen
Dr. Joni Jensen is now in her 3rd season as Associate Musical Director for Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras. While her MCO conducting responsibilities are focused mainly in Dallas, she often travels to the other MCO locales to conduct rehearsals and performances. She served as a conductor for MCO’s most recent album, Amazing Grace: Songs of Atonement, including the world premiere recording of her original composition, “Come After Me.”
Dr. Jensen is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Voice at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, Texas where she conducts two TWU choirs and teaches voice, conducting, vocal pedagogy, and diction. She received her doctorate degree in choral conducting, with a minor in vocal performance, at the University of Arizona, as well as a master’s degree in choral conducting and a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. Dr. Jensen studied under renowned conductors and arrangers Dr. Mack Wilberg, Dr. Ronald Staheli, and Dr. Bruce Chamberlain. During her doctoral work she was a semi-finalist in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) national graduate conducting competition in Los Angeles, February 2005.
Dr. Jensen has conducted numerous festival and community choirs and serves as a choral clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States. Under her direction, the TWU Concert Choir (women’s chorus) recently performed at the 2012 SWACDA conference in Dallas, Texas. Students in her voice studio also consistently achieve success in competitions and leading roles in stage productions. Active as a composer/arranger, she has several pieces published with Walton Music, including “El Vito,” which was a Texas all-state choir selection in 2014.
Singing in a solo capacity has also been a large part of Dr. Jensen’s career. She has performed in both operatic and concert events and has particular expertise in Baroque music and performance practice. Aside from her performing and teaching activities, Dr. Jensen has research interests in vocal pedagogy in the choral setting, choral conducting technique, women’s chorus literature, choral arranging, and the choral music of Vaughan Williams, Britten, and Bach.
Dr. Brent Wells
Associate Dean &
Brent Wells and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of three children. Dr. Wells joined the faculty at the College of Idaho in 2011. Prior to his appointment, he worked in secondary education, directing choral programs at the middle school and high school levels in both private and public institutions.
Dr. Wells received his doctorate in choral conducting at Michigan State University, where he studied conducting and choral methods with David Rayl, Sandra Snow, and Jonathan Reed. His master’s degree in choral conducting and bachelor’s degree in music education were earned at Brigham Young University, where he studied with Ronald Staheli, Mack Wilberg, and Rosalind Hall.
His publications include a series of articles appearing in the Choral Journal, discussing the folk-based compositions and collecting methodology of Percy Grainger. In addition, he served as guest editor for a Choral Journal focus issue, dedicated entirely to Grainger’s choral works. Wells also co-authored the book Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire, Volume II: German Texts—IPA Pronunciation Guide, published by earthsongs.
As a bass vocalist, Dr. Wells has frequently performed as a featured soloist and has enjoyed membership in many acclaimed choral ensembles. He has sung professionally with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Tennessee Chamber Chorus, Redlands Choral Artists, and Mount Marty Choral Scholars. He also performed the Berlioz Grande Messe des morts, Op. 5 with the Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus under the direction of Robert Spano.
Dean & Founding
Arizona & California
Brandon Stewart and his wife, Heather, are the parents of three children. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Stewart is a conductor, pianist, vocalist, and composer. He has served as a Dean & Founding Musical Director of Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras since its inception in 2007. For the past decade he has educated and trained thousands of youth and adults across the western U.S. and has conducted over 100 choral/orchestral performances in concert halls nationwide. Stewart specializes in the proper vocal development of singers of all ages, and he is known for his passion for teaching and his tenaciously energetic approach to rehearsing and conducting.
Stewart has enjoyed competing in national and international piano competitions throughout his early life. He was second prize winner of the Juilliard Concerto Competition and a finalist in the International USASU Bösendorfer Piano Competition. In 2005 he took first prize at the Music Teachers National Association collegiate piano competition, winning a new Steinway grand piano.
Stewart enjoyed extensive studies in piano, voice, chamber music, and choral music throughout his schooling. He received a master’s degree in piano performance, with cognate studies in choral conducting, from The Juilliard School and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Brigham Young University. His esteemed mentors include Jerome Lowenthal, Stephen Clapp, Judith Clurman, Irene Peery-Fox, Clayne Robison, Rosalind Hall, Ronald Staheli, Ted Reid, and Susan Bana.