Dr. Brett Stewart
Dean & Founding
California & Texas
Dr. Brett Stewart and his wife Mindy are the parents of seven children. Stewart is a conductor, composer, pianist, and vocalist. Together with his brother, he founded Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras in 2007. As a Dean & Founding Musical Director for MCO, Stewart travels extensively to all five locales. Along with his brother, he is also a composer-in-residence for MCO, having composed and arranged well over one hundred works for the organization, including the full-length oratorio Messiah in America, and the full-length patriotic work To Be American.
Stewart has taught music to youth and adults for nearly three decades. Prior to founding MCO, Stewart conducted and accompanied various choirs, including University of Cincinnati Men’s Chorus and Chamber Choir, Fountain Valley High School choirs, Meridian School choirs, Brigham Young University Men’s Chorus under Rosalind Hall, Chapman University Concert Choir under Dr. William Hall, and Southern California Children’s Chorus under Lori Loftus.
Stewart received a doctorate degree in choral conducting with cognate studies in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree in choral conducting from California State University, Long Beach, and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Brigham Young University. His mentors include Earl Rivers, Stephen Coker, Dale Warland, Shawn Okpebholo, Jonathan Talberg, Ronald Staheli, Rosalind Hall, Jeffrey Shumway, William Hall, Joseph Matthews, Mack Wilberg, Ted Reid, and Susan Bana.
Extremely active and busy with his family and religious life, Stewart devotes his career time exclusively to MCO and other composing projects. For inspiration, he draws from the nature that surrounds him in the northeast Texas countryside where he and his family reside.
Dean & Founding
Arizona & California
Brandon Stewart and his wife, Heather, are the parents of three children. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Brandon is a conductor, pianist, vocalist, and composer. Together with his brother, he founded Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras in 2007. In addition to his post as MCO Dean & Founding Musical Director, he is also a composer-in-residence for MCO, along with his brother. For the past decade, Brandon has devoted his life to educating and training thousands of youth and adults across the western U.S. and has conducted over 100 choral/orchestral performances in concert halls nationwide. He specializes in the proper vocal development of singers of all ages, and he is known for his tenacious, energetic approach to rehearsing and conducting.
Brandon 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.
Brandon enjoyed extensive studies in piano, voice, chamber music, and choral music throughout his schooling. He received a master’s degree in piano performance from The Juilliard School and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Brigham Young University. His esteemed mentors include Jerome Lowenthal, Stephen Clapp, Irene Peery-Fox, Clayne Robison, Rosalind Hall, Ronald Staheli, Ted Reid, and Susan Bana.
In addition to his full-time career with MCO, Brandon devotes his energies to his religion, family, and friends. He enjoys being active outdoors in the beautiful horse town of Queen Creek, Arizona, where he resides with his family.
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. Joni Jensen
Dr. Joni Jensen is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Voice at Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX). She conducts two TWU choirs and teaches voice, conducting, and choral arranging.
She received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy and her master’s degree in choral conducting from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. She received her DMA in choral conducting, minor in vocal performance, at the University of Arizona. 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 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, TX, and the 2017 NCCO conference in Baton Rouge, LA. 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 piece in 2014. She is also the editor of a brand new series at Hal Leonard for advanced women’s choral music.
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 that include 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 is the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at the College of Idaho. Prior to his appointment at the College of Idaho, he worked in secondary education, directing choral programs at the middle school and high school levels.
He received his DMA in choral conducting at Michigan State University, where he studied conducting and choral methods with David Rayl, Sandra Snow, and Jonathan Reed. He earned his BM in music education and MM in choral conducting at Brigham Young University, where he studied with Ronald Staheli, Mack Wilberg, and Rosalind Hall.
Wells’ scholarship includes a series of articles appearing in the Choral Journal, discussing the folk-based compositions and collecting methodology of Percy Grainger. He also served as guest editor for a Choral Journal focus issue, dedicated to Grainger’s choral works. Additional areas of creative and scholarly work encompass choral diction, leading to Dr. Wells co-authoring the book Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire, Volume II: German Texts—IPA Pronunciation Guide, published by earthsongs, and his work as an arranger—focusing primarily on folk and hymn-based compositions.
As a bass vocalist, Dr. Wells has performed as a featured soloist and 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.
Youth Choirs Conductor's Assistants
Soprano Amy Mascio and her husband, Bobby, are the parents of three boys. She has sung with the Orange County Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestra (OCMCO) since its inaugural concert in 2007. After a brief hiatus to complete her education, she returned to OCMCO in 2010.
Amy received her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from California State University, Fullerton where she graduated with both vocal and opera area honors. While at Fullerton she studied opera performance with Janet Smith (and currently continues her studies with her); coached with Mark Salters; and performed extensively in all CSUF operatic productions. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University, Idaho where she studied voice with Eda Ashby and Kristine Ciesinski. Prior to college Amy participated in the award-winning Fountain Valley High School choral program under the direction of Ted Reid. In addition to her degrees she studied with The Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca, Italy through the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Amy is currently in her ninth season as a soprano with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and often performs as a guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. Her professional recordings include The Verdi Requiem on Deutsch Grammaphon, Górecki: Miserere on Decca, and the newly Released Los Angeles Master Choral: Festival of Carols, recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Amy has worked with notable conductors in the United States and Europe, including Grant Gershon, Esa Pekka Salonen, Lionel Bringuier, Charles Dutoit, Mack Wilberg, Gianfranco Cosmi, and Gustavo Dudamel.
Hillary Haynie and her husband, Josh, are the parents of two children. She is currently the Youth Choirs Conductor’s Assistant for the East Valley Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras in Arizona. Hillary has been singing soprano in the MCO Grand Chorus since 2007, MCO’s inaugural year.
Hillary earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Brigham Young University. During her time at BYU she studied voice and choral music with many esteemed professors and conductors. Nearing the end of her college career she began a private vocal studio and continues to teach private voice today.
Hillary enjoys learning new and valuable things from the immeasurable conductors of MCO. She is also thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time with the youth of MCO. Seeing thousands of youth progress towards perfection in both vocal technique and spiritual maturity is incredibly rewarding and something Hillary is proud to be a part of.
Hillary’s mentors include Clayne Robison, Diane Reich, Darrell Babidge, Lawrence Vincent, Rosalind Hall, Brett Stewart, Brandon Stewart, and Ted Reid.
Mandie McMurdie and her husband, Brian, are the parents of three children. Mandie received her Bachelor of Music in Choral Education from the University of Texas at Arlington, where she sang under the direction of Jing-Ling Tam and studied voice with Rebecca Winston. After graduation she taught in the esteemed music program of Plano ISD as an elementary music teacher for four years, after which she put her teaching career on hold to raise a family.
Mandie is currently a private voice teacher in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and leads a large multi-congregation choir and orchestra. She has sung as a soprano with the Dallas Millennial Choirs & Orchestras since 2015, and has been featured in small-group ensembles and as a soloist. She is excited to be working with the youth of MCO and is proud to be a part of this organization that teaches excellence in choral singing for all ages.
Emily Ball and her husband Brad are the parents of four children. Emily is currently the Youth Choirs Conductor’s Assistant for Utah Millennial™ Choirs & Orchestras (UMCO). She began her association with MCO as a vocalist in the Grand Chorus where she has participated for several years.
As a music student at Chapman University Emily sang under the direction of the renowned director/composer Dr. William Hall. She received her Bachelor in Vocal Studies degree from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Following graduation she became the Vocal Coach for the award-winning Fountain Valley High School choral program under the direction of Brett Stewart. During this time Emily created the curriculum and programs for hundreds of students in the after school group voice classes. She then went on to teach choir at The Waterford School in Sandy, Utah. Because family is very important to Emily she decided to take a break from working full-time to have more children. However, she still kept her association with Waterford part-time as a sectional coach and teaching private voice lessons. At various times since then she had a voice studio both in California and Utah.
Emily would like to thank her mentors William Hall, Christina Dahlin, Vicki Gorman, Ted Reid, Merrilee Webb, and James Smith. She is thrilled to be back in the music world and working with the youth of UMCO.
Cynthia Wells and her husband, Brent, are the parents of three children. She is an active studio teacher and accompanist in the Treasure Valley area, most recently working as adjunct faculty at the College of Idaho and accompanist for Sage Valley Middle School. She also serves as the Certificate of Achievement chair for the Treasure Valley Music Teacher’s Association.
Mrs. Wells graduated from Brigham Young University, earning a double degree in Piano and Organ Performance and Pedagogy, and a Master’s Degree in Organ Performance. Her teachers include Teresa deJong-Pombo, Dr. Robin Hancock, Marlene Bachelder, and Dr. Don Cook. Additionally, she studied voice privately under Dr. J. Arden Hopkin, and has performed in opera, oratorio, and recital. Her singing has earned her membership in many highly regarded ensembles, performing under the direction of Ted Reid, Dr. Mack Wilberg, Dr. Ronald Staheli, and Rosalind Hall.