Vocal Arts

The Vocal Arts program at UTA provides a nurturing and challenging environment where students can grow as artists, teachers and performers. The outstanding faculty provides enriching and supportive study, and the department offers rewarding performing opportunities that prepare students for future careers as professional musicians.

UTA choral ensembles are dynamic and growing. The A Cappella Choir offers 40-50 select singers the opportunity to tour, record, and perform in regional and national venues, while the University Singers and Women's Chorus offer talented students from the greater UTA campus community a high quality ensemble experience. All ensembles perform two concerts each semester on the UTA campus and periodically collaborate with orchestra.

Future choral music educators will find a comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare them for real-world teaching. Students receive quality mentoring, frequent opportunities to practice-teach, periodic podium time with UTA choral ensembles, and student teaching experiences in some of the best music programs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Individual voice instruction is at the heart of the vocal arts program. Weekly intensive, individually tailored lessons with caring professionals, preparation for solo recitals, and frequent performances develop students into mature artists with the skills necessary to pursue musical careers or continue their studies at the graduate level.

Performance opportunities for UTA vocal students are plentiful. Students may participate in music department recitals, as soloists in choral concerts, opera workshops, UTA musical theatre productions, the National Association of Teachers of Singing conferences and student auditions, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. UTA’s central location makes it easy for students to audition for and perform with the Dallas and Fort Worth Opera companies, as well as local church, community and professional choirs. UTA choral and voice faculty offer students additional opportunities at the national and international level by recommending festivals, honor choirs, study abroad, and artist-in-residence programs.


Dr. Karen Kenaston-French, D.M.A. University of North Texas

Department of Music

Professor, Director of Choral Activities, Vocal Arts Area Coordinator

Area: Vocal Arts

Karen Kenaston-French

Email: kenaston@uta.edu

Phone #: 817-272-2435

Office: FA 243

Bio: Karen Kenaston-French is in her 11th year as Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas Arlington, where she conducts the A Cappella Choir, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, and heads the Vocal Area. Under her direction the UTA A Cappella Choir has performed at TMEA, SWACDA, and national ACDA conventions and has made appearances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Ballet Theatre, the Fort Worth Chorale, and the Rolling Stones. Prior to her arrival at UTA, Dr. Kenaston-French served as Director of Choral Activities at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where she led the Chamber Singers in two appearances at the Tennessee Music Education Association state conference, and in master classes with Chanticleer, Cantus, and Libby Larsen. She taught conducting at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, and was director of music ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas from 1986-1998. Dr. Kenaston-French has been guest conductor for choirs in Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee, for numerous TMEA region choirs, for the American Festival of the Arts (AFA), and is a frequent clinician and adjudicator of high school choirs across the state. She serves as artistic director of the highly successful All-State Choir Camp, One Last Look Workshop, and the Area Workshop at UTA, which collectively attract more than 500 students each year. She continues to share her experience in church music as a faculty member for SMU’s Church Music Summer Seminar and as clinician for church choirs. Beginning with the 2019-2020 season Dr. Kenaston-French will take over as Artistic Director/Conductor of the Ft. Worth Chorale, following Jerry McCoy as only the fifth conductor in the organization’s 56-year history. Dr. Kenaston-French holds a B.A. in vocal performance from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.M. and M.S.M. degrees in choral conducting from Southern Methodist University, and a D.M.A. in choral conducting from the University of North Texas, where she was named outstanding graduate student in conducting and ensembles and the Pi Kappa Lambda outstanding doctoral student. She studied conducting with Jerry McCoy, Mel Ivey, Lloyd Pfautsch, Jane Marshall, and Larry Parsons, and in 2011 was a conductor for the Choral/Orchestral Master Class of the Oregon Bach Festival, under Helmut Rilling and Jeffrey Kahane. Vocal studies include graduate work with Lynn Eustis at UNT and Linda Baer at SMU. Her article “The Teachings of Jean‐Antoine Bérard” was published in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Journal of Singing in November 2009. She sang in the Dallas Symphony Chorus from 1993-2003, and was selected by national audition to sing in the first Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 1991.

Dr. John Wayman, Ph.D., Fine Arts, Texas Tech University

Department of Music

Associate Professor

Area: Choral Music Education

John Wayman

Email: john.wayman@uta.edu

Office: FA 367-A

Bio: Dr. John Wayman is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he conducts the University Singers and guides our future choral music educators. Prior to his arrival to UTA, Wayman served as Music Education Coordinator and Director of the Concert Choir at Young Harris College in Georgia. Dr. Wayman has a BAMEd from Wayland Baptist University, a MMEd and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. As a choral director, Dr. Wayman brings a wealth of information having worked with all levels (elementary-college in Texas and Georgia) in a variety of settings. He is in great demand as an adjudicator and clinician, regularly working with school music programs and directing honor choirs throughout the nation. Dr. Wayman’s areas of specialty consist of the male changing voice, music as an educational tool for the traditional classroom and the development of the preservice teacher. His research has been presented regularly at professional conferences in state (Texas Music Educators Association, Tennessee MEA and Georgia MEA), nationally (National Association for Music Educators, Society of Research for Music Education, Society of Music Teacher Educators) and international venues (International Society of Music Education [Greece and Brazil] , Research in Music Education [England], PASME [Uganda], and most recently working with the choirs and future music educators at the University of Internationalities in Chengdu, China). His work can found in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Teaching Music, Georgia Music News and Symposium on Music teacher Education: Enacting Shared Visions.

Dr. Soo Hong Kim, D.M.A. University of North Texas

Department of Music

Associate Professor, Director of Opera/Music Theater Workshop

Area: Vocal Arts

Soo Hong Kim

Email: soohong@uta.edu

Phone #: 817-272-2431

Office: FA 241

Bio: Soo Hong Kim, a lyric soprano, is recognized for her full, warm and expressive voice, and her moving interpretation of many opera roles such as Mimi (La Boheme) and Nedda (I Pagliacci). She has performed major rolls in many professional opera companies such as Dallas Lyric Opera and Shreveport opera. She made her New York debut as soloist in Mozart’s Vespers at Lincoln Center. Graduated from the University of North Texas with the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance, Dr. Kim has been teaching at The University of Texas at Arlington as an assistant professor of voice since 1998. Along with applied voice lessons, she also teaches Voice Class, Vocal Pedagogy, Vocal Literature, and Opera Workshop. Dr. Kim conducts a weekly Studio Class open to all voice students. Recently she was appointed as the vocal division coordinator. Dr. Kim has received many awards and recognition as the winner in competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera Guild Audition (Southwest Region winner) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (National winner, Mary Wolfman Award). The Hemphill-Sorantin Competition named her the overall winner of the competition and the vocal division winner. Early recognition of Dr. Kim’s abilities earned her the International Rotary Club Scholarships and the Dallas Opera Career Development Grant. In addition to her many solo recitals and guest artist presentations, she has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Festival, with the San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and the Texas Wind Symphony. As a clinician, Dr. Kim has presented master classes and lecture recitals at local, national and international venues. In Seoul, Korea, she presented several master classes and a recital in summer 2002. She recently performed in a recital at the Regional Conference of the College Music Society in Oklahoma City, and is a regular adjudicator at State and Regional NATS competitions. Her current performance engagements include solo recitals and soprano soloist for oratorios in many cities nationwide, such as South Bend, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Austin.

Jing Ling-Tam, M.M., Vocal Performance, University of North Texas, M.M., Piano Performance, New England Conservatory of Music

Department of Music


Area: Vocal Arts

Jing Ling-Tam

Email: tam@uta.edu

Office: FA 240

Bio: Jing Ling-Tam, Professor of Music has garnered international recognition in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. A brilliant conductor, Ling-Tam has conducted over thirty- five All-State Choirs and numerous American Choral Directors Association national and divisional honor choirs. An innovative and much sought after clinician/master teacher, she has been featured as a headliner at prestigious international, national, regional and state choral conferences. As Director of Choral Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington (1999-2009), her choirs have performed at national and regional ACDA conferences, Texas Music Educators Association Conferences (1997 and 2001) and toured in the US, Mexico, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Austria. Ling-Tam served as Associate Conductor/Chorus Master /Principal Coach Pianist for the Ft. Worth Opera Association for sixteen seasons, and was on the faculty at the American Institute of Musical Studies, Graz, Austria for eleven summers. Ling-Tam’s recent credits include conducting the Taipei Symphony, the Coro de Madrigalistas of Mexico, and presenting workshops/lectures for the Children’s Palaces of NingBo, Xiamen and GuangZho in China; Festival 500, Newfoundland, the Ontario Vocal Festival & Choral Conductors' Symposium, Toronto, Podium 2008, New Brunswick, Canada; the 2006 International Youth Choral Festival, Hong Kong and the 2007 and 2009 Salzburg Pedagogical Institute Winter Workshops. Ling-Tam also served on juries for the 2007 Third World Children's Choral Festival, Hong Kong, the Spittal an der Drau 45th International Choral Competition in Austria, and the 2008 World Choir Games in Austria. This July she made her Australian conducting debut with the 2010 Australian National Choral Association’s Honor Choir and was a member of the international jury for the 2010 World Choir Games in China. Currently, Prof. Ling-Tam is scheduled to conduct the 2010 New York All-State Choir, 2010 Washington All-State Choir, and 2010 Louisiana Youth All- State Choir. Prof. Ling-Tam serves on the board of Chorus American A choral series in her name is published by Alliance Music of Houston, Texas.

Dr. David Grogan, D.M.A, University of North Texas

Department of Music

Associate Professor

Area: Vocal Arts

David Grogan

Email: dgrogan@uta.edu

Office: FA 242

Bio: David Grogan, baritone, has performed extensively throughout the Southwest to critical acclaim. The Dallas Morning News hailed Mr. Grogan as the “perfect Christus” after a performance of the St. Matthew Passion with the Dallas Bach Society. The Albuquerque Tribune, in reference to a performance of Messiah with the New Mexico Symphony, said, “David Grogan had all the range and power required of the part, sounding like the voice of doom in ‘The people that walked in darkness’ and the light of revelation in ‘The trumpet shall sound.’" A recent performance of Elijah had critics praising his ability to “move easily from stentorian declamation to lyrical aria.” Another critic said that he “….brought an impressive vocal power to the lead role of Elijah, and his rich emotive gift set the level for the other chief performers.” He has performed as a soloist with many Dallas area arts groups including the Dallas Bach Society, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Mesquite Civic Chorus, and the Allegro Artists, as well as at several Texas universities. Recent performances include Elijah with the New Mexico Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Arlington Master Chorale, and the Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the Plano Civic Chorus. Grogan looks forward to his performance of the Brahms Requiem under Helmuth Rilling this fall. Grogan joined the faculty at the University of Texas Arlington in the fall of 2009, first as visiting professor and in 2010 as tenure-track Assistant Professor of Voice. In addition to providing private vocal instruction for voice majors, Grogan teaches vocal pedagogy, voice class, and choral methods. His background in choral music education is extensive, including experience directing programs in both private and public schools across the metroplex. As choir director at Dallas Christian School from 1996 to 2000, Dr. Grogan increased choir participation from 15 members to 115, and took the choir to one of the first TPSMEA competitions. He has taught voice and served as assistant choral director in some of the most prominent programs in the area, including at Arlington High School under Dinah Menger, and Manor Middle School under Tommy Haygood. Grogan holds Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from Texas Christian University, where he studied voice with Sheila Allen and pedagogy with Vincent Russo. His love of choral music was solidified under the tutelage of the late Ronald Shirey, who taught Grogan much of his musicality. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy in 2010 from the University of North Texas, where he studied voice with Jeffrey Snider, pedagogy with Stephen Austin, and worked closely with Lyle Nordstrom in the early music program. Dr. Grogan’s dissertation was on the vocal pedagogy of Frederic W. Root, who was an American vocal pedagogue of the 19th century. A shorter version of the dissertation was published in the January 2010 Journal of Singing under the title, “The Roots of American Pedagogy.”

Dr. Jennifer Ciobanu, D.M.A. University of North Texas

Department of Music


Area: Vocal Arts

Jennifer Ciobanu

Email: ciobanu@uta.edu

Office: FA 239

Bio: Jennifer Ciobanu completed the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at the University of North Texas, where she studied voice with Lynn Eustis. Her performance in UNT's production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream was well received, with one critic commenting that he was "especially taken" with her singing in the role of Tytania. Especially fond of Italian repertoire, Dr. Ciobanu has spent considerable time studying in Italy, performing in various summer festivals in conjunction with both American and Italian organizations. She was selected for two consecutive summers as an advanced artist in the Daniel Ferro Vocal Program in Greve-in-Chianti, and made her Italian debut as Musetta in La bohème with the Accademia del Teatro in Cagli. Studying voice with Paolo Vaglieri, she was a finalist in the Cagli International Vocal Competition and has been a soloist in numerous concerts throughout the Le Marche and Toscana regions. She has toured the Czech Republic in a production of Oscar Nedbal's Polenblut with the Americke Jaro Festival, and has been seen by DFW audiences as a soloist with the Orchestra of New Spain and the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. In addition to her experience in the world of classical and operatic singing, Dr. Ciobanu has sung leading roles in musical theatre productions, and while living in Bologna, Italy, taught voice at the Bernstein School of Musical Theatre. In addition to her teaching at UTA, she also teaches Voice at Dallas Christian College.

Dr. Kwan Kyun Joo, D.M.A. University of North Texas

Department of Music


Area: Vocal Arts

Kwan Kyun Joo

Email: kwankyun.joo@uta.edu

Office: FA 248

Bio: A native of South Korea, tenor Kwan Kyun Joo has appeared professionally as a soloist on the opera, oratorio, and recital stage. Roles include Rodolfo in La Bohème, Alfredo in La Traviata, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don José in Carmen. Vašek in The Bartered Bride, and Tito in La Clemenza di Tito. Oratorio experience includes Bach’s Mass in b Minor, Beethoven’s Symphony #9, Puccini’s Gloria, Mozart Requiem, Mozart Coronation Mass, Verdi Requiem at Bass Hall, Fort Worth, and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with symphonies in Texas, including the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texarkana Symphony, Allen Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving, UNT Symphony Orchestra and Grand Chorus, UTA Symphony Orchestra, Plano Civic Chorus, The Texas Voices, and CTS (Christian Television System) Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Joo earned Doctor of Musical Arts from University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton. Dr. Joo holds the Artist Diploma from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He earned his master’s degree in voice performance from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Dr. Joo is also a voice faculty member at Texas Woman’s University and University of Texas at Arlington. His experience at TWU includes directing opera scenes performances and full productions, Die Zauberflöte, The Tender Land, and The Telephone. He also serves as choir conductor at Binnerri Presbyterian Church in Richardson, Texas.

Julie Liston Johnson, D.M.A. (ABD) University of North Texas

Department of Music


Area: Vocal Arts

Julie Liston Johnson

Email: julie.listonjohnson@uta.edu

Office: FA 324

Bio: Julie Liston Johnson is currently finishing her DMA at The University of North Texas where she also held teaching fellowships in voice. Originally from St. Paul, MN, she received her Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School where she held two teaching fellowships and was later hired on the adjunct faculty teaching sight-reading. Ms. Liston Johnson made her Carnegie Hall debut with the solo in Fauré's Requiem and her international debut premiering John Zorn’s La machine de l’être at the Angelica Festival in Bologna. In July 2019, Ms. Liston Johnson was the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem at Durham Cathedral in northern England. Julie has sung as a soloist and professional chorister with many professional groups, including Voices of Ascension, Trinity Church Wall Street, and the Orpheus Chamber Singers. A frequent performer in the Metroplex, recent highlights include Handel's Messiah both as part of the Highlander Concert series in Dallas and at Broadway Baptist in Fort Worth; Dona Nobis Pacem with Craig Jessop conducting; John Rutter’s Requiem with the composer conducting; and singing the American premiere of Bob Chilcott’s St. John Passion, also with the composer conducting. Recent opera roles include, Donna Anna from Don Giovanni and Dido from Dido and Aeneas. While on full fellowship with Aspen Music Festival, Ms. Liston Johnson won the concerto competition with The Queen of the Night's vengeance aria from Die Zauberflöte and was also featured singing Gilda in Rigoletto.

Ron Montgomery, M.M. West Texas A&M University

Department of Music


Area: Vocal Arts

Ron Montgomery

Email: rbm7@uta.edu

Office: FA 239

Bio: A native of Dallas, Texas, Ronald Montgomery has spent most of his professional life in Italy, where he furthered his studies with the bass Enrico Fissore and the soprano Sylvia Rhys-Thomas. He sang in many concerts and recitals, as well as performing operatic roles, most notably at Italy’s famous Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He graduated from S.M.U. in Dallas with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, where he studied with former Metropolitan Opera tenor Thomas Hayward. He received his Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from West Texas A&M University, where he was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in both voice and music theory. He was a finalist in both the Metropolitan Opera Guild Auditions and the San Francisco Regional Auditions. At The University of Texas at Arlington he teaches Private Voice, Singer’s Diction, and conducts the Women’s Chorus.

Tatiana Mayfield, M.M. Jazz Composition, The University of Texas at Arlington

Department of Music

Adjunct Professor

Area: Commercial Voice

Tatiana Mayfield

Bio: Refreshing and beautiful are how many have described the voice and persona of Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield, a jazz vocalist, musician, composer, and educator from Fort Worth, Texas. “LadyMay” (as she has been named) has been singing and playing jazz music since the tender age of thirteen. Since then, she has performed in various venues and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad, which in turn have earned her rave reviews from listeners and musicians in addition to numerous awards. In 2017, “LadyMay” was awarded 2nd place in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocals Competition held at NJPAC in New Jersey. In that same year, she received the “Jazz Innovators Award” from Dallas, TX as part of Jazz Appreciation Month for her contributions to jazz education for young people in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Mayfield was also chosen as one of the twelve semi-finalists to compete in the prestigious 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition that was held in Washington, D.C before a legendary panel of judges. In the summer of 2019, the city of Fort Worth awarded her with a “Legend In The Making” award at their annual “Dr. Marion J. Brooks Living Legends Awards” for her accomplishments in entertainment and education. In addition to several other awards, she is also a 2006 YoungArts winner for Jazz Voice. She has also appeared on Dallas/Ft. Worth’s news television show WFAA “Good Morning Texas” four times since 2011. Mayfield has opened for several well-known artists such as Kirk Whalum, Will Downing, Randy Brecker, Dave Valentin, Bobbi Humphrey, and The Main Ingredient. LadyMay has also performed in 3 concerts between 2016-2018 with the legendary Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The first concert was a tribute celebrating African-American women in music entitled “I’m Every Woman”, then again for their Independence Day “Patriotic Pops: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the USO”, and as of late in the “Classical Roots: Under One Roof” concert honoring the diverse history of the historic Music Hall where they perform. Mayfield has also performed with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina in the spring of 2018. “LadyMay” has recorded three albums, From All Directions (2009), A Portrait Of LadyMay (2012), and The Next Chapter (2018). The first album From All Directions was recorded while she was still attending the University of North Texas, where she received a B.M. in Jazz Studies. Jazz journalist Scott Yanow described her voice on her debut album From All Directions (2009) as “attractive” with “excellent elocution” and a “joyful spirit”. On her sophomore album A Portrait Of LadyMay (2012), Harvey Siders, former writer of JazzTimes and Downbeat magazines, describes her intonation as “flawless” and her scatting “as natural as breathing.” In addition to her vocal skills, she plays piano, trombone, composes, and teaches voice and music theory. In May of 2017, she was awarded 3rd place in the “Performance” category of the International Songwriting Competition for her original song “Forgive Me Someday” from her latest album The Next Chapter. LadyMay’s appeal has also reached listeners abroad in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, France, Nigeria, and Brazil. Her music has been featured on several international radio stations such as “Mi-Soul Radio”,“Solar Radio”, “Jazz FM”, “Tropical FM”, and “Premier Gospel Radio” in the UK, “RJM Radio” in France, and “Smooth 98.1” in Nigeria. In November 2012, her song “Real” from A Portrait Of LadyMay reached #1 on the “UK Soul Chart”. In July of 2013, she completed her first tour (LadyMay In The UK) to London where she was widely received on radio appearances, as well as at some of their top performance venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express in Soho, and the Flyover Portobello. UK based record store “Soul Brother Records” labeled “A Portrait Of LadyMay” as one of their “Best New Jazz Releases of 2013”. In 2020, she was featured in a Dallas Morning News article about her experiences as artist and educator. In addition, she contributed an article to the ISJAC (International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers) about her experience as a black woman composer and performer, earning a master’s degree during a pandemic, and being the first African American person to receive a master’s degree in Jazz Composition at the University of Texas at Arlington. As an educator, Mayfield is an adjunct professor of commercial voice at Dallas College-Cedar Valley Campus in Lancaster, TX and has previously taught jazz voice for the University Of North Texas in Denton, Texas. In 2019, she taught in Zhuhai, China for the Golden Jazz Henquin Jazz Week and performed in the “Crossing Music and New Generation Jazz Festival”. Mayfield recently received a master’s degree in Jazz Composition from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). For more information on Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield, visit www.tatianamayfield.com.