Artistic Director, Sarah J. Baker
Sarah J. Baker began her teaching career in 1992 as an elementary music specialist with the Marietta City Schools, then with the Noble Local Schools, where she taught vocal music, k-12. Since 2001, Mrs. Baker has served as director of choral music at Little Miami High School in Morrow, Ohio (about 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati), where she leads five ensembles and and teaches two levels of music theory. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Muskingum University (1992) and the Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Ohio University (2001), where she studied with Dr. Peter Jarjisian. Further conducting work has been with James Gallagher, Richard Mathey, Jerry Blackstone, Sandra Snow and Joseph Flummerfelt.
In 2003, Mrs. Baker established the Little Miami Select Women’s Chorale. This ensemble, dubbed the “Cinderella story of Cincinnati,” consistently performs throughout the region, engaging in nearly forty events per year. The chorale enjoys singing in women’s chorus festivals, as well as engagements with local community choirs. LMSWC has appeared in OMEA and ACDA professional conferences, the 2012 and 2014 World Choir Games champions divisions. The chorale has performed for joint sessions of the Ohio State House of Representatives and the Ohio State Senate honoring fallen soldiers from Ohio for Medal of Distinction ceremonies and the Veterans Memorial Dedication at the Ohio State Capitol.
To accommodate the rigors of international travel, while offering even more opportunities for students and alums of the Little Miami choir program, a tour chorale was founded. The Little Miami Tour Chorale appeared in the 2016 Musica Mundi International Choral Festival and Competition, Musica Eterna Roma, and the Sing Berlin! International Choral Festival and Competition, earning Gold rankings and division championships. Highlights of the tours included singing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the United States Embassy in Riga, Latvia, and the beautiful churches in Leipzig, Prague and Vienna. The next adventure awaits at Meeting Music’s 2020 International Choral Celebration and Laurea Mundi Budapest, where the Tour Chorale women have been nominated for the Grand Prix Competition. The Little Miami Tour Chorale, along with members of the select women’s chorale and select mixed choir, serves as the demonstration ensemble for Baker’s use of synesthesia (color and voice) to achieve balance and blend in the choral ensemble.
Mrs. Baker has also achieved notoriety as a collaborative pianist with soloists and ensembles, alike. She worked from 1994 – 2002 for the All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir, as the principal accompanist and an arranger for the choir. Still maintaining a fulfilling career as an accompanist, Baker has performed with the OMEA All-State Choir, Ohio University Honor Choir, District 13 Honor Choir, OCDA Women’s and Men’s Honor Choirs, Logan High School Chamber Choir and sectional rehearsal accompanist for the Music for All National Choir Festival. She is the accompanist/organist at Heritage Presbyterian Church in Mason, Ohio, a position she has held since 2010.
Memberships include the Ohio Music Education Association/NAfME, the American Choral Directors Association, the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the American Connemara Pony Society. Mrs. Baker served as the Southwest Region Chair of the Ohio Choral Directors Association from 2013-2015.
Professional honors include the 2011 Warren County Project Excellence Innovative Teacher Award, featured director in the September 2012 issue of Choral Director Magazine, and the 2013 All-Ohio State Fair Youth Choir’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2016, Baker was appointed as a member of the ENVOY (Educators for National Voices of Youth) and was designated a premiere conductor for the newly formed choral division of Music for All National Choral Festival. Mrs. Baker was most recently honored to serve as the conductor of the 2019 Ohio Choral Directors Association Women’s Honor Choir to be held on June 17 at Otterbein University.
Mrs. Baker lives in Maineville with her husband Andrew, also a professional musician, children – Drew and Clara, and two crazy cats – Korra and Ricochet. Her oldest daughter Sydney is a 2014 Little Miami graduate, member of the Little Miami Tour Chorale, and 2017 graduate of The Ohio State University. While not making music with LM students, tour chorale and friends, Baker is an avid equestrienne, training, pleasure riding and working with special needs children through equine-assisted therapy.
Sarah J. Baker, Director
3001 US 22 & 3
Morrow, Ohio 45152
Piano, Joyce Lawson
Joyce began her music studies in Atlanta, Georgia where she was born. The Bachelor of Arts in Music was earned from Kentucky Christian University, and the Bachelor of Science in Music Education was received from Elon University (North Carolina). Mrs. Lawson was Music Director of First Christian Church in Martins Ferry, Ohio before becoming the Music Director of Reidsville Christian Church in North Carolina. She has taught pre-school through senior age singers with special expertise directing hand bell choirs. Since moving to Ohio, she has accompanied various community and church choirs including the Mason Chorale, Ambassadors Choir from Mason Christian Village, and Master’s Men from Christ’s Church at Mason. Mrs. Lawson also enjoys accompanying students from Mason High School and Mason Middle School for OMEA Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Events. This is her second year serving as collaborative pianist for the Little Miami High School Choirs.