Kathy Saltzman Romey is artistic director of the 200-voice Minnesota Chorale, which serves as the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal choir. Romey is also Professor Emerita of Music and former Director of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota, where she oversaw the graduate program in choral conducting and conducted choirs for thirty years.
Known for her meticulous training of choirs, Romey has conducted the Chorale in local, national and international forums. She has prepared the Chorale for performances with the Minnesota Orchestra under the baton of Music Directors Osmo Vänskä, Eiji Oue and Edo de Waart, Sommerfest Artistic Directors Andrew Litton, Leonard Slatkin and David Zinman, and acclaimed guest conductors as Roberto Abbado, James Conlon, Nicholas Kraemer, Roger Norrington, Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Juraj Valčuha and Thomas Wilkins. Romey has conducted the Chorale in national and international forums and in performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Metropolitan Symphony.
Romey also coordinates and presents the Bridges series, the nationally acclaimed community-engagement program of the Minnesota Chorale. Begun in 1994 to build musical and social connections between diverse populations, Bridges is an annual initiative that harnesses the richness of choral repertoire to partner with the greater community, expand the Western choral canon, and raise awareness of pressing social needs. A passionate advocate of choral civic engagement, Romey documented the Bridges program in a co-authored chapter with two University of Minnesota conducting students for the 2009 book Wisdom, Wit and Will: Women Choral Conductors on Their Art published by GIA Publications.
Outside of the Minnesota Chorale, Romey has been on the staff of the Oregon Bach Festival since 1984 and is principal chorus master of the festival’s 54-voice professional choir, which she prepares for annual concerts, commissions and recording projects. Festival programs have included American and world premiere performances of major works by Tan Dun, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki and Sven-David Sandström, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart reconstructions by Robert Levin. She has assisted with twelve recordings, including the Oregon Bach Festival’s 2001 Grammy Award-winning CD of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo under Helmuth Rilling, Minnesota Orchestra’s Grammy-nominated disc of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and the recent recordings of Mahler Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, and 8 with Osmo Vänskä leading the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Chorale.
Active as a guest conductor, chorus master and clinician throughout the United States and Europe, Romey has regularly prepared ensembles with the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart for special programs and tours in Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and the United States. Currently, she oversees the chorus of the Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble (Young Stuttgart Bach Ensemble) in collaboration with artistic director Hans-Christoph Rademann. From 2013 to 2018, she also served on the faculty of the Weimar Bach Cantata Academy, focusing on the study and presentation of cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach under the direction of Bach scholar and conductor Helmuth Rilling. In addition to her work with Bach Academies, Romey has prepared programs with the Berkshire Choral International, Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus, Grant Park Music Festival, Netherlands Radio Choir, Teatro del Lago Festival, and Westminster Symphonic Choir.
Romey earned an Artistic Degree in Choral Conducting under Helmuth Rilling from the Frankfurt Musikhochschule in 1984. From 1985-1992, she served as Director of Choral Activities at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and in 1992, joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota. She was honored by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association with the 2002 Conductor of the Year award and in 2006, the University recognized her work with the Arthur Motley award for exemplary teaching. Romey co-authored a book chapter in 2012 with university colleague Matthew Mehaffey on choral music in the United States for the Cambridge Companion to Choral Music. She also collaborated with Helmuth Rilling in 2014 on his book MESSIAH: Understanding and Performing Handel’s Masterpiece. Romey was the recipient of Chorus America’s 2021 Distinguished Service award and recognized as one of four Minnesota choral luminaries at the 2021 Minnesota State Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. She retired from her position at the University of Minnesota in spring 2023.
Barbara Brooks, Chorale Accompanist and Artistic Advisor
Barbara is an active vocal coach and music director in the Twin Cities area. She has worked with various opera companies including Canadian Opera, Minnesota Opera, New Orleans Opera, Opera Banff, Berkshire Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Kentucky Opera, as well as the University of Minnesota Opera and University of North Texas Opera programs. She has served as a vocal coach for the Minnesota Opera's Resident Artist program and currently is on the music staff of the Wesley Balk Institute. She has also collaborated as music director in the highly imaginative productions of Mozart's operas at Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis. She holds a master's degree in piano performance from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Heather Hood, Assistant Director, Symphonic Chorus
Heather is the Director of Traditional Worship at Christ Presbyterian Church (Edina, MN), where she has led choirs of all ages, has had a primary role in the planning of weekly worship services, and has served on a team of ministry leaders since 1985. Heather also serves as adjunct faculty and a collaborative pianist at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, in Minnesota.
As Assistant Conductor with the Chorale, Heather has prepared the singers for performances with Osmo Vänskä and Paul McCreesh, and has assisted Kathy Romey with numerous Chorale projects. Heather has been singing with the Minnesota Chorale since 1986, and has soloed in various performances with the Chorale, as well as the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropolitan Orchestra, and the Bach Society of Minnesota. She is a featured soloist on the Chorale’s recording of “Adventures of the Black Dot: The Island of Music” by Janika Vandervelde.
For over 45 years, Heather has had an active role in the annual Conference for Church Musicians in Green Lake, Wisconsin, serving on the conference board, planning worship, leading workshops, and accompanying many of the choirs. She is currently on the board of directors for Music in World Cultures, an international mission organization that uses music training to strengthen worshipping communities around the world.
Heather has music degrees from Judson University (B.A., Elgin, IL)) and Northern Illinois University (M.M., DeKalb, IL), and a doctoral degree in worship studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (D.W.S., Jacksonville, FL). She is a published writer and composer, and has served as a conductor, soloist, accompanist, and workshop leader for national and international conferences and seminars.
Nicole Lambrecht, Director of Youth Choirs
Nicole is Assistant Professor of Music at Bethel University where she directs the SSAA choir, Lucia Chorum, and teaches private voice and music education courses. Nicole is Artistic Director and Conductor of Minnesota Center Chorale, a community choir in St. Cloud and Conductor of Bella Fiore with Sing Out Loud in Rochester. Prior to this, she taught middle & high school choir for nine years. Nicole also currently serves as the Central District Chair for ACDA-MN and as the Collegiate-Level Vice President for MMEA. Nicole holds a Master of Music with a Conducting Specialization from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in K-12 Choral Music Education from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Nicole has presented choirs at MMEA Midwinter Clinic and at several festivals in MN and ND; she has also been a clinician at the ACDA state conference and section leader for MN All-State Choirs. She is active regionally as a guest conductor and adjudicator at music festivals and conferences.
Nicole believes in the power of music in the communities and schools, as well as the importance of music in everyone’s lives. Music is for everyone! There is nothing more beautiful than witnessing the magic music can bring and the connective bond music creates with others and with our inner selves.
Jerry Rubino, Conductor, Voices of Experience; Staff conductor, special projects
Jerry is known throughout the U.S. for his work as a conductor, pianist, choral clinician, and arranger. He worked for twenty-three seasons with the Dale Warland Singers, as associate conductor, director of special projects and music education, pianist, singer and arranger. Rubino's conducting and teaching credits include honors choirs in Australia, Taiwan, Hawaii, and Europe; the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the California State Summer Arts Workshops; and Northwestern, Augsburg and Carleton colleges in Minnesota. His music editing credits include extensive work with Hal Leonard Corp. and Oxford University Press. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and ASCAP, he serves as Minister of Music at Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church in Golden Valley. Rubino holds degrees in piano, music education, and conducting from Temple University and the University of Minnesota.