Nationally recognized Kansas City vocal group has strong connection to Lee’s Summit R-7

// Posted By Janie Rohlfing

Kantorei KC, a nationally recognized vocal group based in the Kansas City area, has a strong connection to the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Half of the 16-member choral group are either R-7 teachers or graduates.

Local teachers performing with Kantorei include Chris Munce and James Mauk of Lee’s Summit High School, Brad Light of Lee’s Summit North High School and Amy Krinke and Jacob Lowry of Lee’s Summit West High School. Three 2012 graduates of LSHS — Vince Woods, Leah Owen and Alexis Rolls — also perform with the group.

Mr. Munce, the group’s artistic director, said, “Kantorei is a unique vocal ensemble in that we sing largely unconducted. The result is a highly collaborative music making environment, which works so well in a group full of directors! It is a joy to have the opportunity to collaborate and grow professionally alongside colleagues from the district.”

He added, “Kantorei includes music teachers, opera singers and even some people who work in the financial sector as their day job and sing with us in the evenings, so it is a very diverse group of people.”

In addition, it is exciting for the R-7 educators’ students to see their teachers practice what they preach out in the community by singing in a professional choir.

“Collaborating with my peers in a professional ensemble setting allows me to step back from constantly being the decision maker (as I of course am in my own classroom) and create high level music simply as a participant,” said Mrs Krinke, LSWHS teacher and former Lee’s Summit R-7 Teacher of the Year. “Solely being responsible for leading myself and bringing my best self to the ensemble reminds me of what I expect from my students:  to be willing to take risks, to lead by example, to be prepared and to be open to different ways of accomplishing goals.”

She added that singing in this context reminds her of what inspired her to teach choral music in the first place.  

“The fact that I can share this experience with my friends/colleagues is an added bonus to the beautiful sounds that Kantorei creates for the arts community in Kansas City,” Mrs. Krinke said.

On Oct. 3, Kantorei released its third album, titled “To Bethlehem: Carols and Motets for Christmas.” The album will be distributed by the London-based Resonus Classics which has produced sparkling recording of carols and motets for Christmas. In addition, “To Bethlehem” features several world premiere recordings. The group’s three albums are available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify as well as on their website.

For more information about Kantorei KC and to listen to a sample recording, visit

spkantoreiphotoLee’s Summit R-7 teachers involved in Kantorei are (from left) Brad Light, Amy Krinke, Jacob Lowry, Chris Munce and James Mauk.

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