WINNERS: The American Prize in Conducting
Choral Division, Community Chorus

Richard Hynson, Music Director and Conductor, Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, WI

During his 24 years as Music Director, Dr. Richard Hynson has transformed Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee from a venerable community chorus to a vibrant, successful arts organization respected for its artistic excellence, innovative programming, and impactful outreach. Hynson has guest conducted throughout the U.S and has lead Bel Canto on multiple international tours, most recently to Argentina in summer 2011. Under Hynson’s direction, Bel Canto opened its 81st season on Sunday, September 11, 2011, with United We Stand.  This free outdoor concert, attended by 4,000 people, marked the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks and featured Mozart’s Requiem.

Karen Thomas, Artistic Director, Seattle Pro Musica, WA

Karen P. Thomas, composer and conductor, is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, with whom she has recorded eight critically-acclaimed CDs, and received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award. Her compositions are performed internationally, by groups such as The Hilliard Ensemble, and are hailed as “…superb work of the utmost sensitivity and beauty.” She has received awards and grants from the NEA, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and ASCAP, among others. Her commissions include works for the International Grand Jubilee in Rome and the American Guild of Organists.

Jonathan Palant, Minister of Music, Kessler Park United Methodist Church, Dallas, TX

Jonathan Palant, a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, is currently Minister of Music at Kessler Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.  From 2007-2011, he served as Artistic Director of Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale.  Prior to that time, Palant was Adjunct Professor of Choral Music at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.  He taught secondary choral music at both University School in Cleveland, Ohio and San Pasqual High School in Escondido, California. Palant holds degrees from Michigan State University, Temple University and the University of Michigan.