High School Honor Choir
2022 Conductor: Karen Kenaston-French

Karen Kenaston-French is 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 given invited performances at prestigious conferences including National Collegiate Choral Organization (2019), Southwestern Division American Choral Director’s Association (2022 & 2016), the Texas Music Educators Association state convention (2019 & 2014), and served as Choir-in-Residence for the undergraduate and graduate conducting competition at national ACDA (2015). She has prepared the choir for numerous regional guest appearances, including with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theatre, Fort Worth Chorale, the Rolling Stones and The Eagles. Under her direction, the UT Arlington A Cappella has been named a finalist in the American Prize for Choral Performance in 2021 and 2014. In 2019 Dr. Kenaston-French assumed the position of Artistic Director/Conductor of the Fort Worth Chorale, only the fifth conductor in the organization’s 57-year history.

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 served as director of music ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas from 1986-1998. Dr. Kenaston-French has been guest conductor for honor choirs in Colorado, Tennessee, and for many TMEA region choirs. A frequent lecturer and adjudicator, she has given presentations on choral tone, conducting, rehearsal technique and performance practice for SMU, Choristers Guild, Texas Choral Directors Association, and various universities, school districts and local churches.

A native of Huntington, WV, 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 for the first Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 1991.


Full Ensemble:
Refuge – Elaine Hagenberg (10589956) 
Muie Rendera – arr. C.A. Pinto Fonseca (3215860)
Sit Down Servant – arr. Marques Garrett (10715686)
Pilgrim’s Hymn – Stephen Paulus (3125523)

Choir Structure

The High School Honor Choir will include up to 100 singers in total. Final numbers will be decided depending on the number of students auditioning and the overall standard of auditions throughout all voice parts. The combined choir will perform 4 works, all of which will be prepared for the audition.

The top 32 auditionees, in addition to being members of the combined High School Honor Choir, will also be a part of a smaller chamber choir and will perform two additional works on their own. These works will not be a part of the audition but will be prepared by the students involved before the event.

During the time that the conductor will be working with the smaller chamber ensemble, the remaining singers may be participating in conference interest sessions and/or observing the chamber choir rehearsal.


Please send questions to Jeremiah Smallridge:

Checks should be posted to:

Buckhannon-Upshur High School 


Jeremiah Smallridge  

270 B-U Drive 

Buckhannon, WV 26201