Choral Scholar Program

The Choral Scholar Program is was first instituted by Director of Music and Organist Kevin Simons in 2006.  Its original purpose was to support the work of the choir in worship and liturgy but has since expanded its ministry to include working with youth choirs and cantering.  The program operates in two directions. The church benefits from the musical skills and expertise of the scholars and the church helps them to develop better their choral background.  The scholars also learn many soft skills such as working with volunteer singers, appropriate literature for a church choir and building community.

Current Scholars

Clarie Barckholtz

Claire Barckholtz, Soprano I
Claire, a graduate of the Voice/Keyboard program at the Saginaw Arts and Science Academy, is attending Saginaw Valley State University as a voice major this year. She is also an active member of the Saginaw Choral Society. This is Claire’s second year as a choral scholar.


Heather Seaton, Soprano II
A student at Saginaw Valley State University, Heather is studying music education. Heather is an active singer who also participates in the Saginaw Choral Society, Baroque on Beaver Music Festival, co-teaches the youth choir at our neighboring non-profit Major Chords for Minors. .

Emerald Joiner

Emerald Joiner, alto
A student at Saginaw Valley State University, Emerald is studying music education. Her primary instrument is piano and her secondary instrument is voice. She is also recognized as an All-American on the SVSU Women’s Track and Field team where she specializes in the throwing events (shot put, discus, hammer, weight).  She also assists Brad Fergin with our youth choir program, Voice for Life and co-teaches the youth choir at our neighboring non-profit Major Chords for Minors.  This will be Emeralds fourth year with us as a choral scholar.

Tyler Morse

Tyler Morse, bass
Tyler joined the Choral Scholar Program in early 2015. In addition to his activities within the church, Tyler is working to complete his Bachelor’s in Music Education at Saginaw Valley State University, where he sings in both of the university choirs. He also is a member of the Saginaw Choral Society. Tyler studies voice with Dr. Simons.

See how choral scholars connect in the community…

Jeremiah Kraniak: Choral Scholars Success

Jeremiah Kraniak | Choral Scholar

Jeremiah Kraniak, Saginaw resident and St. John’s Choral Scholar, is spending part of his summer in Oxford, England as a Conducting Fellow in the Choral Music Institute at Oxford. This program is a collaboration between the Westminster Choir College of Rider University and St. Stephen’s House, a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford.

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Leadership Profile | 2014 Choral Scholars

Choral Scholars 2014

…as featured in the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan’s annual publication “The Feast.”

Recently, I had a conversation with the St. John’s Choral Scholars.  The premise was simple.  Tell us about yourself, how you influence St. John’s and how the people of St. John’s influence you.   From breaking dishes to baptisms I think you’ll be surprised at the range of the impact.  And how the choral scholar ministry supports everyonewho worships here, not just the choir.  The interview is long but stick with it!  There were five of us talking after all!

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An Unofficial Homecoming

Choral Scholar Alumni

LTR: Bradly Fergin, Jeremiah Kraniak, Ric Roberts, Tami Snyder-Knutson, Caleb Knutson, Kevin Simons, Rachelle Austin-FerginBLOG POST: An Unofficial Homec

A few weeks ago, the choir and subsequently the 10:30 congregation had an unofficial homecoming of choral scholars.  Three of our scholars, Jeremiah Kraniak (current scholar), Tami Snyder-Knutson (former scholar) and Rachelle Austin (former scholar) were featured soloists at the season opening concert of the Saginaw Choral Society.  That all three of them had a portion of their musical formation occur at St. John’s would have, of course, been enough to brag about.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Also in attendance at the concert that night were former scholars Caleb Knutson and Brad Fergin, there to support their partners.  After an evening of celebrating, congratulating and reuniting with friends, these five scholars did what we all hoped they would and returned to the church they have in common for a great Sunday sing with the choir.

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  • 2015:  Claire Barckholtz, Emerald Joiner, Jeremiah Kraniak, Bradley Fergin
  • 2014: Amanda Perkins, Emerald Joiner, Jeremiah Kraniak, Keven Washburn
  • 2013: Amanda Perkins, Emerald Joiner, Jeremiah Kraniak, Kurt Dickson
  • 2012: Rachelle Austin, Emerald Joiner, Jeremiah Kraniak, Bradley Fergin
  • 2011: Rachelle Austin, Jeremiah Kraniak, Donavon Tear, Bradley Fergin
  • 2010: Tami Snyder-Knutson, Rachelle Austin, Caleb Knutson, Donavon Tear
  • 2009: Tami Snyder-Knutson, Marcus C. Roll, Caleb Knutson
  • 2008: Tami Snyder-Knutson, Marcus C. Roll, Jeremy P. Myers
  • 2007: Tami Snyder-Knutson, Marcus C. Roll, Jeremy P. Myers
  • 2006: Megan K. Reid, Marcus C. Roll, Jeremy P. Myers