Musical Directors

Leah Ries, Artistic Director

Concert Choir

Leah Ries began directing the Mankato Children’s Chorus in 2000. She is the founder of the Kodaly based Training and Intermediate Choirs which provide an early choir opportunity for children in the first through third grades. In her tenure with MCC, Leah has directed the Training, Intermediate, Youth, Concert and Melodia Choirs. Currently she directs the Concert Choir. She has been a music educator for 31 years in Oklahoma and Minnesota teaching elementary, middle school, and jr. high general and choral music as well as private piano and voice. She has been an adjudicator and workshop presenter and is currently teaching elementary music in the Mankato Public Schools.

After completing a Bachelor of Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City, Leah completed a Kodaly Certification with emphasis in choral conducting at the University of Oklahoma. She founded the Northern Hills Honor Choir in Edmond, Oklahoma which was selected to sing at the 1992 Oklahoma Music Educators Association annual conference in Oklahoma City. She also worked with Robert J. Ward and the Stillwater Boys Choir in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Her MCC choirs have performed at the Minnesota ACDA Fall Convention, Minnesota Music Educators Midwinter Conference, Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota Youth Choir Festival in Rochester, Festival of the States in Washington D.C. and has been the guest children's chorus of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.

Leah and her husband Barry currently live in Mankato.

Jonathan Shevy, Director

Youth Choir

Melodia Men

Jonathan Shevy joined our directing staff in 2014. Jonathan directs the Youth Choir and Melodia Men. He also teaches in the Mankato Area Public Schools at Franklin Elementary School, teaching students in grades K - 6. Jonathan and his family live in North Mankato.

Kristin Baty, Director

Training Choir

Intermediate Choir

Kristin Baty joined the MCC staff in 2011, directing the Training and Intermediate choirs. Kristin moved to Mankato in 2009 after teaching elementary vocal music in Edina, MN. There she also directed an extra-curricular choir and some African Drumming. Kristin has assisted in directing a music and drama camp in Burnsville and directed the Children’s Choir for the Christmas program. She currently teaches elementary music at Hoover Elementary in North Mankato.


In 2006 Kristin graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a dual degree in K-12 Music Education and K-8 Elementary Education. In 2009 She completed her Orff Music Certification from the University of St. Thomas which has helped her develop a passion for incorporating instruments, such as xylophone, recorder, and movement while teaching vocal music. It brings Kristin wonderful joy to make music with young hearts and voices!


Kristin lives in Mankato with her husband Steve and children Adelina, Eli, and Cole and is looking forward to another fun year with MCC!

Robin Hughes

Melodia Women Choir

Melodia Mixed Choir

Robin Hughes is excited to join the staff of the Mankato Children’s Chorus and will direct the Melodia Women and Melodia Mixed Choir. Robin received her Bachelor of Music Degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She joined the faculty at Mankato East High School in the fall of 2004 as the Director of Choral Activities and recently retired after 16 wonderful years of teaching four choirs. Robin directs the Worship Choir at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Mankato and is the Director for the MN Music Ambassadors Choir, which travels to Europe every other summer. Before her position at Mankato East, she directed the choirs at St. Peter High School and the Minnesota State University/Mankato Women’s Chorale.

Hughes has served the Minnesota Music Educators Association as Choral Vice-President, Choral Assistant, Region Representative, and All-State Team and Section Leader. She served the American Choral Directors Association as Southwest District Chair and was a recipient of the MN ACDA, Young Choral Director of the Year Award. Currently, she serves on the F. Melius Christiansen Endowment Committee.

Robin and her husband Al live in Mankato and enjoy travelling and spending time with their six grandchildren.