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 and Malodia Choirs. 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 adjucator 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 Midiwinter 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 and 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!

Claire Baker, Director

Melodia Women

Melodia Mixed Choir

Claire Baker currently teaches K-5 general music at Rosa Parks and Bridges Elementary schools in Mankato, Minnesota, and also serves as the music director for East High School's drama department. Prior to her teaching assignment in Mankato, Claire taught K-2 general music and directed Chamber Choir in Amery, Wisconsin and directed children's programming while serving on the board of directors at the St. Croix ArtBarn in Osceola, Wisconsin.

Claire is a graduate from Wartburg College with a dual degree in music therapy and K-12 music education. She holds a national board certification in music therapy (MT-BC) and completed her Kodaly Master Certification from the University of St. Thomas in 2016.