MEET TENOR SECTION LEADER, CONNER MCMAINS


Music has really been a major part of my life from a very early age! Some of my earliest memories include listening to my older brother practice piano after school and even trying to sneakily "conduct" the music we listened to on the way to school from the backseat of the van. In 2nd grade, I finally asked my parents to sign me up for piano lessons and, around the same time, would go up to the choir loft on Sundays and sit on the bench with our parish organist as he played and sang the opening hymn. I started to get more involved with music beyond piano lessons in 7th and 8th grade, when I started playing for my school's all-school Masses. When I was a freshman in high school, I formed a youth band at my church and joined the band and jazz band at my high school. The school had a small electronic organ in the chapel and I began teaching myself to play, eventually being asked to play for the school's Masses and graduations starting in my sophomore year. At this time, I also began to develop an interest in other instruments, teaching myself guitar and ukulele. I served as interim organist for a small Methodist church during the Summer after my junior year, after which I spent a short time as an Associate Organist for my home parish and then accepted my first Director of Music & Organist position at a Presbyterian Church, where I served through college, while also beginning organ lessons.



While in college, I took organ and voice lessons and was a member of the Choir and the Orchestra, in addition to serving as organist for weekly chapel services, music consultant and composer for the theatre department, and much more. During my senior year in college, I took on an additional church position as Music Director at a Methodist church, while also gaining experience occasionally playing for a small honky-tonk bar outside the city. I graduated college in 2012 with my Bachelor of Art in Music (Vocal Performance), got married, and moved from Arkansas to Texas. Once in Texas, I served as Organist and Associate Director of Worship & Music at New World UMC (Arlington, TX) while going to graduate school. In 2016, I graduated from the University of North Texas with a Masters degree in Orchestral Conducting. In 2018, I accepted the Director of Music position at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, TX, where I oversee a growing and varied Music Department consisting of over 250 volunteers and multiple staff, as well as lead an exciting and successful Fine Arts Program. In addition, I currently serve as the President of the Dallas Chapter of Choristers Guild and as Sub Dean of the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (as well as other National positions with the AGO). I joined the Fort Worth Chorale in 2019, where I currently serve as the Tenor Section Leader.



What was your first musical influence?

Two of the earliest and most significant musical influences in my life include my older brother (whose daily practicing made me want to also take piano lessons) and my first piano teacher, who was also our parish's organist. However, I have been blessed to have multiple wonderful musical influences throughout my life - and still do! I believe everyone has something to teach and I'm thrilled to be able to learn from them all!



How did you find FWC?

While I consider choral singing to be one of my primary passions, I had never been in a real choir until I was in college. After I graduated, I was working and going to school and didn't have time to join any choirs. I heard about Fort Worth Chorale around the time Dr. McCoy was retiring and was very interested both to join a choir again and to sing under the direction of Dr. Kenaston-French, who has a reputation as an incredible choral leader and pedagogue. I've loved my time with FWC and look forward to wonderful programs to come!