Justice Choir GR Leadership
The choir has continued growing since its start with the support of dedicated choir members, leaders, and community partners. A BIG thank you to Justice Choir GR's founding director, Claire Minnis, and to Tara Cleveland, who beautifully carried us forward as director for 2018-2019 season.
There are many moving parts to make our efforts successful, and we're grateful for all the support we've received since our inception! We proudly view our singers' creativity and community connections as valuable resources, and still when it comes to amplifying advocacy in our community, we know our group can't do it alone. We welcome any interested community members or JCGR singers to consider serving on our steering committee as we continue to grow!
Music Director, Justice Choir GR
Parks Payton is the Middle School Choir Director at Lakeshore Middle School and White Pines Intermediate School in Grand Haven, MI, where he teaches over 600 students, leads the Middle School Musical, and directs the Lakeshore Honors Choir. Parks holds a B.A. and M.M. in Music Education from Michigan State University with research into adolescent voice change and social emotional learning in the music classroom. He is currently a member of the Choral Faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Parks is passionate about music performance as a tool for social advocacy and cultural understanding and firmly believes in the inclusive power of choral music to unite and inspire. Previous to his position with Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Parks was the Artistic Director of the Eaton Rapids Community Choir and President of the Michigan State University Men's Glee Club.
Steering Committee Lead
Karen has been singing in choirs most of her life, but Justice Choir introduced her to a whole new reason to sing. Thrilled to combine her love of music with a renewed interest in social advocacy and community partnerships, she is grateful to be a part of this organization. Karen has worked with nonprofit arts organizations as both employee and volunteer, and served as President of the Board of Directors for the Lakeshore Community Chorus in Saugatuck, Michigan.
Ashley grew up singing in choirs and enjoys music and the arts. After earning a degree from Grand Valley State University in Advertising & Public Relations, she was looking for a way to get involved in the community. Frustrated with the injustices playing out in our country, Ashley eagerly joined the chorus in January 2018, and helping it thrive has become a passion project. With her experience in PR and digital marketing, she is excited to increase the choir's reach and help create new connections in the community.
Community Engagement Director
Julianne graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English and environmental studies. Upon graduation, she relocated from Ohio to New Orleans to assist in post-Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. She spent nine months leading volunteers with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana before moving back to her hometown of Grand Rapids. In the years since, she's tackled several sales and marketing roles, and is now Advancement & Communications Coordinator for The Fountain Hill Center, a nonprofit counseling center with an office in Heritage Hill. She appreciates the way Justice Choir GR unites and amplifies local voices for change, and is looking forward to forging and strengthening relationships with other like-minded community groups.
Liz is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with diverse interests in the sciences and education. No matter how many things she was studying in undergrad and graduate school, she has always made time for music. She currently works full-time in the pharmaceutical industry and is active in the West Michigan music community as an instrumentalist, vocal soloist, small group leader, choir soprano, and volunteer. Currently, she is in the Park Church Chancel Choir, Wind Ensemble, and Smith-Dively Ringers. She also sings in the Holland Chorale. In addition to these ensembles, she is one of the founding members of Justice Choir GR.