Who We Are

Heartland Voices consists of professional and professionally trained singers from the greater Northern Illinois area who are committed to excellence in choral music performance.

Formed in 1999, this critically acclaimed ensemble came together to expand their love of music, to perform challenging and diverse literature, to offer their talents as guest artists for symphonies and other organizations, and to establish a strong community service component with an emphasis on educational outreach programming. They have been regularly featured as guest artists for the Illinois Chamber Symphony and the DuPage Opera Theatre.

Heartland Voices has performed at weddings, masses, nursing homes, local schools, and has joined with the Community Crisis Center, Boys and Girls Clubs, Mother Goose, the Resident Police of Elgin, Sherman Health Systems and the Larkin Center for community service projects. In October 2001, Heartland Voices was honored to join an elite number of ensembles when they performed for the Illinois Chapter of the American Choral Director's association, and were honored with an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in April 2002.

Now in their seventeenth season, Heartland Voices continues to expand their repertoire and their love of music, while striving to set the highest standard for performance and professionalism.

Dr. John G. Slawson
Director

Dr. John G. Slawson, Artistic Director/Principal Conductor, founded the critically acclaimed Heartland Voices in July 1999. Dr. Slawson's work with choral ensembles is considered to be one of the finest in northern Illinois. He has worked with the Elgin Children's Chorus, the Elgin Children's Theatre, the Elgin Choral Union, Arts Chorale, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Valley Civic Orchestra, and many high school choirs. Serving as music director of the Elgin Choral Union for six years, Dr. Slawson expanded the repertoire and outreach programs to new artistic heights. He conducted the Fox Valley premiere of Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light, Alice Parker's The Clearings, the Misa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra of Ariel Ramirez, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and the world premiere of Kirke Mechem's Earth My Song. Dr. Slawson has been instrumental in bringing outstanding choral groups including Chanticleer and Cantus to Elgin.

Dr. Slawson is Professor of Choral Music/Music Department Coordinator at Elgin Community College where he directs the concert choir, the vocal jazz ensemble, and ECC's Encore Musical Theatre Productions. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Northern Michigan University, and earned his DMA in choral conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. In addition, Dr. Slawson is the music director at the First United Methodist Church in Elgin, IL. He continues to serve as an adjudicator and choral clinician throughout the Midwest.

Dr. Slawson lives in Elgin and has two children and five grandchildren

Dr. Paul J. Satre
Accompanist

Dr. Paul Satre is Professor of Music in the School of Music at Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois, where he conducts the Concert Choir and teaches piano and courses in music theory and conducting. A graduate of the University, he did his graduate work at the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, where he received the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance. He also did graduate work in musicology at the University of Minnesota.

The Trinity Choir tours regularly in the United States and overseas. On their 2000 tour of Europe, the choir won first place in an international choral festival in Croatia. The choir has also recorded several CDs under Dr. Satre's direction. In addition to the regular Christmas and Spring concerts, recent performances on campus with orchestra under Dr. Satre's baton include Haydn's Creation, Rutter's Gloria, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, and Mendelssohn's Elijah. A 2004 tour of Scandinavia is currently being planned for the Trinity Choir.

Before coming to Trinity, Dr. Satre taught at Judson College (IL) and Crown College (MN). He returned to his alma mater to teach in 1996. Dr. Satre has also taught courses in church music and hymnology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is on the editorial board of Creator magazine, a periodical for church musicians. He has led seminars and adjudicated at music conferences and clinics, and has performed as accompanist or soloist in the United States, Europe and Japan. He performs regularly in the Chicago area, has performed on numerous recording projects, and is principal organist of the Moody Church in Chicago. At the church, Dr. Satre has performed on piano and organ on recordings and is heard regularly on over 400 radio stations throughout the world on the Moody Church Hour. Currently, Sunday morning church services may be heard live over the internet. He has also been featured at the church as piano soloist in Beethoven's Concerto III and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Dr. Satre was also one of the soloists with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in Mozart's Concerto for Three Pianos and Orchestra.

Dr. Satre and his wife, Joy, live in Elgin and have two children. Joy is an elementary school teacher.

Richard Pahl

Born and raised in northwest Ohio, Richard earned a BA in Communication Arts at Siena Heights College. He spent the 1980s working as an actor and director at theatres across the country. He arrived in Elgin in 1991 to work with college chum Nancy Potter and Ed Pratt at E&N Productions. In his free time he began familiarizing himself with area theatre groups in his search for new opportunities.

That year he reprised his role as Major General Stanley in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE for the Park Ridge Gilbert and Sullivan Society and subsequently staged four operettas for them. He also directed THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS for Elgin Summer Theatre and LIFE WITH FATHER for Elgin Community Theatre. He served on ECT's Play Reading Committee and subsequently directed THE LONG CHRISTMAS DINNER, AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS and MARVIN'S ROOM for that organization.

In 1992 Richard staged HARVEY for TownSquare Players at the Woodstock Opera House. That same year he portrayed Captain Shotover in HEARTBREAK HOUSE for Independent Players for whom he went on to direct THE HEIDI CHRONICLES, NO SEX PLEASE, WE'RE BRITISH and a staged reading of a new play by Nina Wright, ABANDONED HOUSES. An enthusiastic proponent of new plays and playwrights, Richard produced and directed a series of readings of one-acts by Ms. Wright as well as her full-length CHERCHEZ DAVE ROBICHEAUX at venues in East Dundee and St. Charles.

In 1993 he portrayed the Baker in INTO THE WOODS at ECC and began a happy collaboration with Dr. John Slawson. The next year Richard directed THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the first show on the new VPAC mainstage, with Doc. That was followed by FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, a second INTO THE WOODS, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, THE FANTASTICKS, the Sondheim revue YOU'RE GONNA LOVE TOMORROW and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC.

Other notable area performances include Andy Ladd in LOVE LETTERS at various venues, Nate Miller in AH, WILDERNESS! at ECC, Fredrik in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC for Woodstock Musical Theatre Company, and most recently in BROADWAY BACKWARDS at Side Street Studio.

Additional directing credits include HELLO, DOLLY! for Fox Valley Youth Theatre, A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING for WMTC, BIG RIVER at the Norris Center, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, CRIMES OF THE HEART and BABY WITH THE BATHWATER at McHenry County College, REPEAT W/MADELINE for Janus Theatre at Al's Cafe, SYLVIA, CLOSER THAN EVER, THE DINING ROOM and ORDINARY DAYS at Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles, and LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE, a benefit for the Community Crisis Center.

Richard was invited to serve on the Elgin Arts Showcase Advisory Committee which supervised the opening of that venue in Elgin's historic Professional Building. He subsequently served on Elgin's Cultural Arts Commission with future Mayor Kaptain at a time when Mayor Schock and the City Council were first positioning Elgin as an arts destination. He delighted in the opportunity to produce the CAC's Page To Stage play reading series which eventually presented eight plays by local and national playwrights and offered writing workshops to area writers.