We are Abbie, Tesfa, and Ahmed, and we're just getting started! We began designing Justice Choir just after the Women's March in January 2017. Our first two projects are to create a new songbook, and to roll out our flagship chapter, Justice Choir-Twin Cities.
You can help build momentum for this social singing movement!
- Follow us on Twitter: @JusticeChoirALL
- Like us on Facebook: @JusticeChoir
- Get more info by email: Join our mailing list
- Organize for justice in your own communities.
- Keep building support for social singing. When we have our Songbook ready, we'll be looking for chapter heads around the country.
We are incredibly grateful to our partner for Justice Choir Songbook, Vol.1 and Justice Choir-Twin Cities: Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis
Abbie Betinis is a composer and publisher based in St Paul, Minnesota. A two-time McKnight Artist Fellow, she also has been listed by NPR Music in their 100 Composers Under 40, featured in the Public Television documentary “Never Stop Singing,” and her music has been broadcast on National Public Radio and Public Radio International. She has held residencies with The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists, The Rose Ensemble, and the New York State School Music Association, and is currently Composer-in-Residence for The Schubert Club and Adjunct Professor at Concordia University, where she teaches composition and choral arranging.
Her music is published primarily by her own venture, Abbie Betinis Music Co, which distributes worldwide from Abbie’s studio in Saint Paul. As a publisher, co-founder and past president of the Independent Music Publishers Cooperative, Abbie has presented at national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and in residencies at music schools across the country on the changing industry of self-publishing, self-promotion, cross-marketing, and copyright.
Abbie began studying music by ear at age 4, in the Suzuki method, and was soon leading her family in her own compositions, painstakingly teaching each of them their “pawts.” She has since sung with the St. Olaf Choir, Dale Warland Singers, The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists, and multiple small a cappella groups. She currently sings high tenor in the doo-wop quartet, The Fairlanes.
Abbie comes from a long line of community activists who worked for issues of justice and peace, and who nurtured the same ideals and work ethic in her. As a three-time cancer survivor, she has learned about living in a state of perpetual resistance, though privately. Public activism is a newer venture for Abbie. As one sign read: “It’s so bad even the introverts are here.”
Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, Director of Choral Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, previously served as the conductor of The Radio Choir from American Public Media and manager of APM’s Choral Works Initiative, in St. Paul, MN. As a high school teacher, he was named Orange County Public School’s Teacher of the Year and received the Macy’s National Magic of Teaching Award. He led his choirs in performances at state conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Florida Music Educators’ Association, and most recently presented a clinic at the 2015 American Choral Directors Association National Conference.
Wondemagegnehu is widely in demand as a guest conductor and lecturer. He has performed, presented workshops, and conducted honor choirs across the United States, Canada, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Costa Rica.
Tesfa Yohannes Wondemagegnehu holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance from the Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Memphis.
Ahmed Fernando Anzaldúa El Samkary is a Mexican-Egyptian conductor and pianist. He is founder and artistic director of Border CrosSing, a new professional choral ensemble based in the Twin Cities. Early in his career, he was the awarded the first prize at the Maria Clara Cullel International Piano Competition. He’s since then avoided participating in competitions in favor of championing the works of new composers and exploring his unique combined musical heritage. Ahmed is a recognized authority in Latin American and Spanish music, particularly the music of Federico Mompou and Miguel Bernal Jiménez. He regularly collaborates with composers to premiere new works, including premieres by Arturo Marquez, Helmut Lachenmann, and Paul Lansky. His most recent recordings include "Carteles", recorded for FMM, and "Contemplating Weather", on Bridge Records.
Ahmed holds Masters degrees in Piano Performance and Choral Conducting from Western Michigan University, and completed a three-year postgraduate fellowship in Piano Performance at the Queen Sofia College of Music in Madrid, Spain. He is currently in the doctoral program in Music Conducting at the University of Minnesota, under the mentorship of Kathy Romey.