Our musical director
Dr. Helena Vasconcellos
Helena comes from a musical family in Brazil and began playing guitar by ear with her five siblings at a very young age. At age 17 she began her formal music training, with private piano lessons and choral singing. Still in Brazil, she was one of the assistant directors of the Symphonic Choir of the University of Brasilia, a community choir with more than 300 voices. In 1997 she moved to Kansas City to study under the guidance of Dr. Eph Ehly at UMKC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance, a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting, and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Music Education with emphasis in Choral Conducting. While at UMKC, she was the recipient of the UMKC Women’s Council fund for two years and received a Fellowship from the School of Education for her doctoral studies. She was the Assistant Director of the Kansas City Children’s Choir for four years and worked as a Catholic music teacher for five years. She also worked as a clinician for Brazilian music at many schools in the Kansas City area. For over 14 years, she was the Music Director of the Nativity of Mary Parish in Independence and directed both the Youth and the Parish Choirs. Currently, she works as a Music Teacher and Choir Director for the Harmony Project Kansas City, a non-profit organization that provides music instruction to underprivileged communities. She also works as a free-lance church musician, playing for Catholic services and directing the Handbell Choir of Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in Kansas. This year Helena will celebrate her 10th year as the Music Director of the Jacomo Chorale. When she’s not teaching in her small piano studio at home, she enjoys listening to all kinds of music and experimenting in the kitchen.