junior mints youth choir

It’s a proven fact.  Children who study music have better grades, on average, compared to children who don’t.   Unfortunately, singing along with the radio or karaoke tapes of their favourite pop songs isn’t going to cut it.  Music is highly mathematical (surprise!), and increased exposure to a structured program of musical study develops and expands the part of the brain that does math.   Language and social skills also see a marked improvement, and who wouldn’t like to give their kid a ‘leg up’ in the learning department?


Making music is HARD WORK.  It takes practice, dedication and teamwork. It’s also incredibly rewarding.  Singing in a choir isn’t about the soloist; it’s about the team.  - taken from Chatham-Kent Children's Chorus

Director – Ellen Hoard
A resident of St. Johns for 33 years, Ellen and her husband Doug raised two children, Elizabeth and Kevin, in St. Johns. Since 2014, she has been the Music/Artistic Director of the Mint City Singers adult community choir, which is a member of the Clinton County Arts Council. She has a Bachelor of Music Education, and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling, both from Central Michigan University. 

Ellen is a level 3 certified Orff instructor, and holds a level 1 certification in Music Learning Theory, from Michigan State University. She is a retired public school music teacher with 28 years’ experience. During 26 of those years she was an elementary music specialist for the Grand Ledge Public Schools. She is a soprano and has studied voice with Richard Fracker, Rachel Gates, and Cora Enman. Ellen has performed in the greater Lansing area with several groups, including Starlight Dinner Theater, Singers on the Grand, Riverwalk Theatre, and the Lansing Civic Players. She directed the Vivo Cantando Children’s choir from September 2013 – May 2016 and is excited to share her love of music with children once again.

Rehearsals begin Thursday, September 12 @ 7:00pm

Southpoint Mall, next to Secretary of State

Accompanist – James Schippes
James and his fiance', Katie, live in East Lansing where he is a doctoral student in piano performance and a teaching assistant at Michigan State University.  He also serves as organist at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Lansing.  James holds a master's degree from Western Michigan University and a bachleor's degree from Hope College, both in piano.  He is originally from Grand Haven.  His fiance', Katie, is the junior high choral director for the DeWitt Public Schools.

The Junior Mints was conceived in the spring of 2019 by Debi Daoust, Jodi Parker and Ellen Hoard to enhance and expand the musical opportunities offered by the Mint City Singers.  Junior Mints is designed with the child's way of learning in mind and to bring another opportunity to the St. Johns area for choral singing.  With Ellen Hoard as the director, the choir's inauguration will occur in September 2019. 


Junior Mints is affiliated with the Mint City Singers which is a branch of the Clinton County Arts Council (CCAC), and as such is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  If you have questions, please contact the director, Ellen Hoard, at ellen.hoard@rpccpas.com or 989-233-5775


Mission Statement: 

Junior Mints is a community-based choir comprised of students who are in grades 4-8 (ages 8-14). It provides a safe place for the youth of St. Johns
and the surrounding communities to experiment with their singing voices
and to express themselves musically. Junior Mints offers area youth with
an avenue to explore a wide variety of quality children’s choral music
through rehearsals and performances.

New and returning members are required to complete a Membership and Commitment Form.


Completed forms may be returned in advance to Ellen Hoard, 1214 Lincolnshire Drive, St. Johns, MI 48879 (or ellen.hoard@rpccpas.com) or brought to the first rehearsal of the session.