Faculty & Staff
Director of Choral and Vocal Music
Dr. Jodi Reed and her husband are the parents of six children. A conductor and pianist, she began her musical career at a young age, studying competitive piano. After being introduced to choral music in high school, Jodi has had lifelong involvement in choral music, leading university, school, church, and community choirs.
Early in her choral music career she became the first female conductor to take first place, multiple times, in a prestigious California choral competition. Since then Jodi’s choirs have made many notable appearances including National Public Radio’s nationally syndicated radio show From the Top; concerts at the 2018 American Choral Directors Association’s Western Region Conference in Pasadena, CA, the 2018 California All-State Music Educators Conference in San Jose, CA, the 2022 CASMEC Conference in Fresno, CA; and performances in Carnegie Hall and St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in 2019 and 2022. This year Jodi’s choirs will sing in the upcoming 2023 American Choral Directors Association Western Region Conference in Pasadena, and return to New York City in 2024 to give a concert at Lincoln Center in the David Geffen Concert Hall.
Jodi enjoys traveling with choirs internationally and has conducted in magnificent venues, including the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey and La Sagrada Familia in Spain. In Italy Jodi has conducted her choirs in concert in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Chiesa di San Trovaso in Venice, the Chiesa Santa Trinita in Florence, and in Rome the Chiesa Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, the Basilica Papale di San Pietro, and the Sistine Chapel. She is currently the Director of Choral and Vocal Music at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California and a Musical Director with the Millennial® Choirs & Orchestras.
Jodi managed a competitive piano studio for two decades before turning her focus toward choral music. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University in Conducting, a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from California State University East Bay, and a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from San Jose State University. Her mentors include Buddy James, David Rentz, Laurel Brettel, Ted Reid, Susan Bana, and Dottie Nix. She has had the privilege of working with many experts in the field including Charlene Archibeque, Dennnis Shrock, Jameson Marvin, and Edward McClary.
Jodi is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and Chorus America. In addition to spending time with her family, Jodi enjoys scuba diving and any time spent at the ocean.
Year Appointed: 2019
Vocal Conservatory Director
Tenor Jonathan Knauer completed his M. M. in Vocal Performance at University of Nevada at Reno in 2020. There he studied under the guidance of both James Flora and Olga Perez Flora, and won the NATS Cal-Western Division, as well as appearing as Rinuccio in Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi”, and Acis in Handel’s “Acis and Galatea”. Jonathan received his B. M. in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Opera in 2017 from the Bob Cole Conservatory of CSU Long Beach singing several lead roles such as Nemorino in Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love”. Jonathan also performed in the Bob Cole Chamber Singers as they received both the “Choir of the World” award from Eisteddfod, Wales in 2016 and 1st Place in the Internationaler Chorwettbewerb Spittal an der Drau in Austria in 2017. He has sung as back-up for Josh Groban, represented the United States at the Xinghai International Choral Competition in Guangzhou, China, performed as a tenor soloist in Disney Concert Hall, and continues to sing in several local professional ensembles.
Year Appointed: 2020
Kent Helwig has made a varied and diverse career as a pianist, actor, singer, dancer, musical director and educator. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of California, Irvine, under the tutelage of Nina Scolnik. As a pianist he frequently performs for audiences both large and small, in a wide array of venues, numerous churches, choral festivals, vocal competitions, master classes, corporate events, conferences, and receptions. He has had the unique opportunity and privilege to play private receptions held for Henry Segerstrom and for the Forty-First President of the United States, the Honorable George H. Bush.Past performances with the Mater Dei Choral Program have taken him to prominent venues across the world, including the Todi Opera House in Umbria Italy, and New York City's famed Carnegie Hall. He has served as audition pianist, accompanist and vocal coach for: Chapman University, Claremont College, Cypress College, Fullerton College, Fountain Valley High School, Irvine Valley College, Orange County High School of the Performing Arts, Rio Hondo College, Saddleback College, University of California Irvine and Vanguard University, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Cunard Cruise Lines.
Kent earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Drama with an emphasis in Musical Theatre from the University of California, Irvine. He has taught courses in acting, audition techniques, and music theatre for the University of California Irvine, Cypress College, Claremont Colleges, Coastline College, Vanguard University, and the Orange County High School for the Performing Arts. Musical/Vocal direction credits include: Annie, Anything Goes, Bat Boy, Bye-Bye Birdie, Cabaret, Footloose, Grease, Gypsy!, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, In the Heights, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream-Coat, My Fair Lady, Once On This Island, The Lucky Stiff, The Spitfire Grill, Seussical the Musical, The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Into The Woods, The Wiz, and The Wizard of Oz. Musical reviews: Broadway: From A to Z, Can't Stop the Music, Choices, Final-ly Sondheim, It's the Best Medicine, The Game of Love, Hooray for Hollywood, Journeys 2000-The Music of Our Lives, The Lullabies of Broadway, Scores that Didn't Score, Show-tune, The Great American Songbook, Welcome to the Sixties. Regional Acting theatrical credits include: Applause, And The World Goes Round, Cabaret, Forty-Second Street, Mame, Meet Me In St. Louis, Peter Pan, Plain and Fancy, South Pacific, Singin' In The Rain, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Three Penney Opera, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Will Rogers Follies. Featured roles include: Valentine in Babes in Arms, Harry Beaton in Brigadoon, Dick in Dames at Sea, Don/Bobby/Larry/Roy in A Chorus Line, Big Deal in West Side Story, Raja Bimmy in On The Town, Mingo in Crazy For You, and Frederick Fleet in the West Coast premiere of Titanic.
Kent is a proud member of Actors Equity and has shared the stage with Television and Broadway stars: Stephanie J. Block, Gary Beach, Karen Culliver Michael DeVries, David Engel, Kim Huber, Richard Kline, S. Marc Jordan Norman Large, Kecia Lewis, Charlotte Rae, Peter Reckell and Cathy Rigby.
Year Appointed: 2006