Jeanie is Co-Founder and Senior Teaching Artist of MacPhail Music for Life™, a pioneering music program for adults 55+ at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. She established the original MMFL™ community partnership was in 2005 at Meadow Woods Assisted Living, Martin Luther Campus, Bloomington, MN, managed by Ebenezer Senior Living. Currently, there are over 35 MMFL™ community partnerships throughout the Twin Cities area, led by over a dozen specially-trained MacPhail teaching artists and music therapists. There are also both MMFL™ on-site and online individual instruction and group classes.
Jeanie is also Artistic Director of Giving Voice, a chorus created for those with dementia, their care partners, and community volunteers. In 2014, MacPhail Center for Music formed a strategic alliance with Giving Voice Initiative. Jeanie then created the artistic content for the “Giving Voice Toolkit,” a free online guidebook for those interested in forming their own dementia-friendly choruses or older adult community choruses.
There are over 50 choruses throughout the US inspired based the Giving Voice model. Currently, Jeanie conducts both the founding Minneapolis chorus, the online Virtual chorus, and mentors music directors of their own Giving Voice model choruses.
She launched the premiere MMFL™ older adult “Sing for Life” chorus in 2009 at Friendship Village of Bloomington retirement community where Stuart MacPhail resided. Stuart was the son of William S. MacPhail, founder of MacPhail Center for Music. At age 83, Stuart reached out to Jeanie for voice lessons to get his singing voice back into shape. He felt that his “pipes had gotten a little rusty.”
Stuart invited a “few” of his friends to join him for his first voice session, and 75 enthusiastic lifelong learners joined him to “Speak Better! Sing Better! Feel Better!”
The “Sing for Life” chorus was born and Jeanie continued as Music Director through 2019.
Jeanie was Music Director of “LeagueAires” women’s chorus, which became the first MMFL™ community chorus partnership. Her leadership of LeagueAires was 2006-2016.
From 1999-2011 Jeanie was a member of the voice faculty at MacPhail.
She is a respected leader in the field of Arts and Aging, and is known for her work as a presenter, keynote speaker, teaching artist, mentor, consultant, and curriculum specialist. Jeanie’s work has been recognized by the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, Minnesota State Arts Board, National Guild for Community Arts Organizations, Aroha Philanthropies (now E.A. Michelson Philanthropy), Leading Age both Minnesota and National, National Center for Creative Aging, Artsage, Care Providers Annual Expo, and Minnesota Statewide Activities Professionals.
2022: Presenter for Minnesota Gerontology Association annual Conference, “Emerging Voices”
2021: Presenter for Mayo Clinic Lifestream Virtual Conference, “Brain Health and Dementia”
2020: Commentator and Composer in “More Than Just the Music,” an award winning documentary produced by Prairie Public Television, Fargo, ND.
2019: Artistic Director and Conductor of Giving Voice in Twin Cities Public Television’s Upper Midwest Regional Emmy award-winning documentary “Love Never Forgets,” which was also a special feature on CBS national Morning News.
2019: Featured artist in the book by Ann Basting, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, entitled Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care.
2018: Facilitator and Artistic Director of a community residency collaboration, “Healing and Hope Through Song,” a collaboration between the American Composers Forum, MacPhail Center for Music, and Giving Voice, resulting in the original song cycle, “Love Never Forgets,” premiered at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul.
2018: Awarded the national Chorus America ASCAP/Alice Parker Award on behalf of Giving Voice. This award recognizes a chorus for programming of significant recently- composed music.
As a Composer
Jeanie’s song cycle “Butterfly Songs” is a setting of poems by children imprisoned in Terezín concentration camp, from the highly acclaimed book, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, published by Schocken Books. Her “Butterfly Songs” was the featured work at the Walker Art Center music series, at both the Minnesota Orchestra’s “Entartete Musik" Series, and in Prague at the annual “Music Festival of 20th-Century Music” held at the Rudolfinum, home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
Performances and commissions include: Angelica Cantanti, Bel Canto Voices, Calliope, Minneapolis Artists Ensemble, Minnesota Orchestra’s KinderKonzerts Young People’s Concerts, One Voice Mixed Chorus, St. Paul Civic Orchestra, Twin Cities Women’s Chorus, Valley Chamber Singers, and VocalEssence.
Education and Professional Highlights
Jeanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, and her Master’s in Vocal Performance from Florida State University. As a Rotary International Fellow, she studied and performed for two years at the London Opera Center. She received a two-year apprenticeship with the Minnesota Opera Studio Program, performed for two seasons with the chorus of the San Francisco Opera, and was a professional teaching roster artist with the Minnesota and North Dakota State Arts Boards, the Emergency School Aid Act Program, and Young Audiences of Minnesota.