top of page
Cit Aw with icon squatty.jpg



Patrons of the Arts

Judy and Gary Jorgensen.jpg


Rick and Michelle Hynson photo.jpeg



Professional in the Arts


Rick and Michelle Hynson photo.jpeg

Richard and Michelle Hynson

RICHARD HYNSON marks this season as his 35th year as Music Director of the Bel Canto Chorus. Additionally, Hynson is in his sixth season as Music Director of the Kettle Moraine Symphony Orchestra.  He has contributed to the Greater Milwaukee community as conductor, composer, and teacher for more than thirty years.  From 2006 to 2014, Hynson served as Music Director of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.  He was Music Director and Conductor of the Waukegan (IL) Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 1998. 


Hynson is in demand as a guest conductor; past engagements include performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Skylight Music Theatre, and the Racine, Sheboygan, and Waukesha Symphony Orchestras. Hynson has conducted at Carnegie Hall in New York City, where he led a large national festival chorus and orchestra in Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem. 


In 2012, Hynson was awarded the American Prize in Choral Conducting – community choral division. This national prize provides evaluation, recognition, and reward to America’s finest performing artists, ensembles, and composers. In making the award, the American Prize committee wrote, “During his 24 years as Music Director, Dr. Richard Hynson has transformed Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee from a venerable community chorus to a vibrant, successful arts organization respected for its artistic excellence, innovative programming, and impactful outreach…”


Hynson and members of Bel Canto Chorus have performed internationally at the acclaimed Spoleto Music Festival in Italy, the Festivals of Troyes and Rheims in France, the Llangollen Festival in Wales, and the Elora and Huntsville Festivals in Canada. Hynson and members of Bel Canto International and the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra performed at the internationally acclaimed Spoleto Music Festival in Italy at the invitation of the Festival’s founder, Gian Carlo Menotti.  Hynson and the Bel Canto Choral Artists performed with Luciano Pavarotti at the United Center in Chicago. In addition to its annual concert season, the chorus is often called upon to participate in performances by national touring companies. In November 2016, Bel Canto participated in the Milwaukee performance of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses: Master Quest. The chorus has performed with orchestras in Argentina, Uruguay, France, and Ireland. In June 2017, Bel Canto traveled to Germany and the Czech Republic.


In addition to his work as conductor and educator, Hynson is a composer.  He has written a substantial body of choral, vocal, and instrumental works, many of which have been published.  The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants have frequently performed Hynson’s In the Midst of Life, composed in response to the events of Sept. 11. 


A native of Washington, DC, Hynson studied orchestral conducting with Gerhard Samuel and Bernard Rubenstein.  He participated in conducting workshops led by Daniel Barenboim, Gustav Meier, and Otto-Werner Mueller.  He graduated from the DePauw University Music School (IN) and Westminster Choir College (NJ), completing a DMA in choral conducting at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati in 1986.


MICHELLE HYNSON has performed with Bel Canto Chorus since 1989 as assistant conductor, accompanist, and soprano section leader. She has been active in Milwaukee as a pianist, soprano soloist, accompanist, composer, church musician, and voice teacher since 1981. She has performed extensively throughout the Midwest as a solo artist, singing with a wide range of notables, including Luciano Pavarotti and Mandy Patinkin.

As a concert pianist, Hynson has performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on tour in Spain with the American Festival Orchestra. She was the premiere pianist for Bel Canto’s performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. She has performed in concert with area orchestras ranging from the Homestead Chamber Orchestra to the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. Hynson was featured as performer and composer/arranger throughout the 2019-20 season as Bel Canto celebrated her 30th season.  In September 2022, she was featured by the Kettle Moraine Symphony, playing ”Eclogue opus 10” by Gerald Finzi.


Hynson taught voice privately to hundreds of students, both young and old, for over 40 years in her studio in Thiensville.  Many of her high school students went on to participate in vocal and opera programs at prestigious colleges and universities all over the country, some of whom perform and teach professionally today.

Over 4,000 Wisconsin students attended performances of her two original music theater compositions, Not Me, A.D., focusing on drug and alcohol prevention, and It’s Cool To Be Nice, dealing with middle-school social issues. She has published numerous choral arrangements through Hal Leonard, Shawnee Press, and Lorenz Publishing Company. Her latest arranging endeavors include seven books of violin duets published by Hal Leonard.  

Committed to supporting developing artists, Ms. Hynson has been the staff accompanist for the Homestead High School choral program since 2001, and regularly accompanies a large number of student instrumentalists and singers. 

As an involved community member, Hynson volunteered at the YMCA for over 25 years, working with people stricken with Multiple Sclerosis. She recently completed her sixth 3-Day 60-Mile Komen Breast Cancer Walk, and is a vocal advocate for both MS and breast cancer research.

Judy and Gary Jorgensen.jpg


Judy and Gary Jorgensen

Together and separately, Judy and Gary Jorgensen have a made an indelible impact on the Greater Milwaukee area and beyond.


Gary Jorgensen is the Chairman of VJS Construction Services. For over four decades, Gary has been involved in hundreds of construction projects that have shaped the Greater Milwaukee region. His passion lies beyond the brick and mortar. He is driven to create distinctive buildings that truly impact people’s lives, and his leadership can be found in such places as Mount Mary University, St. John’s on the Lake, Rogers Memorial Hospital and United Community Center, among many others. Judy spent 25 years holding various positions at Waukesha County Technical College, retiring as Dean of Academic Support.


The list of leadership and support to the non-profit community for both is lengthy. Judy has served as a board director and as board chair of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the first woman to have held this position. She has also served as a board director for Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Art Museum, Collier County (FL) Foundation, and Fresh Start Fund for Abused Women. In addition, she has served as a director and as board chair of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Ten Chimneys Foundation, and Women’s Philanthropy Council of UW-Madison. She was one of the 2011 Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence and the Waukesha County Women’s and Girl’s Fund 1980 Woman of Distinction.


Gary has been the board president or chair of Neighborhood House, Mount Mary University, Calvary Lutheran Church in Brookfield, and the Milwaukee Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, where he received a Distinguished Service Award from that chapter, as well as awarded President of the Year by the national organization. He has also served on the Executive Committee at Rogers Memorial Hospital. While living in Clinton, IA, Gary was Disaster Chairman of the Red Cross, Kiwanis Club president, and named Man of the Year by radio station KROS. 


In 2018, Gary received the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Frank Kirkpatrick Award, which recognizes individuals whose efforts have led to significant physical improvements in the community. 


Gary was a member of the original steering committee formed to build what is now the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield: VJS Construction Services was eventually hired as general contractor and, literally, built the Wilson Center.  Judy served as a longtime board director for the Wilson Center.

Charles Sullivan_edited.jpg



Charles Q. Sullivan

The career path of Charles Quintin Sullivan was largely determined by the placement of his crib near the piano on which his four older siblings were each required to practice at least an hour every day. Born in 1943 on January 27th (Mozart’s birthday) in Sparta, Wisconsin, he grew up on a farm near Kendall, Wisconsin (population about 500). The accidental death of his father when Charles was 9, and the death of his mother from a stroke when he had just turned 15, put his continuing welfare in the hands of those same four siblings. The consolidation of several area schools led to the decision to move to Milwaukee for his senior year, where he graduated in 1960 as the first valedictorian of Oak Creek High School.


Multiple attractions to a career in architecture, law, or the priesthood competed with the inevitable choice of music as a course of study when the time came to choose a degree program. But increasing involvement in music department activities, along with nearly full-time employment in church music, shortly led to a commitment to a life in music and a degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.


Sullivan’s education continued with additional studies at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University (MN), and the New England Conservatory of Music, with a teaching fellowship at the (then) Wisconsin College-Conservatory of Music leading to a master’s degree. His training as a conductor includes work with Kenneth Schermerhorn and Roger Wagner, as well as with Fiora Contina and John Nelson as recipient of a fellowship to the Aspen Institute’s advanced conducting seminar in 1976.


Charles has been active in Milwaukee’s cultural scene since founding the Sullivan Chamber Ensemble (later the Sullivan Ensemble) in 1971, which grew from an ensemble performance requirement as part of his master’s degree program. This semiprofessional collective of singers and instrumentalists presented more than 200 performances of over 120 programs of choral and orchestral music ranging from chant to avant-garde, in performances ranging from solo recitals and chamber operas to large choral and orchestral works before disbanding in 1982. The chorus re-formed in 1988 for a brief series, including a tour to Chicago, La Crosse, Minneapolis, and St. Cloud. An active collaborator, the Ensemble worked with groups including the Milwaukee and Waukesha Symphony Orchestras, and provided significant performance experience to area students, as well as valuable exposure for professional singers and instrumentalists in the area. Among its honors, the Ensemble was invited to perform for the National Convention of the American Choral Directors in 1978, the year before Sullivan was named the Milwaukee Jaycee’s Outstanding Young Artist of the Year. During that time he also incorporated Kaleidoscope Artists Management, Ltd, to help local performers and potential presenters find each other.


Sullivan got his start as a conductor and organist while still in grade school in his hometown of Kendall, Wisconsin. Since that early start he has continued to serve in music and liturgy roles in churches of multiple religious traditions in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Washington, and Massachusetts, including diocesan leadership positions in Minnesota and Ohio. He is currently continuing a long-term appointment as Chapel Musician at St. John’s On The Lake in Milwaukee. He is a long-time member of the American Guild of Organists, having served various leadership roles in the Columbus (OH) and Milwaukee Chapters, and a member of the American Choral Directors Association.


He has initiated and led multiple children’s choir training programs, including formation of the first children’s choir to sing with the Milwaukee Symphony in its (then) new Performing Arts Center in 1973, and he has planned and conducted major choral events for the Brookfield Schools and for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. He has taught in both secular and religious-affiliated education programs at all levels from kindergarten through graduate level, including an appointment at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus (OH) and the UWM Professional Theatre Training Program.


From 1979 to 1982 Sullivan served as Interim Director during the formation of IMPAC (Independent Milwaukee Performing Arts Companies), working as liaison between six performing arts companies (including the Sullivan Ensemble), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Milwaukee County, on a collaborative project to repurpose Milwaukee’s Lincoln High School as Lincoln Center for the Arts. During that same period he became Director of Music at Plymouth Church, where he founded the Plymouth Chorale, which continues to thrive.


From 1985-1992 he was Executive Producer/Director of the highly successful liturgical drama productions at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, presenting multiple sold-out staged performances of the Medieval Play of Daniel and Britten’s St. Nicolas. The only interruption in his participation in the Milwaukee arts scene over the past 50 years was for his appointment as Director of Music for the Catholic Cathedral and Diocese of Columbus (OH) from 1992 to 1999, where his duties included conducting a professional choir and managing a concert series that included members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances at the Columbus Art Museum and as part of the Lancaster (OH) Festival.


Shortly after returning to Milwaukee in mid-1999, he was invited to take on leadership of Early Music Now (Milwaukee’s internationally recognized presenter of Medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque artists). Serving as Executive and Artistic Director until his retirement from that organization in 2017, he successfully expanded the scope of the organization’s programming, outreach, organizational stability, and international recognition. He served a term on the national board of Early Music America, presenting workshops coaching performers on working with small presenters.


He retired from Early Music Now in 2017, with the intention of exploring other musical opportunities and resuming his own conducting and performance activities. A major new project in collaboration with the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Musica Sacra Milwaukee, was about to announce its inaugural event when the pandemic intervened and postponed that project, probably permanently.


But the pandemic also supplied a new opportunity. Saint John’s On The Lake, a senior residence community where Sullivan has had an association since 2004, and continues to serve as Chapel Musician, invited him to prepare and present weekly programs for the residents during a time when outside programming was prohibited. He agreed to supply varied programs of piano and organ music called “Musical Explorations” that have extended beyond the Covid shutdown, although with less frequency, recently performing the 75th program in that series.

CIVIC MUSIC MKE supports music education and provides
performance opportunities to young musicians in the Greater Milwaukee area. 

bottom of page