Kate Johnston is the Director of Choirs at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. She conducts Beginning Choirs and the auditioned Intermediate and Concert Choirs. In addition, she conducts the 33-voice extra-curricular male a Capella ensemble, "Sounds of Sweetness" Johnston partners with Payton's drama team to produce a main stage musical theater production every other year. Productions have included Sondheim's "Into the Woods" and Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret". She is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University (B.A.) and Boston University (M.Mus.) where she earned degrees in piano.
Most recently, she was founding music director at UIC College Prep High School where she created a program in which all high school students study music all four years of their high school career. Prior to that, she was Director of Secondary Choirs at the American International School in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her work at UIC College Prep inspired a partnership with Northwestern University's Department of Neuroscience on a longitudinal study monitoring the cognitive development of teenagers who study music in school versus teenagers who do not. The results of the longitudinal study are published in "Frontiers in Psychology" in the article 'High School Music Classes Enhance the Neural Processing of Speech'. Other recent posts have included the Music Institute of Chicago as Director of the Children's Choir and the Chicago Waldorf School where she taught 2nd - 12th grade and assisted with theatrical productions. Johnston has founded ongoing concert series and festivals in the U.S. and South America and continues to perform as pianist and singer. She is passionate about the difference that arts make on human development. Visit the Payton Choirs website at: paytonchoirs.com
Johnston is also passionate about the benefits of travel for young musicians. Her concert choir has toured in Argentina and most recently Iceland, collaborating with local choirs in both countries.