Steven Edwards, Music Director
Steven Edwards has served as Music Director of Symphony Chorus of New Orleans since 1990. During that time he has prepared and/or conducted the chorus for more than two hundred performances with the New Orleans Symphony and its successor, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his leadership the chorus – an independent 501(c)3 arts organization – has enjoyed critical acclaim and garnered awards for the quality and variety of its programming, including numerous Gambit Magazine “Tribute to the Classical Arts” awards, and the 2009 Community Arts Awards by the Arts Council of New Orleans. In addition to his work with Symphony Chorus, Edwards is Professor of Music and Coordinator of the Music & Music Business Program at Delgado Community College. From 1984 – 2008 he served as Music Director of the orchestra and chorus of the Superior Music Festival in Michigan’s Central Upper Peninsula.
Choirs and orchestras under his direction have given invited performances at state, regional, and national conventions of NPM, MENC, ASTA, LCDA, and ACDA. He has prepared and/or directed several premier performances including major works by composers Ned Rorem, John Carbon, Veikko Ahvenainen, Donald Reagan, Rob Kapilow, Stephen Dankner, Wardell Quezergue, and Jake Runestad.
In addition to his choral work, Edwards continues an active performing career as coach/accompanist for singers and pianist in instrumental chamber music. A popular guest conductor, he has made appearances with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré, Gulf Coast Opera, Loyola Opera Theatre, The Orleans Chamber Singers, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and the Lancaster Chamber Singers, along with numerous festivals, contests, and honor choirs throughout the United States. From 1984 – 2008 he served as music director of the orchestra and chorus of the Superior Music Festival in Michigan’s Central Upper Peninsula.
Karen Jakiela, Assistant Music Director
Karen Jakiela has sung with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans since 1991, and has served as Assistant Music Director since 1998. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy degree from Loyola University of New Orleans and a Master of Music degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of New Mexico.
She was Music Director at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ruston, La. and directed the Schola Cantorum there for twelve years. Karen taught Beginning Chorus at Ursuline Academy High School in New Orleans for five years and was the accompanist for the Advanced Chorus for twenty-one years. The Ursuline Chorus, under her direction was featured on the CD and DVD of A Creole Mass, by Wardell Quesergue along with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans. Karen has accompanied the Ursuline Chorus in concerts in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rome, Montecassino, Salzburg and Prague.
Karen is retired from teaching, and now devotes her time and efforts to the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans.
Jodee Daroca, Financial Director
Jodee Daroca is certified public accountant and has Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University. Jodee has more than 30 years experience and is currently the Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of Goodwill Industries of Southeast Louisiana, Inc. Jodee has been a member of Symphony Chorus of New Orleans for 8 years.
Michael Grumich, Administrative Director
Michael Grumich, Administrative Director for Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, took this position during the summer of 2016. Born in St. Louis, MO, Michael fell in love with music early in his life and sang with choirs ever since.
He was a Math major; Physics minor, preparing for his four-year teaching career in TX and St. Louis. The formal academics ended with a Mathematics MA from LSU. In 1973 he moved to New Orleans to pursue a non-teaching career, initially at South Central Bell doing Long Range Planning, and then at Entergy where he worked as an analyst since 1981, retiring in 2015.
Other interests include pursuing family genealogy & stories, which his mother entrusted to him. The family lore was borne out that Daniel Boone came to MO and is indeed his maternal 6th great-grandfather. His volunteer activities
include mentoring young high school men since 2004 and singing and
working for Symphony Chorus of New Orleans.