The American Heritage Youth Chorus is led by a staff of professional musicians and educators who work to provide a challenging but uplifting environment where choir members can refine their musical talents and grow spiritually. All of our director hold degrees in Music Education and are internationally certified in Kodály music teaching.
Rob Swenson, Youth Chorus Director/Program Director
Rob Swenson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from Brigham Young University and Level III OAKE-endorsed Kodály certification. He has taught choir at American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork, Utah; at Timpanogos Academy in Lindon, Utah; and at Liahona High School in Liahona, Tonga, where he also served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2008, he joined the faculty at American Heritage School, where he currently teaches AP Music Theory and directs middle and high school choirs. From 2004-2007, he served as an assistant director with the Utah Valley Children’s Choir, leaving in 2007 to found the American Heritage Youth Chorus. Under his direction, this faith-centered choral program for children and youth has grown to include over 200 members who perform free, inspirational programs for audiences throughout the United States. Rob received the 2016 Indianapolis Symphonic Choir Christmas Carol Commission for his “Christmas Hosanna.” In Fall 2016, his original composition, “Go Forth From This House,” was recognized as a second-place winner and was performed at the state conference of the Utah ACDA. Rob resides in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with his wife, Kristy, and their four children.
Matt Thornton, Youth Chorus Assistant Director
Matt Thornton graduated from Utah State University with a bachelors degree in music education. He also holds a masters degree in music education from BYU. As an undergraduate, Matt served as the Music Vice President of the Logan LDS Institute as well as the Dance President. He was also president of the New Horizons Institute Choir. While in Cache Valley, he worked with the Cache Children’s Choir and taught in their summer music camp. He has also worked as a music and dance specialist for Opera by Children. Matt has been trained in Orff, is Kodály certified and is currently an instructor at the BYU InterMuse Academy. He is the fine arts department head at American Fork Jr. High where he has taught choir for eight years.
Kimi Davies, Children’s Choir Director
Mrs. Davies is a California native, but is no stranger to Utah. She attended college at Dixie State University in St. George, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Kimi just completed her first year of teaching high school and middle school choir at American Leadership Academy in Arizona. Kimi loves choral music and anything that involves singing. She was a member of the ACDA 2017 National Collegiate Honor Choir, a soloist for the Southwest Symphony’s production of Handel’s “Messiah”, and Dixie State University’s 2014 singer of the year. She is ready to grow with the students of American Heritage School and to share her enthusiasm for music. Kimi is a newlywed and enjoys reading, baking, traveling, animals, and spending time with her husband, Hunter.
Deborah Otteson, Junior Choir Director
Deborah was born in Oakridge, Tenn. She is the eldest of nine living children. She graduated from Ricks and BYU (Provo) with a degree in Secondary Music Education. After serving a mission in the Oregon Portland Mission, she started teaching music in her hometown of Shelley, Idaho and spent her summers in Hartford, Conn. earning a degree in the Kodály Method at the KMTI. During her time in Idaho, she was also involved in many musicals, operas and singing groups. She is excited to be at American Heritage School and to be teaching music to young children.
Neil Harmon, Accompanist
Acclaimed as “one of the finest products of the American organ school,” [La Nuova Venezia] Dr. Harmon has performed in Europe, South America, and the United States. Performance venues have included Longwood Gardens, The Salt Lake Tabernacle, New York City’s Carnegie Hall, and the Church of Saint Nicolo dei Mendicoli in Venice, Italy. He serves as a Guest Organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, a service he has rendered since 1991.
LauraLyn Eberting, Accompanist
LauraLyn Eberting loves music and is delighted to be a part of American Heritage School’s Children’s Choir. She grew up singing and making music with her family and then went to law school and became an attorney. While in college she taught piano lessons, played the violin with a BYU orchestra, sang with the Mormon Youth Chorus, and performed as an entertainer in Lagoon’s Music USA.
Michelle Jorgensen, Accompanist
Michelle Jorgensen has loved and learned music from an early age. She studied piano and voice through graduate school, but didn’t graduate in music. She is actually a practicing dentist in American Fork. She has four children, and they are all students at American Heritage. The family has been patrons of the school since 2005