John P. Rakes, Artistic Director
John Patrick Rakes is a versatile conductor, choral musician, music educator, and collaborative pianist whose dedication to artistic excellence is evident in his conducting, teaching, and performing. In his first year as Artistic Director for Kantorei, he has also been awarded the post of conductor of the Downers Grove Choral Society, a community ensemble currently celebrating its 56th season. In addition to these duties, Mr. Rakes teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.
Currently, Mr. Rakes is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy (D.M.A.) from the University of Iowa where he was privileged to study under Dr. Timothy Stalter and Dr. David Puderbaugh during his doctoral residency. At Iowa, he served as a graduate guest conductor and performed as an accompanist to the choral department while singing in the University’s elite choral ensemble, Kantorei. His doctoral thesis, a critical edition of the Missa Gratiarum in C by Antonio Caldara, is an international research and editorial project which he is currently completing.
Recently, Mr. Rakes has served as an Adjunct Professor at both Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University where he conducted the Men’s Glee Club and the Women’s Chorale at Wheaton and the Concert Choir at Northern. He was as a guest conductor of the Downers Grove Choral Society, leading the ensemble in a performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C and other masterworks during their ’13 – ’14 season. He has also been an ensemble member of Cor Cantiamo, the professional choir-in-residence at Northern Illinois University.
Before being granted a full assistantship to study at the University of Iowa, Mr. Rakes was a public school music teacher in Suburban Chicago. He also served as the Choir Director at Faith Christian Reformed Church, Elmhurst, IL, where, aside from conducting weekly choral services, he mounted performances of The Crucifixion by Sir John Stainer and Messiah (excerpts) by G. F. Handel.
Mr. Rakes has earned a Master of Music (M.M.) with an emphasis in Music Education from Northern Illinois University. At Northern, he studied choral conducting, arranging, and choral literature under Dr. Eric Johnson. He also completed an action research thesis entitled "The Effect of Harmonic Accompaniment on the Pitch Accuracy of First and Fourth Grade Students Learning a Singing Task." Mr. Rakes was selected to present this research at the Illinois Music Conference Poster Session in 2011. Mr. Rakes has also earned a Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.) from Wheaton College. At Wheaton, he studied conducting under Dr. Paul Wiens and Dr. Daniel Sommerville, while completing studies in piano and organ under Mr. John Zimmerman and Dr. Edward Zimmerman respectively.