The 60 + members of the Ankeny Community Chorus, under the direction of Riley Anderson and accompanied by Cathy Brause, serve the Ankeny community in many ways. Program activities include two major concerts per year (free to the public), the Ankeny Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Social, performances for Ankeny's Summer Sounds programs in the Ankeny Band Shell, and representing Ankeny in a performance at the Iowa State Fair.
The Chorus is grateful for the ongoing support of Ankeny area residents, as well as its many business sponsors and patrons.
Our Beginnings. . .
In June of 2001 Ankeny resident Bill Konnath, who at the time was a member of the Pride of Iowa Barbershop Chorus in Des Moines, approached Steve Carstenson, Ankeny High School Choral Music Department Director, about starting a community chorus. Bill explained that while he enjoyed singing with the barbershop chorus, he missed singing in a full four-part chorus with women’s voices. Although somewhat skeptical and very busy at the time, Steve agreed that if Bill could organize a credible chorus, he would direct it.
Bill went right to work by starting an e-mail group for interested residents. By word of mouth and a blurb in the Ankeny Press Citizen, the e-mail group grew very quickly to 127 subscribers. Bill then contacted Community State Bank to see if they would provide some seed money for copyright sheet music. Recognizing the potential, CSB offered $2,000 to get things started. Then on Thursday, June 14, 2001, 127 Ankeny residents gathered in the high school choral music room to learn about what was to become the Ankeny Community Chorus. A board of directors was elected, nominal dues was established ($20 per year) and ACC was off and running. ACC’s first “official” performance was at a memorial service for victims of 9/11.
With Bill as president, Steve as director, and Diane Rauser as accompanist, many came to recognize that the Ankeny Community Chorus was a very credible and exciting addition to Ankeny’s arts and music community. In the years that followed, ACC incorporated, sought out 501(c)(3) status, secured liability insurance, and maintained a solid membership of around 75-80 singers of all ages. More corporate sponsors came on board, and funding from BRAVO and Polk County Community Development Grants insured ongoing success of this incredibly talented chorus. Annual donations from prominent Ankeny residents have also insured financial stability.
Today in its 20th year, ACC performs three major concerts in Ankeny, an annual appearance at the Iowa State Fair, a joint concert with the Ankeny Community Band at the band shell for Ankeny’s “Summer Sounds” series, and annual holiday concert in November. In 2008, ACC also initiated and hosted “An Ankeny Evening with the Arts”, now an annual collaboration with the Ankeny Art Center, Ankeny Community Theater and Ankeny City Band. And in August 2018 Steve retired as our director and Riley Anderson, a Wartburg College grad and a very talented vocal music teacher at Prairie Ridge Middle School is our current conductor.
Thanks to the strong support of sponsors, community grants, and free will donations, ACC boasts assets that include tuxedos and gowns for all members, a very significant copyright music library, keyboard and sound equipment, a set of choral risers, and a utility trailer to haul and store risers.
Riley Anderson serves as conductor of the Ankeny Community Chorus, succeeding Steve Carstenson and Elliott Stern. Anderson leads the 6th grade choir and 7th grade Bass Clef Choir at Prairie Ridge Middle School. He also assists with the direction of “Ignition,” the 8th grade show choir ensemble at Northview Middle School in Ankeny.
Anderson is a 2015 graduate of Linn-Mar High School and most recently graduated from Wartburg College in 2019 with a Bachelors of Music Education.
Ankeny Community Chorus accompanist Cathy Brause has sung with the chorus since 2015.
During high school in Britt, Iowa, Brause accompanied and sang in various groups at school and church. She attended Morningside College, earning a minor in voice and piano. She continued her education at the University of Northern Iowa receiving a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education/special education and later her master of arts degree in learning disabilities at Northwest Missouri State University.
Brause and her husband, Howard, are both retired educators and currently reside in Granger. She has also taught piano, directed choirs, and currently is a church pianist for Polk City United Methodist Church.
Throughout her life, Brause has been involved with many community music activities and loves to see people from all walks of life join together to share their gift of music.