Steve Carstenson has been Conductor of the Ankeny Community Chorus since its beginning in the summer of 2001.
In 2003, Steve retired as chairman of the Vocal Music Department at Ankeny High School, completing 33 years in choral music education in Iowa . While at Ankeny, he conducted the Ankeny Concert Choir, the Ankeny Madrigal Singers, and two competitive show choirs. His groups have been acclaimed for quality in state, regional, and national competitions, and his Ankeny Concert Choir appeared in solo concerts in Carnegie Hall five times.
Mr. Carstenson has been guest conductor at numerous choral festivals, clinics, and camps throughout the Midwest, as well as a respected adjudicator of choral performance in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. In 1998, he was conductor of the Iowa Opus Festival, and he has appeared as a conductor of special events at many universities and colleges. Steve received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwest Missouri State University, where he studied with Byron Mitchell.
Steve Carstenson continues his love of music by conducting the Ankeny Community Chorus, while continuing to write, arrange, and record choral music.
An Illinois native, Diane Rauser was born in Sterling, IL, and raised in nearby Rock Falls. An accomplished pianist, Diane earned the John Phillips Sousa Award while still in high school, and then received an Associate of Arts degree from Sauk Valley Community College in northern Illinois. She has been a church organist and pianist for over 35 years, and continues in that capacity at Resurrection Lutheran in Ankeny. Before moving to Ankeny in 1985, she taught piano and organ.
Shortly after moving to Ankeny, Diane became accompanist for Steve Cartenson's high school choirs, traveling with them on four trips to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. While there she also performed at St. Bartholomew's Cathedral, and at the United Nations. Carstenson and audiences have high praise for Diane's technical skills and expressive musicality on the keyboard.
In addition to choir concerts, Rauser has been extensively involved in music in various church, school, and community groups, performing for musicals, band solo competitions, and All-State choir competitions, to mention a few.