Choirs at Sacred Heart Church
The Chancel Choir
The Multi Cultural Ministry Choir
The Holiday Choir
Director of Music - Ms. Jennifer D. Behnke
Dramatic soprano Jennifer D. Behnke enjoys a hugely varied and rapidly growing career, both as a performer and as an educator. A graduate of Manhattan School of Music and the University of Rochester, she has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the inaugural Eugene L. Brister Award (2015), and has been championed by world-renowned Wagnerian singers Jane Eaglen and Gordon Hawkins. She has sung the roles of Leonore (Fidelio), Giorgietta (Il tabarro), Nedda (I pagliacci), Brunnhilde (Götterdämmerung and Die Walküre), Female Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Maddalena (Andrea Chénier), Grimgerde (Die Walküre), among others. In the New York area aloneBehnke has performed with New York Opera Forum, Chelsea Opera,Central City Chorus, Analog Arts, Astoria Symphony, The Brearly Singers, the Columbia University Glee Club, and the West Village Chorale. She has participated in various workshops and master classes including the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Intensive (SD), the Baldwin Wallace Wagner Intensive (OH).
Ms. Behnke is in demand as an oratorio soloist, and recent roles include the soprano solos in Fauré’s Requiem, Händel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Missa Sancti Nicolai, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Duruflé’s Requiem, Finzi’s In Terra Pax,and Mozart’s Requiem, Vesperae solennes de Confessore, and Missa Brevis No. 10 in C. A favorite of contemporary composers, she has worked with Pawel Lukaszewski, Aurelio Porfiri, David Evan Thomas, and Eric Hunter, with whom she frequently collaborates in recital. She was especially honored to both perform as a soloist and lead congregational singing during a service for Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to New York’s St. Joseph’s Church, which was broadcast live around the world.
In addition to her performance career, Ms. Behnke is an active educator and conductor, and has taught voice privately in New Jersey for many years. She has served as the Director of Children’s Schola at Sacred Heart Church (Bloomfield, NJ), Interim Director of Choir and Voice Studies at Immaculate Conception High School (Montclair, NJ), a member of Voice Faculty at Broadway Performing Arts Studio (Bloomfield, NJ), and Visiting Artist and Guest Lecturer at Bucknell University. A passionate advocate of music therapy and charitable music-making, Ms. Behnke is a freelance concert promoter, raising money and awareness for numerous ecumenical and health care organizations on the east coast, including the Von Hippel Lindau Family Alliance (Boston) and the Austin Riggs Psychiatric Hospital (Stockbridge, MA). She is a native of Highland Lakes, NJ.