Our Directors...

Karen Heyde-Lipanovich

SJYC Co-Founder & Artistic Director

Director, Lyric Singers

Monica King

Director, Bel Canto
Robert Hagenbuch, Jr.
Director, St. Joseph Youth Strings





​Karen Heyde-Lipanovich earned a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Music Education from MIssouri Western State College as the "Outstanding Vocalist" of 1979. Later, she earned a Master's Degree in Vocal Music Education from Northwest Missouri State University. She was chosen by the MIssouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to serve as one of three music educators to draft the Vocal and Instrumental Music Curriculum Frameworks. She was also chosen by DESE as one of five arts educators to represent Missouri at the SCASS National Arts Institute in 1998.  Mrs. Heyde-Lipanovich retired in 2009 after a successful 30 year career teaching vocal music in the St. Joseph School District, St. Joseph, Missouri. The last 27 years she taught at Truman Middle School. There she served as Chairperson of the Fine Arts Department, taught general music classes, and directed a select group of 60-75 singers who served a prominent performance role in the community.

In addition to her public school career, Mrs. Heyde-Lipanovich served for 14 years as the director of the award winning Premiere Choir of the Griffon Junior Singers, a select group of students sponsored by the St. Joseph School District and Missouri Western State University. In May 2012, she retired from that position to co-found the St. Joseph Youth Chorale, a non-profit choir for young singers based in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Choirs under the direction of Mrs. Heyde-Lipanovich have performed numerous times as guest performers with the St. Joseph Symphony and the St. Joseph Community Chorus. Her choir was selected to perform at the Missouri Music Educator's Association annual conference in 2000, and performed the National Anthem at the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Women's National Basketball Finals. In May 2009, her choir appeared as guest performers with the Kansas City Symphony in the performance of the Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore, and as a guest choir at the Sing A Mile High Festival in Denver, Colorado in June of 2009.

Nominated three times for St. Joseph School District Teacher of the Year, she was a finalist in 2003 and 2006. She was awarded the Mayor's Award for the Arts, Arts Educator Award in 2009. She is consistently sought as a judge for district and state level choral auditions and is a member of American Choral Director's Association, Missouri Choral Director's Association,  Missouri Music Educators' Association, and the National Associaton for Music Education.

Monica  King
Monica King Headshot.jpg

Robert Hagenbuch, Jr.


Robert Hagenbuch, Jr. is a diverse musician with extensive performance, teaching and composition experience in both Kansas City and Northern California. Many of his students frequently gain first chair/first stand orchestral seating and are also awarded 'I' ratings at District and State Music Contest Festivals. From 1993 - 2008, Mr. Hagenbuch maintained a full schedule of private violin, viola and composition students at Antioch Music Center in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2009, Hagenbuch opened his own private studio, STRAD Enterprises, in the Northland Kansas City area. He also maintains a busy schedule teaching at the K.C. Strings Conservatory, where he is the annual Summer Music Camp Director. Hagenbuch has been conductor of the St. Joseph Symphonic Youth Orchestra since August 2014. He has gained great respect in the music arena and is highly sought after as an inspiring and motivating instructor, clinician, adjudicator and commissioned composer.

2020 will mark the 30th year Hagenbuch has been a full-time private music instructor. Mr. Hagenbuch teaches private lessons in violin, viola, music theory and composition. He employs a traditional lesson style, focused on technique, scales, arpeggios, music theory, solo & orchestral music. Robert Hagenbuch has a tremendous passion for teaching music! He loves sharing his knowledge of the Art of Music. Mr. Hagenbuch perpetually strives to inspire and motivate every person of which he shares life’s experiences through music.

“Bob is a highly accomplished musician and music theorist, but not in an intimidating kind of way.

He is very patient and encouraging which enables him to effectively teach anyone to play the violin, even musically challenged adults like me!” - Dawn Sparks, adult student


As a violinist, Mr. Hagenbuch has performed with numerous symphonies, choirs and string quartets. During his California residency he was concertmaster of the Eureka Symphony, the Humboldt Symphony, the Humboldt Chorale Orchestra and the Humboldt Oratorio Society Orchestra. Mr. Hagenbuch played second violin with two, performing string quartets, 'Quartetto con Brio' and the 'Capiccione Quartet.' His ensemble experience also included singing lead tenor and descant with the Humboldt Men's Chorus of which he was assistant director.

In Kansas City, Mr. Hagenbuch performed with the Liberty Community Theater as the 'Fiddler' in Fiddler on the Roof (1993), and in numerous collaborations with the Jacomo Chorale, Jeffrey Carter, director. He presented a violin recital in 1996 as a Music/Arts Institute, solo faculty performer. In 2002, Mr. Hagenbuch performed two violin recitals, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and as an invited concert series performer sponsored by the Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral Summer Music Concerts. In July of 2010, Robert performed a violin & viola recital at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. The recital featured 3, World Premieres of Hagenbuch's string & piano compositions. November of 2017, Thomas Willbanks. piano, and Robert Hagenbuch, viola, performed 2 recitals. The recitals featured the premiere of Hagenbuch’s Viola Sonata, No. 2, Opus 140.

Mr. Hagenbuch also co-organized and performed numerous recitals and events from 1996-1999 with the string quartet, 'Scherzo Strings.' In the Fall of 2011, colleagues collaborated with Mr. Hagenbuch to form a new string quartet, "Ad Astra String Quartet." The quartet premiered with two recitals in May of 2012. In the spring of 2005, he became a member of the Liberty Symphony Orchestra, Tony Brandolino, conductor. Mr. Hagenbuch served as Assistant Principal 2nd Violin, and is currently Assistant Principal Viola with the Liberty Symphony. In September of 2019, Hagenbuch joined the Viola section with Medical Arts Symphony, Steve Lewis, conductor.

Mr. Hagenbuch performs on 1992 K.C. Strings Krutz Violin, and a 2004 K.C. Strings Viola.

Monica King earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Truman State University in Music with a Vocal Emphasis where she studied classical voice, choral conducting, and opera performance. She traveled to Europe with Truman’s premier choral ensemble, Cantoria, for a performance tour through Hungary, Austria, and Germany. She had the principal role of Madame Herz in the opera, “Der Schauspieldirektor” by W.A. Mozart, and participated in the opera chorus of, “Il Campanello Di Notte” by Gaetano Donizetti. 


Ms. King later earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Missouri Western State University in Music Education where she was awarded honorable mention in the Concerto and Aria Competition and performed with the Chamber Choir in the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference. She performed the principal role of the Contessa in Missouri Western State University’s 2017 production of, “Le Nozze Di Figaro” directed by Dr. Susan Carter Fricks.


Ms. King has been teaching private voice lessons since 2015, and currently teaches voice lessons at St. Joseph Arts Academy. She is beginning her second year with the St. Joseph School District. During her first year with SJSD, she taught vocal music at Mark Twain Elementary, and this year, will be teaching Vocal Music at Bode Middle School. 

Ms. King is an active performer, and frequently sings at weddings. She will be performing in the opera chorus with the Lawrence Opera Theatre’s production of Roméo et Juliette in the Summer of 2021.   

St. Joseph Youth Chorale