Chorus Member Profile
A May Festival Baby Grows Up
Alexandra (or Alex) Kesman grew up at Music Hall, and we don’t mean that she had rehearsal there a few times per year as a child. Alex’s mother Christine Wands is a thirty-year veteran of the May Festival Chorus, so Alex first heard Carmina Burana before she was even born, reacting to the music in her mother’s belly.
Her earliest memories consist of running around Music Hall, chased by Director of Choruses Robert Porco. She was one of the only children in history who was allowed to attend May Festival rehearsals and was truly a “May Festival Baby.” As she grew up, she became close with those who keep Music Hall running from day to day, including Kitty Love, the retired security guard who helped her complete her homework, and Joe Hopper, the ubiquitous and now retired stage hand who took her under his wing.
One of Alex’s favorite May Festival memories was in the early 1990s, when she sat next to Keith Lockhart (now the Boston Pops Conductor, formerly the Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops) during a tech rehearsal at Music Hall. The house was dark, and they sat at the director’s table moving through the program piece by piece. The evening wore on and before she knew it, she had fallen asleep on Keith Lockhart!
Being a chorister has always been her destiny. She began singing in CCM Children’s Choir, participated in school choirs, and was a four-year member of the May Festival Youth Chorus while she was in high school at Walnut Hills. She attended Antioch College as a Theatre Major and earned her bachelor’s degree. During college, she worked as a stage manager for American Repertory Theater at Harvard, and for theatres in San Francisco and Chicago. She noticed that the skillset needed for stage management was not so different from arts administration or database management.
When she returned to Cincinnati, she worked at Know Theatre and created their customer relationship management software using Salesforce products. Alex now works for ConstructConnect, supporting internal sales software and helping the company to sell these data and software products to the broader construction industry. She continues to volunteer her software skills to support local arts organizations, including Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre (CAST) in Northern Kentucky. She recently joined the local cover band One Short as the lead singer, and looks forward to performing selections from Fleetwood Mac, P!nk, Jefferson Airplane, and Traci Chapman for live audiences as soon as social gatherings are considered safe again.
"The May Festival has always been ‘home’ for me. Growing up around the Chorus and Music Hall makes walking into the May Festival Rehearsal room feel like coming home every time. Singing in a chorus with others who also sang with my mother when she was pregnant with me truly blows my mind and really speaks to the sense of commitment and family that this chorus has. The sense of community and professionalism this group brings to the stage is unlike anything else in the world, and I'm blown away every time we make music. It's a huge honor to be a part of this family.”
Join us in congratulating Alex Kesman on her fifth official year as a member of the May Festival Chorus! We happily concede that her involvement may have been a bit longer than that.