Dr. Rika Heruth – (816) 736-5340 ext. 2786
(Director of Choirs)
Dr. Rika R. Heruth is thrilled to have been the Director of Choral Music at Liberty Senior High School for more than ten years. Before joining the Liberty Senior High School faculty, she maintained a successful private voice studio in Liberty for eight years. Her students have won many vocal performance honors and awards and have also gone on to pursue music as a career.
Dr. Heruth has dedicated over 24 years to teaching choral music and has held positions in Missouri, Kansas, New York, and Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocal Music Education and Piano Performance from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Her Master of Science Degree in Music and Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Choral Conducting are from the UMKC Conservatory of Music. She has studied voice at the Eastman School of Music and was a member of the Eastman Rochester Chorus. She was also a member and soloist for the Rochester Oratorio Society.
Active as a guest clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Heruth has conducted choral festivals and workshops in South Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. She has also been honored by guest appearances with the State Ballet of Missouri, conducting their touring performances of Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" in 1998, and Francis Poulenc's "Gloria" in 1999.
Dr. Heruth is married to Dr. Daniel Heruth, who is a molecular biologist at Children's Mercy Hospital and has a joint appointment with the UMKC School of Medicine. Their son, Hans, is a sophomore music major at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.
Mr. Baker Purdon - (816) 736-5340 ext. 2786
(Assistant Director of Choirs)
Baker Purdon is elated to be starting his career in vocal music education here at Liberty High School. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater & Voice Performance at The University of Kansas where he worked as an accompanist and coach in both the opera and musical theater departments. At KU, he was awarded the Tom P. and Shirley Rea Memorial Award in Musical Theater, denoting him as the most promising performer of his graduating class. His previous teachers include Raymond Feener (UMKC), Julia Broxholm (KU), and Distinguished Professor of Voice and internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle (KU). He studied musicology under Dr. Paul Laird (KU), where he specialized in musical theater history, particularly that of rock and digital musicals.
Mr. Purdon has been seen as a music director, conductor, and musician in Kansas City productions of The Sound of Music, Urinetown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Peter Pan, John & Jen, A Chorus Line, and many more. During his undergraduate career, he wrote and produced two musical revues – “Broadway Babies: Women’s Caricatures on Stage,” and “An Operatic Musical Revue.” He is the regional accompanist for both the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) and The Book of Mormon, LLC.
Mr. Purdon currently runs a successful private voice teaching and coaching studio, with current students attending Drake University and AMDA. He is also the resident organist at Northminster Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Purdon will complete his Master of Arts in Teaching in the summer of 2017.