Dennis Willhoit serves as the president and musical director for the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival. He is a active tenor soloist serving as principal tenor in the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. He made his debut solo performance with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 2014 and will return as soloist in 2015. Dr. Willhoit has taught at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Drake University and Coe College. In 2010, he was awarded UWSP’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He holds degrees from Simpson College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Iowa, where he earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance and pedagogy. His scholarly research has focused on the operatic works of Vivaldi. Dr. Willhoit was the founding conductor of the Greater Ottumwa Vocal Arts Project Children’s Chorus, which he conducted for 10 seasons. He will join the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra as their executive director in the fall of 2015.
Miriam Kenning is the secretary and artistic director of the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival. She has performed the roles of Eliza Doolittle, Nellie Forbush, Luisa, Maria and met her husband Greg in Oklahoma when she was Ado Annie! Miriam danced professionally in Europe early in her career, and later, developed creative dramatics workshops for children and adults, and was "Mother Miriam" for hundreds of children for the Greater Ottumwa Vocal Arts Project's Children's Chorus. She has directed Smoke on the Mountain, Peter Pan, Pump Boys and Dinettes, and Hairspray for AGPAF. She lives in Ottumwa with her husband Greg. She has two adult children; Ian and Sydney.