My name is Chris Maunu. I have been a high school choir director for 15 years. In over a decade in this business, I’ve learned a lot about myself and this wonderful field. So much of what I believe needs to be talked about is not comfortable. I like to dig in and discuss things like the imposter syndrome most of us feel. I enjoy sharing how I believe my program at Arvada West High School was built more on teaching my students how to be vulnerable, authentic human beings, rather than musical excellence. I believe we should be addressing negative aspects of our field, such as choral elitism. Not only that it exists, and why it’s a problem, but also opening up the discussion to what we can do to truly make a positive change for the future.

Visit http://www.chrismaunu.com for more.


Chris Maunu is a conductor, educator, and composer based in the Denver-Metro area. GRAMMY® nominated educator Maunu is the Director of Choral Activities at Arvada West High School. A passionate teacher, Mr. Maunu is a 3-time top-10 Finalist for the GRAMMY® Music Educator Award. He was also Winner of the 2019 and 2020 CMA® National Music Teacher of Excellence Award. Since starting his career at Arvada West in 2006, the department has nearly tripled in size and has become one of the premiere high school choir programs in the United States. Choirs under Maunu’s direction have performed at 12 music conferences, including National and Regional ACDA. They were also recent winners of the American Prize in Choral Performance, were invited to perform in the Champions Competition of the 2020 World Choir Games in Belgium, and earned the Gold Diploma at the Rimini International Choral Competition in Italy.

Mr. Maunu received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern State University where he delivered the 2018 Commencement Address. He was also a recipient of a Commendation from the 71st House of Representatives for his work as a choral educator.

Chris has enjoyed serving as a clinician for all state and honor choirs in numerous states, including a recent appointment to the faculty of Guest Artists at Manhattan Concert Productions (MCP) in New York City. He has also appeared around the country as a presenter. An active member of NAfME, CMEA, and ACDA, Christopher served as the High School Chair for ACDA and is a past member of the CMEA Vocal Music Council.

Mr. Maunu is co-founder and artistic director of Colorado’s Anima Chamber Ensemble, a 16-voice professional choral ensemble. Anima has enjoyed plenty of time on the classical music airwaves and packs the halls with enthusiastic concert goers of all ages. In addition, Maunu has sung professionally with Colorado Bach Ensemble, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and other choral organizations and opera companies.

Chris holds a Master of Music degree in from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern State University in South Dakota. He is pursuing Doctoral studies at the University of St. Thomas. When not on the podium or singing in an ensemble, Chris enjoys sharing his life with his beautiful wife Aleisha, amazing son Bodhi, and pets, Paavo and Ligeti.