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Meet Our Leadership Team

At Gem City Chorus, our vibrant community is led by dedicated individuals who bring a wealth of experience and passion to the world of a cappella music. Let’s introduce you to our co-directors, Karen Johns and Deb Bringman, who play pivotal roles in shaping the harmony and success of our chorus.

Deb Bringman


Deb Bringman is a seasoned Sweet Adelines member with a remarkable career and a profound love for music education. She graduated from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) with a degree in Music Education and went on to earn her master’s degree in education from Wright State University (WSU). Her dedication to music education shines through her 31-year tenure as a secondary choral director, where her choirs consistently earned superior ratings in state competitions.

Deb’s commitment to Gem City Chorus is evident through her nearly 40 years of membership. Her journey has been marked by two international gold medals and a diverse range of roles, including section leader, assistant director, associate director, and contributions to the visual and creative teams.

Beyond the chorus, Deb’s passion has led her to sing tenor in several quartets, sharing the beauty of barbershop harmony on a smaller scale. Her influence extends to the Region 4 faculty, where she’s been a member for the past two decades, and her certification as a director. For the past 15 years, Deb has coached regional quartets and choruses and provided Personal Vocal Instruction (PVI’s) to aspiring singers.

Currently, Deb is an Ohio Musical Education Association (OMEA) adjudicator and a highly sought-after clinician and guest conductor. Her leadership extends to her role as Director’s Coordinator on the Harmony Heartland Region 4 Regional Management Team, where she continues to contribute to the growth of Sweet Adelines.

Outside the world of music, Deb enjoys traveling, sports, photography, and genealogy. Her multifaceted talents and devotion to music education make her a valuable asset to the Gem City Chorus community.

Karen Johns


Karen Johns is a cherished member of the Sweet Adelines family for over 41 years. Her musical journey has been a testament to her unwavering commitment to the art of vocal harmony. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, specializing in Music Therapy, from the University of Dayton. In her professional life, she shares her knowledge as a dedicated teacher for students learning English as a Second Language.

Karen’s barbershop adventure began in 1982 when she joined the Columbus Chorus alongside her mom and sister. She later transferred her talents to Gem City when she moved to Dayton for college, and she’s been an integral part of our chorus ever since. Karen’s musical journey includes a brief stint with the Scioto Valley Chorus in Dublin, Ohio, but her heart always belonged to Gem City.

Throughout the years, Karen has demonstrated her vocal talent by participating in various quartets. Her remarkable achievements include winning the regional quartet competition twice, once as a baritone with “The Rolling Tones” in Region 4 in 1999, and again as a bass with “Paper Dolls” in Region 24 in 2009. Her most recent quartet, “Limelight,” had the privilege of traveling to Wales for a competition, where they secured a remarkable 2nd place in the Small Vocal Ensemble division in the Eisteddfod. This trip also brought the unique opportunity to visit a Sweet Adeline Chorus in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Karen’s love for music extends beyond the stage. She’s been married to her husband, Dave, for 28 years and together they’ve raised three adult children, along with three cats, three fish, and a snail.

Karen’s passion for Sweet Adelines is boundless, and she’s excited to continue learning, directing, singing, and arranging, sharing her deep-rooted enthusiasm with Gem City Chorus.

Together, Karen Johns and Deb Bringman lead Gem City Chorus with a harmonious blend of experience, dedication, and love for the art of a cappella music. They are at the forefront of our mission to inspire, entertain, and educate.

Join the Gem City Chorus

If you possess a passion for music, the ability to carry a tune, and the desire to master the art of harmony, then you’ve found your place with us. Contact us today and experience the world of barbershop with Gem City Chorus.