• Sostenuto Choral Community

    of North Texas

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    We Will Be Accepting $10.00

    Donations at the Door


  • Hello & Welcome!



    Mission Statement: Sostenuto exists to inspire, educate, and support a community of individual singers into one united voice, providing high quality choral programs to North Texas.


    Sostenuto is located in McKinney, Texas, and desires to join local singers together in a supportive vocal family, combining individual talents to collectively bring memorable moments of high quality to the community through the medium of choral music. We welcome adults of all ages seeking others with a shared love of singing. Our members are from all walks of life and join together weekly to rehearse repertoire from a variety of musical genres. Musical and artistic growth, excellence in performance, and providing a loving, supportive environment are major components of our organization.


    Sostenuto performs two independent concerts annually, Christmas and Spring, and is honored to serve the community at the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Mckinney Veterans Memorial Park.


    Artistic Director and Founder Cindy Johnston brings three decades of choral experience to Sostenuto. Her humorous style coupled with high musical standards sets a rehearsal atmosphere of fun filled success. Rehearsals and concerts are exquisitely enhanced by the vast talents of our accompanist, Debra Morton. 




    Sostenuto is an Italian word that translates to sustained. As a musical term, the practical definition is to prolong - sustain - a passage of music. It is an adjective form of the verb sostenere which has support as a synonym. Sustained and supported - very fitting descriptors for music and a community of singers.

  • Cindy Johnston, Artistic Director

    Cindy Johnston, Artistic Director, graduated summa cum laude from West Texas State University (now WTA&M) earning a Bachelor of Music Education. An educator of 28 years, Cindy retired from McKinney ISD after 23 years at 3 campuses, Valley Creek Elementary, Evans Middle School, and finishing at McKinney High School as Director of Choirs. While at Valley Creek, she received the 1999 Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2004, she joined the inaugural faculty at Evans, building the choir program to 220 students. In 2009, her Evans Varsity Treble Chorus was a featured Honor Choir at Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the first group ever selected from MISD. In the fall of 2010, she became Associate Director of Choirs at McKinney High School, subsequently being named head director the following year. Her choirs enjoyed consistent success with superior ratings at UIL Evaluations. Cindy served the district in planning and executing major vocal department events and served as TMEA Region 25 facilitator for Middle School All-Region Choir. While at MHS, she was MISD Vocal Team Lead and continued to serve Region 25 as Secretary and Treble Choir Region Coordinator.In her community, she served in First Baptist Worship and Arts, singing in choir and directing the handbell ensemble. She co-founded and fully directed summer camps with McKinney Repertory Theatre and performed with McKinney Summer Musicals.


    Cindy found her true joy directing choirs at the high school level, continuing the Madrigal Feast of Carols tradition, and music directing the campus musical. Her last production, “The Phantom of the Opera,” was the inaugural performance at the MHS Sperry Performing Arts Center, and garnered five Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards nominations, including Best Chorus/Ensemble and Best Music Direction. Ms. Johnston, however, says the best season by far was UIL Concert and Sight Reading Evaluation. From starting the first notes to eventual performances in front of an adjudication panel, she relished this process, enjoying musical growth, both in her students and personally as a director. It is out of this love of choral music that Sostenuto was born, bringing together singers from many walks of life to stir the notes of great compositions, serving the community in song. Along with directing Sostenuto, Cindy music directs for Outcry Youth Theatre based in Plano and serves as a choral clinician and UIL Adjudicator.. She has three grown children, truly the best works of her life, and two precious grandchildren.

    Debra Morton, Accompanist & Composer in Residence

    Debra Morton, Accompanist and Composer in Residence, developed a love for the piano started before she started taking piano lessons at the age of five. She added organ lessons three years later and became a church organist at age eleven. Her dedication and commitment to her craft led her to pursue a degree in piano performance at Baylor University, where she graduated cum laude. Following her graduation, Debra worked as a dinner theater musician, a keyboard player at Disney World, and a rehearsal pianist in New York City. Additionally, she has coached voice, directed choirs, and composed music for children’s musicals and vocal groups. Her compositions have been featured by several TMEA Honor choirs in San Antonio, Texas. For 27 years, Debra served as a staff accompanist for McAllen ISD, showcasing her skills and dedication to music education. Currently, she holds the position of Chancel Choir Director and Children’s Choir Director at First Frisco Global Methodist Church. Beyond her musical endeavors, Debra finds joy in various creative pursuits. She’s an avid painter, loves cooking, gardening, and reading. She’s been married for 46 years and is the proud mother of 2 daughters. Her family has grown to include 4 cherished grandsons.

  • Board of Directors




    President: Mark Read

    Vice President: Eileen Halbrooks

    Secretary: James Shelby

    Treasurer: Marcy Best

    Director: Grover Brillhart

    Director: Kayla Kreger





    Cindy Johnston

    Artistic Director and Founder


    Debra Morton

    Accompanist & Composer-in-Residence





  • Contact Us

    If you are interested in joining Sostenuto, please tell us about your background.

  • Thank You to Our Sponsors 

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    Recent Events





    Spring Concert "Celestial Air" May 22 at FBC McKinney


    We held our spring concert "Celestial Air" featuring both original and classical compositions.


    The concert's title piece is an original composition, lyrics from a poem written by Dorothy Steckline and set to music by our brilliant accompanist, Debra Morton. Mother of our Artistic Director, Cindy Johnston, Mrs. Steckline penned the poem in 2009 after the passing of the husband of a dear friend. Mrs. Steckline left this world, entering That Celestial Air, original title of the poem, in August of 2021. Ms. Johnston and her sisters are thrilled to hear their mother's text in this beautiful choral setting.


    The May 22nd concert will include compositions by Claudio Monteverdi, Franz Joseph Haydn, Frank Ticheli, and Irving Berlin, to name a few. At the performance, you'll hear lush harmonies in There Will Be Rest, High Flight, and Measure Me Sky, classic melodies in Ecco mormorar l'onde and The Heavens are Telling from The Creation, and folk music in an arrangement of the Appalachian tune Every Night When the Sun Goes Down, a piece that focuses heavenward on the transcendence of faith over sorrow and of peace (through death) over suffering and pain. Novelty titles included in the evening's repertoire are Blue Skies and (Somewhere) Over the Rainbow.


    These are a sampling of our titles for "Celestial Air." There's something for everyone! Our concert celebrates the shared human experience of looking heavenward in joy and despair, to seek solace, guidance, or meaning, and to express feelings for those we love.