Conference 2021 Presenters

Susan Aziz

With an undergraduate degree from Smith College and a Master’s Degree in the Conservation of Historic Textiles from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Susan Aziz has designed and fabricated costumes, puppets and masks for theater and dance in Litchfield County for 25 years.

Susan has studied puppet design and performance in London, Paris, Toronto, New York City and at the University of Connecticut. She designed the colossal puppets for an annual celebration of Epiphany at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Litchfield.  Other large scale works for that space include The Peaceable Kingdom and A Battle Broke Out in Heaven. She created large-scale puppets of a whale, a condor and a flock of seagulls to accompany the Paul Winter Consort’s Missa Gaia performed at First Congregational Church in West Hartford, and built a new suite of mouse and soldier costumes for the Nutmeg Ballet’s Nutcracker.

In 2017, the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council recognized Susan’s achievements with the CultureMAX award in the individual artist category. 

Lawrence Berdensey

Lawrence A. Berdensey is currently the Band Director at West Side Middle School, in Groton, CT. He has taught band for the Groton Public Schools since 1985, where he has served as an elementary school band director before being appointed to Fitch Middle School in 1991. He is the 2020-21 West Side Middle School teacher of the year. 

Lawrence has been directing handbells since 2004 and was the former director of handbells at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, in Gales Ferry, CT. His music ministry included two youth ensembles, an adult choir, as well as an adult and teen quartet. Lawrence is a bronze level ringer, who formerly rang with the Shoreline Ringers, a community-based handbell ensemble in Southeastern, Connecticut. In January 2012, Lawrence became the director of the Hockanum Valley Ringers, a five-octave community handbell ensemble based in Vernon, CT. As a clinician he has appeared throughout New England. He has taught classes at the Area 1 Festival Conferences, the Directors Seminar, Spring Rings, and the Fall Skills Building Workshops as well as serving as a guest conductor at the CT, NH, MA, and Maine Spring Rings and the Family Handbell Camp. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and a Master of Science degree in Education from Southern Connecticut State University.

Kasha Breau

Kasha Breau is the music director, organist, choir, and handbell choir director at First Congregational Church in Portland, Connecticut. She is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford. Kasha is well known as a traditional harpist and singer playing original music and folk songs from around the world on modern reconstructions of medieval and renaissance harps as well as the modern concert harp. She also has a special interest in the kantele, the national instrument of Finland and is one of the few active performers and teachers of this instrument. Kasha is very active in several groups, most notably with Wild Notes, Eclectica, Tree of Life, Celtic Borders, and CitySingers of Hartford.

Kasha was also an environmental teacher and educator for over 35 years and is a state and federally licensed rehabilitator for injured and orphaned songbirds, raptors, various water fowl, and bats. Her other interests include spinning, knitting, felting, watercolor painting, gardening, and wild edibles. She is also a fully accredited and certified T’ai Chi Chih and Seijaku instructor.

Jeffrey Brillhart

A native Iowan, Jeffrey Brillhart has served as Director of Music and Fine Arts at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church since 1983. In 1993, he took a sabbatical in Paris, France where he studied organ improvisation, the organ symphonies of Louis Vierne, and the music of Maurice Duruflé. In 1994 he was awarded first place prize in the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation (NCOI). Since that time, his recital tours have taken him throughout America, with engagements in San Diego, Seattle, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Waco, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York City, Iowa City, Des Moines, Worcester, and throughout the eastern seaboard. In May 2005, he was invited to join the music faculty of Yale University, where he teaches organ improvisation at the graduate level. His textbook, Breaking Free: Finding a Personal Language for Organ Improvisation through 20th century French Improvisation Techniques was released by Wayne Leupold Editions in November 2011. His second textbook, A World of Possibilities: Master Lessons in Organ Improvisation, was released by Wayne Leupold Editions in 2018. Both books are widely used in universities in the United States and Europe.

Rev. Lisa Clayton

M.M., University of Connecticut
magna cum laude, Paine College

Rev. Lisa Clayton is a Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society graduate of the University of Connecticut, with a master of music degree in vocal performance, and a magna cum laude graduate of Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.

Rev. Clayton is a lecturer at the University of Connecticut and a music theory teacher in the Hartford Connecticut school system. She directs the University of Connecticut’s Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir, the Phillips Metropolitan C.M.E. Church Mass Choir, the Phillips Metropolitan Children’s Choir, and is a member of the Phillips Metropolitan ministerial staff. She has served as assistant director of the Paine College Gospel Choir, and as choral director and musician at Williams Memorial C.M.E. Church in Augusta, Georgia, Bethel A.M.E. Church in Augusta, Shiloh Baptist Church in New London, Connecticut, and elementary music teacher in the Richmond County, Georgia, schools. Clayton was elected to the Paine College National Alumni Association board of directors and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. As a graduate student at UConn, Alpha Lambda Delta (UConn’s freshman honor society) named her Teacher of the Year, marking the first time this award had been given to a graduate assistant rather than a professor. As a young girl in Georgia, Rev. Clayton toured the country as a member of the Georgia Mass Choir and later sang opera and gave recitals in Europe and across the United States.

Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, author and theologian, currently serves as ninth General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. John began his ministry serving First Congregational United Church of Christ and Zion United Church of Christ in rural Missouri. He then served as Associate Conference Minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, and then Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC prior to his election as General Minister and President. Dorhauer received a B.A. in Philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College (1983), and has a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary (1988), the same year he was ordained in the United Church of Christ. John received a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary (2004); his area of focus -- white privilege and its effects on the church. With a personal theology shaped in the passionate conviction that God is love and God is just, John has embodied the United Church of Christ’s vision of “A Just World for All” throughout his ministry.

John now serves as Vice-Chair of the National Council of Churches (NCC), and has co-chaired the NCC’s United to End Racism campaign. He has been identified by the Center for American Progress as one of the religious leaders to watch for in 2017. John insists that the Holy Spirit envisions a future in which the United Church of Christ matters. He is calling on the denomination to rethink itself and to consider new ways of being church in light of institutional religion’s changing landscape and emerging shifts in the generational populations – believing that an emergent church is already coming alongside the institutional church. John’s book Beyond Resistance: The Institutional Church Meets the Postmodern World is a call to the body of Christ to accept what the Spirit of the Risen Christ is doing to birth something new, vital, and relevant – all towards nurturing Beloved Community.

Patrick Evans

Patrick Evans is a native of Birmingham, Alabama who returned home after 27 years away to join the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Music as Professor and Chair in July of 2015. He was Associate Professor in the Practice of Sacred Music at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music and was Director of Music for the daily ecumenical worship in Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. He was chair of the voice area and director of the opera program at the University of Delaware, where he was a tenured Associate Professor of Music, and served on the faculty from 1994-2014. As an administrator served as Director of Admission for the School of Music at DePauw University, and as Interim Executive Director for More Light Presbyterians, a national non-profit working for justice for LGBTQ people in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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Keith Hampton

Keith Hampton is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Community Chorus (CCC) and is the director of music/organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church of Chicago, Illinois. He is widely known as an organ performer, conductor, composer, educator, church musician, adjudicator, and workshop clinician. He currently serves as a board member of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association (UCCMA).

Classically trained as an organist and conductor, Keith Hampton earned a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Arts Degree from Marywood University, and a Doctor of Music Degree in Church Music from Northwestern University. In addition, he was awarded the Service Playing, Choir Master, and Associate certificates of the American Guild of Organists.

Keith Hampton’s past positions as a church musician include: Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, Illinois; Wesley United Methodist Church, Aurora, Illinois; Bryn Mawr Community Church; Congregational Church of Park Manor; Park Manor Christian Church, and Assistant Director of Music at Trinity United Church of Christ, all in Chicago.

A specialist in the field of Gospel Music, Dr. Keith Hampton was selected by the North Central American Choral Directors Association in 2010 as one of the top 25 contemporary composers “whose composition, Praise His Holy Name, should be standard repertoire for choirs today and for the next 25 years.” As a published composer, Dr. Hampton’s arrangements of Spirituals and Gospel Songs are available through Augsburg Fortress Press, Choristers Guild, earthsongs Publications, Hal Leonard Corporation, Hinshaw Music, and Dr. KT Productions, Inc.

Michelle Horsley

Michelle Horsley holds a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from Stetson University, where she studied under Boyd Jones, and received a Master of Sacred Music from Duquesne University under the tutelage of Ann Labounsky. She is the director of music ministries at Trinity Episcopal Church, Hartford CT and music director of The Choir School of Hartford, which is associated with the parish. Previously she served as the director of music at South Church, New Britain where she also served as the artistic director of the Music Series at South Church, a program that hosts acclaimed artists from all over the world. Before moving to Connecticut, Michelle lived in Seattle where she worked for Seattle First Baptist Church and Diverse Harmony (the nation's first queer-straight youth alliance choir). Michelle is currently the dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter AGO.

Gabriel Löfvall

Gabriel Löfvall is a conductor, pianist and tenor who grew up listening to the sounds of the tango in his native Argentina. Born in the city of Mendoza, he graduated from the National University of Cuyo and sang with the Boys’ Choir there, as a youth, under Marcelo Coltro. He studied piano with Dora De Marinis.

Gabriel moved to the U.S. in 1997, where he attended the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and received a Masters of Music in piano performance under Luiz de Moura Castro, and later, a Masters and Doctorate in Choral Conducting, under Dr. Edward Bolkovac. Gabriel has taken his music to many different corners of the world: Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, England, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, and the U.S. With flutist Gonzalo Cortes, he formed Duo del Sur, a chamber music ensemble mostly devoted to the research and dissemination of South American contemporary music. He is the artistic director of Chorus Angelicus, Connecticut’s renown choir for children, and Gaudeamus, their adult counterpart. He co-directs the vocal ensemble Vallis Musicae, a community chorus that meets regularly for seasonal performances and international tours. He currently serves as the Director of Music for St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, CT.

Walden Moore

R. Walden Moore has been Director of Music of Trinity Church, New Haven, since 1984, where he directs the Choir of Men and Boys, the Choir of Men and Girls, and the Parish Choir (mixed adult voices) in a regular schedule of parish services and appearances outside the walls of the parish. He serves as clinician, guest conductor and organist for choir festivals and church choir clinics throughout the year. Having previously served as Organist and Choirmaster of St. James’s Church in West Hartford, CT, his degrees in organ are from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music/School of Music, where he studied with Robert Baker and Gerre Hancock. He is past Chair of the Music Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, and has served on the Executive Board of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He has also served as consultant in organ design for several churches in Connecticut. In January of 2007, he was appointed Adjunct Lecturer in Organ at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music/School of Music, where, each Fall semester, he co-teaches a course in Liturgical Keyboard Skills with colleague Mark Miller. In recent years, he has been Music Director for Royal School of Church Music in America Summer Courses in Charlotte, NC, Wilkes-Barre, PA, Newport, RI, and Boston, MA, and Houston, TX.

Angela Salcedo

D.M.A., Eastman School of Music
M.M., New England Conservatory 
B.M., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Angela Salcedo is the Organ Lecturer at the University of Connecticut, as well as the Director of Music Ministries at First Church of Christ, Congregational, Glastonbury. As a frequent recitalist on organ and harpsichord, Ms. Salcedo currently performs with The Mostly Baroque Players, a Connecticut early music ensemble. Her extensive performance career has included recitals at AGO Conventions and Pipe Organ Encounters, as well as the premier organist for the 2001 Scranton Bach Festival in Pennsylvania and recitalist on the highly acclaimed Summer Evening Organ Concerts at the Old West Church, Boston. Her international studies at the Bach’s Organ World Tour of Germany (2010), Academy of Italian Organ Music, Pistoia, Italy (1988) and French Organ Music Seminar, France (1999) have included concerts on various instruments throughout the Tuscany area of Italy as well as Paris, Bordeaux and Toulouse, France. Ms. Salcedo was a first prize winner of the Strader Organ Competition, Cincinnati (1982) and was one of twenty-five organists chosen throughout the country to compete in the 1993 and 1995 National Young Players Competition. Today, Angela serves as the chair of the planning committee for Conference 2021 of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association.

Joe Utterback

A composer, recording artist, pianist and organ recitalist, Dr. Joe Utterback has been a compelling artist on the American jazz scene for more than fifty years, which has included European and American tours, as well as long-term gigs in the jazz centers of Kansas City, St. Louis, San Francisco, and currently New York City. Chosen to perform and lead workshops at national and regional conferences of organizations such as National Federation of Music Clubs, College Music Society, and American Guild of Organists, Utterback has been on the faculty of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT for 28 years. He has served since 1996 as Director of Music and Organist at the First Congregational Church, UCC in Stratford, CT.

Miriam Therese Winter

Miriam Therese Winter is Emerita Professor of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at the Hartford Seminary in Hartford, CT. She arrived in 1979 to establish a department of liturgy, worship, and spirituality. She went on to introduce ecumenical and cross-cultural emphases in theory and in practice, then developed feminist and multifaith approaches that have culminated in a quantum perspective.

Winter's award-winning books on biblical women, feminist ritual and spirituality, and more recently, quantum spirituality, are the result of her penchant for exploring new and more authentic ways of living faith fully in a constantly evolving universe. Her most recent book, In the Spirit of Jesus, was written while Dr. Winter was in quarantine and reflects the prevailing issues of 2020. Her scholarship is rooted in what she likes to call the liturgy of life. This is shaped by her multifaceted experiences locally and around the world, especially among those who are powerless and poor, with women who are incarcerated, and with any who are willing to help bring about a more just and peace-filled planet.

While she relishes scholarship and research, Miriam Therese is at heart a singer of songs. As a young adult she became a Medical Mission Sister and provided care through music instead of medicine as she traveled the world ministering to those in need. She was a pioneer in introducing folk-style music into Catholic liturgical tradition. Her first recording, Joy is Like the Rain, went Gold in the 1960’s, and her Mass of a Pilgrim People was recorded live at its premier performance in Carnegie Hall. Many of her recorded songs continue to be sung by people of faith worldwide. Miriam Therese’s autobiography, The Singer and the Song, was recently released as an audiobook with narration and songs recorded by Grammy-winning artist Janis Ian.

A former professor at Princeton calls Miriam Therese a metaphorical theologian. To her students, colleagues, and friends, she is simply MT.

Paul Winter

A seven-time Grammy Award winner, Paul Winter is a soprano saxophonist, composer and leader of the Paul Winter Consort who is widely known for his performances and recordings of “earth music,” a genre that combines classical, jazz and world music traditions with voices from the wild, such as whales and wolves. He has toured the world, performing over 3,000 concerts in 52 countries. Many of those appearances supported environmental causes. He has produced 53 albums, including seven that won Grammy awards. His ensemble has been in residence at St. John the Divine in NYC for many years. He has an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT and resides in Litchfield, CT.

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