Conference 2017 Presenters
Peter and Mary Alice Amidon
Peter and Mary Alice Amidon are versatile and widely respected performing and teaching artists who for the past twenty years have dedicated themselves to traditional song, dance and storytelling.
Peter Amidon is co-founder and co-music director of Hallowell, a southeastern Vermont based a cappella SATB hospice singing group that has inspired the formation of over fifty more a cappella SATB hospice singing groups throughout the U.S. Many of Peter’s arrangements were first written for the Guilford (VT) Community Church, UCC where he is co-choir director. Peter’s choral arrangements are being sung by hundreds of church, community and hospice choirs throughout the U.S. and the UK. “I can't express to you how moved I am by these songs and arrangements. They are astoundingly beautiful and expressive.” -Kathy Gross - Choir Director, Maple Street Congregational Church, Danvers, Massachusetts
Mary Alice Amidon is an annual favorite in many elementary schools for her music, storytelling and dance concerts and residencies with K-4 students. She presents teacher workshops by herself and with Peter Amidon across the country. Her two solo albums of songs for children: 'Teaching Kindergarten' and 'Songs for a Singing Family' are two of the most popular CD's from the Amidon collection. She leads harmony singing at Adult Village Harmony and Country Dance and Song Society summer camps. She is one of twenty-five composers commissioned to compose an original choral piece ('Sweet is the Day') for the Social Band's "Vermont Composer's Project" and contributed several compositions and choral arrangements to the Amidons' two choral collections "Fifty-five Anthems for the Small Church Choir" and "Twenty-five Anthems for Interfaith & Community Choirs." Mary Alice has a particular gift for enhancing picture books with music, song, storytelling and movement.
The Amidon’s published music is available at https://www.amidonmusic.com
Conductor Betsy Burleigh
currently chairs the Choral Department at Indiana University's Jacobs
School of Music where she conducts the University Singers and the
Oratorio Chorus. Most recently she has led Walton's Belshazzar's Feast,
the Poulenc Gloria, Handel's Messiah, and the Vaughan Williams Sea
Symphony. Betsy teaches conducting and rehearsal techniques to
doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate students, and coordinates a
department consisting of six concert choirs and six opera choruses. She
has previously served as director of the Mendelssohn Choir of
Pittsburgh, which performed regularly with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and
as assistant director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. She considers
Boston home, having lived here for fifteen years. During her time in
Boston she directed Chorus Pro Musica, the Master Singers of Lexington
and the Cambridge Madrigal Singers. Most recently she prepared two
concerts for the Boston Symphony Orchestra with the Tanglewood Festival
Chorus. She also taught at Tufts University, M.I.T., and the Longy
School of Music. Other New England credits include the Providence
Singers and Clark University. She is delighted to have been invited to
this conference, having been raised in Congregational and U.C.C.
Susan DeSelms has been the minister of music at United Parish in Brookline since 2001. She earned degrees in organ performance and choral conducting from Boston University, Indiana University, and Birmingham Southern College. Susan believes that singing unites us as a people of God and it is her mission to motivate and facilitate congregational song. She is the chair of the planning committee for this conference.
Griff Gall is an elementary music and movement specialist in the town of Danvers, Mass. and is the artistic director of the Back Bay Ringers handbell ensemble. Under his direction, the Back Bay Ringers have become renowned for their musicality and have performed with the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Children's Chorus, and the Boston Pops. Griff frequently presents workshops on movement and music education, as well as handbells. He has written articles for national and state music education journals and is the author of Ring, Dance, Play: First Experiences with Choirchimes and Orff Schukwerk published by GIA. He holds degrees in music education from Westminster Choir College and Boston University.
Fred Kimball Graham
A native of Ontario, Fred Graham is Associate Professor Emeritus of Emmanuel College, University of Toronto. During his tenure, he established Canada’s only Master of Sacred Music program, based at the College. From 1988-2002, he was national Officer for Worship and Music for The United Church of Canada, during which time he was instrumental in establishing their association of musicians, Music United. He assisted in publishing the hymnal Voices United (1996) and the book of prayers, Celebrate God’s Presence (2000). For 14 years, he conducted liturgy and music workshops for the denomination from Atlantic to Pacific.
Fred’s training in music was at the University of Toronto (Music Education) and the Eastman School of Music (Organ Performance); his training in theology and liturgics towards the PhD was at Drew University, Madison, NJ with a focus on Methodist hymns of the 19th century. He has served the Consultation on Common Texts for 28 years, and in 2012, edited the authorized version of the Revised Common Lectionary. After graduate studies in Germany, he directed music programs in both United Church and Anglican parishes over a span of 47 years.
His hymn tunes and arrangements appear in Voices United, More Voices, Common Praise, and Glory to God (PCUSA). He is a Licensed Lay Worship Leader in the United Church of Canada, and collaborates in liturgical design and preaching regularly. An inveterate traveler, he currently resides in Guelph, Ontario.
Jane Money and Boston City Singers
Jane Money founded Boston City Singers in 1995 as a division of Pro Musica. In 2003, Boston City Singers became a separate chorus and youth development program with headquarters in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood and currently serves over 520 young people. Jane has over 25 years of experience in teaching music in classrooms, school and church choirs. She is passionate about teaching children.
Ms. Money holds master’s degrees in music from Auckland University in New Zealand; in music education from Trinity College of Music in London; and in engineering (MS) from Boston University. She is also the founding artistic director of “Children’s Voices of Ireland.” She is a former instructor with the Metropolitan Opera’s Urban Voices program in Boston, and until June 2008, the director of youth choirs at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Wellesley, MA. She is immediate past president of the American Choral Directors Association R&S Standards Chair for MA. A native of New Zealand, Jane has been a resident of Dorchester for over 25 years. She is married with 4 children, all of whom sing.
Boston City Singers: Founded in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood in 1995, Boston City Singers is a family of 500 strong young musicians ages 4 – 18 from over 80 zip codes, 186 schools, and 40 different countries. We know that through learning and performing together lives are changed, voices found, barriers lowered and communities united. Our members receive intensive, sequential training that extends well beyond the concept of a traditional children’s chorus, learning world percussion, contemporary improvisation, composition, and movement alongside singing and life skills. Boston City Singers is honored to be a 3-time finalist in the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities Youth Program, an honor granted annually to only 30 organizations nationwide. In 2014 they were also named a finalist in the inaugural broadcast season of WGBH’s “Sing That Thing.” Boston City Singers
Mark Morgan is an active singer and instrumentalist in a variety of genre. He is the leader of the River Rock Band, a collective of singers and instrumentalists exploring new avenues of music in progressive Christian worship. RRB plays in a huge range of styles from Celtic to gospel, jazz to folk, world to rock, and everything in between. RRB is in residence at Hancock Church, UCC, where Mark is the director of music. Mark is also an active performer in musical theater, operetta, opera, oratorio, and early music for ensembles all over the country. In addition, Mark is an active conductor and composer/arranger. A native of Wisconsin, he is a graduate of Macalester College and the Eastman School of Music.
Michael Ofori is a multifaceted performing artist from Ghana. He has been drumming since childhood, learning from many master drummers from the Center for National Culture in Kumasi. Michael’s creative interests lie in African performing arts traditions. He has performed with Amammerɛso Agofomma (Cultural Center’s Folkloric group), Azaguno Inc. (Athens, Ohio), Manhyia Tete Nnwomkrɔ (The Ashanti King’s Singing and Drumming Ensemble), The Ghana Dance Ensemble at University of Ghana, The National Dance Company at the National Theater of Ghana and NOYAM Dance Institute. Michael holds a BFA in Theater and Dance from University of Ghana, an MA in African Studies from Ohio University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Theater Education at Boston University. He is excited to be sharing his music with all.
Nick Page is a Boston based song-leader, composer, conductor and author. He is the author of three books on music and has over a hundred published choral pieces. He is conservatory trained (Lorna Cooke deVaron at New England Conservatory) but schooled in the folk traditions of many cultures and faiths. He has guest conducted in Europe and throughout North America including premieres at Carnegie Hall. More info at www.nickmusic.com
André de Quadros
Professor André de Quadros, conductor, ethnomusicologist, human rights activist, and music educator has conducted and undertaken research in over forty countries and is a professor of music at Boston University where he also holds affiliated faculty appointments in the African Studies Center, the Center for the Study of Asia, the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, the Pardee Center, and the Prison Education Program. He has worked in the most diverse settings worldwide. His research and performance interests lie in arts and health, prisons, music of the Muslim world and Indonesia, community choruses, and peace and conflict. http://www.andredequadros.com/
Willie SordilloAlto saxophonist Willie Sordillo has been performing professionally for 40 years. He served as co-leader of three-time Boston Music award winners Flor de Caña, has worked extensively as a freelance player with a wide variety of groups, and leads his own jazz ensembles. He has performed in concerts and festivals throughout North America and internationally. Willie’s original compositions have appeared in numerous song books, magazines and college texts. He has contributed music to several films, and an arrangement to the television show ER. He has recorded extensively as a leader, producer and sideman. He has performed with or opened shows for Pete Seeger, Ruben Blades, Kurt Elling, Richie Havens and Tito Puente, among others. Willie sees music as a spiritual expression with the power to uplift, heal, inspire growth and initiate change. He has served as music director for a weekly jazz worship service at Old South Church in Boston since 2005 and regularly brings jazz worship to churches throughout Massachusetts. For 15 years he backed up a James Brown impersonator, and currently plays in the R & B/funk/soul/jazz ensemble, The RPS Band. His motto is, “Bring a little bit of church into the club, and bring a little bit of the club into the church.”
After a period of recording and performing as a professional musician, Reverend Burns Stanfield was ordained in 1991 as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) to pastor a congregation in a low-income neighborhood of South Boston. While this church was once near closing, it has since grown substantially and is now a vital community presence. It runs a community arts ministry, a large free summer day program, tutoring ministries, recovery efforts, and more. Stanfield also teaches at Harvard Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological School. He continues to write music, perform and record. Family Prayers is a CD of original songs, and a follow-up is forthcoming. The church’s community commitments have been recognized by the national Presbyterian Church, Harvard University, the South Boston community and the city of Boston.
Clergy for Worship Services
The Rev. Kent French
Kent French is the senior pastor of the United Church of Brookline. He first felt a call to ministry when he was in the second grade. As he matured he explored various theologies and churches while pursuing a career in acting and singing. In 2004 he entered Harvard Divinity School. Upon graduation he served as a pastoral resident at Wellesley Village Church and then as lead pastor of a UCC church in Bellingham, Washington. In 2013, he returned to Boston to serve the United Parish, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church and the American Baptist Church.
The Rev. Dr. Mary Luti (see above)
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Taylor
Nancy S. Taylor has served as the senior minister and chief executive officer of Old South Church since 2005. Prior to her call to Old South Church, she served as minister and president of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC (2001-2005) and has served churches in Idaho, Connecticut, and Maine. She earned degrees at Macalester College (B.A.), Yale Divinity School (M.Div.) and Chicago Theological Seminary (D. Min.).
Beyond the doors of Old South Church, Nancy is a recognized preacher and speaker, teacher and workshop leader. She has engaged extensively in human rights issues in her ministries and has won multiple awards for her work.