About the Performers
This is the third auditioned choral ensemble Director Agnes French has founded and conducted in career moves that took her from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to Williamsburg. She has also conducted previously existing auditioned choral and handbell ensembles. A professional musician, she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting, both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has served as full-time Director of Music and Organist at several churches, and is currently Director of Music At Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock. She has served as Dean of two Chapters of the American Guild of Organists and performed in regular organ concerts. In addition to her choral conducting and organ playing, she is also a handbell conductor and performer, having organized and directed two handbell ensembles which achieved national prominence in the AGEHR.
The singers in Cantori, chosen by audition, are professional musicians and singers with extensive choral experience and musicality. Included in the roster are professional musicians, choral directors, organists/pianists, and theater professionals. The current membership includes:
Soprano Ginger Barr has been singing since the age of two, when she entertained her family non-stop by singing Michael, Row the Boat Ashore. Indeed, she has not used her degree in biology from The College of William and Mary, preferring instead to work in the Early Childhood Music School in Williamsburg, and use her voice to sing in the Women’s Chorus, Choraliers, her church choir, and Cantori, the latter of which, of course, is her favorite group!
Soprano Rebecca Hartt teaches vocal and instrumental music at Walsingham Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in voice from Hope College and a Masters degree in vocal performance from Boston University. She serves as a cantor at St. Bede’s Catholic Church, as Music Director for ShowStoppers Productions, and plays flute, saxophone, and handbells.
Soprano Claudia Kessel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts in Public Policy from George Washington University. She has sung in several chamber ensembles in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Claudia moved to Williamsburg with her husband, David Grandis, who is Director of Orchestra at William and Mary. She is employed in the development office of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
Soprano Pilar Padrón began taking voice lessons at the age of 13, and continued studying through college at SUNY Fredonia, where she began as a vocal performance major. Along the way, she sang in multiple choirs and musical performances. A call to the priesthood sidetracked her vocal studies, so she is delighted to be using her voice in Cantori. Pilar serves as the Associate Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock.
Alto Judy Alexander was a music minor at UNC Charlotte, where she received a degree in psychology. She has played piano and violin since her youth, sung in choirs from high school through college, and prior to moving to Williamsburg, sang in the Charlotte Choral Society, and was the alto in an a capella quartet, the Candlelight Singers. In Williamsburg, Judy also sang with the Bach Choir.
Alto Mary Stutz is Organist at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Newport News and was the Manager of Internet Operations with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Mary has also sung with the Bach Choir, and joined Cantori not only as a singer, but as our Web Master. Mary plays organ, piano, and guitar.
Tenor Bruce Burch is tenor soloist at First Presbyterian Church in Norfolk. An educator in classical languages by profession, Bruce has sung in the Virginia Chorale, Virginia Choral Society, Virginia Symphony Chorus, Schola Cantorum, and the Chamber Singers. Cantori, of course, is his favorite choral group.
Tenor Dan Waddill's love of choral music began at Davidson College, where he sang in the college choir and took voice and music theory classes. A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Dan has sung previously with the Piedmont Chamber Singers in Winston-Salem, the Charleston (SC) Renaissance Ensemble, the Cantata Chorus (Norfolk) and the Bach Choir. Dan holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering and is a civilian engineer with the Navy.
Baritone Martin Barstow is Organist and Choir Director at St. Stephen Lutheran Church. A native of Norfolk, Marty holds a Bachelor’s degree in organ from East Carolina and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Duquesne. His former choral experience includes singing in the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Compline Choir, and the Ambrose-Romanos Singers.
Baritone Allan Whittaker was born in Baltimore, where he was accepted to studied voice at the Peabody Conservatory from the age of 16. At Peabody, he sang in opera productions, and later with the Baltimore Opera Company, Bach Society, and Baltimore Symphony Chorus. He earned a degree in secondary education from Towson University and taught for one year before joining the police force in Baltimore, from which he retired. Along the way, he has been a paid church and temple musician. He moved to the Northern Neck to be near his parents as they aged, and now divides his time between Weems and Richmond, where he owns homes, and India (seriously), where he often visits.
Bass Joe Dellinger moved to Williamsburg ten years ago. He has now embarked on his third career, acting. He earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English as well as a Master's in business, and studied music for three years at Baylor University. Then followed a career in the Air Force, after which he taught college English for several years. Along the way, he has sung in many choral groups, and is delighted to be singing in Cantori now!
Bass James (Jim) Noran grew up in a family of musicians, and has sung and soloed in many choral groups and choirs throughout his life, including with Dale Warland at Macalester College, where he received his undergraduate degree. He is a retired I.T. consultant. He and his wife moved to Williamsburg a couple of years ago, joining a daughter here who is a graduate of W&M. In Williamsburg, he also sings in the Choral Guild and in Ford’s Colony Theatre Club events. Jim is delighted to be part of a small excellent musical ensemble!
Former members of Cantori included in recordings and images on this site include:
Dorothy and Andrew Nelson (2006 - 2010), Neil Kraft (2006 - 2009), Elaine Johnson (2006 - 2008), Jennifer Cannon (2009 - 2010), Barbara Davis (2006 - 2012), Akiko Fujimoto (2010), Greg Bowers (2010), Lisha Viens (2010 - 2011), Christopher Corr (2010 - 2011), Jennifer and Perry Woods (2010 - 2012), Jessica Gourley (2011), Suzanne Neely (2006 - 2007), Kathleen Durley (2008 - 2009), Garry Sloan (2009), Carey Lent (2012), Sarah Ford Bland (2012-2013), Shannon Smith (2013-14), Sue Sechrist (2006-2013), Wesley Kenyon (2013-14), Scott Bumbaugh (2011-2014), Janet Faggart (2007), Jonathan Faggart (accompanist: 2006 - 2007), James Drake (accompanist: 2010 - 2012), Jane Alcorn (accompanist: 2012-2013)
Cantori is available for hire for concerts, special services, musical programs, and weddings. For booking, contact the Director, Agnes French, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-345-6355.