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 Ellen Peters moved back to Williamsburg this year when she and her husband chose this as their retirement community. Ellen was already quite familiar with the town, since she received her B.A. in English, with a minor in Music, from the College of William and Mary, where she sang in the same musical ensembles as did Cantori Soprano Ginger Barr. In fact, they both think that Ellen was in the choir which sang for Ginger’s wedding. Before coming back to Williamsburg, Ellen worked as an administrator, and was soprano soloist and section leader at Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean.
Soprano/Alto Keara Parciak holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and French from St. Joseph University and a Master of Music in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College. During her studies, she spent a semester in France at the Ecole Normale de Musique, where she studied piano, voice and theory. She is Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Norge.
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 Dorothy Nelson and her husband Andrew were charter members of the original Cantori ensemble formed in 2005, and sang in the group for its first six years, before taking a sabbatical until this fall. Trained as a nurse in her native England, she and Andrew worked and sang in church choirs and the City of Birmingham Choir before coming to the US. In addition to singing in Cantori, Dorothy also sings in the Women’s Choir and Choraliers, and has been known to play a few instruments as well.
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
Tenor Steven Martinez holds a Bachelor of Music degree from CNU and a Master of Music Education degree from ODU. He has been a graduate teaching and conducting assistant, appeared in opera productions and musicals, sung with various choral groups and the Virginia Chorale, and served as a church choir section leader. Steven sang with Cantori earlier, but his work schedule prevented him from doing so until he returned this spring. Welcome back, Steven!
Baritone Martin Barstow is a native of Norfolk, and 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 James (Jimmy) Mackey is a native of Hampton Roads and graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in English and Psychology, after which he earned an MBA from VCU. He spent a number of years in international business and marketing development, living on both US coasts, and then spent some 25 more years in Richmond, raising his family and singing in the choir at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and the Richmond Choral Society. He now manages a busy marina in Deltaville and sings in the choir at Grace Episcopal Church in Kilmarnock, in addition to Cantori.
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-Baritone Andrew Nelson and his wife Dorothy were charter members of the original Cantori ensemble. Both natives of England, they have lived in Williamsburg since 2002. Music has always been an important part of their lives, through singing in and directing church and civic choirs and in the playing of band instruments and recorder. Andrew also plays the organ, and has been a vocal soloist in a number of choral ensembles, including Cantori. Andrew works as a real estate broker.
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!
Cantori is available for hire for concerts, special services, musical programs, and weddings. For booking, contact the Director, Agnes French, at email@example.com or at 757-345-6355.