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Our Director, Staff and Board of Directors

Dr. Dawn O. Willis, Artistic Director

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Dawn Willis is the Artistic Director and founder of Bella Voce Women’s Chorus. Under her leadership Bella Voce has performed throughout the region, recorded six CDs and toured Scotland, Ireland, Austria, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic and Canada. Dawn is also the Artistic Director of Solaris Vocal Ensemble, a mixed-voice choir based in Burlington. She has served as the Music Director at First Baptist Church, Burlington; Chorus Director for the Green Mountain Opera Festival and as the Assistant Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Dawn holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from Arizona State University and Master’s degrees in Sacred Music and Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University. Dawn has served as the Director of Choral Activities at McMurry University and Iowa Wesleyan College and conducted choral ensembles at the University of Vermont, Arizona State University, and Iowa State University. She has conducted performances of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the New England Symphonic Ensemble, and the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra. She has also prepared choruses for regional orchestras in Iowa and Texas, in addition to conducting numerous festivals, clinics, workshops, musicals, operas, and madrigal dinners throughout the Midwest, Texas, and New England. Dawn composes and arranges sacred and secular choral music and music for handbell ensembles.

Claire Black, Accompanist

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A native of Long Lake, NY, pianist Claire Black resides in Charlotte, VT.  Noted as “a fine pianist with substantial, crystal-clear technique, plenty of power, yet with a sensitive musicality and a penchant for lyricism” (Jim Lowe, Times Argus), Claire is an active performer of classical music in solo and collaborative settings, and has presented her programs throughout North America. Claire's deep interest in and commitment to chamber music synergize with her abundant experience, including many years of performance tours with the Cialde (piano) Quintet and with her cello-piano Elegua Duo. Her current chamber music endeavors include concerts with the Stellaria Trio and Vermont Virtuosi.

Claire also keeps a busy itinerary with singers.  Having worked with dozens of choirs, and recently for six seasons as the rehearsal pianist with the Burlington Choral Society, she now plays for Bella Voce Women's Chorus and, annually, the Vermont All State Festival Choir.  Other collaborations include freelance work as an accompanist for vocal and instrumental soloists, from young children to distinguished touring artists. Before moving to Vermont, Claire spent eight years in Cleveland, OH. There, she worked as a staff accompanist at Baldwin Wallace University and trained at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). She received a Master of Music degree in piano performance under the tutelage of Margarita Shevchenko.  Other teachers and mentors include Eugenia Tsarov, Robert Mayerovitch, Spencer Myer, Mitsuko Morikawa, Regina Mushabac, Jane Eaglen, and Elaine Greenfield.

Claire is an avid educator, maintaining a substantial private studio of piano players at all levels. She previously taught at Oberlin Conservatory's Community Music School and at CIM's Summer Sonata festival for young pianists. She also works in several administrative capacities, currently managing the Stellaria Trio and having served several years on the Vermont Music Teachers Association board as Competitions Chair, as Bookings Coordinator for the Cathedral Arts Series in Burlington, and as a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs.

Heather Aubé, Director’s Assistant

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Heather Aubé graduated from the Greatbatch School of Music at Houghton College in 2007 with a degree in Vocal Music Education. She sang with the Houghton College Choir for four years and toured with them in Europe. Heather currently teaches voice and piano lessons. She sings and plays the keyboard on one of the worship teams at Vibrant Church. She has been a member of Bella Voce since 2007.

2018-2019 Board of Directors

Rebecca Watson, Chair
Linda Wheeler, Treasurer
Doris Ogden, Recording Secretary
Jeri Bergdahl, Membership Secretary
Jodie Auer-Johnson
Jenny Berschling
Vikki Day
Chris O'Brien
Nan O’Leary
Laura Nassau
Rosemary Zamore
Dawn Willis, Artistic Director, ex officio