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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 five CDs and toured Ireland, Austria, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Dawn is also the Artistic Director for the Solaris Vocal Ensemble, a new mixed choir based in Burlington. Dawn is the choir director at First Baptist Church in Burlington and she has also served as the Chorus Director for the Green Mountain Opera Festival.

Dawn holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Music from Arizona State University and Masters degrees in Sacred Music and Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University. In 1999, she conducted the New England Symphonic Ensemble and the McMurry University Choirs in a performance of Mozart’s Solemn Vespers at Carnegie Hall. She has also served as a guest conductor for the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra and prepared choruses for regional orchestras in Iowa and Texas. Dr. Willis has served as the Director of Choral Activities at McMurry University and Iowa Wesleyan College, and has conducted the University of Vermont Catamount Singers and Arizona State University Women's Chorus. She has conducted numerous festivals, clinics, and workshops throughout Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. She has served as the choral director for churches in several denominations and directed numerous collegiate and community musicals, operas, and madrigal dinners. Dawn also composes and arranges sacred and secular choral music and pieces for handbell ensembles.

Frank Whitcomb, Accompanist

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Frank attended the Northern Conservatory of Music until its closing in 1972, at which point he transferred to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and finally to the University of Vermont where he received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education Honors Degree with piano as his primary instrument. In 1986 he received his Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the University of Maine at Orono, mentoring with Dr. Dennis Cox. He taught in Colchester Public Schools for 22 years and recently retired from teaching at Burlington High School where he conducted the choirs and taught piano classes and Music Theory.

Frank has taught private piano for many years and has also served as accompanist for choirs, musicals and various students. As a singer and conductor, he has served in various capacities ranging from conductor of the University of Maine Concert Chorus and singer in the Oratorio Society, a singer in the auditioned University Singers of the University of Maine, a tenor in the University of Vermont Choral Union, accompanist for the Colchester Community Chorus and other such pursuits. Very active in music organizations, Frank has served as President of the Vermont Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association and the New England Music Festival Association.

Frank lives in Colchester with his wife Jean and is a proud father of Jennifer and Jason, both presently residents in the Burlington area.

Heather Aubé, Director’s Assistant

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Heather 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 Community Bible Church. She has been a member of Bella Voce since 2007.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Carlson, Conducting Intern

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Lizzy Carlson has been a member of Bella Voce since 2013. She has rung handbells with the Northern Bronze Ensemble and she currently directs the Keenan Handbell Ensemble and the Children's Choir at the First Baptist Church of Burlington. She teaches music PreK-8th grade at Christ the King School and lives in South Burlington. 

2015-2016 Board of Directors

Chris O’Brien, Chair
Rebecca Watson, Vice-Chair
Linda Wheeler, Treasurer
Doris Ogden, Recording Secretary
Jeri Bergdahl, Membership Secretary
Kelly Daige
Vikki Day
Nan O’Leary
Laura Nassau
Diana Hall
Jenny Berschling
Rosemary Zamore
Dawn Willis, Artistic Director, ex officio