Our choir is composed of the area's greatest educators, performers, and artists. We are fortunate to have talented and dedicated professionals in our organization.
Alice Beals is a music teacher in her hometown of Franklin Township, New Jersey. She teaches choir, piano, guitar, and general music to students in 6th-8th grade. She attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education in May of 2017. Alice was the Roosevelt University 2017 Student Laureate of the Academy of Illinois and winner of the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award as well as the 2016 Chicago College of Performing Arts Presser Scholar. She was a featured soloist throughout her time in her college choir and a member of the St. James Episcopal Diocese of Chicago Cathedral Choir. Alice is so thrilled to have returned to New Jersey and been given the opportunity to sing with the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble.
Olivia Benson, soprano, is currently the General/Vocal Music Teacher at Peter Muschal Elementary School in Bordentown, New Jersey. Born and raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey, Olivia recently graduated from Gettysburg College with a Bachelors degree in Music Education and a minor in Peace & Justice Studies. Olivia previously sang and toured with the Gettysburg College Choir and the Gettysburg Camerata under the direction of Dr. Robert Natter. She had the pleasure of interning with the Gettysburg Children's Choir in the spring of 2018 under the direction of Dr. Brent Talbot. Aside from music-making, Olivia enjoys writing, petting nice dogs, and spending time with friends and family. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to sing in the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble!
Holden Bihl is a bass-baritone from Westminster choir college. Singing in ensembles such as Westminster Williamson voices and performing in such spaces as Lincoln center and the temple of dendur he is proud to be the latest addition to the Glassbrook family. His favorite composers are Nikolai Golovanov and Bob Chilcott. In his spare time you can find him rewiring vintage speakers, fiddling around on guitar and piano, and taking photos of great dogs for the Dogspotting Facebook group.
Kyle Blackburn, tenor, is a current fifth year student in the Bachelor in Music Education/Masters of Art in Teaching degree program at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. During his time at Westminster, he has performed with both the Westminster Symphonic Choir and Westminster Kantorei, providing opportunities to sing at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, and Verizon Hall, along with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Kyle is currently a section leader at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood, NJ, and is excited to be joining the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble this season.
Colleen Corte is a graduate of Indiana University’s School of Music, Bloomington, Indiana (’00). She holds a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Science in Music with an Outside Field in Psychology. As a student, Colleen was a member of the Singing Hoosiers Chorus and had the opportunity to be a soloist with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. After graduation, Colleen spent ten years teaching in a private preschool and spent her off hours teaching Music Together classes. She was the Children’s Choir Director for St. Helen’s church in Westfield, NJ for five years. She was the proud owner of her own studio for three years where she taught Kindermusik classes to children and families. She also gave private piano and voice instruction to students of all ages. For the last seven years, Colleen has been home raising her two young daughters. She is thrilled to once again be making music with such an amazing group of artists.
Peter R. Crooke, tenor, grew up in a large family of farmers and singers. Grandpa on one side was a violinist who sang recitals and cabaret into his 80s; grandma on the other still sings at church in her 90s. Holsteins and hay occupied much of Peter’s youth but so did choir at Doylestown Presbyterian and Central Bucks East. Diverse music then walked with him across the US of A, even beyond: semesters in the Shippensburg University concert choir (highlight: Faure’s Requiem!); freedom and folk songs learned on guitar in Atlanta during two years at Columbia Seminary; a season of singing, strumming, and song-smithing with an Americana-style band while apprenticing in horticulture at the University of California at Santa Cruz; a 2016 trip to Argentina and Paraguay with two brothers and a friend, where singing for fun turned into impromptu performances [ensemble: “quattro d”] in churches, including an Asunción cathedral where the pope had presided a few months prior! The power of music, eh? More recently landing back in central Jersey climes, Peter sang with Voices Chorale of Hopewell for two seasons and is now thrilled to join the serious sound and spirit that is Glassbrook. 2018 saw him become a husband and a dad (oh JOY!), and he farms, teaches, makes music, and builds community on varied ground in and about Trenton and his native Bucks County.
Lucas DeJesus, bass-baritone, is a freelance classical singer based in Philadelphia, PA. He currently performs with the chorus of Opera Philadelphia, most recently appearing in Lucia di Lammermoor, Carmen, Tancredi, Turandot, L'elisir d'amore, Cold Mountain, and Don Carlo. As a core member of the Mendelssohn Club Chorus as well as the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, Lucas has performed in various concerts at the Kimmel Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as throughout the greater Philadelphia region. Over the past four summers he has performed and recorded with The Same Stream Choir and can be heard on their Inaugural Recordings as well as their newly released album: Songs of the Questioner. Previous engagements include performances with the Philadelphia Singers, who performed Wang Ning's Ode to Humanity at the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. He has performed with Opus One: Berks Chamber Choir (PA) as the bass soloist for Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri and Handel’s Lord Nelson Mass. Lucas cantors and serves as bass section leader at Our Mother of Consolation in Chestnut Hill, PA. In 2017, Lucas began teaching voice as a mentor of the new ArtSmart program at the Franklin Learning Center, and now serves as ArtSmart’s Philadelphia regional leader. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College where he performed with the Grammy® nominated Westminster Williamson Voices, Westminster Kantorei, and Westminster Symphonic Choir.
Gina DiPalermo is a passionate music educator, who proudly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and Kodaly certification from Westminster Choir College. As a teacher, Gina served as elementary general music, choir and strings director for the Edison Public School District and Assistant Director for the high school a cappella ensemble “True Voice Project” based in Flemington, NJ. Gina currently serves as the Operations Manager for Westrick Music Academy, formerly known as Princeton Girlchoir. In her spare time, Gina enjoys spending time with her cat Binx.
Katie Houghton, soprano, is a native of Ewing, New Jersey. The daughter of two Westminster Choir College alumni, she really had no choice but to grow up with a love of music, especially choral performance. She studied piano at Westminster Conservatory until her graduation from high school, and has been involved in her mother's church choirs since infancy (almost). She graduated with a degree in biology from Columbia University in 2013, where she was a member of the Columbia University Glee Club. After college, she relocated to North Carolina, and was a member of the prestigious handbell group, The Raleigh Ringers, for two seasons. She currently lives in Princeton, New Jersey and works as a registered nurse at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. In her spare time, she still performs with her mother's choirs at Ewing Presbyterian Church, and likes to knit, watch the Great British Baking Show, and fantasize about learning how to bake.
Tsarina Islam is a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College where they received a Bachelor of Arts in Music. They currently teach music and technology full-time at St. Frances Cabrini in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, instructing grades K-8. In their time at Westminster Choir College, they sung in various ensembles including Westminster Choir, Westminster Symphonic Choir, and Jubilee Singers. They have performed at world-renown venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kimmel Center, among many others. They were also a member of the professional choir-in-residence as part of the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC for three consecutive years. They have performed with several contemporary groups as well, including Remember Jones based in Asbury Park, NJ. In their spare time, they're a member of the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus. They're looking forward to returning to another wonderful season with the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble!
Jessica Kerler is a recent graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she received her Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance. Most recently, Jessica was a Young Artist for the Ad Astra Music Festival, where she was seen in performances of Handel's Jephtha and as a soloist in Duruflé's Requiem. She is a avid performer, with credits including Falstaff (Dame Quickly), Cendrillon (Armelinde), and The Medium (Madame Flora). During her education, she was a member of the prestigious Westminster Choir. Through this ensemble, she performed at the Spoleto Festival USA for three seasons. Jessica is a member of the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, and was seen this season in productions of Carmina Burana and Handel's Messiah. She will perform Mahler's 3rd Symphony in May.
Tom Kuchler, baritone, is a high school music teacher in the Bucks County, PA area. Tom grew up in Cheltenham, PA, and attended the University of Delaware where he studied voice with Melanie DeMent and choral conducting with Paul Head. He graduated from UD in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, and is currently serving as Director of Performing Arts at Conwell-Egan Catholic High School. There, he directs the school's choirs, band, and theatre program. Tom has also worked with the Delaware Choral Academy's Symposium in Aix-en-Provence, France, working as both a conducting scholar and on the program's staff. Tom is extremely excited to be joining Glassbrook this season!
Rob Long sang baritone with the Cornell University Glee Club under Dr. Thomas Sokol including performances of ‘Apotheosis of this Earth ‘ with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and Mozart’s Mass in C minor at Wellesley College. Most recently, Rob sang bass with Voices Chorale in Hopewell NJ under Dr. Lyn Ransom, including their chamber group Sotto Voce. A favorite performance with them was the Duruflé Requiem at Trinity Cathedral in Trenton, where the work was once performed by the composer himself. “I’m very excited to sing with Glassbrook Ensemble as I continue on a musical journey that I plan to make last a lifetime.”
Nicole Michel, soprano, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, class of 2017, holding a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music. This is her third season with Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble. An accomplished choral performer, Michel has sung under the esteemed direction of conductors such as Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Alan Gilbert, Dr. James Jordan, and Dr. Joe Miller. She is an alumna of ensembles such as the Westminster Symphonic Choir and Williamson Voices, the latter of which has served as the choir-in-residence at the Choral Institute of Oxford since 2013. Recorded during her four-year tenure with Williamson Voices, Michel can be heard on Hole in the Sky (2016), the GRAMMY-nominated Whitbourn: Carolae – Music for Christmas (2016), and Between Silence and Light (2017). In addition to music, Michel has ambitions to become a CRNA. Originally from Ridgewood, New Jersey, Michel currently resides in Philadelphia.
Tenor Daniel Myers is a recent masters of engineering graduate from Rutgers University who is excited to continue exploring his passion for music by joining the Glassbrook vocal ensemble this season! He is a current member of Princeton Pro Musica and sang with the Kirkpatrick Choir at Rutgers University for 6 years (highlights include the 2017 Lou Harrison Centennial Celebration at Trinity Wall Street and the 2016 ACDA Eastern Division Conference). He toured both Europe and South America during his undergrad with the Rooke Chapel Choir of Bucknell University.
Bess Anne Ploener is a music teacher in the Lawrence Township Public School system in Lawrenceville, NJ. She teaches strings, general music and chorus to fourth through sixth graders. She is also a teaching artist with the McCarter theatre in Princeton, NJ. There she creates and implements curriculum in storytelling, musical theater and playmaking for students ranging from first grade to high school. She has performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir at the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as with the Westminster Williamson Voices at the Alice Tully Hall in New York City and in Oxford, England. Ms. Ploener still actively sings with her church choir in Bedminster, NJ as well as additional choirs in the area. She is thrilled to be joining the Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble in their inaugural season.
Kelsey Rose is a conductor, composer, and educator based in Washington D.C. She holds Masters degrees in Teaching with an emphasis in Sacred Music and Christian Education and Formation. She also holds baccalaureate degrees with honors in both Music Education and Music Theory and Composition from Westminster Choir College. While studying at Westminster, Kelsey performed with the Westminster Symphonic Choir, making regular appearances at some of the nation’s top performing venues under the batons of several internationally acclaimed conductors and served as the director and founder of the college’s new music ensemble. She has served as an alto section leader for Trinity Episcopal Church since 2011, a Choral Scholar, Section Leader and Compline Choir Director for the Episcopal Church at Princeton, director of the boychoir at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and an accompanist and cantor for churches in the Princeton area. Outside of her musical adventures, Kelsey works as a Realtor for Long and Foster, a Youth Ministry Coordinator, and leads community service projects.
Kristin A. Schenk is a current Elementary General Music Teacher within the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. A graduate from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, she obtained a Bachelors of Music in Music Education and a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree. Throughout her career, she has performed on stages such as the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the White House, and Carnegie Hall. Kristin was a member Westminster Williamson Voices and Jubilee Singers during her time at Westminster Choir College. She has worked with organizations such as the American Boychoir School, the Conducting Institute at Oxford, and the Jamaica Field Service Project. She currently also teaches with the Trenton Children's Chorus as the director of the Preparatory Choir (K-1) and is the Children’s Choir Director at Lenape Valley Presbyterian Church in New Britain, PA.
Emily Vite holds a Bachelor of Music in Theory and Composition from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. During her time at St. Olaf, she served as the alto section leader for the St. Olaf Choir, participating in two domestic tours as well as an international tour to Norway in celebration of the 100th year of the founding of the ensemble. As a teacher and conductor, Emily has served as Assistant Conductor for VOICES Chorale and as Concert Manager and Readiness Choir Director for the Trenton Children’s Chorus. She is currently the director of the "Joyful Noise" choir at Nassau Presbyterian Church, Music Teacher at Princeton Friends School, Music Theory instructor for the Honors Music Program at Westminster Conservatory, and is a collaborative pianist and private piano instructor at the Chapin School.