Kathy Kessler Price, Soprano
Kathy (M.M., Ph.D.), has performed as a soprano soloist in such distinguished venues as The Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, and in a solo concert tour of the Czech Republic with tenor Reginald Bouknight. Her operatic roles include "Marenka" in Smetana's The Bartered Bride, "Miss Silverpeal" in Mozart's The Impresario, "Lucy" in Menotti's The Telephone, and the title roles in both The Merry Widow and Naughty Marietta. For twelve seasons, she performed with the Washington National Opera Chorus, the last six being under the artistic direction of Placido Domingo. She has enjoyed serving as a recitalist, voice clinician, and/or adjudicator at various international venues: Festival Internacional de Música de Campina Grande in Brazil, Lav Mirski International Voice Competiton in Croatia, Young Choral in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, and for Soul Sounds in Sri Lanka. As Philomela's artistic director, she has conducted at The White House, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Smithsonian, and at the Wintergreen Summer Performing Arts Festival, among others.
Kathy is currently a Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in New Jersey, where she teaches applied voice and voice pedagogy courses, and directs both the Presser Voice Laboratory and the Voice Pedagogy Institute. In 2018, Kathy received the Distinguished Teacher of the Year award from Rider University. She previously served as Assistant Professor of Music and Voice Area Coordinator at Mississippi State University, as lecturer at the University of Kansas, and as intern in Clinical Voice Assessment at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Additionally, she has taught at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO, and at Northern Virginia Community College (Alexandria Campus). Kathy is a founding member of the Washington Vocal Consortium. She has published articles in The Journal of Singing and The International Journal of Research in Choral Singing, has contributed a “recipe” on aging voices to the The Voice Teacher’s Cookbook (ed. Brian Winnie), has co-authored the book The Anatomy of Tone with James Jordan and Sean McCarther, and is currently anticipating the publication of a second book with Jordan entitled: Choral Ensemble Intonation (2021).
Myra Binns Bridgforth, Soprano
Like so many singers, Myra learned to love music by singing at church. Fifteen years ago, she returned to these roots and began to study voice with Dr. Kathy Price and to sing and act in many plays and musical theatre productions. She currently sings in a church choir, as both a choral member and soloist and performs in vocal recitals. She is a poet who has had several poems set to music and performed in the Washington, DC area. She loves singing with Philomela, especially for the opportunity to sing wonderful pieces, to enjoy the warm community of women singers, and to keep learning from the creative leadership of Dr. Price.
Cheryl Castner, Soprano
Has been singing regularly in the Washington area for over 30 years. In addition to Philomela, she has performed with the University of Maryland Chorus, Montgomery County Masterworks, Encore and Arlington Metaphysical Chapel. She has studied voice under the direction of Dr. Kathy Price for over ten years. She is most appreciative not only of the expertise of Dr. Price and the camaraderie among the group members, but also the diversity of the music that is performed. She has learned over the years that "no matter what life throws you, ya gotta sing!"
Mary Ann Christian, Accompanist/Soprano
Is a graduate of Westhampton College of the University of Richmond, where she majored in piano performance, and studied at Wesley Theological Seminary. She has been organist and music ministry assistant at Vienna Baptist Church for 45 years. In addition to teaching piano, she has accompanied various soloists and choral groups and especially enjoys working with Philomela.
Cathy Edwards, Soprano
Cathy became hooked on singing after she joined a Children's Choir that travelled in the U.S. and Europe. She attended Catholic University of America on a scholarship, and graduated magna cum laude, with a degree in Choral Music Education. She taught chorus and private lessons for 20 years. She has sung in choral groups and as a soloist for several church groups in the Washington D.C. area. She obtained a master’s degree at George Mason and has been teaching Special Education for 13 years. Six children and four grandchildren keep her busy. She is enjoying the musical adventure and friendships she has encountered since joining Philomela.
Debby Evans, Soprano
Was encouraged by her three musical daughters to audition for a chorus ands she sang wit the Reston Chorale for ten years and performed in community theatre. She started singing lessons five years ago and totally fell in love with opera. Debby has performed opera arias and duets for the last four years at Italian Festivals in Richmond, VA and for the Songs of Italy. She also writes lyrics to known songs to sing for retirements, meetings, and holiday parties at work where she performs with an a cappella four-part singing group.
Christine Hagan, Alto
Christine Hagan is a professional pianist, accompanist and piano teacher headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. A versatile performer, Chris has given solo recitals in venues such as The National Gallery of Art and The Lyceum, and has performed as piano soloist with the Prince George’s Symphony and the NOVA Community Band at the opening of NOVA’s Schlesinger Arts Center. Among Chris’ greatest musical pleasures are the duo recitals she performs regularly with her pianist brother, David Hagan, in Northern Virginia and in the Boston area.
Chris is a member of the music faculty at Northern Virginia Community College where, in addition to being a piano instructor, she has performed with the NOVA Concert and Swing Bands, and has accompanied the chorus, faculty and student recitals, and vocal seminars.
Chris’ avocational passion is singing, so she is delighted to be performing as a member of Philomela.
Ruth Patton Herndon, Mezzo/Alto
Has studied voice with Philomela's director, Kathy Price, for twenty plus years. She began her sojourn in music while singing in middle and high school choirs and small groups. She has been and is currently singing with the NOVA Community College Chorus and has sung with the Chorus at Carnegie Hall, Leipzig, Germany and other venues in the UK and France. Ruth also sang with the Springfield Choral and journeyed to France with them when they performed several concerts in French communities. Currently she sings with two church choirs within her community. Singing with the community choirs where she has resided, traveling as a Navy wife, has always been an inspiration. She believes that music is "a light to one's soul". Ruth considers it a privilege to sing with Philomela.
Judy Kane, Alto
Has been singing with Philomela since 1978. She was raised in a musical family, and sang with and accompanied choruses as a student. In high school and college she sang in an all-female quartet, which began her love of the special sound of blended female voices. Judy studied voice in St. Gallen and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. She directed musicals for French and American students in France, and introduced the French and Spanish musical heritage to her language students. Judy loves deep, rich, intricate harmonies, the elevated majesty of poetry and music, and the power of music to enhance and change lives.
Pat Keithly, Soprano
Joined Philomela in January of 2010. She hales from Yorkshire England where she was raised in a rich choral tradition, singing church music, madrigals and oratorio. Her many moves as Navy wife in the U.S. have led her to many voice teachers (including Kathy) and as many vocal ensembles on both coasts. She works part-time as a private piano teacher and church musician while continuing to enjoy playing and singing with a band and dabbling in community theater as the opportunity arises.
Mary Belefski Klein, Alto
Had her first introduction to formal voice training with Philomela's artistic director Dr. Kathy Price years ago in a voice class at the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Community College and got permanently "hooked on singing". Mary sung with the NOVA Community Chorus and performed with them at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Salzburg Austria, and Dublin Ireland. In addition, she sang 25 years with the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community (BSCC) choir in Alexandria, VA and also sang a cappella four part harmony with the Environmental Protection Agency's Warblers. Mary enjoys music diversity and has played keyboard and sang vocals for Sequel, a rock and roll dance band, played handbells for the Bells of Blessed Sacrament, was a cantor at BSCC, and currently is a cantor in Charlottesville. However, it is the professional bonding and the musical challenges of Philomela that she enjoys the most of all her musical endeavors.
Heidi Kupke, Soprano
Has been harmonizing in soprano since she was a young girl singing with her sisters and mother at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. For many years Heidi sang with both the Oratorio Society of Washington and Philomela until the constraints of her professional life forced her to make a choice. While she loved the big oratorio sound, she chose Philomela because she likes the more intimate feel of the smaller group that mainly sings a cappella or with piano accompaniment, as well the chance for Heidi to act and "enjoy hammering it up for the audience".
Terri LaGoe, Soprano
Terri has performed for decades with the NOVA Community Chorus and over the years has had the pleasure of singing soprano solos in the chorus's joint performances with the NOVA Community Band and the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra in several major works including Orff's Carmina Burana, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart's Requiem, Schubert's Mass in G, and Bach's Magnificat, among others. Terri was soprano soloist/section leader at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill in Alexandria, Virginia and was briefly a member of the chorus of the Washington National Opera. Terri discovered her voice and her love of singing when she began taking voice lessons from Philomela's director, Kathy Kessler Price, who has been her beloved teacher, mentor, coach and friend for nearly 40 years!
Sue Numrich, Alto
Is a physicist by trade who minored in music as an undergraduate. Sue began singing in elementary school and has continued in church and choral groups ever since. She has directed traditional church choirs and both led and accompanied (guitar) contemporary church groups. An instrumentalist at heart, one of her favorite chores for Philomela was taking somewhat complex piano accompaniment and resetting it for flute, recorder and guitar- the only available instruments- because there was no keyboard in the performance venue.
Deborah Peetz, Mezzo/Alto
Deborah Peetz enjoys every moment rehearsing and performing with Philomela and our wonderful director, Dr. Kathy Price. For many years Deb was a member of the NOVA Community Chorus in Alexandria Virginia, in addition to singing in Church choirs and performing with various community theater groups in the Maryland, Virginia, DC area. One of her favorite roles was Cousin Hebe in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S Pinafore” with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company (http://www.vloc.org/). Deb particularly enjoys this ensemble of women’s voices and the repertoire that highlights women composers and themes that are important in today’s world environment.
Anne Sommers, Alto
Anne has been a chorus member for 20 years at Washington National Opera, participating in over 50 staged productions. She was a chorus member with Washington Concert Opera, and been a member of the Choral Arts Society of Washington for 16 years where she toured Russia with the NSO and the Spoleto Festival. She started singing with Philomela around 1995 but took a hiatus during the height of her opera years. She holds a M.M from Ball Statue University and a B.M.Ed from James Madison University.
Myrl Weinberg, Soprano
Began studying piano at age six and continued to age 18. Along the way she also studied organ and voice. She performed in local events and served as her church organist for a number of years. She also was an active member of the church choir. She continued to study voice at the University of Arkansas, and has sung with a number of groups, most notably with Philomela since 1984.
Alumnae of Philomela
Shirley Echard Cann
Gaylie Grindheim Lund
Susan Ames Zierman
Ann Lake Bryant
Mona A. Corneiro
Judy Naler Fox
Marie Louise Pallansch
Georgia Flaten Shaw
Janet LaFlandria Wiener