Our Director:

Kathy Kessler Price, Soprano

Kathy (B.A., M.M., Ph.D.), has performed as 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. 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. In July, 2012, she served as soloist and clinician at the III Festival Internacional de Musica de Campina Grande, Brazil.  As Philomela's artistic director, she has conducted at The White House, The National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Smthsonian, and at the Wintergreen Summer Performing Arts Festival.

 

Currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Westminister Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, 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, and at Northern Virginia Community College (Alexandria Campus).  As a private voice instructor, she has maintained studios in Kansas City, MO and in Vienna, VA, and currently teaches in McLean, VA.  She is a founding member of the Washington Vocal Consortium.  Her article, "Emma Seiler: A Pioneering Woman in the Art and Science of Teaching Voice," was pubished in September/October 2011 (Vol.68, No. 1) in the Journal of Singing.

 

Ms. Price was awarded a Summer Research Fellowship at The University of Kansas, and was one of two recipients in 2010 of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Vocal Pedagogy Award.  She is a member of such academic and professional organizations as Phl Beta Kappa, Mortar Board, Pi Kappa Lambda, Phi Kappa Phi, AGMA, NATS, and NAFME.


The Singers:

Myra Binns Bridgforth, Soprano, like so many singers, learned to love music by singing at church.  Fifteen years ago, she returned to these roots and began tostudy voice with 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 whohas had several poems set to music and performed in the Washington, DC area.  She loves singing with Philomela for the opportunity to sing wonderful pieces, to enjoy the warm community of women singers and to keep learningform the creative leadership of Kathy 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 Kathy Price for over ten years. She is most appreciative not only of the expertise of Ms. 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 she also studied at Wesley Theological Seminary.  She has been the organist and music ministry assistant at Vienna Baptist Church for 40 years and maintains an active piano studio.  She has accompanied various soloists and choral groups and especially enjoys working with Philomela.


Cathy Edwards, Soprano, Cathy became hooked on singing after she began singing with a Children's Choir that travelled in the U.S. and Europe.  She received a degree in Choral Music Education from Catholic University of America.  She has sung in choral groups and as a soloist for several church groups in the Washington D.C. area.  Six children and four grandchildren keep her busy, along with a teaching position and youth choir director position.  She is enjoying the musical adventure and friendships she has encountered since recently joining Philomela.


Debby Evans, Soprano, was encouraged by her three musical daughters to audition for a chorus and she sang with the Reston Chorale for ten years and performed in community theatre.  She started singing lesons 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 Sons of Italy. She also writes lyrics to known songs to sing for retirements, meetings, and holiday parties at work where she performs with an acapella four-part singing group.


Ruth Patton Herndon, Mezzo/alto, is a recent addition to Philomela and has studied voice with its director, Kathy Price, for twenty plus years.  She began her sojourn in music and love of 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 comunities.  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. 


Karen Ingle, Mezzo Soprano, has studied voice for about 25 years (15 of them with Philomela's director, Kathy Price) and has been teaching music at All God's Children preschool in Alexandria, VA, since 2002. She sings professionally with the St. Ambrose Church Choir in Annandale and with Make-A-Scene Music and Entertainment. Karen especially loves the sisterhood of Philomela and the variety of music we perform.


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 has directed musicals for French and American students in France, and introduces 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 also enjoys singing in and directing musical theater.  Pat has been a loyal member of the Good Shepherd Players, in Burke, Virginia, and maintains a busy teaching studio in early childhood music and piano at Jordan Kitts Music in Fairfax.


Mary Belefski Klein, Alto, had her first introduction to formal voice training with Philomela director Kathy Price years ago in a voice class at the NOVA Community College and got permanently "hooked on singing."  Mary has sung with the NOVA Community Chorus and performed with them at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.  In addition, she sang 25 years with the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community choir in Alexandria, VA and the acappella four-part harmony with the Environmental Protection Agency's Warblers.  Mary enjoys music diversity and has played keyboard and sung vocals for Sequel, a rock and roll dance band, and currently plays handbells for the Bells of Blessed Sacrament.  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, as 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 hamming it up for the audience."


Terri LaGoe, Soprano, performs with the NOVA Community Chorus and has sung the soprano solos in the chorus'joint performances with the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra. With the chorus, Terri traveled to Leipzig in July of 2008 and performed in the Great Hall of the renowned Gewandhaus. She has been a member of the chorus of the Washington National Opera and is the soprano soloist/section leader at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill in Alexandria. 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 more than 20 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, has been singing with Philomela for four years.  She also has performed with the NOVA Chorus at the Alexandria Campus of the NOVA Community College for many years (http://www.nvcc.edu/novachorus/), is the alto section leader at Immanual-Church-on-the-Hill Choir (http://www.icoh.net/) and sings with several community theater groups in the Maryland, Virginia, DC area.  One of her favorite roleswas Cousin Hebe in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S Pinafore” with the Victorian Lyric Opera Company (http://www.vloc.org/).  Debbie particularly enjoys the ensemble and repertoire of Philomela and their wonderful director, Kathy Price.


Maggie Rheinstein, Soprano, performed professionally for fifteen years with The Summer Opera Theatre Company and has studied voice and sung with the University of Maryland. In addition to singing with Philomela (and studying for many years with its director, Kathy Price), Maggie sings with the National Philharmonic Chorale at the Music Center at Strathmore. The intimacy and colors of a treble chorus have always appealed to Maggie who has also sung with the Washington Women's Chorus.


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 Univesity of Arkansas, and has sung with a number of groups, most notably with Philomela since 1984.


Accompanists

Philomela has the good fortune of working with many accomplished pianists and instrumentalists, depending on their programming.  Accompanists have varied from harpists to oboists and include one of Philomela's members, Susan Numrich accompanying us on guitar.  The pianists with whom Philomela has worked include: Mary Ann Christian, Christine Hagan and Gillian Cookson.