Learn More About the Singers
Melissa Auvil, Soprano
Melissa Auvil, Soprano, is in her seventh season with SBCS. Originally from Midland, Michigan, Melissa earned her undergraduate degree in Music Education at Central Michigan University and her Masters in Voice Performance from the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. Melissa Teaches at Southwestern Michigan College and runs a private voice studio working with area students from Edwardsburg, Elkhart, Mishawaka and Goshen. She has performed with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Kansas City Metro Opera, Midland Music Society, Crosscurrents Theatre, six seasons with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Midland, Opera at the Acorn, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra and the South Bend Civic Theatre. Melissa also enjoys directing, and has worked locally with both the Beckwith in Dowagiac, and the Barn Swallow in Edwardsburg. She lives with her husband and two children in Goshen, Indiana.
Sharon Bain, Soprano Section Leader
Sharon Bain, Soprano Section Leader, first joined SBCS in 1997. She earned her undergraduate degree in American Studies, with a minor in music, from the University of Notre Dame where she studied voice and French horn. Sharon also has a Master of Arts degree in social work from the University of Chicago. She is a married mother of three and works as a counselor at Family Psychology of South Bend, and at the Early Childhood Development Centers of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College. Sharon is a member of the SBCS Board of Directors.
Carrie Bjonback, Alto
Carrie Bjonback, Alto, returns for her ninth season with SBCS. She grew up in Moline, Illinois, lived for several years in Canada, and now resides in La Porte, Indiana. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, a master’s degree in plant physiology from the University of Minnesota, and an MD from the University of Colorado. She is a family physician practicing part-time family practice and part-time medical acupuncture in La Porte. She has two grown children, and her husband is a professor at Purdue Northwest. She enjoys music, reading, and nature–especially bird-watching.
Breighan Boeskool, Soprano
Breighan Boeskool, Soprano, is in her eighth season with SBCS. She is the Analytics Specialist and Project Manager for the Investment Office at the University of Notre Dame. She holds a B.A. in violin performance and a B.B.A. in finance from Saint Mary’s College, as well as a master’s degree in music theory from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). She is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. in music theory at CCM, where her dissertation will explore the interaction of voice-leading spaces in the music of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Breighan sits on the Investment Committee for the Society for Music Theory, and is Treasurer of the South Bend Chamber Singers. She is a native of White Haven, Pennsylvania.
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Dawn Bontrager, Alto and Secretary
Dawn Bontrager, Alto and Secretary of the South Bend Chamber Singers, is in her twelfth season with SBCS. Dawn is a native of Northern Minnesota. She earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Goshen College, a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago and a Master’s of Divinity from the Chicago Theological Seminary. Dawn is a licensed clinical social worker and is in private practice as a mental health therapist in Mishawaka, IN. Music has always been central to Dawn’s life. She has been singing all of her life in church choirs, high school and college choirs, as well as in small groups performing in local venues and for special occasions. Dawn lives in Mishawaka with her spouse and has two adult children.
Roy Bronkema, Bass
Roy Bronkema, Bass, is in his first year with SBCS. He is an accomplished pianist and composer, with a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He traveled for 20 years with the Life Action Singers as music director, appearing in every state in the continental U.S. He was the composer and arranger for the Kentucky Derby Festival’s 50th Anniversary Theme song in 20004, as well as many radio and TV underscores. He was the Pastor of Performing Arts at Granger Community Church for 12 years, and now works at the University of Notre Dame with international students. Roy is an actor and music director, as well, for several productions of the South Bend Civic Theater, including Mary Poppins and Fiddler on the Roof at St. Patrick’s Park. Roy has four grown children, and one adorable grandchild.
Kendall Dahlstrom, Tenor
Kendall Dahlstrom, Tenor, has been with SBCS since its beginning. He earned a B.A. in psychology and a Master of Divinity in pastoral studies from North Park University and Theological Seminary. He is pastor emeritus of the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Bend where he served from 1984-2005. Musical experiences include high school a cappella choir, barbershop quartet, church choirs, North Park College Choir, Nebraska Choral Arts Society, Covenant Ministers’ Chorus, and SBCS. In the summer, Ken plays in the Battell Senior Softball League. Recently, Ken became the coordinator of Protestant worship services at the Sanctuary at St. Paul’s – a retirement center. He and his wife, Nancy, recently celebrated fifty-one years of marriage. They take advantage of every opportunity to visit their daughter and her husband, son and his wife, and their four grandchildren.
Hillary Doerries, Alto Section Leader
Hillary Doerries, Alto Section Leader, holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in voice, organ, and church music. A church musician for over ten years, Hillary is currently the Director of Music Ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church (ELCA) in South Bend. She is also the Accompanist and Arranger-in-residence for the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, now in its fourth year. Prior to moving to South Bend, Hillary served as Director of Music at Community United Methodist Church in Vincennes, Indiana and also taught private voice and organ lessons at Olney Community College in Olney, Illinois. Hillary’s other interests include composition, hymnody, mental health advocacy, and exploring Michiana with her husband, Mark. This is her third season with SBCS.
Stephen Drendall, Bass Section Leader
Stephen Drendall, Bass Section Leader, is in his twenty-seventh year with SBCS. He received Music and Music Education degrees from Temple University, where he sang under renowned conductor Robert Page and was in the repertory choir for Masters in Choral Conducting students. He has been cantor at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James and St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal (both South Bend), and choir director at Lydick United Methodist and St. Paul’s Episcopal (Mishawaka) Churches. He has soloed with the Elkhart and La Porte Symphonies, and was cantorial soloist for thirteen years at Temple Beth-el (South Bend). His “day job” is as a family and consumer lawyer in South Bend, where he also lives. Stephen’s two children are graduates of the University of Notre Dame. He serves as legal advisor to the South Bend Chamber Singers Board of Directors.
Michael Driscoll, Bass
Michael Driscoll, Bass, is enjoying his twentieth season with SBCS. A native of Butte, Montana, he is a Roman Catholic priest for the diocese of Helena, Montana. Since 1994, he has taught liturgical studies and sacramental theology in the Theology Department at the University of Notre Dame where he is the founding director of the Masters in Sacred Music program. He holds a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and a doctorate in theology from the Institut Catholique in Paris. Currently he is an executive officer and president-elect of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy. A South Bend resident, Michael enjoys international and domestic travel, cooking, and films.
Emerson Eads, Tenor
Emerson Eads, Tenor, returns for his second season. He is a choral conducting graduate student at the University of Notre Dame in the studio of Professor Carmen-Helena Téllez. For him, being part of a choir is a personal passion which reconnects him to a community of singers wherever there is singing. Being a part of the tenor section in the South Bend Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Nancy Menk, has been a distinct and constant pleasure.
Melaney Gabris, Alto
Melaney Gabris, Alto, is in her ninth season with SBCS, where she serves as Vice-President. She was with the 126 Army Band in Wyoming, Michigan for ten years as a percussionist/pianist and is currently a member of the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra. She is on the music team at Unity Church of Peace in South Bend and is involved on and off stage at South Bend Civic Theatre. She is a field service technician for Procter & Gamble and an Independent Distributor with It Works! Global. Her hobbies include golf, salsa dancing, and travel. Melaney has a 16 year old daughter and they reside in South Bend.
Mike Hildreth, Bass
Mike Hildreth, Bass, is a Massachusetts native who has followed academia to the Midwest (South Bend). After earning an undergraduate degree from Princeton and a Ph.D. from Stanford, both in physics, he and his family spent five years in Geneva, Switzerland doing research before returning to the U.S. where he and his wife joined the faculty at Notre Dame in 2000. He is currently Professor of Physics and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Notre Dame College of Science. His research focus is in experimental particle physics, which makes him one of those “atom smasher” guys. Their family consists of a college-age son and a cat. They enjoy cooking, travel, and outdoor activities, including sailing, cycling, and hiking. This is his fifteenth season with SBCS.
Megan Hire, Soprano
Megan Hire, Soprano, hails from LaGrange, IN. This is her third year in the SBCS, and she is very excited for the upcoming season. Currently, Megan works as a special education teacher for the Diocese of Fort Wayne. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Saint Mary’s College, where she also sang in the Women’s Choir. Megan also spent 9 years as a singer in the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir under the direction of Fred Meads, former artistic director. In high school, Megan sang in show choir and participated in many of the school’s musicals. Megan’s other interests include traveling, swimming, and watching ND football.
David L. Homann, Tenor Section Leader
David L. Homann, Tenor Section Leader, has been with SBCS since its first full season. A full-time dad, with only one busy kid still at home, he is constantly on the move in South Bend serving as a youth group leader, Sunday school teacher, cantor and member of the choir at his church, and managing several rental properties. In between all that, he maintains 12 acres, a large vegetable garden, reads and hits the road to visit his daughters. Dave’s passion is golf and while he’s spent more time on the golf course than ever recently, it’s been watching his daughter, not playing. He hopes to add more golf to his bio soon!
Cecilia Horner, Soprano
Cecilia Horner, Soprano, is excited for her first season as a member of SBCS. A high school freshman, Cecilia studies piano (8 years) and voice(1 ½ years) with the former accompanist of the SBCS, Kathleen Keasey. Throughout her years piano study, she has performed in a number of competitions: the Hartman Stickley Memorial Competition, Hoosier Auditions, Guild Auditions, the AIM festival, and the Gene Marcus piano competition at IPFW. Before SBCS, Cecilia sang as a chorus member in the premier production of the South Bend Lyric Opera, Puccini’s “La Bohème,” at LangLab in South Bend. She also had a role in Bethel College’s opera “Captain Lovelock”. She has done some acting in the past as well, performing in various plays at her church. She’s looking forward to continuing her musical studies in the years to come.
Daniel Howard, Bass
Daniel Howard, Bass, was raised in nearby Granger, IN and is now in his third year with the South Bend Chamber Singers. There was a brief hiatus after high school while he earned his B.S. degree in Applied Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but he now lives in Roseland while pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Applied & Computational Mathematics & Statistics. Given that his parents were both music educators, music has always been central to Daniel’s life. In addition to singing, he regularly performs on violin, viola, and French horn in Notre Dame and other local ensembles like the Elkhart Symphonic Orchestra. While in college, he performed in Prof. Bruce Gladstone’s Madrigal Singers as well as the All-University Strings Orchestra and other instrumental ensembles. Daniel’s professional research work involves monsoon dynamics, interactions with climate change, and societal adaptation to extreme weather events, all through a lens of scientific and high-performance computing. In the future, Daniel hopes to pursue research work within the Department of Energy. This summer he plans to be in India learning Hindi and working with monsoon experts of the country.
Emily Klug, Alto
Emily Klug, Alto, grew up in Michigan and sang with various ensembles in elementary school, high school and college. She earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. She is currently a Senior Sourcing Specialist with Whirlpool, and enjoys cooking, traveling, reading and running around with her dog, Bella. This is Emily’s tenth season with SBCS. She and husband, Brad, are residents of South Bend, and are proud parents of son, James, age two and a half.
Mary Ann LaPlante, Alto
Mary Ann LaPlante, Alto, chaplain at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Plymouth, IN, completed the Clinical Pastoral Education program at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center after serving as Pastoral Associate for Music and Liturgy at Little Flower Catholic Church in South Bend for 30 years. She was born in Massachusetts, taught high school biology, chemistry and physical science and then changed careers by coming to St. Joseph College, Rensselaer, Indiana to earn a master’s degree in music and liturgy. She loves nature which she enjoys with her horse, Lightning, and has Benny and Grace (her two cats) at home. She has been with SBCS since their initial season. Mary Ann resides in South Bend.
Steven Mast, Tenor
Steven Mast, Tenor, has been singing with SBCS since 2000. A native of La Porte, Indiana, he resided in Niles, MI for twelve years, before recently relocating to South Bend. Steven earned undergraduate degrees in music and elementary education from Valparaiso University, a Master of Arts degree in literacy studies from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Science degree in counseling and human services from Indiana University. In June, he retired, after teaching in the Dowagiac, Michigan schools for twenty-five years. During his teaching career, he taught 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, and elementary music. Steven enjoys cooking, travel, and golf. He was a singer in the inaugural Chanticleer in Sonoma Choral Workshop. He is also Administrator for Epworth Forest Choir School, which he has attended since 1984, and Steven is the Media Manager for the South Bend Chamber Singers.
Kristin McAndrew, Soprano
Kristin McAndrew, Soprano, returns for her third SBCS season this year. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Saint Mary’s College in Humanistic Studies and English, and her master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication from Emerson College in Boston. She serves as the Director of Admissions for Graduate Business Programs at the University of Notre Dame. Kristin loves cooking, reading, and yoga.
Andrew Nemeth, Tenor
Andrew Nemeth, Tenor, returns to SBCS for a fourth season. Andrew is a lifelong resident of South Bend. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Butler University in 2010, studying choral conducting with Eric Stark and Henry Leck, and earned his Master of Music degree in Music Education from Boston University in 2016. Andrew is Director of Choirs at Penn High School, where he co-teaches seven choirs. He is also Music Director at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in South Bend. In the little free time he has, he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, roasting his own coffee, and entertaining his cat, Zephyr. He would like to take flying lessons in the near future to attain a private pilot license.
Thomas W. Olsen, Tenor
Thomas W. Olsen, Tenor, was a voice performance major at Indiana University in Bloomington where he performed a variety of roles as an undergraduate. He participated in the Santa Fe Opera’s apprentice program. He subsequently moved to Boston where he was a finalist in the regional Metropolitan Opera auditions and frequently performed leading roles with the New England Chamber Opera. He recently appeared in the South Bend Civic Theater’s production of “1776” and is appearing in this season’s production of “Into the Woods” at the Valparaiso Memorial Opera House. Under the direction of Dr. Nancy Menk, he was a soloist in Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” at Carnegie Hall and is currently in his 14th year singing with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus. Tom is thrilled to return to the South Bend Chamber Singers for a third season following a four-year absence.
Kara O'Malley, Soprano
Kara O’Malley, Soprano, grew up in the Chicago suburbs, where she took part in a variety of choirs, musicals, and solo competitions. Coming from a family of Domers, it was unsurprising when she ended up at Notre Dame for her undergraduate degree (B.B.A. in Accountancy), and quickly followed it up with a masters (M.A. in Theology). Kara was a member of the inaugural class of the Echo faith formation program (http://echo.nd.edu/) in her first two years out of college and served as a catechetical minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Elkhart. She spent four years in Boston as Youth Minister and Director of Religious Education at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, and then moved back to South Bend where she was the Director of Christian Formation at St. Joseph Parish for three years. She and her husband adopted a son in 2012, and Kara currently ministers to him full time. She is also a freelance writer for Our Sunday Visitor. Throughout her ministry career, she has enjoyed cantoring and singing in church choirs, and she is very excited to have the opportunity to sing with the Chamber Singers for a fourth year!
Betsie Pendarvis, Soprano
Betsie Pendarvis, Soprano, returns for her fifth year with SBCS. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory from Texas Christian University, as well as significant postgraduate study. She served as part-time church choir director in Fort Worth, Texas while raising four children, and then for 21 years served as Director of Music and Worship for her parish in Salem, Virginia. She and husband, John (also with SBCS) relocated to South Bend from Virginia to be closer to family. In addition to their daughter in South Bend, Betsie and John have three other adult children in New Orleans, Dallas and New Hampshire. Betsie currently spends her time volunteering, taking care of her grandchildren, and doing fiber arts, and in her spare time enjoys gardening, computers, and subbing at area churches.
John Pendarvis, Bass
John Pendarvis, Bass, begins his fifth season with SBCS. Recently retired, John moved to South Bend from Roanoke, Virginia to be closer to family, including his five grandchildren. A native of Houston, Texas, John received his BA from Texas Christian University and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. He spent 33 years in executive leadership positions for Family Service agencies in Texas and Virginia. From his school years on, John has served as a music minister and song leader for a diversity of liturgies, prayer meetings, retreats and conferences, currently serving as a Cantor at St. Joseph Church. He also plays guitar and trumpet. John and his wife, Betsie, (also a member of SBCS) have four adult children in addition to their five grandchildren. He is a Tour Guide for Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame, is Vice-President of the Kiwanis Club of South Bend, and is the current SBCS President.
Shannon Romba, Soprano
Shannon Romba, Soprano, begins her first season with the SBCS. She grew up in a western suburb of Chicago and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education with Vocal Emphasis from Western Michigan University. Since then, she has relocated to the Mishawaka area and is now an elementary music teacher in Buchanan, Michigan.
Joseph Smith, Bass
Joseph Smith, Bass, sang with the South Bend Chamber Singers for fifteen years before 2008 when he moved to Louisville, KY. Now retired from more than 30 years in hospital work as neuro-diagnostic technologist and more recently as sleep lab technologist, he continues healthcare practice as a massage therapist. In high school, he got his start in performing music as a church musician and has continued throughout his life. He now resides in South Bend with his husband. Joe enjoys baking cookies or working outside in the yard, volunteering in soup kitchens or delivering meals.
Sarai St. Jayne, Soprano
Sarai St. Jayne, Soprano, moved here from Bloomington, Indiana in 2012 to be close to her family. She is director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Niles, Michigan where she is organist and directs the choir and handbells. Her hobbies include reading, cooking and exercising. This is her second SBCS season.
Claire Stewart, Alto
Claire Stewart, Alto, is excited to return to the SBCS for her second season! She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and English Literature from Saint Mary’s College. During her four years of college, she sang in the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir and participated in two Madrigal Dinners. As a member of Bellacappella (Saint Mary’s premier a cappella group), she developed a passion for arranging music. A native of the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, she moved back to South Bend to join the Management Training Program at Enterprise Holdings Inc.
Catherine Tadey, Alto
Catherine Tadey, Alto, a 12 ½ year member of SBCS, is a native of Dyer, Indiana and a graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. During her tenure at Butler, she studied voice with Kari York and Maryann Scott, and oboe with Dr. Malcolm Smith. She graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Education and completed her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in August, 2013. A performer since the age of seven, Cathy has appeared on stage with several ensembles including the Southlake Children’s Choir, Butler New World Composer’s Orchestra, and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus. Cathy currently resides in Joliet, Illinois. In addition to her classroom duties as band director at Minooka Intermediate School, Cathy spends her summers traveling the globe with Minooka T.A.P. and on Saint Mary’s campus as assistant director for the Fine Arts Camp. In her free time, Cathy enjoys travel, long drives, and hiking.
Del’Shawn Taylor, Bass
Del’Shawn Taylor, Bass, is beginning his first season with the SBCS. In May of 2016, he earned a degree in Psychology and Pre-medical coursework, with a spanish minor, from IU South Bend. Del’Shawn has musically directed and accompanied over 16 musical productions. He has competed and placed in numerous vocal competitions. In 2015, Del’Shawn won the American Prize in Voice and the Chicago Musical Theatre Award, which afforded him the opportunity to make his professional debut in Orchestra Hall at Chicago Symphony Center. He has soloed with orchestras such as the National Accordion Symphony, the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra, the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the CBA Symphony Orchestra. As a composer, Del’Shawn is very busy with commissions for new works for soloists, choirs, instrumentalists, and film scores. Del’Shawn is the composer for the new musical adaptation of the award-winning book, Stars in the Sky, by Casey Grant, that depicts the stories of the first African American flight attendants. His work has garnered the attention of Jason Robert Brown. In addition to many other musical engagements, Del’Shawn is creating the first Global Hymnal for the Parliament of World Religion’s Gathering of Faiths in 2018. This past summer, he was the only American to compete in the 2016 Llangollen International Musical Eistedfodd for the Voice of Musical Theatre Award, where he placed third. He currently serves as the Music Director at Sacred Heart Parish in Lakeville.
Doug Williamson, Bass
Doug Williamson, Bass, is a Montana native who has lived in South Bend for thirteen years. Doug has been with SBCS for 11 ½ seasons. Doug sang with Helena Symphony Chorale, Helena, Montana for ten years prior to moving to South Bend and has had a lot of experience with musical theater and dramatic theater. Recently, Doug appeared in the South Bend Civic Theater’s production of Les Miserables, and has also played the role of Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss in Saint Mary’s production of Candide. Doug is a graduate of Carroll College, Helena, Montana (biology) and works for the South Bend Medical Foundation. His hobbies include landscaping, gardening, cooking, travel, and long walks.
Elizabeth Willows, Soprano
Elizabeth Willows, soprano, is in her second season with the Chamber Singers. Elizabeth is currently the only Brit in the choir and moved to South Bend from England with her husband in 2015. She holds degrees in Geography and Watershed Management and currently works in the Environmental Change Initiative at Notre Dame.