Ann Dillon, Co-director
Ann taught General and Choral Music in Public Schools for 29 years in Connecticut and Maine. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Western Connecticut University and the University of Connecticut. Ann founded the Wescustago Youth Chorale in 1998, a community chorus for high school singers. WYC expanded to include three choirs beginning with third grade singers during her tenure. Ann retired from WYC in 2011 and will conduct at the 20th Anniversary concert this June, during which former singers are being invited to perform with current singers! Ann is fed by the magic that happens between singers and director and among the singers. One of her passions is empowering people of all ages to find their voices; she sees choral music as a powerful way to build community. Ann founded a Choir at the Bangor Theological Seminary many years ago where one of her singers said, “Ann can teach anyone to sing - she can coach a scale out of a car horn!”
Catherine Beller-McKenna, Co-Director
Catherine Beller-McKenna (who goes by Kitty) has extensive experience in conducting both women’s and mixed choruses in a variety of settings. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from the University of South Carolina. She is known for her innovative programming, wide-ranging musical interests embracing a variety of styles and cultures, and an ability to work with singers from a wide variety of musical backgrounds. In 2009, Dr. Beller-McKenna received the Maryann Hartman Award from the University of Maine, given to women living or working in Maine who have demonstrated the levels of attainment now possible for women and whose achievements provide a significant role model for women of all ages. She currently directs Amare Cantare in Seacoast New Hampshire , Women in Harmony in Portland, Maine, the select choir at The Maine Girls' Academy, and is the co-director (with Ann Dillon) of the newly formed Maine Girls Chorus. Formerly, she directed the Granite State Choral Society in Rochester, NH, and Sandpipers, the Seacoast Children’s Chorus in Portsmouth, NH. Catherine is continually amazed at the power of music to build community and bring people together.
Rachel Lawson, Assistant Conductor
Rachel Lawson has been the choir director for 3 years at Freeport Middle School and Freeport High School where she teaches 7 choirs, including two Chamber Choirs and a Women’s Ensemble. She received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wyoming in 2008. After graduation, she taught choirs at Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyoming and at the middle school and high school in Glenrock, Wyoming for 5 years. Her choirs had great success performing at the North Platte District Music Festival and the Casper Jazz Festival where they received excellent and superior ratings all 5 years. She had students annually make the Wyoming All-State Choirs, and while at Freeport she has also had students annually be selected to sing in the District 3 Honors Music Festival and the Maine All-State Choirs. Rachel currently lives in Portland with her husband, Alastair, and their dog, Marlow. She feels incredibly lucky to have settled down in a community that so strongly supports the arts and can’t wait for the opportunity to bring young women together from Maine to share their love of music!