Esther Rhoades, Artistic Director
Director, Keene Youth Chorus, Trebles, Elm City Singers, Choristers
B.S. in Music with a Choral Concentration, University of Delaware
Esther Ruth Holland Rhoades is thrilled to be the Grand Monadnock Youth Choir's new Artistic Director. There are four GMYC ensembles under her direction, rehearsing in both Peterborough and Keene. Her energetic teaching style, expertise in music, and infectious positivity allow GMYC singers to thrive and grow not only musically, but also as individuals.
Esther has been immersed in choral music since childhood, which inspired her to complete a Bachelor’s of Science in Music from the University of Delaware. While at UD, she was the student assistant choral director of the internationally renowned University of Delaware Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Paul D. Head. She has also received training at Westminster Choir College. After graduation, she taught public high school chorus and music classes in VT and NH. Additionally, Esther was the Assistant Artistic Director and Conductor of the Children’s Chorus of Springfield in Massachusetts. After returning to Keene, Esther served Keene Unitarian Universalist Church as their Choir Director, and the Monadnock Waldorf High School teaching the a cappella choir.
When you can’t find Esther making music, she is likely hiking, baking cookies, or playing outside with her husband, Jason, and three daughters.
Director, the Cecilia Ensemble
B.A. Psychology & Education, State University of NY at Potsdam
M.M. in Choral Conducting, University of Maine
Maria Belva saw a need for choral music education for youth in the Monadnock Region, and along with her husband David Vernier founded the Peterborough Children’s Choir in 1997. Beginning with 20 children ages 7 - 12, Maria cultivated a community of choral music excellence and expanded the one choir into three with 70 singers by 2010. The choir’s name was changed to the Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs in 2011 to reflect that growth. In 2015, Esther Rhoades joined Maria to help grow and strengthen the organization, and in May of 2017 Maria passed the Directorship to Esther. Maria currently directs the Cecilia Ensemble — GMYC’s high school treble ensemble. She has taken this ensemble on concert tours to Europe since 2003.
Maria Belva is a professional choral conductor and private voice teacher. She is a Certified McClosky Voice Technician. Maria has acted and directed for Raylynmor Opera. She is also active as a soprano soloist throughout the Monadnock Region, and in this capacity, she has performed leading roles in operatic and music theatre productions and appears often in churches, community events, benefits, and occasional solo recitals. Maria is a life-long chorister and understands first-hand the impact of creating music together.
Founding and nurturing a youth choir for 20 years was the perfect culmination of Maria’s love of children and love of singing!
Ilana graduated with a Master’s of Music in piano performance at Longy School of Music of Bard College in May 2017, under the direction of Leslie Amper. During her time at Longy, she has performed at Pickman Hall, Sanders Theater at Harvard University, and the Dante Allegheri Society in Cambridge. She has collaborated with Longy's Side by Side El Sistema program and the Boston Cello quartet. Being involved with Longy’s chamber program, Ilana has had the privilege to work extensively with Robert Merfeld. Recently Ilana embarked on a collaborative journey by co-founding Table for Two | A Piano Duo with fellow pianist Linda Chavez. The duo debuted in Graz, Austria, at the Styriarte festival as winners of the Lunchkonzerte competition. They have also toured in Texas, Vermont and Massachusetts. They were invited to participate as Teaching Artist Fellows at the Lincoln Center in NYC in the summer of 2017.
Board of Directors
The GMYC Board of Directors is currently seeking new board leadership and volunteering from individuals with experience in fundraising, development, non-profit arts organizations, children’s programming, database management, business connections, and the choral arts. Please contact us for more information.
Acting President, Jennifer Comeau
Jennifer Comeau has taken care of children in different capacities since she was a child herself, and has a passion for programs like GMYC that set youth up for positive group experiences and learning success. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The New School University in NYC, and her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Community Administrative Practice from UNH in 2011. Her interest in organizing communities for change and program development in non-profits are two areas she's developed in her career as a social worker. She currently practices as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with children and families concerning mental health challenges at Child and Family Services of NH in Keene. She enjoys homesteading with her husband and two young children.
Treasurer, Bill Goodwin
Bill Goodwin has been a Board member of the Grand Monadnock Youth Choirs since 2005 and has handled the Treasurer’s position during all of those years. He graduated from Worcester Polytecnic Institute (WPI) in 1963 and worked in the bearing industry as a mechanical engineer from 1964 - 1996, working in both Connecticut and New Hampshire. Following retirement, he became very involved with community work and arts organizations. Bill has served as Chairman of numerous town committees in Dublin during the past 20 years and is currently treasurer of four organizations. He served as Trustee chairman at the Dublin Community Church for many years and has been actively involved with the Monadnock United Way campaign for the past 10 years. Bill was one of the founders of the Peterborough Folk Music Society, following the closing of the Folkway in 1995.
Secretary, Theresa Majoy
Theresa Majoy graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Lowell State College in Elementary Ed. and received her Master of Ed. From Boston University. Working as an educator for 40 years, she spent the majority of time in the classroom and some time also in administration. Theresa has 2 step-children, 4 adopted children, and 1 adopted grandchild, Emma, who is in the Keene Youth Chorus. Theresa’s participation on the board is fueled by her appreciation of Maria and Esther’s enthusiasm and love for their work and the quality performances they bring forth from the singers. Perseverance and organization are what Theresa contributes to the board.
Scott Clarke is a musical product of Keene High School. He attended the University of Rochester to study business and Philosophy. Scott was a supporter of A cappella singing long before its recent popularity, singing in the U of R YELLOWJACKETS. Scott currently performs with the Chamber Singers of Keene, and Main Street Broadway. Scott has been the President of DOUGLAS CO in Keene for over 20 years. He is proud to be a volunteer with the Monadnock United Way.
Farmer, entrepreneur, painter, corporate employee, and volunteer on numerous non-profit boards, Peter Allen's eclectic activities now include the honorable efforts on behalf of GMYC and it's superb work with Choral children's Music.
Planted and firmly rooted in Temple, NH on a 20 acre farm not only raising organic vegetables, fruits and assorted poultry, but a daughter Paulina, 2 dogs and 4 cats, Peter sings in a number of choral groups while pursuing a long standing interest in painting and drawing.
Lisa Mahar served as administrator of Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene for twenty-six years, a school where students in early childhood through high school are nurtured by an educational program rich in both arts and academics. Lisa holds a bachelors degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She was a founding member in 1984 of the Noonday Singers, a chorus focusing on peace, social justice, and music of liberation from around the world. Lisa also provides educational consultant services to Waldorf schools and serves as a member of the board for Monadnock Food Co-op. She has three grown children and seven grand children and lives in Keene with her husband Bill Beardslee.