Biographies

ABC Bel Canto Choir’s highly talented group of conductors offer our chorister a very diverse learning experience.

Sue Fay Allen, Founder/Executive Director

SUE FAY ALLEN graduated Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Potsdam, Crane School of Music, where she received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees. She continued studies at the University of Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, and the Eastman School of Music. Ms. Allen is the Founder and Executive Director of the ABC Bel Canto Choirs. Her choral groups have been chosen through taped audition to perform at conventions of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA), and the National Association for Music Education. She taught and served as Music Coordinator in the Amherst schools throughout her public school career. In recognition of her work, Ms. Allen has received awards from NYSSMA, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Erie County Music Educators’ Association and the Amherst Schools. Crane selected her as one of their Outstanding Alumni, and she was chosen to receive the “Outstanding Choral Conductor Award” from the New York Chapter of ACDA. Throughout her career, her articles on adolescent voice and repertoire have been published by state and national music journals. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Teachers, Who’s Who in American Women, and Who’s Who in International Music and Musicians. Ms. Allen is past President of the NY Chapter of ACDA, and has served on the editorial board for the nationally-published Music Educator’s Journal. She presently serves on the Education Committee of the BPO, and was the originator of (and still facilitates) their Community Spotlight program. Sue Fay is known for her sense of humor, her “tough love” of her choristers, and her high standards for performance and literature. Her reputation is earned through her dynamic workshops on adolescent voice, and her varied guest conducting positions in over sixty district, county, area all-state and festival choruses!

Laura Biddle, Business Manager, Director – Vivace  (email)

LAURA BIDDLE received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education at Syracuse University, where she studied with Barbara Tagg, John Laverty, James Tapia, and G. Burton Harbison. She sang at the Adirondack Festival of American Music under the renowned Gregg Smith from 1998-2000 and was a Section Leader in the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus from 2005-2008. Mrs. Biddle works at Boston Valley School in Hamburg, where she teaches vocal music grades K-5, directs the choruses and produces the annual Fifth Grade Musical. She is in her FIFTEENTH year on staff with ABC, although she was also a singer in the first Bel Canto Choir (94-95). Mrs. Biddle lives in Clarence with husband Paul, son Dylan, and dogs Bronx and Coal.

David Bond

DAVID BOND is a native of Montana. He received a Bachelor of Music (cum laude) from St. Olaf College in 1974 and went on to attend the University of Michigan, earning a Master of Music in 1976 and a Doctor of Musical Arts in 1981. Dr. Bond has been honored in several regional and international competitions. As an active recitalist, his performances have been characterized as “mesmerizing…an astonishing talent” (Altoona, Pennsylvania). He is “an organist to be reckoned with.” (Buffalo, New York). As an experienced church musician, Dr. Bond has held positions in Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio. He is past dean of the Buffalo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and was the District Convener for the WNY area of Region II of the AGO for four years. He has been Organist/Choirmaster at First Presbyterian Church Buffalo since November 1985.

Julie Furlong, Director – Presto  (email)

JULIE FURLONG teaches general music and chorus at Smallwood in Amherst. Julie has a Bachelors in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, and her Masters in Education with a music concentration from UB. Julie received the BPO/ECMEA Award for Excellence in Music Education in 2011, and serves on the BPO Education Committee. At school, she has served on the Smallwood Leadership Team and coached the “Girls on the Run” team. Julie is a member of the Erie County Music Educators Association, where she presented at the 2010 Classroom Music Festival and the 2014 WNY Conference Day for Music Educators. She also is a Representative Member on the board of the NY chapter of the Gordon Institute of Music Learning, where she presented at the 2011 Spring Workshop.

Nancy Gutillo, Director – Bravo  (email)

NANCY GUTILLO began her music career as an original member of the Bel Canto Choir along with Mrs. Biddle. She holds a Bachelors in Music Education from Buffalo State College and a Masters in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia. She was a cantor and a member of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral Choir from 2001 to 2010. She began teaching in Williamsville in 2006 and is currently working at Transit Middle School. Mrs. Gutillo has been an active member of the Erie County Music Educators Association since 2004. Her 5th and 6th grade choruses have performed at the classroom music festival where she is currently a member of their steering committee. She adjudicates annually for both the Erie and Niagara county solo festivals. In 2010 and 2011, she chaired the SATB North Junior High Chorus, and in 2015, she had the privilege of conducting that group. She currently lives in Niagara County with her husband Donald, their children Ava and Vincent, and their dog, Stella.

Puneet Jacob, Director – Bravo (email)

PUNEET JACOB has been a member of ABC since 2000. After singing in the choir until 2006, he was unable to resist Mrs. Allen, and he returned to assist the choir the following year. He studied at NCCC and Buffalo State, and he became more involved with ABC as his passion for music grew. Since 2006, Puneet has played in many bands spanning from jazz, blues, gospel and rock in various venues in WNY, Virginia, West Virginia, California, Florida, and India. He has also sung in operas and had an apprenticeship with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. In his spare time, Puneet composes his own music and is the Director of Music at Christian Fellowship Church in Amherst. Although Puneet has had many great musical experiences, he says his greatest joy in life come from his wife, Brittney, and their two beautiful children: Lilleah Joy (age 4), and Seth Emmanuel (age 2).

Sarah Meredith

SARAH MEREDITH holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University, a Master of Music Education degree from Ithaca College, and a Doctorate in Musicology from Florida State University. She has taught music at all levels from elementary school through college, and presented papers and workshops at national conferences on music education and musicology. Dr. Meredith is in her ninth year as the Staff Accompanist for the Lancaster Central School District, and also serves as a Grants Researcher for the grants consulting firm of J. O’Connell & Associates, Inc., located in Clarence, NY.