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; 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 state and national conventions. 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, the Amherst Schools, and the Crane School of Music. She was also chosen to receive the “Outstanding Choral Conductor Award” from the N.Y. American Choral Directors’ Association. 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 national Music Educator’s Journal. She presently serves on the Education Committee of the BPO and originated their Community Spotlight program. Sue Fay and her husband Carl Klingenschmitt were proud to receive the “Un-Sung Hero” Award from the Arts Services Initiative of WNY, and this past year, the Clarence Chamber of Commerce chose them as their “Volunteers of the Year”.

Katherine Leo, Vivace/Bravo Conductor

KATHERINE LEO has been a vocal and choral music educator in New York State for the past 15 years. She has a Bachelor degree in Music Education (vocal concentration) from SUNY at Fredonia and a Master in Music from Ithaca College in Vocal Performance. She is currently a member of the New York State Music Educators Association (NYSSMA), the Erie County Music Educators Association (ECMEA) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

Mrs. Leo has experience teaching general and choral music to PreK – 12th grade students. She has taught at LeRoy CSD and Indian River CSD in northern New York. In 2016, she took the position of Choral Director at Maryvale Union Free School District in Cheektowaga. She currently teaches 6th-12th grade choruses and vocal lessons and is the vocal director for the annual high school musical. Under her direction, Maryvale’s choral program has more than tripled in size and has returned to competitive performing where her ensembles consistently receive superior ratings. Students of Mrs. Leo regularly attend NYSSMA solo festivals and are accepted into All-County, Area All-State, Conference All-State, and collegiate programs. Mrs. Leo is also a NYSSMA solo adjudicator, and a private voice instructor.

Mrs. Leo lives in Amherst with her husband and two children.

Allision Grant, Presto Conductor

ALLISON GRANT is a native of the Buffalo area. She currently teaches 4th, 5th, and 6th grade chorus, and several sections of general music, along with an after school Select Choir in the Lancaster School District. She received her Bachelor’s in Music Education from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, with a double concentration in Voice and Flute, fulfilling both the choral and band tracks. She is currently studying Choral Music Education at Michigan State University on the New Directions Scholarship towards her Masters degree in Music Education. There, she is researching physical positioning of the choir in performance, sorting voices by vocal color, vocal health at an adolescent level, and community in the choral rehearsal. She is inspired to teach students to not only love music and the joy it elicits, but to become well-rounded and collaborative members in their future endeavors. As the conductor for Presto, she is looking forward to seeing the interaction of students who love chorus across different ages, experiences, and backgrounds. She is thrilled to get her start in the ABC Bel Canto tradition and community!

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, PA); he has also been described as “an organist to be reckoned with.” (Buffalo, NY). 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.

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 a Grants Researcher for the grants consulting firm of J. O’Connell & Associates, Inc., located in Clarence, NY.

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