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”.

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

LAURA BIDDLE received her Bachelors and Masters degrees Summa cum Laude 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. Mrs. Biddle also holds a first-degree black belt in Isshin-ryu karate. She is in her seventeenth 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.

Peter Blanford

PETER BLANFORD received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ithaca College and a Masters degree in Choral Conducting from SUNY Fredonia under the tutelage of Dr. Vernon Huff, Dr. Melvin Unger, and the late Dr. Gerald Gray. He currently works at Depew Middle School as the choral and general music teacher. Previously, Peter taught music at the Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School and spent his summers on the conducting faculty of Ithaca College’s Summer Music Academy, where he led their vocal ensemble and taught music theory. Actively freelancing in the Western New York region, Peter is a member of Buffalo’s Vocális Chamber Choir and performs with his band, The Plagiarists.

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.

Kristen Hill

KRISTEN HILL is a music teacher in the Ken-Ton school district who has been teaching music in WNY for the past 12 years. She received her Bachelors in Education from Buffalo State College, and her Masters in Education from the University at Buffalo. She is currently studying Administrative Leadership at Canisius College in hopes of one day becoming a principal. Miss Hill has a true passion for music and teaching. She began her time with Amherst Bel Canto choirs as a singer in middle school. She served as Presto’s assistant conductor from 2009 to 2015, and has conducted the Lockport Chorale for the last 10 seasons. Miss Hill is also an accomplished flute player. She has performed on flute with ABC many times, and also plays with the Erie County Wind Ensemble. When not teaching music, Miss Hill has a passion for directing theater, reading, and practicing Tae Kwon Do! She is excited to be back making wonderful music with the ABC family!

Veronica John

VERONICA JOHN, a Buffalo native, received her Bachelors in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, and has been teaching vocal and general music in the Buffalo Pubic Schools for the past 19 years. During that time she earned her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from D’Youville College in Buffalo. Mrs. John is a co-facilitator and coach with the Buffalo Arts Teachers Collaborative. She has also been the guest conductor for the Junior High North Chorus and Elementary Blue Chorus as part of the Erie County Music Educators Association Choral Festivals. In addition, she has enjoyed being a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, the Harmonia Chamber Singers, and the Buffalo Master Chorale. Most recently, Veronica performed at Carnegie Hall with the Harmonia Chamber Singers as part of the Distinguished Concerts International’s A capella Next concert series. She is currently serving as a chorister trainer and staff singer at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

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.