Gisèle Becker is one of the Washington area’s leading choral conductors. Her vision of musical excellence and her commitment to imaginative programming, including commissions and premiere performances of new choral works, have earned for her the highest admiration and respect from her professional colleagues and audiences alike. The Washington Post says Becker “has molded her group into a well balanced and responsive ensemble … focused, intelligent music-making.” The Post called her 2003 performance of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor “a version as transfixing as it was bold … riveting in its fresh, impassioned and personal vision.” Becker has served as Director of Choral Activities at the George Washington University, Chorus Master of the Cathedral Choral Society, Assistant Conductor of the Washington Bach Consort and continues to be Music Director of the Cantate Chamber Singers. Becker will be conducting the Schweinhaut Encore Chorale with Jeanne Kelly.
Encore is privileged to have Jeffrey Dokken as a member of our distinguished faculty of choral conductors. Mr. Dokken has served as an Encore conductor since 2013. He leads the Alexandria Encore Chorale and also conducts the new ENCORE ROCKS rock n roll choruses. Additionally, he shares conducting duties with Jeanne Kelly at the Glen Echo Chorale. Mr. Dokken is a vibrant conductor, composer, and musician. Over the past decade, he has performed all across the United States, and in some of America’s greatest venues including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. In October, 2011, Mr. Dokken travelled to Guayaquil, Ecuador to sit on an elite three-member international adjudication panel for the Guayaquil Symphony Orchestra, the national orchestra of Ecuador. The past two years, Mr. Dokken has had the distinct pleasure of getting to conduct in the White House in Washington D.C. as a part of "Holidays at the White House."
Mary Ann East (BME, Indiana University; MM, George Mason University) is currently teaching Aural Skills and previously taught The Art of Teaching Music at George Mason University. She has taught every level of music for Fairfax County Public Schools; the last six were as Choral Director at George C. Marshall High School. Mary Ann is currently the Music Director at Community of Faith UMC in Herndon. Previously she was the Music Director at Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston from 2006-2012 where she conducted the UUCR Singers adult vocal choir, UUCR Ringers handbell ensemble, and the UUCR Band.
While at George Mason University pursuing her MM in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting, Mary Ann performed in several GMU Opera Theatre productions. She sang the roles of Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica, Violetta in Act I scene I of La Traviata, Cathleen in Riders to the Sea, and Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte.
Stephen Harouff is the conductor or the Columbia and Towson Encore Chorales. He is also the Music Director and Organist at Towson Presbyterian Church. As a collaborative artist he has performed with the Annapolis Opera Company, Peabody Opera, the US Naval Academy Band and Annapolis Wind Symphony. He holds a Master of Music degree in Organ from Peabody Conservatory and has undergraduate degrees in music education and piano from West Virginia University.
Joey Hoopengardner is the conductor for the Southern Maryland Encore Chorale. Joey taught choral music in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools for 33 years. He has been the guest conductor and adjudicator for various elite honors choirs and choral festivals across the state of Maryland. Early in his career, as a founding member of the Hollywood Harmoneers, Joey recorded six studio albums and traveled the Eastern seaboard performing with his gospel band. He served as the musical director at Lexington Park United Methodist Church for over 20 years.
Deborah Int Veldt has a B.S. in Music Education from the University of Maryland in addition to many years of private training in vocal performance, working with such luminariesas Ruth Drucker and Molly Donnelly. She taught secondary vocal music in the Montgomery County, MD school district for 20 years and has taught voice and piano privately in her home for the past 15 years. In 1994, Ms. Int Veldt joined the Frederick Chorale (where she met her husband Nick) with whom she is a frequent soloist and the soprano section leader. She is the Music Director at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick and leads a 30-voice adult choir there. She has high hopes of starting a children’s chorus at the church in the near future.
Ingrid Lestrud enjoys an active career as a conductor and educator. She currently serves as the Principal Associate Conductor for the National Children’s Chorus in Washington, D.C., and her choirs perform at major concert halls throughout the country including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Kennedy Center. She has recently served as the Director of Choirs for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, the Assistant Conductor for Symphony Nova in Boston, MA, and as Director of Choirs and Voice Department Chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, IL. Prior to her conducting studies, Dr. Lestrud earned a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Lawrence University. She holds her formal conducting degrees from Southern Methodist University where she studied with Paul Phillips, and Northwestern University where she studied with Victor Yampolsky.