Cara Bernard is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Connecticut in the Neag School of Education, where she teaches courses in choral and elementary methods, curriculum, and supervises student teaching.
As an active clinician, Dr. Bernard has been invited by choral organizations and state music education associations across the country to write curriculum, give workshops, and lead festival performances for students and teachers. She has conducted, performed, and prepared choruses for performances at some of the most prestigious venues, from Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater to the Museum of Modern Art. Dr. Bernard was the director and conductor of the Count Me In program at Carnegie Hall, where she designed and implemented a vocal and choral curriculum for beginning-level middle school music students. Additionally, she worked with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City™ in their School Choral Program, working with New York City public schools to bring a choral experience to over 1,000 children throughout the city. Prior to these appointments, Dr. Bernard enjoyed many years of teaching high school chorus, general music, and piano in the New York City public schools. She is currently President of CT American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Dr. Bernard serves on the editorial committees of Music Educators Journal, Arts Education Policy Review, Journal of Music Teacher Education, Journal of Popular Music Education, and is associate editor of Visions of Research in Music Education. She regularly writes curriculum for school districts. She was a writer for the MusicFirst Junior curriculum. She was a recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Council of Research in Music Education and the 2013 Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award, and is co-author of the recently released book Teacher Evaluation in Music: A Guide for Teachers in the US, published by Oxford University Press.
Andrew T. Trites (he/him/his) is a doctoral student and teaching assistant in music education at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Andrew also works with children and adults, including K-5 general music, children’s choir, and adult choir at St Ann Parish and School in Wilmington, DE.
He previously taught middle school choir for 10 years in Texas and Delaware. He earned a master of music in choral conducting at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX and a bachelors in music education from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. Andrew’s research interests include sacred music, equity in choral music spaces, and creativity.
He was recently elected as President of the Delaware Chapter of ACDA. He has presented at NAfME national and ACDA regional and state conferences. Andrew lives with his wife and children in Wilmington.
Libby Gopal graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Music Education, her masters in music education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and a masters in school administration from Rowan University.
During her twenty year tenure as a high school choir director, Mrs. Gopal’s students were invited to perform in state and regional conferences, All-Eastern ACDA, the Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall. She has been a New Brunswick Education Foundation (NBEF) mini grant recipient and two time recipient of the American Choral Directors Association Fund For Tomorrow Grant. Mrs. Gopal was awarded the 2019 NJ Governor’s Educator of the Year Award for East Orange. In 2022, she received the 2022 National Federation of State High School Association Outstanding Music Educator Award for New Jersey.
Mrs. Gopal served as a teacher trainer for the East Orange School District, was the 2021-2023 NJMEA Advocacy Chair, and served as NJ-ACDA Inclusivity Chair from 2017 until 2021 when she became NJ-ACDA President-Elect. Mrs. Gopal serves as the NJ-ACDA President and is on the ChorTeach editorial board. She is currently the Visual & Performing Arts Supervisor for the East Windsor Regional School District.
Lisa Graham is the Evelyn Barry Director of Choral Programs and Senior Lecturer at Wellesley College, where she leads the choral ensembles and teaches in the Music Department. Under her direction, the Wellesley College Choirs have toured internationally in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, and the Baltics in addition to domestic tours annually. Wellesley ensembles have performed at both American Choral Director Association and National Choral Conductor’s Organization conferences. Chamber Singers and Choir are featured in the motion picture Mona Lisa Smile.
In addition, Lisa Graham is in her 20th season as Music Director of the Metropolitan Chorale. Under her leadership, the Chorale’s membership has grown and represents communities throughout the Greater Boston area. Dr. Graham has shaped the Chorale’s programming to include contemporary, American, and
lesser-known works, alongside the masterworks of the repertory. In a review of her appearance conducting the Metropolitan Chorale and the Boston Pops, Broadway World praised Dr. Graham as “a spellbinding maestro, balletic in her direction … a great connection with her performers on stage.” This year marks ten years touring and collaborating with the Boston Pops on their annual Holiday Tour. She serves as cover conductor for Keith Lockhart during the holiday season.
Active in the Boston musical scene, she conducted for the Handel + Haydn Society, enjoying a ten-year history of working with their educational outreach program. She has prepared choruses for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, and in May of 2023 , she made her debut with MassOpera as Music Director for The Magic Flute. She is a founding member and former President of the National Collegiate Choral Conductor’s Organization and was honored as a Life Member for her service in 2019. She has served on the board of the Eastern Division American Choral Directors Association and is currently President for the Massachusetts chapter. Dr. Graham is the 2021 winner of the American Prize Dale Warland Award in
She is a proud holder of Masters and Doctoral Degrees earned at the University of Southern California.
Regina McAdam is the Choral Director at North Smithfield High School in North Smithfield,Rhode Island. As an active member of ACDA (American Choral Directors Association) she is currently the Rhode Island President and is the 2024 ACDA Eastern Division Honor Choir Chair.As a member of RIMEA (Rhode Island Music Educators Association) she serves as the All StateFestival Choral Chair. In the past, Mrs. McAdam has managed Rhode Island Senior All State Choirs, NAfME Eastern Division Honor Choir, and ACDA Eastern Division Honor Choirs.
Mrs. McAdam is beginning her 29th school year at North Smithfield High School directing the high school’s advanced level Chamber Choir, Select Treble Choir, The Testoster-Tones (NSHS’Tenor-Bass Choir), Jazz Choir and Concert Choir. The North Smithfield Choirs have received superior ratings at local and national festivals. Mrs. McAdam was named the North SmithfieldSchools ” 2012 Teacher of the Year ” and in 2013 was a finalist for the Rhode Island state teacher of the Year.
Regina McAdam holds degrees in Music Education from Rhode Island College. Here she served as the Graduate Assistant Conductor for the Rhode Island College Chorus. Throughout her careerMrs. McAdam has been the guest conductor for the RIMEA Jr. Treble and Jr. Mixed All StateChoirs, and the All Cape and Islands Honor Treble Choir. In 2013 Regina McAdam received theRhode Island College Alumni Honor roll award for outstanding achievement in her field.
In addition to her teaching duties at North Smithfield High School, Mrs. McAdam works as the Director of Music Ministry at St. Gregory the Great Church in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Brianne Biastoff is in her ninth year both as Choral Director at Nashua High School North in Nashua, New Hampshire and as a member of the adjunct choral faculty at University of Massachusetts atLowell. Mrs. Biastoff’s high school choirs have performed at venues in Montreal, New York City, and Brugges and Gent, Belgium. Choirs led by Mrs. Biastoff have participated in several invitational collegiate choral festivals, and have consistently performed alongside some of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell choirs and orchestra, as well as having been recorded at UMass Lowell.
Mrs. Biastoff has thrice recently conducted the Nashua All-City Middle School Festival Chorus for the Nashua Sings! Festival. Before returning to graduate school, Mrs. Biastoff maintained a private voice studio for nearly ten years in her home in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Her private studio and public school students have participated in NAfME’s All-National and All-Eastern Division Honors Ensemble Festival, ACDA’s National and Eastern Division Honors Choirs as well as both Massachusetts and New Hampshire All-State festivals; a great number have also now moved on to higher education as music majors and have become music educators themselves. She is the current president of the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and was nominated for NH ACDA Choral Director of the Year for 2023. Mrs. Biastoff’s educational passions are focused on exploring diversity and inclusion in repertoire, resources, curriculum, and personnel, especially as related to social justice. Mrs. Biastoff received both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from the University ofMassachusetts at Lowell, and has participated in the Sarteano Chamber Choral ConductingWorkshop in Sarteano, Tuscany, Italy three times now. As a singer, she has most recently performed
as the alto soloist for Mozart’s Requiem at UMass Lowell, and is currently a staff singer for First
Church in Nashua, as well as having recently joined the New Hampshire Master Chorale. She has recently performed with many choral groups including the Berkshire Bach Society, the Cantilena Chamber Choir, Chamber Singers of UMass Lowell, Albany Pro Musica and the Masterworks Chorale of Lexington, Massachusetts. Mrs. Biastoff resides in Nashua, NH with her young son, Morgan.
American Prize winner Allan Laiño (“lah-EE-nyoh” or / la ‘ʔi njo / ) is the artistic Director of the Congressional Chorus, and Principal Conductor & Advanced Studies Director of the National Children’s Chorus. As a second-generation Filipino-American withwide-ranging musical influences, he aims to reshape the landscape of American choral artistry by creating an environment in which all voices can flourish.
Laiño has prepared choral ensembles for the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, BSO Pops and Jack Everly, NSO Pops and Steven Reineke, Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, and the Josh Groban Live National Tour. He has conducted onstage at Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Kennedy Center Opera House, and Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center. His performances have
been televised on programs such as the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors, CNN’s Live from the Capitol: January 6, One Year Later, and EWTN’s Annual Christmas Concert for Charity broadcast to over 140 countries worldwide. As Co-Conductor of the Sunday Night Singers in 2012, he earned First Prize at the World Choir Games in the Mixed Chamber Choir Champions Division. He is the 2018 winner of The American Prize—Community Chorus Division, and was a finalist in two categories for the 2020
The American Prize in Composition.
As Co-Artistic Director of DC-based professional ensemble, Bridge, Laiño produced, edited, directed, and sang in America, You’re Beautiful, an award-winning short film that merged spoken word and choral music to examine racism in America. The film won the 2021 Black Truth Film Festival and 2021 Queens Underground International Black and Brown Film Festival, and was an official selection for numerous film festivals.
Laiño served on the choral conducting faculty for the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art at The Catholic University of America from 2016–2021. He directed the University Singers, who performed annually with the CU Symphony Orchestra under his baton for The Annual Christmas Concert for Charity at the National Shrine. He is a former member of the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the resident professional chamber choir for which he has also guest-conducted in Masses. He has sung with groups such as Bridge, the Yale/Norfolk Music Festival Chamber Choir, Chantry, The Trinity Chamber Orchestra, the Sunday Night Singers, the Horizon Chamber Choir, and the Pacific Chorale.
Dr. Laiño was a Diversity Fellowship recipient at the University of California, Irvine, earning his M.F.A in Choral Conducting (2009) and B.A. in Voice/Music (2006). He moved to the DMV in 2012 to pursue his D.M.A. in Choral Conducting (2015) at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Joy Elizabeth Meade is the Director of Choral Activities at Messiah University, where she conducts Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Choral Arts Society and teaches applied voice and conducting.
Prior to her appointment at Messiah, Dr. Meade was the Associate Director of Choirs at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Before earning her doctorate in conducting at the University of Georgia with Dr. Daniel Bara, Dr. Meade taught choir and orchestra for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District in Kennett Square, PA. She received her M.M. in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College and a B.A. from the University of Richmond in voice performance and French.
She serves as co-artistic director of the Grantham Consort, President of ACDA-PA, and continues to perform regularly as a professional choral singer and soloist, as well as serve as a conducting clinician at high schools, universities and festivals. Joy lives with her husband, Andrew, and two children in Mechanicsburg, PA.
William Culverhouse is Associate Professor of Music at Binghamton University, where he serves as Director of Choral Activities, directing several choirs and teaching a range of musices courses in the Music Department. He received his undergraduate degree in music education from Oberlin Conservatory and graduate degrees in choral conducting from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before coming to Binghamton, he served as Director of Choral Activities at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana; taught music in the public schools in Ohio, Illinois, and Virginia; and served for eight years as Director of the Schola Cantorum at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
A lyric baritone with a specialization in early and contemporary music, he has sung professionally throughout the Midwest and the East Coast. He is an active composer as well, particularly of choral and solo vocal music, and his Requiem for chorus and harp received its New York premiere in March 2016. He is in frequent demand as a choral clinician, having conducted and adjudicated throughout the United States and in the Middle East. A specialist in choral music of the Arab world, he has given conference presentations on Arab choral music and was the recipient of a Fulbright grant for his work with choirs in Jordan.
Elizabeth LeBeau is the vocal director at Middlebury Union High School. She directs the MUHS Camerata Singers, MUHS Concert Choir, teaches the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program General Music, Diploma Program Music, and Beginning Guitar.
Growing up in Addison County, Elizabeth is a native Vermonter. She received her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Vermont and her Master of Arts from Castleton University. Her prior music employment has included teaching general music, beginning band, and choir at Fair Haven Grade School, Benson Elementary and George L. Hess in Mays Landing, New Jersey.
Elizabeth is thrilled to be stepping into the role of Vermont ACDA President.
Ashley Albert is in her thirteenth year as the Director of Choral Music at Brunswick High School in Brunswick, ME, where she conducts the Concert Choir, Treble Choir, and Chamber Choir. She also teaches Beginner Guitar and Advanced Piano courses and serves as the Music Director for all of Brunswick’s theatrical productions.
Ashley received her BME from the University of Maine in Orono, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Honors College in 2010. She is an active member of the National Association for Music Education (Nafme) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She is currently beginning her term as President for Maine ACDA and is in her seventh year as the Manager of the Maine All State SATB Choir. In the past, she has served as both the Maine District 3 Mixed Choir Manager and the Maine State Chair for the Tri-M Music Honors Society. Ashley also spent three years as a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (formerly known as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative).
Mrs. Albert has had the honor of working as a guest clinician and conductor for several Honors festivals throughout the state of Maine, including the KVMEA Senior Honors Chorus, the District 1 Honors Treble and Mixed Choirs, and the All Aroostook High School Honors Choir, among others. Ashley also enjoys adjudicating for many district and state-wide festivals and competitions. Under her direction, the Brunswick High School Treble Choir and Chamber Choir have received Superior ratings at state, regional, and national festivals. Additionally, she has been proud to have students selected to numerous Honors Choir Festivals both regionally and nationally, including the MMEA District and All State Festivals, the Nafme All Eastern and All National Festivals, the ACDA Eastern and National Festivals, and the Honors Performance Series Festivals in Carnegie Hall, Vienna, and Australia. In 2022, Ashley was humbled to receive the District 3 Music Educator of the Year Award, the Maine Music Educator of the Year Award, and the Russell-Cox Distinguished Choral Director Award.
Some of Ashley’s favorite memories as a music educator have been performing the National Anthem with her Chamber Choir for a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, traveling with students throughout the country to attend festivals, and bringing guest conductors to Maine to work with our All State Choirs!
In her free time, Ashley is still an active choral singer. She enjoyed singing with the Brunswick Chamber Choir “Vox Nova” for five years, and is currently performing with Brunswick’s “Una Voce Chamber Choir” alongside her husband, Drew Albert. Ashley believes that remaining an active member of a choral ensemble has been essential for her success as a choral conductor.
Together with her husband, Ashley is passionate about working on a broader scale to continue elevating Choral Music in Maine to be the best that it can be. She has felt so fortunate for the support of MMEA, ACDA, and the tight knit community of Maine Music Educators throughout the years, and she hopes to give back more in the future. Ashley resides in Gardiner, ME, with her husband Drew and their adorable two year old daughter, Eloise.