The SsAM Collegium

Under the direction of David Christopher, The SsAM Collegium is an ensemble of professional singers who serve as the core of the parish choir and perform frequently as a separate ensemble.  Frequently featured in worship at SsAM as well as in concert settings, the SsAM Collegium performs a wide range of music from Gregorian Chant and Renaissance motets to selections from the contemporary and world music repertoire.

IMG_0003Isabel Gray, Soprano

Originally from the Philadelphia region, Isabel moved back to the area after she and her husband raised their family in Scotland (UK), Virginia, and finally New Hampshire, where they lived for many years. Ms. Gray has a Bachelor of Arts in Music, performance concentration, from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Science in Library Information Science from Drexel University. She is the assistant Director of Library Services for Camden County College (NJ) and is a Navy veteran.

Isabel’s first church gig was at the age of seven, singing in the junior choir at The Church of the Good Shepherd, Pitman, New Jersey where her mother was the organist and choir director. Isabel was a section leader/soloist for several churches while living in New Hampshire and continued in this role at Trinity Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey for several years. She has taught vocal classes for high school students as part of the SYMS program at the University of New Hampshire and was the first director/vocal coach for a hospice care singing group in New Hampshire.

In addition to solo appearances with various choruses in New Hampshire, Isabel was a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Boston Symphony’s resident chorus, for many years. She had the privilege of working with many world famous conductors while a member of the Chorus. She participated in several Carnegie Hall Choral Workshops, including ones conducted by Sir Neville Mariner, Charles Dutoit, and Andre Previn.

Solo and ensemble credits include Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard, Benjamin Britton’s A Ceremony of Carols, Bach’s Magnificat, and many major oratorios, cantatas, and choral symphonies. Recital appearances include local and international venues. She is a former student of Richard Conrad and currently studies with David Christopher.

2008-11-30 at 13-30-35Kimberly Doucette, Mezzo-soprano

Kimberly Doucette is an active singer, conductor and educator in the Wilmington area. She has sung professionally throughout the region, most notably with OperaDelaware, Delaware Valley Chorale, The Chesnut Hill Orchestra, and the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Past roles in opera and operetta include Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Casilda in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Frasquita in Carmen, the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo. Concert and oratorio credits include the soprano solos in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor, Carissimi’s Jepthe, Handel’s Messiah, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Fauré’s Requiem, and Ellington’s Best of the Sacred Concerts.

Kimberly is also the Artistic Director of the 140-voice Wilmington Children’s Chorus.  Under her leadership, the WCC has solidified its reputation for vocal artistry, music literacy and professionalism.  She has served as a guest conductor and clinician for area choirs and schools and as the Choirmaster at the Episcopal church of Saints Andrew and Matthew for the 2011-12 season.  She maintains a private vocal studio at her home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Kimberly received her Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Delaware and holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University.

TinaTina Betz, Contralto

Tina is currently Executive Director of the Light Up The Queen Foundation (LUQ). LUQ, a Delaware non-profit corporation, is dedicated to the revival of the historic Queen Theater; to ensuring the theater becomes a catalyst for economic growth in the city of Wilmington; and for building community by engaging diverse populations in high-quality music education and programs, workforce development and mentoring.

As Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of Wilmington under Mayor James Baker, she is known for her role in coordinating and raising funds for numerous large-scale events and community arts projects, such as the DuPont Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Community Celebration, the City’s Independence Day celebration, Art-On-The-Town.  She also developed innovative and successful projects such as the Wilmington Children’s Chorus, the Fringe Wilmington Festival, Clifford Brown Year Round concert series, and the City’s first and only theater dedicated to independent films, filmmaking and filmmakers, Theatre N at Nemours.

A classically trained singer, Tina is not only a member of the SsAM Collegium, but performs frequently at SsAM and throughout the community as highly sought after vocalist.  Also well known as an actor, recent credits include narration with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra (Copeland’s The Promise of Living vocal ensemble and Lincoln Portrait narration), First State Ballet Theatre (Nutcracker Suite narrator), and lead roles in countless shows from Sweeney Todd to The Vagina Monologues.

Tina has served on the board of many local arts organization as well as the grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council for the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Artists on Tour, Delaware Division of the Arts, and New Jersey Council on the Arts. Her contributions to the community have been recognized with the YMCA’s Black Achiever’s award; Christiana Cultural Arts Center’s “Christi Award” for Outstanding Achievement by an artist; Girls Inc.’s Strong, Smart and Bold award; and Cab Calloway School of the Arts’ Arts Smarts Award for commitment to the arts in the community.

Tina earned a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree from Boston University and studied pre-law at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts.

IMG_0209Gus Mercante, Counter-tenor

Augustine Mercante, a 2013 Delaware Division of the Arts Fellow, enjoys an active career performing repertoire from the Baroque to The Great American Songbook.  He was a Fellow at the 2013 Tanglewood Music Center where his performance in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin was called “glowing” by The New York Times.  As a 2010 Fulbright Scholar, he studied in Germany at the invitation of Edith Wiens and performed with companies in Augsburg, Munich, and Nürnberg, as well as Salzburg, Austria, where he performed at the Salzburg Festival.

Augustine Mercante is the founder and Creative Director of LifeSongs, an organization that takes music to under-served audiences and produces benefit concerts for individuals with special medical needs.  He and his partner, Justin, live in Wilmington where Gus maintains a private teaching studio and sits on the faculty of The Music School of Delaware.
 

541796_10151859332579111_1712785585_nDavid Anderson, Tenor

David has been a member of the SsAM Collegium since 2007.  He has been heard in recital in Wilmington, DE, Tucson, AZ, and Reno, NV.  He also sings in the Opera Delaware Chorus and The Delaware Valley Chorale.  David has also performed with The Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, Orpheus Male Chorus in Phoenix, AZ, and several other community choruses.  David holds a Bachelors of Science in Hotel and Resort Management and a Master of Science in Organization Development and Instructional Design, both from Rochester Institute of Technology.  He has pursued his post Bachelors study and love of cooking by taking cuisine and pastry courses at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and La Cuisine Paris.  Singing has always been a passion for David.  He has performed as a soloist with numerous choral groups including The Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, Delaware ChoralArts, and the SsAM Choir.  Notable voice teachers have included Elliot Jones and David Christopher.  For his day job, David works in the HR Learning and Organization Development Department at AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies.

CHAZ IIChaz Warrick, Tenor

Charles Warrick, a Delaware native, has been singing professionally in the Greater Wilmington area for over 15 years. A graduate of the University of Delaware with dual degrees in Music Education and Composition, Charles sings professionally with Delaware ChoralArts, Northern Delaware Oratorio Society (NDOS), and Temple Beth Emeth. In the past, he has sung with Mastersingers of Wilmington, Christ Church Christiana Hundred, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington. He studied voice with Patrick Evans, Nicole Clouser, and most recently David Christopher. Charles recently completed his Master’s Degree in Information Technology with a concentration in Business Analysis at Capella University. He is thrilled to be a part of the SsAM community.

 Benjamin Dutton, Baritone

Benjamin Dutton, a native of New Jersey, is currently a senior at the university of Delaware where he is majoring in vocal performance with minor in dance (ballet concentration.)  In the summer of 2016, Benjamin performed with the College Light Opera Company in MA performing roles including Tommy Albright in Brigadoon, Sky Mastersterson in Guys and Dolls, and Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.  Performances at the University of Delaware this coming season include Schuman’s Dichterliebe in the fall and the role of Guillelmo in Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte in the spring  He is also a member of the university of Delaware Chorale.