Our Staff

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Marcia Hendricks

executive director

Marcia has served the organization for 33 years, first as a volunteer and board member, and then as a paid staff member. Under her leadership the Children’s Chorale has realized nationwide and international recognition.  Along with the talented Children’s Chorale music staff, Marcia has created and produced many of the Children's Chorale’s popular programs such as the All-City Boychoir Festival; In Harmony International Music Festivals; and Pikes Peak Center concerts each year. The Children's Chorale outreach programs including the Adopt-a-District; Satellite Choir; Generations Initiative; and School Blitz days were a brainchild of Marcia's desire to position the Children’s Chorale to better serve the wider community. Prior to her involvement with the CSCC, she owned and operated a successful event planning and floral design business. Her work with children includes spearheading reading programs for elementary school children; and serving as a Head Start and Get Set volunteer. Marcia has served on many community non-profit boards including the Pikes Peak Arts Council; Arts, Business, and Education Consortium, Taylor Elementary School Advisory Council; Colorado Vocal Arts Board of Directors; City of Colorado Springs Sister City Committee; and the committee to pass the Scientific and Cultural Arts Tax. She is currently a member of the Leadership Council of the Imagination Celebration, and serves as coordinator for the Southern Colorado Children’s Arts Festival and the CHORALaborative. Her memberships in professional organizations include the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America, and the Colorado Music Educators Association. Marcia was the 2014 recipient of the Pikes Peak Arts Council’s Arts Leadership Award. Children’s Chorale has been a part of the Hendricks family since 1987 when daughter, Sarah, joined the organization, closely followed by son, Luke’s membership. The family is grateful for the life-changing opportunities Chorale has given them.

Ensemble Directors

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Lori Bammesburger

summit ensemble director

Lori Bammesberger’s celebrated career conducting choirs, teaching voice lessons and leading workshops, as well as performing in operas, choirs and classical concert works, spans 25 years and several states, including Colorado, California and Texas. Originally from Colorado Springs, Lori earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas and a Master’s in Voice Performance and Opera from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.  Returning to her hometown after graduate school, Lori operated a thriving private voice studio, performed regularly with the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble and many other local community music groups, and served on the staff of the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale as conductor of various ensembles and vocal coach for the entire organization for nearly 20 years.  Under her direction, the Pikes Peak Singers became known not only for their musical excellence, but also for their warm, clear vocal tone and visual expression of the text, along with a deep, sincere connection with audiences. Lori served two terms as the Children’s Choir Repertoire & Standards Chair for the Colorado chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). From 2017 to 2020, Lori worked with the Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley in Los Altos, California as Associate Conductor and Musicianship Curriculum Director.  In addition to conducting two of Cantabile’s choirs and coordinating the musicianship curriculum for all choirs, Lori hosted two community-wide festivals, engaging internationally renowned clinicians from Brazil and Canada.  Under her guidance, Lori’s ensembles travelled to New York City and Hawaii for choral festivals, and many of her singers were accepted into honor choirs at state, regional and national ACDA conferences.  At home in Briargate, Lori and her partner, Carol, love spending time with their two fur-babies, Sophie and Riley, and are proud of their three beautiful grown children, Jordan, Andrea and Jake, who are all in health and first responder careers.

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Jessica McClung

pikes peak singers & choral academy director

Jessica McClung has been a musician from a young age and enjoyed growing up in a very musical family. She continued her love of music throughout her school years, participating in choir, band, and musical theatre. In high school she decided that her future was in music education and worked very hard to learn all she could, eventually becoming a student director of one of the band ensembles. Jessica then went to CU Boulder to pursue her degree in Music Education with an emphasis in instrumental music. After getting married and having three children, she then finished her degree in Educational Studies at Grand Canyon University. Jessica spent ten years in the public school system as an elementary school music teacher where she built up her program to not only educate the students K-5, but also enabled the students to put on amazing performances, concerts, and musicals. This year, Jessica made a major change in her life by leaving her teaching career and stepping full-time into working the business that she owns with her husband. Jessica has had many singing roles in various musicals, taught private lessons in both voice and clarinet, received the Teacher of Excellence Award in 2018, and has sung with the community choir Soli Deo Gloria. She also enjoys hiking, traveling the country, and training in TaeKwonDo with her family who are all black belts. Jessica has a long history with the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale with two kids who are singers and a husband who is an alumni. Her true passion is teaching and directing, and she is excited to have the opportunity to teach the members of CSCC as she watches them progress on their musical journey.

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Danielle Gillespie

springs singers director

Danielle has an extensive background in vocal music. An Alum of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, she was also heavily involved in musical theatre and choral music all through schooling. She went on to study classical voice performance at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in classical voice performance, with advanced coursework in vocal pedagogy and choral conducting. Some of her notable collaborations in the Colorado region have included: Equinox Theatre, Inspire Creative, Opera Fort Collins, Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, Evans Choir, Colorado Ballet Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, collaborations with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic through the Bravo Vail! Music Festival, and even singing backup for Josh Groban at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. She has studied with Cynthia Vaughn, Todd Queen, Gayle Grace, Katrina Twitty, and Catherine Sailer. Danielle's approach to teaching is to invoke joy and passion for music, whole body engagement to develop good habits, and an understanding of contextual music theory.

Accompanists

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David Acton

staff accompanist

David is the accompanist for the Springs Singers and Summit Ensemble of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, and is thrilled to be a member of such an incredible team of musicians and educators. He also serves as the Director of Music Ministry at First Congregational Church in downtown Colorado Springs, where he is the organist and conducts the chancel choir and handbell ensemble. Additionally, he is an active freelance French hornist and composer. David received his Master of Music degree in French horn performance, with organ and choral conducting emphases, from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There, he was one of the French horn graduate teaching assistants and the organ scholar at the First Congregational Church of Kalamazoo. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in French horn performance from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. David loves cats, drinking coffee, reading, running, hiking, almost anything to do with Austria, and watching Netflix!

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Liz Kochis

staff accompanist

Liz is happy to be a part of the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale as the accompanist for Pikes Peak Singers, Springs Singers, and Choral Academy. She earned her BA, Majoring in Music Therapy, from CSU-Fort Collins, and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and part time staff while earning her MM in Music Therapy, also from CSU. She has accompanied many fine organizations over the years, including CSU-Fort Collins; UNC; Colorado College; The Chamber Singers of the Colorado Springs Chorale; Ye Olde Wayside Inn Dinner Theatre; Carousel Dinner Theatre; JAKES Cabaret; Attitudes Repertory Theatre; Chameleon Arts and Entertainment; numerous high schools and private voice studios statewide; and several churches locally. Liz wears several other hats as well, including Board Certified-Neurologic Music Therapist, working primarily with people in end of life care; dementia care; cognitive rehabilitation; and mental health care. She also enjoys teaching piano and, after time away, is building her studio again, which serves people of all ages; traditional and non-traditional learners; and those with special needs. When not involved in things musical, she enjoys growing food, cooking, spending time with her menagerie, traveling, hiking, and reading. And she does enjoy good conversation with good friends over a good cup of tea!

Drama & Choreography

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Jen Lennon

drama & choreography consultant

Jen returned to Colorado Springs after spending 14 years living in Chicago & Toronto. She earned a Bachelor degree in Performance Studies and a Master in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University. Jen has designed and implemented drama curriculum for students in public and private schools, has directed numerous youth theatre productions, and has a teaching background in storytelling, music and forensics. Jen has continued her own performing since graduating from the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale in 1985. She has performed in a variety of musicals, revues, concerts, and church events, receiving recognition in the Toronto area for her work. Jen combined her love of sports and music by performing the national anthem for Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the Canadian Football League. Jen enjoys performing on the main stage at the Fine Arts Center as well as in the Children's Theatre Series on the FAC's Second Stage. Recent productions include Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, White Christmas and 9 to 5. Jen also serves on the Board of Opera Theatre of the Rockies and works for the Educational Outreach Department of Theatreworks. Daily Jen can be seen in her ongoing role as wife, mother of three, & host of KKTV 11 Connects. 

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Betsy McClenahan

drama & choreography consultant

Betsy is the Director of Kaleidoscope Arts Project, a program of Imagination Celebration, which offers classes in dance, theater, and music to both recreational and professional students. She is also the Artistic Director of Kaleidoscope Dance Project, a semi-professional company showcasing the Pikes Peak region’s premiere dancers, and owner of Chameleon Arts and Entertainment, which produces professional shows throughout the year and mentors young professionals in career success. With more than forty-five years of experience teaching dance and musical theater, Ms. McClenahan also shares her time with CIVA Charter High School where she is the Artist in Residence. In 2010, she helped to create the What If Festival of Innovation and Imagination, which attracts more than 30,000 visitors each September to downtown Colorado Springs, and she serves on the boards of CYT and the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale. In her more than 50 year stage career, she has performed regionally and nationally and, to date, her favorite roles have included Cassie in A Chorus Line, Mother Superior in Nunsense, Witch in Into the Woods, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, and her 15 seasons at Bob Young’s Cabaret. Enjoy the  show!

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Melissa O'Rear

drama consultant & choreographer

Melissa O’Rear loves developing drama work with Chorale singers, because she was once one herself. With a masters degree in Educational Theatre from New York University, she has 18 years of experience in theatre education. After several years in NYC and Chicago, she came back to her hometown.  She was the Creative Dramatics teacher for The Colorado Springs School and has worked locally with the Millibo Art Theatre, Stars & Moon Music Theatre, Theatreworks summer camps, the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company, Counterweight Theatre Lab, and the Colorado Springs Conservatory. Currently she teaches drama in District 11, and is an adjunct faculty member at UCCS. She is the founder and Artistic Director for Theatre Across Borders, LLC. Her and her husband, Stephen, recently became parents to a little boy, Theo, and she is loving her new role as a mom.

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Tracy Taylor

choreographer

Tracy Taylor earned a Bachelors of Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado specializing in clarinet. She has taught K-5 general music at Rudy Elementary School for the past 14 years including conducting an intermediate choir and swing dance club. She is a theatre mentor at the Colorado Springs Conservatory and works for the Fine Arts Center Theatre school. She has also graced the stages of many theatres around the state as a professional dancer, singer and actor. Locally, she has performed for Theatreworks and at the Fine Arts Center in many of their upstairs kids shows and mainstage musicals.

Administrative Staff

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Donna Gillespie

program assistant & overture assistant

Donna has been a parent member of the Children’s Chorale for many years. Her three children sang with the Children's Chorale and through their years she has had many opportunities as a volunteer. She has served on the Parent Council as a Parent Representative as well as Co-Chair. Donna has been to every Chorale summer camp except two and regretted missing those. She has particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to travel with the Chorale. Donna’s background is in children. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a Master’s of Science in Speech Therapy and Elementary Education.  She taught reading and speech skills to children with special needs up until the time her children were born. Since then Donna has tutored, taught afterschool classes, and volunteered at church, school, and in the community. She’s thrilled to be helping in the office and getting to know your children. 

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Carie Hagen

administrative assistant & bookkeeper

Carie is a native of Colorado. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Before joining the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale staff, Carie worked seventeen years for the same corporation writing contracts and performing accounting and back office administration work. Her daughter sings with the Summit Ensemble of the Children's Chorale and Carie serves on the Parent Council as the Social Committee Chairperson and has been a parent member since 2014. Carie is also on the Youth Board at Ascension Lutheran Church and volunteers in her daughters’ schools and the community. In her spare time she loves travelling and spending time with her husband and two daughters.