David Simmons has been the artistic director and conductor of the 100-voice Congressional Chorus in Washington, DC since 2006. He became the founding artistic director of American Youth Chorus in 2008 and the founding director of the 24 member a cappella Congressional Chamber Ensemble in 2012, the same year he assumed the leadership of the NorthEast Senior Singers. An accomplished pianist and church organist, David has been playing professionally since the age of 14. David has conducted for many DC area companies including the Washington National Opera and the Washington Savoyards, at numerous venues, including The White House, US Capitol Building, State Department, Library of Congress, National Archives, The National Building Museum, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Round House Theater, the Harman Center for the Arts, the National Theatre, the Alden Theater, the Gildenhorn Theater, The Katzen Center for the Arts, Arena Stage, and the Atlas Performing Arts Center. He was a full-time elementary and middle school choral director in Maryland for 18 years before assuming his full-time position with the Congressional Chorus in 2012. In addition, he has worked in the education and outreach programs of numerous choral organizations, including The Washington Chorus and the Choral Arts Society of Washington.
Jeff Dokken, Director of Encore ROCKS and an Encore Conductor, has been with Encore since 2013. During that time he has conducted numerous chorales in the Washington DC region, and currently conducts Alexandria Chorale and ROCKS, Annapolis ROCKS, Glen Echo ROCKS, and DC Rocks. In addition to his responsibilities at Encore, Maestro Dokken is the Music Director and Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia and Music Director and Conductor of the Rome Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras and choirs across the United States, Europe, and South America. Recent highlights include conducting the world premiere of the Philip Glass Flute Concerto in Florence, Italy, guest conducting the National Symphony of Brazil, and return engagements with several orchestras in Ecuador.
Mary Ann East (DMA, Boston University; MM, George Mason University; BME, Indiana University) has taught music to ages 3-93. She is a former Fairfax County Public School music teacher where she taught elementary general music through high school choir. Mary Ann is currently the Music Director at Community of Faith UMC in Herndon, adjunct professor at George Mason University, and owner of Monarch Music, offering private piano and voice instruction in northern Virginia.
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.
Bernadette Hoke has an active career as a pianist, organist, conductor, and collaborative musician in the New York City area. She is the Music Director and Organist of the Saint Albans Church where she directs a semi-professional choir, and for the past six years, was on the music faculty of the Saint Albans School. While there, she founded and directed the Saint Albans Schola which performed in New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For nine seasons, Ms. Hoke was the assistant conductor of the Dalton Chorale, leading sectionals and accompanying the choir on the organ or piano for their spring concerts. She holds an MM in piano performance, the Associate Certificate of the American Guild of Organists (A.A.G.O.), and has participated in conducting intensives with Dennis Keene and Simon Carrington. She is the conductor of the New York City Encore Chorale and Encore ROCKS.
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.