Ray Rotuna - Artistic Director & Conductor
Through high school, Ray studied voice in western PA with Grace Mansel and classic pipe organ with John Sayre. Through college, he studied voice with tenor Albert Wood, student taught at Dormont Elementary School, and participated in teaching the Baldwin Senior High School Concert Choir and Girls’ Choir programs, in Pittsburgh, PA. Approached by CBS, Inc., Ray accepted the position of Senior District Manager for Steinway & Sons, New York. In his career at Steinway, Ray assisted music institutions and performing artists in US and Canadian universities and performance venues. He provided professional on-site council annually for The Tanglewood Festival, The Chautauqua Institute Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. His career travels included Europe and Asia. He participated in the National Association of Music Merchants Business Institute, Washington, DC, and was named recipient of the “Executive in Residence Award”, The State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Institute for Music Business, and was published in the National Piano Foundation Call Report, Dallas, Texas. Ray serves as Vice President of the Beaver Valley Choral Society, Executive Director of the Vision 2020 Campaign, Chair of the Scholarship Programs, and Executive Director of the Student Summer Academy. He attended Duquesne University for a BS degree in music education with a major in voice, minor in piano, concentration on choral studies. Ray was honored in 2018 as an inductee to the Beaver Valley Musicians Hall of Fame.
Sharon R. Burchill - Associate Director
Beaver County native Mrs. Sharon Burchill is an active conductor, teacher, and singer, and is a third-generation choral conductor. She is the Associate Conductor of the BVCS, working closely with her father, Artistic Director Ray Rotuna. Current appointments also include Middle and High School Choir Director, Aquinas Academy; Conductor, Novus Children’s Choir; and Conductor, Pueri Cantorum (Children’s Choir) and Gradus Cantorum (Young Adult Choir) at her church, St. John XXIII Parish, where she also sings in the Adult Schola Cantorum. Past appointments include Artistic Director and Conductor of Coro Latinoamericano de Pittsburgh, Associate Conductor and Soprano Section Leader of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Conductor of the Westminster College Women’s Choir, and Conductor of the Duquesne University Frauenchor. Choirs under her direction have performed in Ecuador, Canada, France, and Italy, where she conducted during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Sharon has served on the music faculty at Duquesne University and Westminster College,and has also held teaching positions at Point Park University, the Jewish Community Center, Deer Lakes School District and North Catholic High School. She has been a sacred music cantor locally at the Roman Catholic Churches of St. Bernard, Saints Simon and Jude, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sharon has also sung with the Junior Mendelssohn Choir and Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Bach and Baroque Society. She has toured Europe and recorded extensively as a choral singer, and has performed with Sarah Brightman, Dave Brubeck, Joe Negri, and Tom Roberts. Sharon holds a B.S. in Music Education and an M. M. Ed., both from Duquesne University. She studied conducting with Dr. Brady Allred and Ann Howard Jones, and voice with Claudia Pinza, Maureen Budway, and Carol Ann Allred. In addition to conducting and singing, she maintains a private voice and piano studio, specializing in vocal college audition preparation. Sharon was inducted in to the Beaver County Musicians Hall of Fame in 2018 and was also the 2004 recipient of the Outstanding Young Conductor Award by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. She resides in Beaver County with her husband and four children.
Lee Pfeifer - Chancel Choir Director
While in High School, Lee was active in the choral arts programs participating in the Beaver Falls Area High School Concert Choir and in the auditioned group, The Madrigal Singers. He studied voice and music theory under Jay Mann and was selected to participate in the Honors Chorus and District Chorus. Lee began college in music education with a major in voice. While at West Chester University, he studied voice and choral technique under Roy Sweet. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and gained experience in every phase of management. Having held a variety of positions in management, sales, and marketing, he traveled extensively throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. In 2016, Lee retired from his positions of General Manager of the Carbon Division for Kureha America and President of Kureha Advanced Materials. Lee has remained active in music by singing in various choirs and providing leadership for some of those music organizations. He has been a member of the Beaver Valley Choral Society since 1982 serving as Bass Section Leader and BVCS President. Lee is the Music Director of the Syria Shriners Chanters, Cheswick, PA. Under his direction, the Chanters have accomplished numerous first place awards in regional and International adjudicated competition. Lee is also choir director for the Valley of New Castle Consistory Choir and was Associate Choir Director of Christ’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Beaver Falls, PA. Lee is privileged to have benefited from many years of studying the conducting technique of BVCS Director Emeritus Phil Inman.
Karen High - Pianist
Karen High and her husband Keith have enjoyed singing together with BVCS since 2014. Growing up in Middleburgh, NY, she accompanied school choirs and musicals, played the flute, and sang with her sisters at church. Karen continued accompanying through four years at Gordon College and as a chemistry teacher in the Poconos and in Prince George’s County, MD. She filled in last spring as pianist for the Rochester Area School District performance of “Cinderella” and is excited to be joining them again this school year. Karen also accompanies the Hopewell High School choir and is the organist at Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church in Aliquippa. She is a member and substitute pianist at St. Andrew’s Anglican in Beaver Falls and sings with the choir at All Saints Anglican in Cranberry. Karen completed her Masters in Education at Duquesne University, her MA in Counseling at Geneva College and, most recently, a B.S. in Information Technology on-line through Western Governors University.
Shirley M. Hallman - Organist
Shirley returns to service with the Choral Society after having been the primary pianist from 1979 to 1986 under the directorship of Phil Inman. Shirley is a graduate of Geneva College and the University of Pittsburgh where she earned degrees in mathematics. She was a teacher of mathematics in the Riverside schools. Shirley began her organ work at the age of twelve as the organist for the North Sewickley Presbyterian Church. Currently she the organist at New Brighton United Methodist Church where she has served since 1979. She studied organ under Phil Inman of Geneva College and has taken classes in organ at Duquesne University and Olmsted Manor. She also was a regular participant in the Lenten Organ Recital Series at various churches in Ellwood City.
Cherl L. Himes - Mary Inman Honors Bell Choir Director
Cherl is currently the Music Director for Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rochester, directing the Chancel, Youth, and Handbell Choirs. She also participates in the Beaver Valley Choral Society as a member of the principal choir, Laudem Deo Chamber Singers, and solo series representative. A member of the Beaver Valley Choral Society percussion section, she regularly accompanies both the Principal Choir and Treble Youth Chorale. Cherl started singing in the church choir as a youth and started playing handbells when she was a teen under the direction of Mrs. Marjorie Shane at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rochester, Pa. A diverse musician, Cherl has sung for Christian cable TV and at Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, Ca., prepared and directed the chorus for Hosanna the Musical, has served as Music Director for Westminster Presbyterian Church, New Brighton, and has directed the handbell choir at Faith Community Church, Rochester, Pa. Additionally, for years she volunteered with the 5th grade chorus at the New Brighton Elementary school, and most recently was a handbell coach for Aquinas Academy Women’s Choir. Cherl loves to sing and direct and feels they are a gift from God. “To not use this gift for His purpose would be such a waste. He has given me so much. I have been blessed.”
Deborah R. Silverstein - Treble Youth Chorale Director
Deborah R. Silverstein earned her Bachelor of Music Education at the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston) and her Master of Music in Flute at Ithaca College. Deb performs as Principal Flute for the Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra and is Past President of the Pittsburgh Flute Club. She is Founder and Artistic Director of the Beaver County Flute Choirs and Instrumental and Vocal Teacher at Rhema Christian School. Mrs. Silverstein is proud to serve as the conductor of the Beaver Valley Choral Society’s Treble Youth Chorale.
Philip H. Inman (1932-2019) – Director Emeritus
Artistic Director and Conductor 1979-2011
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lee Pfeifer – President and CEO
Ray Rotuna – Vice President
Penny Chevront – Secretary
Lynn Doyle – Treasurer
Kathy Savot – Member
Sam Contino – Member
Rick Murphy – Member
Pat Latagliata – Member
Sharon Burchill – Advisor
Tim Waxenfelter – Advisor