Our performers come to The Holiday Singers with professional experience from all over. Averaging a decade of skills entertaining crowds, each singer adds his or her unique personality to the party.
Emily Careen Caton
Emily Careen Caton, alto, has always rounded out academics with choirs in her hometown of Buffalo, NY. After relocating to Charlotte, Emily reinforced that love of music in her family by first joining the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte, and more recently VOX and The Holiday Singers. Emily is also alto section leader at Sharon Presbyterian Church, Charlotte.
When not singing, she’s watching her beloved Buffalo Sabres with her husband and teaching her son to play hockey.
Beginning as a soprano in both high school and church choirs, Francis Crochet is now the tenor section leader at Christ Church (Episcopal). He has been a tenor soloist with the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlottesville, VA Symphony Orchestra, Oratorio Singers of Charlotte Chamber Singers, Festival Singers, Nova Voce, VOX and the Charlotte Men’s Chorus. In 1990 his recording of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Oratorio Chamber Singers at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival was premiered on National Public Radio.
Francis, proud of his Louisiana roots, makes a mean gumbo.
William Dailey (Bill), bass, has had a long and varied music career. He served for six years in the US Army Chorus at Ft. Myer, VA. He has taught in Texas, New York City, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where in 1971 he received the NCNB Teacher of Excellence Award. From 1969-1972 he played viola in the Charlotte Symphony. For twelve years he was musical director of Carolina Voices which presents “The Singing Christmas Tree”. As a composer and arranger, Bill has over thirty choir anthems published. He has also had considerable experience in the field of jazz, as conductor, singer, pianist, bassist, trombonist, and drummer. Bill received his PhD in Music from Catholic University (Washington, DC) and currently shares his dynamic teaching style at Central Piedmont Community College.
If you are fortunate to hear Bill with The Holiday Singers, you can expect a holiday joke or two to be mixed in.
Eleanor Dailey, soprano, received her Master of Music from Texas Christian University. She has sung leading operatic roles in Kansas and Virginia, and has been a featured concert soloist in Texas and North Carolina. Also a college-trained pianist and organist, she has accompanied her husband, Bill, in various choruses and church positions, and has taught both piano and voice throughout her career. In addition to her already busy schedule, Eleanor plays area hospice performances with a local professional cellist.
Alto Jenee Davis began her music career early in life. Hooked at the age of five after her participation in the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus culminated in a performance at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, Jenee has participated in various ensembles not just as a vocalist, but as an instrumentalist on the clarinet, cello, tuba, and baritone horn. A graduate of Clemson University, where she served as president of the Kappa Beta chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc., Jenee spends her days managing marketing communications at the Fort Mill headquarters of Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. Since relocating to Charlotte, NC, in 2010, she has contributed to the Charlotte choral scene as an emerging songwriter, the alto section leader for Sharon Presbyterian Church, and an active member of the Carolina Voices organization.
Holiday Singers Manager and soprano Jeanine Dovell has been singing professionally since her teen years, when she was featured soloist with Yale-based early music group Capella Cordina. After a move to Ann Arbor, she became a member of The Jongleurs, a nationally touring early music ensemble. With sojourns from rock bands to soloist/section leader at several churches and a synagogue, to orchestral chorales and chamber groups, she is presently soprano section leader at Sharon Presbyterian Church (Charlotte) and a member of Charlotte-based vocal eclectica VOX.
When not singing, she enjoys indulging her inner computer nerd and challenging die-hard skeptics with her tried-and-true holiday fruitcake recipe.
Stephen Dovell-Sullivan, bass, was active in his schools’ chamber choirs and musical theater productions. His church’s rigorous choir programs included summer participation in The Royal School of Church Music camps. Now working in the service sector, his main musical focus is The Holiday Singers.
When he isn’t working, Stephen enjoys league pool and golfing.
Jasper Hall, baritone, is a choir/praise team director and vocal ensemble leader when he is not busy as a Microsoft Escalation Support Manager. A graduate of Winthrop College (now University), where he honed his singing and acting skills, Jasper can be found lending his robust voice to a broad variety of genres, including musical theater, gospel, jazz, barbershop, contemporary Christian, and opera. He has sung the National Anthem at professional sporting events and also enjoys singing for weddings, funerals, baptisms, and other life events. A long-time church choir soloist and worship leader, Jasper has recently released his new CD, Standing In His Grace. Jasper and his wife, Sandy, have three children. For more about Jasper, go to www.jasperhall.com.
Mezzo-soprano Theresa Hopkins’ Bachelor of Music Education degree covers voice, piano and organ. Theresa’s vocal experience in Charlotte has been widespread, from Oratorio Singers to Lauda Musicam. Alto section leader with Christ Church (Charlotte) choir, she has been a member since 1976. Theresa has been singing with The Holiday Singers for over 10 years.
Tenor Kevin Jones’ music career spans over two decades. He has shared the stage with such great artists as B.B. King, The Commodores, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Ronnie Laws, Patti Austin, Al Green, and many others. Kevin has also worked with some of the best musicians Charlotte has to offer, including Daryl Rice, Ron Brendle, Bill Hanna, Gary Marcus, Rick Dior, and many more.
One of Kevin’s favorite holiday activities is his participation with The Holiday Singers.
With her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, (Elizabeth) Anne Kimball, alto, moved to Alaska where she taught piano and performed locally as an accompanist, piano soloist, and singer. Back in Charlotte, she is the accompanist for the Union (County) Chorale, Central United Methodist Church (Monroe, NC) Children’s Choir, Allegro Children’s string group, and music director/organist for the Plantation Estates Vespers choir. She is an active piano performer in local dinner theater and classical music settings.
John Mallard, tenor, is a bit of a vocal late bloomer. Until he began singing with his church choir five years ago, his only choral experience had been in youth choirs at his hometown Baptist church. Retired from a career at Duke Energy, John is now a member of the Charlotte choral ensemble VOX, Sharon Presbyterian’s Small Ensemble, and plays handbells with the church’s Spirit Ringers. This is his second year with The Holiday Singers.
John’s favorite Christmas moments are quiet ones, The Gift by Tingstad & Rumbel in the background and two fingers of 20-year-old scotch in his hand.
Baritone David Mayo’s Masters from Duke Divinity School led to a career as full-time Minister of Music in Florida and North Carolina. At St. Stephen United Methodist Church (Charlotte), he successfully raised the chancel choir’s visibility with tours, CDs, and workshops under several distinctive conductors. He has led various projects as a member of the American Choral Director’s Association. He is currently Director of Library Services at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte.
David has had the privilege of singing major works under Robert Shaw, including Mahler’s 8th Symphony, of which he says, “It was as if the doors of heaven and earth opened up.”
Linda Mayo, alto, has sung in church choirs in the area as both section leader and soloist, including a year-long engagement singing show tunes at an area restaurant. Linda attributes most of her music education to nine years at Worship and Music conferences in beautiful Montreat, NC. She is a member of Choristers Guild, Ethos Chamber Ensemble, and has sung with the Charlotte Choral Society and Nova Voce. Linda has both directed children’s choirs in churches and sung with The Holiday Singers for over ten years.
Audrey McConnell, soprano, is the Director of Music/Organist at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church (Charlotte). Also a private piano and voice teacher, she earned her Master of Music from West Chester University. Audrey has been a member of Philadelphia Singers, Wilmington (DE) Oratorio Society, Opera Carolina, Oratorio Singers of Charlotte Chamber Singers, Festival Singers, and Ethos Consortium. As a professional accompanist, she has played in New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, SC, and of course Charlotte.
Clare Perpetua Morris, soprano, has been performing in the Boston, Northern Virginia, and Charlotte areas for over 20 years. Solo performances include Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers,” Schuman’s “Prelude for Voices,” Rutter’s “Requiem,” Shubert’s “Mass in G,” and Mozart’s “Coronation Mass.” She is currently a cantor, choir member, and soloist with St. Vincent Church (Charlotte) and has sung with the Charlotte group VOX for over four years.
Grace Morris, alto, has been the Lower School music teacher at Providence Day School (Charlotte) for many years. She earned music degrees from Appalachian State University, Northern Arizona University, and her Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. But through it all she has been exercising her love of singing in church, community, and university groups. She is currently a member of the Christ Church (Charlotte) choir.
Soprano Rebecka Nelli has three passions in life: music, marketing, and family. She studied music at University of Kentucky. Her favorite genre is tight vocal jazz, but she enjoys performing everything from classical to rock. She currently sings with an eclectic Charlotte-based ensemble, VOX , at local churches, and of course The Holiday Singers.
Rebecka’s favorite holiday tune is Straight No Chaser’s 12 Days of Christmas, and Santa seems to enjoy her homemade cookies each year.
Heather Carol Owens, soprano, began her vocal training at CPCC in numerous opera productions and continued at Winthrop University with John Fowler and Jerry Helton, where she sang the role of Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote. Besides her operatic interests and various solo engagements, Heather is section leader at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, and sings with the Union Chorale and Jubilation Community Gospel Choir. Heather was a special guest soloist for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 Show Open Tease Shoot.
NJ native and Citadel (SC) graduate William (Bill) Peterson, bass, sang with the Charleston Opera Company and the Charleston Renaissance Ensemble. He has been bass section leader with Myers Park Presbyterian Church (Charlotte) since 1982. He is a charter member of Charlotte’s Singers of Renaissance and has sung with the Oratorio Singers, Charlotte Choral Society, Charlotte Cantata Singers/Ethos. Bill has soloed with American choral groups in Austria, Czechoslovakia and England. Bill’s history of Christmas-season singing also includes the Candlelight Singers, the Lamplighter Restaurant’s resident caroling group for many years.
Bill is retired, married, and enjoys playing classical guitar and bridge. If you see him in Holiday Singers, make sure he brings out his red Rudolph nose.
Tracy Schwartz, soprano, has sung in Brigham Young University Singers in Utah, and VOX and Oratorio Singers of Charlotte locally. She discovered a love for opera in college at BYU, where she received a Bachelor of Music. Tracy has taught piano, voice, flute, has led numerous church choirs, and now teaches Kindermusik in the Charlotte area. An a cappella and jazz group singing enthusiast as well, she enjoys singing whenever she can, whether it’s in church, the car, on the stage, or in the rocking chair with her girls.
Christmas caroling has been a family tradition for many years. “We typically go sing in a neighborhood where we don’t know anyone. It doesn’t feel quite like Christmas until we’ve brought cheer to others’ homes.
Jane Shoemaker, alto, has always sung for fun and written for profit. From college at Penn State to a Gilbert & Sullivan company in Philadelphia to the Naples (FL) Philharmonic Chorale to The Oratorio Singers of Charlotte to Carolina Voices to various Episcopal churches to the creative Charlotte group VOX, Jane has found a place for her low alto voice. As a journalist, she spent time as a roving national correspondent, and then headed a London bureau.
Happily retired, Jane and her shaggy dog (a baritone barker) divide their time between Mooresville and a log house in Ashe County, NC, where she revels in the smell of fresh-baked gingerbread at Christmastime.
Damon Stinson, tenor, is a former member of the Newark and Brooklyn Boys Chorus, which has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has won many regional and national competitions, including the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition and the American Opera Award. Damon is a recipient of the North Carolina Arts & Science Council Performing Artist Grant and the Duke Power Grant (Brevard Music Center). He has performed under such well-known conductors as Robert Shaw, Pierre Boulez, Lukas Foss, Peter Schickele, Leonard Bernstein, and James Levine.
Alto Amber Ward has been singing in groups since she was 3 years old. Besides The Holiday Singers, she currently sings in church choirs and the semi-professional group VOX. An Occupational Therapist, she lives with her husband, two dogs, and a talking and dancing bird.
Amber has fond memories of singing Christmas carols in the car with her family on the way to holiday events in her native Wisconsin. She misses the snow, but loves singing about it, especially during the Christmas season in her Dickens attire. Let it snow!