Our Staff

ARTISTIC STAFF

Lori Tennenhouse

Executive and Artistic Director / Email Lori

Lori is the founding Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus and has served in that role since its founding in 1996. Passionate about expanding the depth of repertoire for women’s voices, she has collaborated with the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus (GRWC) to commission and perform eight original works by women composers.  Her advocacy was recognized in 2006 when she was honored with a YWCA TRIBUTE! Award in the Performing Arts category. As an arranger, Lori published Iraqi Peace Song, a traditional Iraqi lullaby written by Knut Reiersrud and premiered by the GRWC in 2007. Lori received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Aquinas College and is a member of the American Choral Directors’ Association, Michigan School Vocal Music Association and Chorus America.  She is proud of her involvement as a choral director in many festivals and collaborations leading choruses in Denver, Chicago, San Diego, Vancouver, Cincinnati, and Grand Rapids.

Mary Klassen

Junior Academy Choir Director

Mary grew up in Grand Rapids and has been teaching K-12 vocal and general music for six years. She graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2011 with a BA in Vocal Music Education. Then she taught in Phoenix, AZ for three years before returning to Grand Rapids to marry her husband and continue her career. While in Arizona, she completed her MA in Curriculum and Instruction with an Emphasis in Reading. Mary has taught general music for the Kent City Summer Migrant Program, and she started and developed the K-12 music program at Hope Academy of West Michigan. She also teaches music for Grand Rapids Public Schools and directs the children’s choir, Park Singers, at First Park Church. Mary has traveled to Finland, Estonia, Germany, France, Belgium and Ghana on choir tours and most recently she sang in Carnegie Hall with the Park Church Chancel Choir. Mary has a passion for pets. She shares her home with a dog and four rescue cats. She enjoys reading and group fitness with friends.

Sara Hondorp

Grandville Avenue Girls Choir Director / Email Sara

Sara is in her fourth year as a music teacher, and is excited to be joining the Girls’ Choral Academy in the fall of 2017 as the Grandville Avenue Choral Director. Sara grew up in Grand Rapids before attending Hope College, where she obtained a Bachelor’s in Music Education. As a choral director at Grand Rapids Christian Middle School since 2015, Sara finds joy in creating meaningful musical experiences for students. 

Brenda Baker

Vocal Coach and Private Voice Instructor / Email Brenda

Brenda Baker is a retired music teacher who spent her last ten years directing the choirs at Northern Hills Middle School in Grand Rapids. With nearly half of the student body involved in her choirs, her program was widely respected and served as a model for other schools with developing choral programs. Brenda has a degree in vocal performance from Aquinas College and did graduate work in voice at WMU. She completed her music education certification in the early 1990’s, and her masters in the Art of Teaching with a music emphasis in the mid-1990s. Her experience working with singers of all ages is far-reaching, and in addition to teaching in the public schools, she has served in music ministry in a number of churches. She currently serves as assistant director of the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus, and Lady Oak, a small auditioned ensemble within the women’s chorus. She has extensive experience as a soprano soloist in the Grand Rapids area, and currently, has a voice and piano studio in her home.

Debra Brower

Accompanist

Deb Brower is a solo artist who specializes in Ragtime Piano Music, She received her formal training in piano at the University of Michigan. A member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus since 2006, Deb has served as rehearsal accompanist for the Girls Choral Academy since 2013. She enjoys playing for the members of Fountain Street Church and retirement homes where she takes residents on a sentimental journey back in time with her own arrangements of the great melodies if the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Lonnie Ostrander

Accompanist

Lonnie holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Northern Illinois University. Over the past three decades, she has enjoyed versatility, accompanying advanced college choirs, collaborating with hundreds of college students in recitals, auditions, and competitions, while also playing for Grand Rapids Ballet and a variety of summer intensive dance programs as well. From time to time she has also played for musical theatre shows and operas.  Additionally, Lonnie has taught university courses at several institutions in class piano, applied piano, accompanying, vocal literature and world music. 

 

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Angela Devries

Development Director / Email Angela

Angela worked as the Assistant Divisional Development Director for The Salvation Army Western Michigan Northern Indiana Division and has over 8 years of fundraising experience. Angela received a degree in Business Administration from Aquinas College and a Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Angela is also Certified in Volunteer Administration. She is the proud mother of a baby boy and enjoys traveling, volunteering and cooking in her spare time.

Katelyn Lyon

Administrative and Program Assistant / Email Katelyn

Katelyn has been involved with the Girls Choral Academy since 2006, first as a singer, then as an intern.  She serves in the role of Administrative Assistant for the office, as well as chaperones and assists with the singers at their performances and activities.  In addition to singing, listening to music, and reading, Katelyn likes to hike with her dog, Piper. Katelyn looks forward to seeing the Academy grow and in being involved in new exciting performance opportunities!

Lauren McMurry

Communications Manager / Email Lauren

Lauren has been a part of the GCA since 2015. She did her Undergraduate work at Michigan State University and went on to receive a Master Degree in Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She enjoys travel and cooking in her free time.