Conductor for Lyric and Treble Choirs
Melissa Barnes has served many different roles with the JCC Artistic Staff over the past decade. In 2006 she began her career with the JCC as the inaugural Training Choir Conductor and has also served as Vocal Exploration Instructor and Lyric Choir Conductor. Melissa was also Mr. Dailey’s Assistant Conductor for our upper choirs, and Treble Choir Conductor. Melissa received her Vocal Performance degree with additional studies in music education from University of Mobile. She also studied at University of Southern Mississippi where she was a proud member of the Marching Pride.
Melissa brings over 25 years’ experience in both performing and teaching music to students of all ages from preschool to adults in both private studio and school settings. Melissa still enjoys performing but has found her passion in guiding children to discover and develop their talents and creativity. It is her desire to assist in developing a high-quality choral music program while teaching not only musical and cognitive skills, but social development, self-discipline, teamwork, and community involvement. Her desire is to teach her singers by example to strive for excellence in everything they do.
KATHERINE (KT) BOLING
KT joined the JCC team in 2016 as a member of the Administrative Staff but extended her scope into the Artistic Staff in 2017. She began dancing at the age of 3 and has held a passion for the performing arts ever since. KT’s ties to the Chorus go back as far as 1996 when she joined the JCC as a young singer under the direction of Jim Taylor, the Chorus’ first conductor. In her two years as a member of the JCC, she enjoyed opportunities to perform at various venues around the state and country, and even in Carnegie Hall. During her college years, she expanded upon her dance background, becoming heavily involved in the Ballroom and Latin Dance community of Florida, where she became a professional Latin dancer, ballroom dance instructor, and even an aerialist.
Training and Primary Choir Conductor and Preschool Music Instructor
Susanne Dailey is a musician with many years of experience in both teaching and performing music. She has served in public and private schools in New Jersey, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Florida. In addition to teaching general music and chorus at the elementary level, Susanne has worked as Organist/Pianist at many churches throughout her career. Mrs. Dailey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. and her Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. She has trained in the Kodály and Orff-Schulwerk methodologies and is committed to providing young singers with the foundations of music reading and music making. She is also a certified Kindermusik Instructor. Mrs. Dailey has been the Music Director at St. Mark’s Episcopal Day School since 2006 and teaches Pre-K through 6th-grade music classes.
Susanne is well respected as an educator and has been acclaimed for her special rapport with singers as well as her fine musicianship. She believes that music is critical in nurturing a child's cognitive, emotional, social and physical development. She is dedicated to ensuring that each child experiences the joy, and excitement learning music brings! Susanne's husband, Darren Dailey, is the Artistic and Executive Director of the Jacksonville Children's Chorus. They have two wonderful daughters, Mary and Megan.
Collaborative Pianist for Concert and Touring Choirs
Sachiko Frampton started her career as a professional collaborative pianist soon after she started to study at the high school division of Musashino Academia Musicae, a conservatory in Tokyo, Japan. Through high school and college, she studied piano under Yoko Minagawa and Takashi Kawasaki, and collaborative piano under Penka Badev. Until she moved to the United States with her family, she performed numerous recitals as a collaborative pianist and traveled throughout Japan as a pianist with the percussion ensemble Group Woods.
Before she moved to Jacksonville in 2012, she worked in Arizona as a collaborative pianist for Grand Canyon University, high schools in the greater Phoenix area, and for the State Convention of Choral Directors of Arizona.
Here in Jacksonville, she is a staff pianist at University of North Florida School of Music and has worked with Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and Paxon School for Advanced Studies.
Fresh from Colorado, Adam Hooper is a modern-minded musician with a penchant for guiding motivated students through the journey of music. He finds purpose in the melody of life accompanying at the keyboard, composing creative content, and conducting like-minded musicians!
He has had a significant impact as an educator, improviser, and producer in the Colorado Springs community, teaching/accompanying choir with the Widefield School District and the Colorado Springs School. He is also known for assembling MoMa.x, a musical arts collective, for unique live collaborative performances held at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Mr. Hooper holds a Bachelors degree in Music Composition and Sound Design from UCCS, as well as an Associates degree from Pikes Peak Community College in Multimedia Graphic Design.
Some of his favorite credits include a premiere of Philip Blackburn's electro-acoustic composition for piano and smart-phone, Lilacs and Lightning (2012), Amache: Silent Imprints (2013) a collaborative sonic documentary with poet Mary Jane Sullivan, LatherRinseRepeat (2014) film score for Whatsabudget Films, as well as Concerto for Computer (2014), an original composition for orchestra and computer musician. His most significant work, Empty Classrooms (2014), premiered for over 600 Colorado Springs community leaders at the annual CPCD Headstart Fundraiser Breakfast.
Adam is happy to have found a musical home with the Jacksonville Children's Chorus, to share in the legacy of inspiring excellence in young singers. When the lights go out and the curtains close, Adam can be found at home drinking tea with his wife and rolling around on the floor with his kiddos.
Assistant Conductor for Training, Lyric and Treble Choirs/Accompanist and Group Piano Keyboard Instructor
Jennifer joined the JCC’s staff in 2017; she is a pianist, vocalist, percussionist, and choral director from Orlando, Florida. She holds a BME from the University of North Florida, where she studied piano with Dr. Erin Bennett-Hibbard, voice with Dr. Karen Coker-Merritt, and percussion with Charlotte Mabrey and Kevin Garry, all while performing in the UNF Chorale under the direction of Dr. Cara Tasher. She also holds an MM in Choral Conducting from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where she studied under the direction of Dr. Mark Munson, Dr. Sandra Stegman, and Dr. Timothy Cloeter. During her studies at BGSU, Jennifer collaborated and premiered many new works from student composers as a conductor, vocalist, and percussionist, while working as an accompanist for other vocalists and maintaining her responsibilities as the Graduate Assistant for the Women's Chorus, A Cappella Choir, Collegiate Chorale, and University Choral Society.
Jennifer is currently teaching music at St. Mark's Episcopal Day School, working with children from age 1-6th grade. With a passion for community arts, new music, and music education, Jennifer's wide array of skills and interests fuel her excitement for teaching and performing, and she always encourages her students to explore outside of their comfort zones to achieve new and exciting artistic skills.
Ashley Novak started gymnastics as a child and began dancing in 1997. While living in Tampa, she co-managed a dance studio with former U.S. dance champions. In 2009, she won the Tampa Bay Dancing with the Stars. She has also competed in many Pro-Am competitions where her students placed at the top of their dance level and received the Top Female Teacher for the Florida Classic Competition in 2010.
She moved to Jacksonville in 2010 and joined A Social Affair Dance Studio. Among her many performances, she has done shows at the FBI, a benefit for the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, and for the Alhambra Dinner Theatre. She even has a background in choral singing! She competes professionally in American Rhythm with Orange Park professional dancer Muhidin Divovic. She and her husband Frank, daughter Briana, stepdaughter Chloe, and their two dogs reside in northern St. Johns County. Ms. Novak is proud to serve as the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus choreographer since 2011.
Preschool Music Instructor
Cat joined the JCC in 2015 as a member of the administrative team. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Baldwin Wallace University where she performed in operas and plays. Upon graduation, Cat moved to NYC, where she auditioned for musical theatre. Additionally, she studied TV and film acting before switching to the business side of the industry to work for talent agents and managers. After 8 years of living in NYC, Cat moved to Jacksonville with her husband.
In high school, Cat sang with an award-winning Concert Choir and Show Choir. This allowed her to travel and perform internationally. She also performed in various musicals and plays. In her spare time, Cat sings with the Orange Park Chorale, sits on the board and enjoys ballroom dancing.
Assistant Young Men’s Chorus Conductor
During his time as an undergraduate student at Westminster Choir College, Gui Proença performed numerous symphonic works with some of the best orchestras from around the world. He counts among his most fulfilling musical experiences his performances of Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Vienna Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall and Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthäus Passion with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center. He also made his Lincoln Center debut performing James Whitbourn’s Grammy-nominated choral work Annelies as a member of the Grammy-nominated Westminster Williamson Voices. Gui also sang on two recordings with the Williamson Voices under the NAXOS and GIA labels ("Carolae Music for Christmas" and "Hole in the Sky", respectively.)
Gui has recently moved to Jacksonville from South Florida, where he was the Choral Director at Westminster Academy, a section leader at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and the Chorus Administrator for the Master Chorale of South Florida. Gui is very excited to work with our Young Men's Chorus and with Dr. Toomer.
Kristen is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Music, where she studied classical voice under the direction of Dr. Wanda Brister and Dr. Carole Clifford (Jacksonville, FL). She has also had the privilege of studying opera and art song at the prestigious Brevard Music Institute in North Carolina under the direction of Dean Anthony and Keith Lockhart. Over the past few years, Kristen has studied and performed internationally, including venues in Oldenburg, Germany and London, England. During her collegiate career, she was able to perform in a variety of capacities, including operas, oratorios, choral performances, solo recitals, and showcases.
Since returning to Jacksonville, Kristen has begun teaching voice for the JCC and singing with the professional ensemble, Voices of Jacksonville. Kristen is a native of Jacksonville, and began her musical journey early on with the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, performing both locally and nationally at prominent venues, including Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center) in NYC. As an alumna of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and the JCC, Kristen is thrilled to be back in Jacksonville reconnecting with the musical and artistic community.
MILLICENT "Penny" SYLVESTER
Conductor for Lyric and Treble Choirs
Millicent is honored to be a part of the JCC artistic team. A native of Chicago, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Illinois and a Masters of Music Education (choral) from Florida State University. Growing up, she was a member of the Chicago Children’s Choir and as an adult, returned as a guest soloist and in-school conductor for that organization. As a music educator, she has taught elementary, middle, and high school chorus and general music. Millicent brings a unique combination of education and performance experience. Her performance background includes solo and ensemble work with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Symphony singers, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Alhambra Theater, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and Florida Opera Theater. She has been an adjudicator for Florida Elementary All-State Chorus and is Orff certified.
DR. CHARLIE J. TOOMER, JR.
Associate Conductor for the Young Men's Chorus
Dr. Charlie J. Toomer, Jr.'s experience as a choral director for over 15 years has enabled him to effectively build and manage successful choral programs. He has a proven history of implementing strategic recruiting practices that have led to the growth of choral programs under his tutelage. His positive professional presence in rural, suburban and urban communities is evidenced in the array of top vocalists that he’s been able to recruit to his choirs nationwide. His teaching career in choral music education led him to Palmetto, FL where he served as Choir Director for the Manatee School for the Arts. Under his direction, he was able to triple the number of students in the choral program the very next year.
Dr. Toomer has served as Director of Choral Activities at Florida A&M University where he taught Applied Voice, Conducting, Choral Techniques, and also directed the FAMU Concert Choir and the FAMU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He was instrumental in building partnerships between the university and neighboring public school systems by hosting workshops, adjudicating district and state festivals and holding master classes. He worked with public and private school choral directors to enhance the appreciation of choral music.
Under his direction, the FAMU Concert Choir performed at the Florida Music Educators National Conference now known as the National Association for Music Education in Tampa, FL, in Anchorage Alaska for BP and Exxon Mobile and at the invitation of Rita Marley, the choir performed at the 65th Birthday Celebration of Bob Marley in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One of Dr. Toomer’s biggest achievements was his selection to serve as the Director for the All-State High School Men’s Choir in Florida
Dr. Toomer holds a Ph.D. in Choral Conducting /Music Education and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting performance degree from Florida State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida A&M University. He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa, Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. He also serves as Director of Music at Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL.