jen abate_001cropped_jencaponeJennifer Abate Little, soprano, Department Chair

Jennifer is a native of the Perkiomen Valley area and an alumnus of Community Music School. She studied voice with founding director Edwina French before attending Westminster Choir College of Rider University as a voice performance major. While at WCC, Jennifer studied voice with Margaret Cusack and Beth Roberts, and vocal pedagogy with Scott McCoy. As a member of Westminster’s Symphonic Choir she sang under the batons of Joseph Flummerfelt, Kurt Masur, New York Philharmonic and Wolfgang Sawallisch, Philadelphia Orchestra. After graduating with a BFA in Music, Jennifer attended Drexel University for graduate studies in Arts Administration. Jennifer is an active performer around the Philadelphia area and has been a soloist with the Philadelphia Chamber Chorus in performances of Handel’s Messiah and Schubert’s Lobegsang. Jennifer is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and has been a member of the voice faculty at CMS since 2003. Jennifer enjoys working with students beginner through advanced levels and has had much success preparing students for auditions for PMEA choir festivals, school musicals and college music programs.  Jennifer’s students have gone on to study voice performance and music education at renowned programs such as Boston University, Ithaca College, Mannes College The New School for Music, Westminster Choir College, Temple University, Susquehanna University, and West Chester University.

Michael Ashby, tenor

MM in opera performance, New Jersey City University. Graduate study at Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts. BS in music, Indiana State University.



Cindy DurrellCindy Durrell, Children’s Choir Director

Cindy is a music educator with 15 years of experience teaching students of all ages; from private and group instruction to directing bands, choirs and musical theater.  While teaching middle school band in the Pittsburgh Diocese, a number of her students were selected to honors bands, including three 1st chairs.  As a flutist, Cindy can be heard in the Red Hill Band and at St. Eleanor’s Church, where she directs the Contemporary Ensemble and Youth Choir.  She has performed in a variety of ensembles (orchestra, pit orchestra, chamber music, concert and marching band) and recorded a CD as part of a flute and guitar duo. Cindy holds a B.S. in Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University and has completed graduate courses in Music Education  at both West Chester University and Duquesne University.  While at Penn State, she studied flute with Dr. Eleanor Armstrong. She has also studied with Michel Debost at an Oberlin Flute Institute and performed in masterclasses for Jeffery Khaner, Andreas Kroper, and Eric Hoover.

Alessandra Gabbianelli, soprano

Alessandra Gabbianelli is a Dramatic Coloratura Soprano from Pittsburgh, PA. Alessandra is very excited to be coming on board as a vocal teacher with Community Music School. She received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Baldwin-Wallace College. There she made her operatic debut as Miss Titmouse in Too Many Sopranos. She then went on to sing Musetta in La Bohème, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She received her Master’s of Music in Opera Performance from the Boston Conservatory. There she starred as Madame Goldentrill in The Boston Conservatory’s production of Mozart’s The Impresario, Chocholka in Leo Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen,  and The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute. In summer 2014, she made her professional debut as Irina Arkadina in Pasatieri’s The Seagull with Opera del West. Recently, she performed the role of the Queen of the Night in the  Gilded Angel Opera’s production of The Magic Flute.

thad shirey-03-400Thad Shirey, baritone

Thad received a Bachelor of Music from Combs College of Music in Philadelphia, PA. On the operatic stage Mr. Shirey’s rich baritone has been heard in major roles including those in Pagliacci, Cavelleria Rusticana, La Boheme, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Massenet’s Manon, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, The Merry Widow, Die Fledermaus, The Student Prince and Land of Smiles.  Equally at home in crossover work, Thadd’s Broadway and light opera repertoire includes principal roles in Carousel, Kiss Me Kate, A Little Night Music, Showboat, Man of La Mancha, 1776, Old Man and the Thief, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Telephone, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado at Philadelphia’s famed Academy of Music. International performances and cruise circuits have brought Thad to Iceland, Scotland, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and Paris.  He has appeared as guest soloist in the Mozart Requiem, The Brahms Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.  At home, he has appeared as guest artist at Carnegie Hall, with The New York Grand Opera, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, The Ocean City Pops, The Kennett Symphony, The Syracuse Symphony and The Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea.

Cecelia SullivanCecelia Dempsey Sullivan, soprano

MM in voice performance, Temple University.  BM in oboe and voice performance, Temple University. Performance Certificate, Academy of Vocal Arts.




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