Karen L. Markey, Founding Director
The Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus was founded in 1990 and is a community organization for boys and girls ages six through eighteen. The Children’s Chorus provides qualified singers an opportunity to perform high-caliber, age-appropriate repertoire that is culturally and musically diverse while nurturing vocal and musical development within a group setting. Singers are auditioned and placed by age, experience, and skill in one of three groups: Ensemble, Chorus, or Youth Chorale. Numbering more than eighty singers, the Children’s Chorus was the outcome of the vision of Founding Director, Karen L. Markey. Choristers represent public, private, parochial and home schools in the Susquehanna and Brandywine Valleys and the Northern Delaware Region. The Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus is an educational outreach of the Kennett Symphony Orchestra of Chester County.
Eileen Keller, Artistic Director and Director of the Tyros
Eileen Keller has been selected to follow Dr. Kristen Albert as the next Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus Artistic Director, beginning in the fall of 2012. Mrs. Keller will continue as the director of the Tyros in the Children’s Chorus. She has been with the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus since the Tyros choir debuted in 2009. In that time, the Tyros has grown in numbers and in musicianship. Eileen Keller teaches music K-6 at Renaissance Academy Charter School in Phoenixville, PA. She is also the Elementary Chorus director and Fine Arts Lead Teacher at her school. Mrs. Keller received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music Education from West Chester University School of Music. As part of her Master’s Degree, she earned her Level III Kodaly certification.
Mrs. Keller is an active member of the Organization of American Kodaly Educators (OAKE). She has directed choir performances at numerous events, including the 6ABC Thanksgiving Parade, The Camden Riversharks, and The Reading Phillies. Mrs. Keller has led numerous professional development workshops in both music education and leadership development. Mrs. Keller has exposed her choral students to service learning performances in the local community. At the request of local universities, she has mentored and educated numerous music education students and interns to prepare them for their own careers in music education. Of great importance to Mrs. Keller is helping students gain musical literacy through Kodaly teaching techniques, to facilitate understanding of the significance of folk songs and their tie to a time, people, and place in history, and awakening her students to the emotional impact of music.
Danielle M. Cullen, Director of the Ensemble
Danielle M. Cullen has been teaching elementary general music in the Downingtown Area School District since 2001. Danielle’s degrees include a Bachelor’s degree in Music education (West Chester University, 2001), a Master’s degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Kodály (West Chester University, 2006), and a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education (Temple University, 2018). Danielle has certifications in Kodály, Orff, and Music Learning Theory. In addition to teaching in Downingtown, Danielle served as an adjunct professor at Immaculata University, as clarinet professor and teaching undergraduate music education majors, and at University of the Arts, teaching graduate students as part of their summer music studies program. As clinician, Danielle has presented sessions for Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) state conferences as well as local district professional development workshops.
Most recently Danielle served as chair for the PMEA Professional Development Council and is currently serving as part of the Professional Development Committee for PMEA District 12. As a clarinetist, Danielle is a member of the Chester County Pops Orchestra, the New Holland Band, and the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds. Danielle has also performed with the Delaware County Symphony Orchestra, the Mainline Symphony, the Immaculata Symphony, and the Greenleigh Chorale. As a freelance musician, Danielle has performed for various local musicals, including shows at Barley Sheaf Theater, YPTW in Swarthmore and the Media Theater, as well as local high school and middle school productions.
Kevin McAllister, Director of the Chorus
Kevin McAllister is the K-5 General Music/Chorus teacher at West Bradford Elementary in the Downingtown Area School District. Prior to working at West Bradford, he taught General Music and Chorus for three years at Hillcrest Elementary in the Upper Darby School District.
Mr. McAllister received his B.M in Music Education from West Chester University and is currently pursuing a M.M. in Music Education with a Kodály emphasis from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. McAllister is an active member of the Pennsylvania Music Educator Association, and the Organization of American Kodály Educators.
Dr. Marci Major, Director of Bel Canto
Dr. Marci Major is Assistant Professor of Music Education at West Chester University, PA where she teaches choral methods and intro to music education, works with student teacher observations, and is developing graduate level classes. Formerly Assistant Professor of Music Education and Assistant Director of Choral Activities at the University of Missouri, Dr. Major earned her B.S. in music education from West Chester University, her M.M. in choral conducting from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. in music education from The Ohio State University. At the University of Missouri Dr. Major taught choral materials and methods, conducting and rehearsal techniques, psychology of music, and conducted MU’s Concert Chorale.
Dr. Major also served as the Artistic Director for the community choir Columbia Chorale, and co-directed the Choristers ensemble of the St. Louis Children’s Chorus. Prior to her appointment at MU, Dr. Major taught middle and high school choir in Michigan, and later served as a graduate teaching associate at The Ohio State University. She is excited to be working with the singers of the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus!