Jonathan Kreamer, Artistic Director, has held tenure with The Brandywine Singers since 2004. Under his leadership, the group has become the premier choral arts ensemble of Chester County. Jonathan’s artistic influence on the group has been lauded for his exceptional choices in programming. Recently, he has made an effort to move towards providing audiences with more exposure to 20th century choral music by producing programs heavy with composers such as Barber, Copland, Howells, Vaughan Williams, Orff, Britten, Maggio, Bernstein and Thompson. This also includes a commissioned work in the spring of 2013 by composer Jennifer Brandon.
Currently, Jonathan is the choral director at E.N. Pierce Middle School in the West Chester Area School District, a program which includes over 425 students. The school’s multiple vocal ensembles have received superior ratings at regional festivals.
For the past 7 years, Jonathan has held the position of music director for the Ocean City Theatre Company, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the highest caliber of talent to summer entertainment at the New Jersey shore. He has collaborated in over 18 professional productions, and has extensive accompanying credits, including Broadway actors such as Robert Cuccioli, Kate Shindle, Annie Golden, Kelli Rabke, Kimberly Marable and Julia Murney.
Jonathan has served as the Director of Music Ministries at Paoli Presbyterian Church for ten years, where he leads a 45 voice sanctuary choir, brass ensemble, and bell choir. The Sanctuary Choir has performed an extensive list of repertoire, including Schubert’s Mass in G, Haydn’s Te Deum, Bach Cantatas 80 and 140, and the Rutter Requiem and Magnificat.
Jonathan holds a B.S. in Music Education and a M.M. in Choral Conducting from West Chester University, where he studied with Alan Wagner, Donald Nally, and David P. DeVenney. He has prepared choral ensembles for the Immaculata Symphony, The Ocean City Pops, The Brandywine Ballet and The Chester County Pops, and has guest conducted for the Ocean City Pops and West Chester University.
Marcia Sommers, Associate Director, is Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministries at the First Presbyterian Church of West Chester, a position she has held since September of 1993. Marcia is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she studied under John and Helen Kemp, and holds a masters degree from Eastern Kentucky University. A native of Cranford, NJ, she served Countryside United Methodist Church in Topeka, KS, and First Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, NC, prior to coming to West Chester. As Director of Music and Fine Arts, she administrates a graded choir program of four singing choirs, three handbell choirs, instrumental ensembles and provides leadership for Column Classics, the highly-successful fine arts series of First Presbyterian Church, currently in its 18th season. She is active in the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and sings and serves as Assistant Conductor for the Brandywine Singers. She is a Certified Church Musician in the Presbyterian Church USA.
Lara Forgy Kennedy assumed the role of President in the spring of 2014, after serving as the Brandywine Singers’ Development Director for four years, non-consecutively. Via Lara’s management, the ensemble has endeavored to partner with multiple Chester County organizations such as The Uptown Entertainment Alliance, The Brandywine Ballet, The Chester County Pops, The Immaculata Symphony, The Chester County Hospital, Bravo Theatre Company, Under the Sun Productions, West Chester University, and others striving towards an artistic resurgence in the community.
Lara’s previous experience with non-profit organizations began with her position as Media and Public Relations Representative for The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. From there, she went on to manage an independent non-profit consulting company in Washington DC focused on sustainable donor acquisition for clients such as ChildFund, Children International, The World Wildlife Fund, The American Red Cross, and Plan International, to name a few.
Presently Lara holds the position as Choral Scholar-in-Residence at Paoli Presbyterian Church, where she serves as section leader for the 45-voice Sanctuary Choir, as well as principal soloist for traditional, blended, and contemporary worship services, and also works for Jacquette Consulting in Malvern, PA.
Joseph Gehring has been the accompanist for the Brandywine Singers since 2009. In addition to his work as a pianist he is also an active conductor. He currently directs the elementary, middle, and high school ensembles at Renaissance Academy, the concert band and symphony orchestra at Immaculata University, the Chesco Pops Orchestra, the West Chester Band, and is also Director of Music Ministries at Exton United Methodist Church. He is a frequent guest conductor of various honor/festival bands and orchestras throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware, including the Southern Chester County Honors Band, Philadelphia Archdiocesan Honors String Orchestra, PMEA District 12 Elementary Honors Band Fest, Kent County Junior High Honors Band, ASTA Junior High String Festival Orchestra, and the Berks County Senior High Festival Orchestra. Mr. Gehring completed his undergraduate degree in Music Education at West Chester University, studying both piano and tuba. He continued his postgraduate work at Boston University and returned to WCU to study conducting with Dr. Ovidiu Marinescu, earning a Master of Music Performance degree in Orchestral Conducting. For more information about Joseph Gehring and the ensembles he conducts, visit www.josephgehring.com