Meridian Singers


Meridian Singers, December 2012


Sally De Fazio                                         
Liz Huttner                                             
Kate Judd
Eugenia Marin Garcia                                                                   
Kate Schenck                                                                
Andrea Siegel            
Katherine Ware         


Sandra Fairbank
Kate Gyllensvard
Gretchen Henderson
Susan Lester
Kiirja Paananen


David Johnson
Stephen Pepper
Kurt Sternlof
Ben Willmott     


Steve Bernacki
Larry Gall
Rob Mathis
Richard Tarrant
Dave Wilson

Steve Bernacki is a Research Affiliate of the MIT Department of Physics and a Resident at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge.  His musical experience formerly consisted of violin way back in school, but after enjoying several noontime Chapel Concerts, he rehearsed with and finally joined the Meridians just this semester.

Sally De Fazio is a retired immunologist and currently is a very part-time teacher of watercolor painting.  She fell in love with choral music when she learned in elementary school that it was possible for ordinary people to sing in harmony.  She also sings with the MIT Women's Chorale and enjoys trying to play classical piano.

Larry Gall joined the Meridian Singers in the fall of 2009.  He is an enthusiastic vocal musician who is bass/baritone soloist at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Milton, having previously served as bass section leader at First Parish in Concord.  Larry studies voice in the studio of Robert Gartside in Lexington and also performs with the Masterworks Chorale.  He has retired from the National Park Service following a long career as an historian and manager.

Liz Huttner is an Instructional Developer with the Bernard M. Gordon - MIT Engineering Leadership Program. In addition to singing with Meridians, she currently performs with the Oriana Consort in Cambridge. Her choral experience includes the Eisenstadt, Austria Classical Music Festival and the Tallis Scholars Summer School.  Liz joined the Meridians in September 2011 and this is her first concert.

Kate Judd enjoyed the April 2010 Meridian concert so much that she joined the group shortly thereafter.  She has sung in many choral groups over the years, and in 2001 trained in the Kodaly Institute Summer Workshop. She presently sings in the Cambridge Community Chorus and her church choir.  Kate taught First Grade at the Maria Baldwin School in Cambridge for 22 years.  She and her husband, an MIT alumnus, thought they were both retired until he started working in MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center Laboratory in January 2010.

Susan Lester retired in August 2008 following a 44-year administrative career at MIT, most recently as Associate Secretary of the Corporation. She sang in the MIT Choral Society from 1964 to 1990 under conductors Klaus Liepmann and John Oliver, and with the MIT Chamber Chorus in 1999 on a concert tour to Budapest and Vienna with Director of Choral Programs William Cutter.  Sue has sung with the Meridian Singers and the St. Paul Parish Adult Choir in Harvard Square since 1997.

Kiirja Paananen is a Web Producer for MIT's Office of Sponsored Programs. She started singing in 3rd grade and hasn't stopped since. She sings with Harvard Pro Musica (Harvard the town, not the school) and occasionally with Nashoba Valley Chorale, Sounds of Stow, Bolton Festival Chorus and Kerem Shalom. Some of her favorite pieces through the years include Randall Thompson's "Peaceable Kingdom", Vaughan Williams' "Dona Nobis Pacem", Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms" and Eric Whitacre's "Sleep". She has dabbled in guitar, flute and piano and is now toying with creating music digitally.  This is Kiirja’s first Meridian concert.

Stephen Pepper has been singing in choral groups large and small almost continuously since age 8, among them Back Bay Chorale, Harvard Summer School Chorus, Feaver Pitch, the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, and assorted church choirs. He joined Meridian Singers in September 2008. At MIT Stephen staffs MIT's Committee on Academic Performance; advises freshmen and transfer students; coaches departmental advisors; and handles other tasks as assigned.

Kate Schenck is an Administrative Staff Assistant in the Ombuds Office. Kate currently performs with the Oriana Consort, a chamber choir based in Cambridge. She has been a soloist and ensemblist with several area groups including A Joyful Noyse, the Choir of the Church of the Advent, Capella Alamire, Longy Chamber Singers, and Master Singers.

Andrea Siegel came to MIT in September 2010 as an Assistant Contract Specialist in the Office of Sponsored Programs. She has sung in the Harvard-Radcliffe Community Chorus and Berkshire Choral Festival, and performed with Back Bay Chorale for 15 years, where she enjoyed singing compositions by Julian Wachner during his years as conductor.  Andrea currently sings in the choir at St. Paul Church in Harvard Square along with fellow Meridians, Sue Lester and Richard Tarrant.  She enjoys mixing with people with a wide variety of MIT affiliations to produce the Meridians’ pure, a cappella sound.

Kurt Sternlof is Executive Director of the Earth System Initiative and a graduate alumnus of MIT in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. A geologist and science communicator by profession, Kurt has maintained a persistently unremunerative side career as a singer and actor since high school—including a lot of a cappella singing in a misty, bygone era at Yale.

Richard Tarrant has taught Classics at Harvard since 1982 and is currently Pope Professor of Latin.  Since 1997 he has been a member of the Parish Adult Choir at Saint Paul Church in Cambridge, where he sings with fellow Meridian members Sue Lester and Andrea Siegel.

Katherine Ware began working at MIT in 1988, and is the Senior Fiscal Officer for the Plasma Science and Fusion Center.  She sings with the St. Michael's Episcopal Choir in Milton.  She attended the early music weeks at Dartington International Summer School in 2006 and 2008, and regularly attends the Country Dance and Song Society's program at Pinewoods Camp each summer.

Ben Willmott is a management associate at a music management firm in Cambridge that represents world-class jazz musicians. Ben graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a joint degree in music and business with a concentration in vocal performance. After moving to Boston following his graduation, he began performing around the Northeast in support of his two albums. He attended Dover Sherborn High School where Todd Beckham was his voice teacher and chorus director.  Ben joined Meridians in the spring of 2011.

Dave Wilson is an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, presently working on new high-efficiency turbines and solar cookers. Dave sang in the MIT Choral Society under Klaus Liepmann after he arrived from Britain on a post-doc in 1955, and has sung in the Christmas Revels a few times since. 


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Last Updated Nov 2012