July 23 – July 31, 2022

For more information, contact Virginia Bolena, Course Director

Our staff is carefully selected to create a positive, nurturing, and safe experience for each girl. We are pleased to announce that, with the exception of the Music Director, who changes most years, all members from the 2019 Team are returning for another exciting year! The course staff includes a Course Director, Assistant Course Director, Music Director, Nurse, Housemother and Vocal Coach. All staff are in residence at the Choir School throughout the course and participate in all aspects of the course (except rehearsals) with the girls, including meals and outings. We strive to build a sense of community among one another and encourage kindness.

Katherine Dienes-Williams

Music Director – 2022

We are thrilled to welcome back Katherine Dienes-Williams, in 2022 as Music Director. Ms. Dienes-Williams, MA, BMus, LTCL, FRCO, Hon ARSCM, Hon GCM was appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral in January 2008 following six years as Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. She was the first-ever female member to be elected to the Cathedral Organists’ Association, and on her appointment to Guildford, became the first ever woman to hold such a post in the Church of England. She is also the Musical Director of the Winchester-based chamber choir, Southern Voices.

Katherine was born and educated in Wellington, New Zealand and studied for a BA in Modern Languages and a BMus at Victoria University, Wellington. Katherine was Organ Scholar at Wellington Cathedral from 1988 to 1991 when she was appointed Assistant Organist there.

Katherine came to England in 1991 to take up the post of Organ Scholar at Winchester Cathedral and Assistant Organist at WinchesterCollege. She has also held posts as Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, Assistant Organist and Director of the Cathedral Girls’ Choir at Norwich Cathedral prior to moving to Warwick as Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary.

She is a Council member of the Royal College of Organists and a trustee of the Organists’ Charitable trust and is regularly asked to be a guest choral workshop leader for the Royal School of Church Music in the UK, South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia. Katherine has given several organ recitals in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, U.S.A., Bermuda, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Spain and Singapore. She has performed as organ soloist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, the City of London Sinfonia and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and has taught a masterclass at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, USA. She is also active as a composer, having received several commissions both in the UK, the USA and New Zealand.

Katherine holds a Master of Arts in Music and Liturgy from Leeds University. She features both as organist and choral conductor on several recordings. She is in demand as a choral workshop leader in the UK, the USA and several other European countries. In January 2016, she directed the RSCM Australia/NZ summer school in Canberra, Australia. In 2017 she has directed the St. Thomas’ girl choristers’ course at St. Thomas’ Church Fifth Avenue, New York, USA and the RSCM Lincoln Cathedral summer girl choristers’ course. She has recently been elected into her secondary school’s ‘Hall of Fame’ as an outstanding alumnus (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Wellington, New Zealand).

Other interests include languages (her BA is in French and German), travel, reading and fitness. She is a Knight of the Grand Order of Vitéz and a Knight of the Order of St. Ladislau (Hungary).

Katherine is married to Patrick Williams, and they have a daughter, Hannah who is currently studying Music at Cambridge University.

Virginia Bolena

Virginia BolenaCourse Director

Course Director Virginia Bolena is thrilled to return to Saint Thomas Choir School for another season of the Girl Chorister Course! During the year, Ms. Bolena is Organist and Choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, Virginia.  She directs the Trinity Chorister Program that includes a Preparatory Choir, Junior Choristers, Senior Choristers and an Adult Choir. One of her joys as a choral director is providing new challenges and watching choristers discover that they can accomplish more than they thought possible.

Ms. Bolena completed graduate work in Sacred Music and Organ at East Carolina University and undergraduate work at Seton Hill University.  In addition to her church work, Ms. Bolena works as a free lance accompanist and collaborative musician. She also has three sons, one of whom is a graduate of the Choir School (Class of 2020). She enjoys running, practicing yoga and spending time with her boys.

Contact Ms. Bolena about:

  • Application information
  • Scholarship questions
  • General course questions
  • Any concerns

Emma Barnaby

Emma BarnabyAssistant Director

Assistant Director Emma Barnaby is excited to return to the choir school for her twelfth girls’ course! She has been everything from a chorister to a floor leader to an intern to a gym teacher to, now, the assistant course director, and has loved every minute spent at this program. At the girls’ course, she teaches music history and sectionals, supervises outings, and hopes to pack the week with as much fun as possible. She can’t wait to meet you!

Outside of the girls’ course, Ms. Barnaby is a choral singer and perpetual student – she holds a B.A. in music history from the University of Toronto, is currently finishing up a master’s degree in musicology at the University of Pennsylvania, and will pursue another graduate degree in student affairs in the fall of 2020. In her musicological research, she does fieldwork in the UK exploring the history and future of girl choristers. She hopes someday to turn the girls’ course into a full-time choir school so that girls can have this opportunity to sing at a professional level year-round, but, for now, is quite content in her many roles—mentor, teacher, student—in the world of higher education. She also enjoys knitting, spending time with family, and skiing in the green mountains of Vermont, her home state.

Jennifer Euling Johnson

Jennifer Euling JohnsonNurse

Nurse Jennifer Euling Johnson is thrilled to be returning! As the mother of a St Thomas boy chorister (2004-2009) and now RN for the Girls Chorister Course, she ensures that each and every chorister has their medical needs anticipated and met. She is present 24/7 – on outings, in the choir stalls during services  – wherever the girls are, she is there, toting her orange backpack full of medical supplies.

Outside of the Girls Course, Mrs Johnson spends her time as a nurse at Sharon Hospital, in Sharon, CT, singing alto in her husband’s choir at St Michael’s Church, Litchfield, CT, caring for their beloved pups Taz and Puggy, playing her viola, and knitting. 

Kristin Reichert

Kristin ReichertHousemother

Housemother Kristin Reichert is looking forward to another amazing whirlwind of music and fun in NYC with the girls of the Girl Chorister Course.  As “mom-away-from-mom” in charge of residence life, Kristin hopes to help the girls feel comfortably at home at St. Thomas so they can get the most out of a fantastic week of music and fellowship. 

Kristin fell in love with choral singing during high school while singing with the youth choir at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, VA, and many years later she joyfully sings soprano with the Trinity Choir, directs the Preparatory Choir and assists with the Senior Choristers.   In the intervening years, she earned a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Mary Washington, was a camp counselor and assistant camp director at residential camps in New England and MIchigan, built pipe organs, volunteered with the Peace Corps in Macedonia, and taught math, science and literature to middle and high schoolers.  She is now a full-time parent and homeschool teacher and enjoys making music with her husband and two children or with friends, reading good books as often as possible and going for early morning walks.

Christine Papania

Christine PapaniaVocal Coach

Christine is a soprano and producer/composer based in Brooklyn, NY. She has appeared as a soloist in Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Bach’s B Minor Mass, Monteverdi’s Vespers, Fauré’s Requiem, Schütz’ Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, Charpentier’s Messe de Minuit pour Noël, Holst’s A Choral Fantasia, Op. 51, Stravinsky’s Four Russian Songs, Ola Gjeilo’s Luminous Night of the Soul, the premiere of Paul Rudoi’s Everyone Sang, and appeared as a soprano soloist for the world premiere of Dreamweaver by Ola Gjeilo at Carnegie Hall. An avid choral singer, Christine regularly performs with the 32-voice professional choir, Manhattan Chorale who’s past concert seasons have included performances at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Influenced by post-classical electronic music, Christine is co-composer and soprano for experimental, ambient/classical ensemble Ariadne. She also composes and produces music for her baroque-inspired ambient/bass solo project under the moniker Lanx. She holds a degree in voice performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.