2019 Girl Chorister Faculty & Staff
Katherine Dienes-Williams, 2019 Music Director – Katherine Dienes-Williams, MA, BMus, FRCO, LTCL, Hon. FRSCM, Hon. FGCM 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 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 Winchester College. 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, Southern Pro Musica and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and has taught a masterclass at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, USA. In April she performed the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony in the London’s Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 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 directed the Saint Thomas’ girl choristers’ course at St. Thomas’ Church Fifth Avenue, New York, USA and the RSCM Lincoln Cathedral summer girl choristers’ course. In summer 2019 she will again direct the St. Thomas’ girl choristers’ course in New York. 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 (Guildford Cathedral girl chorister) Hannah
Benjamin Sheen, Course Organist – Benjamin Sheen is one of the UK’s brightest young organists. Hailed as a ‘brilliant organist’ by the New York Times, he is the 2013 winner of the Pierre S. du Pont First Prize in the inaugural Longwood Gardens Organ Competition and received Second Prize and the Jon Laukvik prize at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition 2013.
He holds degrees from the University of Oxford and the Juilliard School and is also a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and the 2011 recipient of the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Silver Medal.
As a concert organist, Mr. Sheen has performed throughout Europe, the USA and Australia and also, recently, in Hong Kong and Singapore. He has performed with notable orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the City of London Sinfonia and appeared on BBC radio and television several times. Recent highlights have included several complete performances of J. S. Bach’s ClavierÜbung III, including live on New York’s classical radio station WQXR in November 2014, as well as in Barcelona, Spain and in Cambridge, UK.
After the untimely death of John Scott in 2015, Mr. Sheen took up the posts of Acting Organist and Acting Director of Music of Saint Thomas Church, directing the choir on a domestic tour of the USA and also for performances at the AAM Convention 2016 in Stamford, CT and AGO National Convention 2016 in Houston, TX.
Recital engagements have taken Mr. Sheen across the USA, as well as to Australia and New Zealand this season and in 2018 he will make his debut tour of South Africa, as well as being a featured artist at the American Guild of Organists National Convention in Kansas City, MO. Mr. Sheen is exclusively represented in North America and Canada by Philip Truckenbrod Concert Artists. www.bensheen.com.
Virginia Bolena, Course Director, completed her graduate work in Sacred Music and Organ at East Carolina University, studying organ with Dr. Janette Fishell. While at ECU, Mrs. Bolena taught organ and class piano as a teaching assistant. She has attended numerous programs for continued studies including the renowned Oundle Summer School for Organists in the UK.
She held full-time appointments as Organist & Choirmaster at The Parish Church of St. Helena’s, Beaufort, South Carolina and Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, North Carolina, before accepting her current position at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton, Virginia, in 2013. At Trinity, Mrs. Bolena conducts the Boys & Girls Choir and the Trinity Choir and oversees the Concert Series.
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. Mrs. Bolena is excited to share her love of choral music and church leadership with the girls at Saint Thomas. In addition to her church work, Mrs. Bolena has three sons, one of whom is currently a student at the Choir School (Class of 2020). She enjoys running, hiking and spending time with her family.
Emma Barnaby, Assistant Course Director, first came to the Girl's Chorister Course as a fourteen-year-old in the summer of 2008 and never wanted to go home. She was a girl chorister for a number of years and has been a staff member since 2015. She oversees residential life, teaches music history, and hopes to make this week as wonderful as possible for every girl, as it always is for her.
Ms. Barnaby is currently a PhD student in the departments of music and history at the University of Pennsylvania and sings in the choir at St. Mark’s episcopal church in Philadelphia. Her research interests include Marian worship and music in the Anglican church, English Reformation history, and English, Scottish, and early American metrical psalmody. In addition to being a busy graduate student and church musician, she has presented on the Bay Psalm Book at the Rosenbach Museum and gives pre-concert talks for the Kislak Center’s Music in the Pavilion series.
Kristin Reichert, Housemother, 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 and assists with the Boys and Girls Choir. In the intervening years, she earned a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Mary Washington,has been a residental camp counselor and assistant camp director at Girls Scout camps in northern Maine. Michigan, and Newport, RI, worked as a pipeorgan builder for several years at Taylor and Boody Organbuilders.
During Kristin’s years as an organbuilder she helped build the continuo organ for St. Thomas Church and spent a week at Saint Thomas doing maintenance and tuning on the gallery organ. Kristin will assist will residence life and hopes to help the girls feel comfortably at home at Saint Thomas so they can get the most out of a fantastic week of music and fellowship.
Christine Papania, Vocal Coach, holds a degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. As a vocalist, Christine Papania is a passionate soloist and choral singer with particular interests in both contemporary and early music. Christine is known for her natural musicality and vivid musical imagination and is thrilled to be involved in New York’s diverse and inspiring music scene including teaching at the New York City Children's Chorus and having been the vocal coach for the Girl Chorister last
An avid choral singer, Christine has performed with ensembles including Grammy Award-winning The Crossing, Manhattan Chorale, and The Florentine Opera Company. She can be heard most recently on The Crossing's recording of John Luther Adams' Canticles of the Holy Wind released on Cantaloupe Records, her project ARIADNE’s album Stabat Mater on Auris Apothecary, and will be part of the world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth with The Crossing and the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center.She also composes and produces music for her Baroque-inspired ambient/bass solo music project under the moniker Lanx. She sings each week at St. James’ Church on the Upper East Side as a choir member, teaches and lives in in Brooklyn, New York.
Jennifer Johnson, RN, has served in a variety of institutions in Maine, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Phillips Academy, Andover, and Boston Children's Hospital. Her specialty in nursing is pediatrics. A lover of music and the liturgy of the church, she sings alto in her parish choir and plays the viola. Her son William attended the Choir School from 2004-2009. She lives with her music director husband, Mark and 12-year-old dog, Taz, in Washington, CT.