OUR CONDUCTOR — LINDA MONNER is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and has done graduate work at the University of Rochester, L.I. University and Hofstra University. Her first conducting experience came during her senior year in high school when the chorus teacher was absent the day of an assembly. Rather than cancel the concert, Linda was asked to conduct it! Again, at the University of Connecticut, Linda was asked to take over rehearsals of the University Chorus for several weeks while the instructor recuperated from surgery.
After taking a break from teaching junior high school music on Long Island, Linda decided to form a chorus as an evening adult education class. With her sons in school, she also took the opportunity to organize a daytime chorus for which she received funding from Suffolk County. That group grew to over 70 members and performed as the opening act for the Rosemary Clooney-Debbie Boone Christmas Show at Westbury Music Fair and for the Legislature and Governor of N.Y. The Silver Chords recently celebrated 25 years of happy song.
When she and her husband, Fred, moved to Spotsylvania, Linda joined The Spotsylvanians as an alto. When her qualifications became known, she was asked to take on the position of Assistant Conductor. The untimely passing of their Founding Conductor, Robert Estes, once again saw Linda being asked to take over. She conducted the Spotsylvanians for four years.
With the establishment of the Rappahannock Choral Society, Linda was invited to be its Founding Conductor and Artistic Director. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to work with an audition-only chorus, she gladly accepted the position. Linda’s talents lie not only in conducting, but in bringing out the best in the singers. Her knack for producing entertaining and challenging programs has been evident to anyone who has followed her groups. Her ability to demand perfection from her singers is tempered with a wonderful sense of humor which keeps members inspired to work for her. She has written two grant requests for specific RCS performances, both of which were awarded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.
The voices of the RCS consider ourselves very privileged to have Linda as our conductor!
OUR ACCOMPANIST — MARILLA HAAS earned a BA in Music from Mary Washington College and a Masters in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has served as pianist for the Fredericksburg Community Chorus, the Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg, the MWC Opera Fest, rehearsal accompanist for the Voices of the Pops and is currently the organist at Spotswood Baptist Church. She has played string bass with the MWC Community Orchestra, the Rappahannock Pops Orchestra, the Fredericksburg Theatre Company, Spotswood Community Orchestra, and plays in the Spotswood Baptist Church orchestra. Marilla was the accompanist for The Spotsylvanians for five years before coming to the RCS. Her full-time job is Supervisor of the Real Estate Department in the Office of the Fredericksburg Commissioner of Revenue. She taught Classical Piano privately and at the University of Mary Washington. Her favorite pastime is spending time with her six grandchildren.
OUR ASSISTANT CONDUCTOR — WANDA SAULEY FENNEL is a native of Georgia. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia with a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a post-graduate certificate in Patient Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University-Medical College of Virginia where she was a chaplaincy resident. Wanda has taught general music and chorus at the middle school level and has served numerous churches in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia as pianist, organist, and minister of music. Since 1988, she has been Minister of Music at Grace (American) Baptist Church in Richmond. Locally, she has taught private piano, sung with the Fredericksburg Community Chorus and the Maranatha Gospel Choir, and is now singing with the RCS. A longtime member of the American Choral Director’s Association (ADCA), Wanda is grateful that the RCS is fulfilling the primary purpose of ACDA in our community, which is to foster and promote choral singing, which will provide artistic, cultural, and spiritual experiences for the participants.
OUR ASSISTANT ACCOMPANIST — TAMMY BURTON-STRICKLAND is a Spotsylvania native. Tammy attended Mary Washington College (now UMW) and graduated with a BA in music with piano being her instrument of concentration and a K-12 certification to teach music. In 1985 she began teaching general music to K-5 students in Stafford County Public Schools where she remained for 30 years. Since the age of 13 Tammy has served as church musician for several area churches. In retirement she is the accompanist for the Falmouth elementary 3rd, 4th & 5th grades choruses, the Battlefield Middle School Chorus and the Maranatha Second Generation Choir.