Singers for the Spring ’22 Season
(photo and bio coming soon)
Cynthia Handy Coulson
Cynthia has been singing with the Opus Chorale for four seasons. She has also sung with the WV Symphony Chorus and Opera Chorus, the Larry Parsons Chorale and West Virginia Choral Arts.
She resides in Charleston with her Husband Dr. Gene Coulson, and three keeshonden.
Cynthia is retired from Putnam County Schools after 30 years of providing music instruction. Prior to moving to West Virginia, she taught music and was a Gifted and Talented drama instructor in Southampton County, Virginia. She is currently teaching piano and voice in her home as well as providing voice coaching for Hurricane High Schools show choirs. She is a proud James Madison University alumna, and she holds a MA from Marshall University. She is also a National Board Certified teacher.
Her hobbies include All Breed (dog) Rescue and Transport and knitting.
Her favorite choral works include the Verdi and Mozart Requiems, but the James Erb arrangement of Shenandoah is a forever favorite.
Ashley “Ash” Cowder is making his Opus debut this season (Spring 2022).
Ash has lived in the Kanawha Valley for over 40 years, most recently living in South Charleston. He has been employed as a legal assistant for many local law firms.
Ash has been involved in many musical groups including America’s Youth in Concert, West Virginia Wesleyan Concert Chorale, London/Loch Lomond Festival Chorale, West Virginia Symphony Chorus, Larry Parsons Chorale, and the Mark Hornbaker Academy singers.
In addition to music, Ash’s hobbies include movies and sports.
His favorite choral works include Carmen Burana, Mozart Requiem, Faure Requiem, Verdi Requiem, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, Belshazzar’s Feast, The Peaceable Kingdom, The Unicorn the Gorgon and the Manticore.
Karen Donathan has sung with the Opus Chorale since 2009. She also enjoys singing with the Christ Church United Methodist Chancel Choir.
She was born in Effingham, Illinois but grew up in St. Clairsville, Ohio. She has also lived in Nashville, Tennessee and Dalton, Georgia, and most recently Charleston, West Virginia, where she has lived for over 30 years.
Karen is the wife of director David Donathan. They have two adult daughters, Kayla Donathan and Emily Sable, and a puppy named Melody.
Karen is currently a Technology Systems Specialist/Webmaster for Kanawha County Schools. Previously, she was Computer Science teacher at George Washington High School in Charleston for 25 years. She also taught at Hayes Junior High School in St. Albans for 4 years and Northwest Whitfield High School near Dalton, Gorgia. She is also a past employee of the College Board where she served as the high school chair of the Advanced Placement Computer Science Test Development Committee. She has also worked as a programmer for Shaw Industries in Dalton, GA and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Karen also served as a facilitator for code. org.
Her hobbies and interests include music, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. Karen also loves riding roller coasters, and spending as much time as possible at Lakeside, Ohio.
Karen’s favorite choral works include The Armed Man, A Mass for Peace, composed by Karl Jenkins and anything by Kim Andre Arnesen (especially Even When He is Silent) and Ola Gjeilo (especially the Sunrise Mass).
Shirley Drennen has been singing with the Opus Chorale for 6 years. She has also sung with the Marshall Chamber Choir, the West Virginia Symphony Chorus, and the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus. She is a graduate of Marshall University, where she studied music performance.
She currently resides in beautiful Fayetteville, West Virginia with her husband, Mike, and two children, Jim and Claire. and is employed as the Experience Manager in the eCommerce department at MRC Global.
Shirley’s hobbies include travel, cooking, hiking, biking and history
Her favorite choral works are Leonard Bernstein’s, Chichester Psalms and Arvo Part’s, Magnificat.
Lynn Dyer earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from West Virginia Institute of Technology. She began singing with Opus in 2015 with the American Premiere of Kim Andre Arnesen’s Requiem. Lynn as also sun with womanSong of Charleston for many years.
Lynn is currently teaching music at Chapmanville Intermediate School in Logan County. Her hobbies include art and crafts with recycled objects and gardening.
Her favorite choral work is Handel’s Messiah, which she begins each Christmas Season singing with the Clendenin Community Chorus. Lynn says she “loves singing the Scriptures!”
Rich Ford has sung with the Opus Chorale since 2009. Rich has a long singing history including singing with many church choirs, high school and college choirs, Masterworks, the National Chamber Singers in Bethesda, Maryland (where he was a founding member), the NIH Chamber Singers (also in Bethesda), the Towne Singers and Wayne Knepper Singers in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and Cantori Montani here in West Virginia.
A native of rural northwest Pennsylvania, Rich now lives in South Charleston with his wife Cecilia. He has resided in West Virginia for 20 years.
Rich his currently an Associate Professor of Biology at West Virginia State University. His specialization is the “micro molecular stuff”. He currently teacher Virology and Biotech Program pedagogy classes at State.
His hobbies and interests include singing, being outdoors, hanging out with friends over food and drink, and more music.
His favorite choral works include Stanford’s Beati Quorum Via, Berlioz’s The Shepherds’ Farewell, Poulenc’s Christmas Motets, The First Noel, and so many more!
Rich states, “what a joy and privilege to sing with Opus! I’ve worked and studied under David Donathan longer than any previous director, and he’s one of the best I’ve seen!”
Beverly is a native of South Carolina and has also lived in Florida. She is married to Conrad Haskell (bass), and they currently live in South Charleston, West Virginia. They have three children.
Beverly is a graduate of Winthrop College (now University) with a double major in music education and piano performance. She taught public school music for two years, and private piano lessons for 25+ years.
Beverly enjoys reading, and she and Conrad love to travel, Of course, her main interest is choral singing, She has sung in the Charleston Civic Chorus for 44 years, and also sang with the Larry Parsons Chorale.
Among her favorite choral works are the Brahms Requiem and the Durufle Requiem.
Conrad is originally from Tampa, Florida and currently resides in South Charleston, West Virginia. He is married to Beverly Williams Haskell (alto). They have three children.
Conrad is a chemical engineer, retired from The Dow Chemical Company/Union Carbide.
His hobbies and interests include traveling, recording trips in HD video, editing, and producing HD movies. And of course, Conrad loves singing, past and present! He has participated in church choirs, a cappella chamber choirs, choruses, and chorales. Conrad is also a season subscriber to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Charleston Chamber Music Society.
Among Conrad’s favorite choral works are the Requiems of Johannes Brahms an Maurice Durufle, and the Requiem for the Living by Dan Forrest. His favorite masses are by Frank Martin, Francis Poulenc, and Ralph Vaughn Williams. His favorite glorias are by Antonio Vivaldi, Francis Poulenc, and John Rutter. He also enjoys the Vesper (All-Night Vigil) by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Roger is in his second season singing with Opus. He also sings with the West Virginia Symphony Chorus. He loves music and began singing in church at age 3, then with various church and school choirs, including the West Virginia All-State Chorus. He also played trumpet in school bands and ensembles, developing a lifelong love of jazz.
Roger has enjoyed returning to choral singing after getting away from it while raising a family, coaching youth basketball, working on various community and nonprofit projects/boards, and practicing law with Bowles Rice LLP.
He also plays bass guitar (and occasionally performs) with several musical pals, and enjoys an extensive collection of classical, opera, choral, jazz and other recordings.
Roger has two children, Elizabeth and J.T., and two grandchildren, Ellis and Sofia. Roger and his wife Pam Cutright love live music and the arts, spending time with family and friends, cooking, enjoying the outdoors with their Airedale Harley, and traveling. They’re very excited about the return to live performances.
Roger’s favorite choral works include Faure’s, Mozart’s and Verdi’s Requiems, and also Bach’s choral masterpieces.
Marsha has been singing with the Opus Chorale for 2 and a half years. She has also sung with womanSong, Mountain Laurel, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Choir, Dolce Divas, the Charleston Light Opera Guild and the WV Symphony Chorus.
She currently resides in South Charleston with her husband Paul Isaacs, Sr. They have two adult children Paul Jr. and Paige. Marsha is a teacher for Kanawha County Schools.
Marsha likes to hike, quilt, travel, cook, read, and sleep.
As for her favorite choral works, Marsha claims that there are “too many to choose from.”
Joseph “Joe” Janisch has been singing with opus since the Fall of 2015. He has also sung with St. Mark’s UMC Chancel Choir, The Ohio State University Chorale and Men’s Glee Club, Bowling Green State University Collegiate Chorale and Men’s Chorus, and the Ashland College Choir.
Joe lives in the South Hills area of Charleston with his wife Julie and their two cats, Scout and Skitter.
He is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Charleston. Dr. Janisch received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Ohio State University, a Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Ashland (Ohio) University.
Joe’s favorite hobbies are travel and cooking.
His favorite choral works include the Verdi Requiem, Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom, Eleanor Daley’s Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Festgesang: An die Kunstler.
Julie Janisch was born in Ohio, where she lived until 1999 when her husband, Joe, accepted a position at the University of Charleston.
Julie has been the Director of Music at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Charleston since 2015. She completed a Doctorate in Worship Studies in 2013.
Julie’s hobbies include anything to do with fabric and her current obsession is quilting.
Her favorite choral work is The Peaceable Kingdom, by Randall Thompson.
Bobby Jenks was born in Richlands, Virginia and raised in McDowell County, West Virginia. He now resides in Teays Valley, West Virginia with his wife, Emily and young twins David and Meredith.
He received a BS in Music Education from Concord University and a Masters in Trombone Performance from Marshall University.
Bobby currently teaches band at South Charleston Middle School.
His hobbies include travel, attending concerts and movies, playing trombone and singing, and officiating high school wrestling.
His favorite choral work is Faure’s Requiem.
Angela Jones has been singing Alto 2 with the Opus Chorale since 2012. Though born in Merrillville, Indiana, she has lived in Charleston for most of her life.
In the past, Angela was a member of the womanSong Chorale, Charleston Civic Chorus, Charleston Metro Band, and WV Youth Symphony. In addition to Opus, Angela currently sings with the WV Symphony Chorus, Harmony ReChoired a capella chorus, and is a flutist for various other events.
Angela is a member of St. Marks United Methodist, where she is active with United Methodist Women, Choir, and Altar Guild. She is employed by the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church as an administrative assistant and the Ethnic Local Church Concerns Coordinator.
Outside of church, work, and music commitments, Angela enjoys reading, supporting other local arts and music events, and spending time with friends.
Her favorite choral works include the Faure and Mozart Requiems and Randall Thompson’s Twelve Canticles.
(photo and bio posted soon)
Lindsay Marchio returned to her hometown of Charleston five years ago after living in Ohio and Massachusetts for several years. She is currently Deputy General Counsel for the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office.
She holds English and vocal performance degrees from the College of Wooster (Ohio), interned for the Ohio Light Opera for two years, and worked at Playhouse Square while attending and graduating from the Cleveland-Marshall Collège of Law. After graduating, she worked at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. While in Massachusetts, she worked as an attorney and sang in the Chatham Chorale.
Lindsay is involved in various Charleston and state music organizations and currently sings with the Opus Chorale as well as the West Virginia Symphony Chorus. She serves as Elder at First Presbyterian Church, Charleston, West Virginia, and is involved musically at the church, assisting with hymn singing anthems, and solos through out the liturgical year.
In her spare time, she enjoys singing, musical theater, running, traveling, reading, podcasts, and spending time with family and her cat, Agnes Bella.
Tom Marchio was born in Charleston, West Virginia and has spent most of his life there.
Tom and his wife, Sara, have two children. Their daughter, Lindsay, shares his love of theater and appeared with him in Charleston Light Opera Guild shows while in high school. She is now a licensed attorney in West Virginia. Their son, Joey, is also a talented musician and directs the Chatham Chorale on Cape Cod where he lives with his wife and two young boys
He works for the Public Employee’s Insurance Agency.
His favorite hobby is participating in community theater.
His favorite choral work is Handel’s Messiah.
Sandra McQuain has sung with the Opus Chorale since its inception. Also a member of the West Virginia Symphony Chorus and Christ Church United Methodist Chancel Choir, she previously sang with Cantori Montani and the West Virginia Symphony Opera Chorus. Favorite choral works include Brahms Requiem, Karl Jenkins The Armed Man A Mass for Peace, and Bizet’s opera Carmen.
A native West Virginian and West Virginia University graduate, Sandra spent five years in Virginia, returning to Morgantown to work in the state education system after having earned a doctorate at Virginia Tech. She moved to Charleston in 1990, where she worked for the West Virginia Department of Education in special education administration until she retired in 2014.
Sandra’s favorite pastimes, in addition to singing, include travel, skiing, wildlife and scenic photography, biking and walking.
(photo and bio coming soon)
Bob Morris currently lives in the South Charleston area. He is originally from Calhoun County, WV.
Bob works as the office supervisor of the Motor Carrier Section of the WV Public Service Commission.
His hobbies include food preparation, reading, and walking. His other interests include history, and information on Alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency.
Bob’s favorite chorale works include anything by Bach, and Kenneth Leighton’s, Sequence for All Saints.
Bob Westmoreland was born in Griffin, GA. While living in Griffin, he played trumpet and trombone in the band, including the Georgia All State Band, where he was the 1st chair trumpet.
He then morphed to playing the French horn, and he graduated from Furman University (Greenville SC) with a BA in music. He then went to medical school at Wake Forest and completed a residency in anesthesiology at Emory University in Atlanta.
Bob moved to West Virginia in 1979. Sing in Episcopal choirs, and choruses (WV Symphony Chorus, Cantori Montani, Cantabile, and the Berkshire Choral Festival) has been a joy to him. He also once played the snare drum in a bagpipe band.
Bob retired from anesthesiology in 2015.
Bob began singing with Opus 4 years ago and he feels honored to be a part of this group. His wife is a great musical “groupie”. He loves all things Anglican and he hopes to visit England one more time.
His favorite vocal composition is “Belshazzar’s Feast” by William Walton. His favorite forms of entertainment include attending Met Opera in HD at the Regal Theater in Nitro, and he WVSO at the Clay Center in Charleston.