Artistic Direction...

Leslie Heffner

Artistic Director, 2013-

Dr. Leslie Heffner is an alumna of Florida State University where she earned her Doctor of Music in Vocal Performance and also a certificate in Arts Administration.

In addition to her work with the Tallahassee Civic Chorale, Dr. Heffner is on faculty at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, FL and also Darton College in Albany GA as an adjunct voice instructor. She also serves as the Choir Director at Grace Lutheran Church in Tallahassee. Prior to her current positions, Dr. Heffner served as the Director of the Chamber Ensemble and Instructor of Voice at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida. Before moving to Florida for her doctoral studies, Dr. Heffner was the Director of The Creative Arts Program at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH. Along with her administrative duties, Dr. Heffner also served as Instructor of Voice for the program.

A native of Ohio, Dr. Heffner completed her Bachelor of Music Education degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and her Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Heffner has studied choral conducting with Dr. Jocelyn Jenson, David Weiller and Michael Kerschner. Her professional memberships include the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Dr. James Amend

Accompanist, 2004-

From Dr. Amend...

"A little about me: I'm the late Maestro Edward Kilenyi's last piano student; I also studied briefly with Leonard Mastrogiacomo. My degrees are:

  • Bachelor's in Composition from Michigan State University
  • Bachelor's in Piano Performance from Michigan State University
  • Master's in Musicology from FSU
  • PhD in Musicology (specialization in Ethnomusicology) from FSU
My main activities right now are as a composer, performer, and (not too surprisingly) accompanist. Among other experiences, I've directed choirs, experimental theater groups, and pit bands for musicals, as well as indulging in some acting and writing poetry. As a performer, I've done almost all genres in American music, with perhaps special affinity for melodic-based traditions (which covers ground in a wide spectrum between, for example, fusion jazz and Country & Western). It is a great pleasure for me to once again be accompanying a choral group, especially one as enjoyable as the Tallahassee Civic Chorale!"

Artistic staff alumni...

James Brown

Artistic Director, 2011-2013

Prior to attending FSU, Mr. Brown spent six years teaching at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Choirs under his direction performed for the 2009 North Carolina Music Educators Association Convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His choirs received multiple superior ratings at regional festivals and national competitions in Washington D.C., New York, San Francisco, and Chicago. They sang by invitation for services at The National Shrine Basilica of Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., St. Paul’s Church in New York City, Duke Chapel at Duke University in North Carolina, and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. His support has encouraged a number of students to pursue music education, performance, or other musical careers. During Mr. Brown’s teaching in North Carolina, he had more than a handful of students that were accepted into the North Carolina Governor’s School Program and North Carolina Honors Chorus. Brown also had the pleasure of working with a student who participated in a summer program called ‘NOISE!’ in Los Angeles, CA for future music producers/performers, and a student who studied at Interlochen’s Summer Program.

James Brown is a native of Ohio where he received his bachelor’s degree and master of music in choral conducting performance from the University of Akron. During Mr. Brown’s master’s studies, he rehearsed and helped to conduct the Canton Civic Opera (now VOCI), the University of Akron Women’s Ensemble, and Men’s Ensemble. He also had the pleasure of being the assistant conductor for The University of Akron Concert Choir on a 6 cities tour of Italy and Switzerland (2000). He began is music education career at Riverside High School in Painesville, Ohio.

In addition to his commitment to music making in the schools, Mr. Brown has been actively involved directing handbell/church choirs in Ohio and North Carolina. During Mr. Brown’s time in North Carolina he performed as a tenor and a baritone soloist in community productions, and taught voice and piano lessons as well. Currently, he is the Director of the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist Church of Monticello.

Mr. Brown’s commitment to professional excellence, dedication, creativity, and his ability to motivate a group to perform well, and grow in their abilities is complemented by his dedication to his student’s development. Outside of school, Mr. Brown was actively involved in MCCS (Moore County Choral Society) a non-auditioned chorus that he participated in until coming to FSU. Part of his mission was to get his students involved in singing outside of the school so they could give back to their community in order to nurture and maintain a lifelong interest in music. Mr. Brown was a recipient of the 2009 Jackson Parkhurst Award for Special Achievement from the North Carolina Symphony; recipient of the 2004 Moore County Schools Outstanding Arts Educator; and was nominated a number of times to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers for his dedication to musical excellence.

Mr. Brown’s professional studies of conducting have been with Dr. André J. Thomas, and Dr. Samuel Gordon. He currently holds professional membership with the American Choral Directors Association and the Florida Music Educators Association.

Stefanie Cash

Artistic Director, 2010-2011

Stefanie Cash is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University pursing a degree in philosophy with an emphasis in music education and choral conducting.

Prior to attending FSU, Mrs. Cash spent seven years teaching at North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia. Choirs under her direction performed for the 2008 Southern Division American Choral Directors Association Convention and the 2008 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference. Her choirs received multiple superior ratings at GMEA performance evaluations and regional music festivals. They sang by special invitation for the Governor's Annual Legislature Dinner and Secretary of State's Education Consortium. Mrs. Cash also had six students accepted to the Governor's Honors Program and multiple students selected for All-State Chorus each year.

Stefanie Cash is a native of Kentucky where she received her bachelors degree at Morehead State University and her masters degree at the University of Kentucky. She began her music education career at Conkwirght Middle School in Winchester. In her third year, the choir performed for the 1999 Kentucky Music Educators Association In- Service Conference.

Mrs. Cash's commitment to professional excellence is matched by her dedication to student development and community service. She mentored select students to serve as assistant directors for freshmen choirs, conduct pieces during concerts and lead sectionals. Her choirs also led annual community service activities for local underprivileged children. Personally, Mrs. Cash has experience participating in humanitarian aid projects in multiple countries and spent two years teaching music in a school with refugee youth in London, England.

Mrs. Cash's professional studies of conducting have been with Dr. André J. Thomas, Dr. Jefferson Johnson and Dr. Richard Miles. She currently holds professional membership with the American Choral Directors Association and the Florida Music Educators Association.

Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

Artistic Director, 2008-2010

Maryland native Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy began her teaching career in the Ann Arbor public schools. After receiving a Belgian-American Education Foundation Scholarship to study horn in Belgium, Jo-Anne remained in Europe, building an extensive teaching career within the European International Schools System.

Formerly on the music staff of The International School of Brussels, Jo-Anne was most recently the Vocal Music Director at the American School of The Hague, in The Netherlands. Her work at ASH included directing six choirs and co-directing two concert bands, as well as teaching Rock Music History, Musical Theatre and directing the fifty-five voice ASH Community Choir. Jo-Anne is also the founder/music director of Het Davidkoor a subsidized thirty voice Dutch women's choir who recently celebrated their eighteenth year of holistic music making.

During her career in Europe, Dr. van der Vat-Chromy was active in AMIS - the Association of Music in International Schools. Through AMIS, she was the invited guest conductor for three international choral festivals - the 2002 Boys Treble Choir Festival in Budapest Hungary, the 2005 Girls Treble Choir Festival in Warsaw, Poland and the 2007 Mixed Choir Festival in Singapore.

Dr. van der Vat-Chromy was the recipient of a Belgian-American Education Foundation Scholarship to the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium. She holds Teacher Certification from the University of Michigan, a Masters Degree in Horn Performance from Bowling Green State University, and Bachelors in Arts in Music from St. Mary's College of Maryland. Her postgraduate studies have included course work in choral conducting, vocal performance, music education, music technology and early childhood education.

June, 2010 Jo-Anne received her doctorate in Music Education/Choral Conducting from Florida State University with Dr. André Thomas. Her research interests include the kinesthetic connections in conducting pedagogy, choral acoustic music measurement, and the sociological impact of choral cultures on student learning.

Dr. van der Vat-Chromy's dissertation is entitled...

Safety, Identity, Transmission And Enculturation:
An Investigation Of Four Formative Aspects Of Choral Cultures On Music Majors In Undergraduate Auditioned And Non-Auditioned Collegiate Choirs

Vocal Music Director at Tallahassee Community College and Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Civic Chorale 2008-2010, Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy, presently (2015) serves as the Director of Choral Activities at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA .

George Wilkerson

Assistant Director, 2007-2008


Michael Norris

Artistic Director, 2004-2008