Header photo (l to r): Anita Massengill, Iris Hiskey Arno, Susan Saslow, Claire Collins, Virginia Kaycoff, Patty Ko, Marie Caruso (Artistic Director), Mary Peck, Kimberly Dunkin, Julia Perrin, Amy Yoshizumi, Brenna O’Toole, Kathleen McClafferty. Photo taken by Gill Anderson, September 2019.
MARIE CARUSO (ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) is a native New Yorker and lives in Hastings. She is a teacher emeritus of music and art history at the all-girls St. Vincent Ferrer High School in New York City. She was awarded a Doctorate by Teachers College, Columbia University, in 2014. Dr. Caruso is now an adjunct professor at Hunter College and continues to do archival research on women composers from 18th-century Italy. She has published with the journal Il Saggiatore Musicale and has contributed research on composer Tarquinia Molsa in Mary Hays, Female Biography. Dr. Caruso is in contract with Steglein Press to publish a conference presentation and in contract with Furore Verlag to publish a modern edition of Maria Rosa Coccia (1759–1833): Ten Extemporaneous Fugues and Vingt Menuets Pour le Clavecin. She has performed with many vocal groups, including Amor Artis, Collegium Musicum with director Russell Oberlin, and the New Calliope Singers. She is a founding member of Angelica.
IRIS HISKEY ARNO toured Europe, the US, and Canada as the singer in the Philip Glass Ensemble and performed in the composer’s operas Einstein on the Beach (European opera houses, Metropolitan Opera) and Satyagraha (the Netherlands Opera, ArtPark, BAM). She appeared as soloist with the Schola Antiqua, Columbia University Collegium Musicum, Hartford Chamber Symphony, Sacramento Symphony, and Peter Schickele, and sang back-up on albums for Judy Collins and Mike Oldfield. Her writing credits include arts-related articles for The New York Times and the Rivertowns Enterprise, as well as nine children’s books.
CLAIRE COLLINS began her vocal career in middle school with the Cathedral Choristers of St. John the Divine in NYC. When her family moved to Croton, she joined the Westchester Girls’ Choir and the Croton Chorale, frequently soloing with both groups. While obtaining her B.A. in music (2008) at Colby College, she toured Europe with the Colby College Chorale, and she has also soloed with Collegium Musicum. She is the assistant director of the Croton Chorale, and conductor of the Bethel Bells at Asbury Methodist Church in Croton. She is currently working toward a Master’s Degree in Music Education at Lehman College and teaches at the Bennett Conservatory of Music in Croton.
KIMBERLY DUNKIN keeps herself busy as a classical pianist/accompanist, performing solo repertoire and accompanying numerous concerts, festivals, and recitals throughout the area. As a vocalist, she has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She is a middle school choral/general music teacher in the Hendrick Hudson School District, where she also serves as the district’s music department chairperson. Additionally, she is a certified NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) piano adjudicator. Ms. Dunkin holds a BM in Music Education from Ithaca College and an MA in Music Education from Columbia University. She was recently recognized by SUNY New Paltz as one of eight teachers in the Hudson Valley for outstanding work in the field of education.
VIRGINIA KAYCOFF, an East Village denizen and native Manhattanite, has long been avocationally involved in early music and ensemble singing. She has sung and/or played viola da gamba and other early instruments in many groups, including the Renaissance Street Singers, Canticum Novum, Music Divine, Polyhymnia, Amuse, I Giuliari di Piazza, and the Philadelphia-based Bloom Consort. She is a founding member of the New York Continuo Collective, CantaNYC, and the early-music trio Choraulos. Her newest project is resurrecting early-20th-century songs with the help of her vintage Martin ukulele.
PATTY KO, singer (alto) and flautist, grew up in the Rivertowns, where she participated in all of the open and selective school choirs and bands she could find, performing a range of music including classical and jazz. Ms. Ko received her bachelor’s degree in French & Linguistics at NYU before falling into a career in expatriate tax return preparation. Three years ago, after living in London and New York City, she returned to the Rivertowns with her husband and two sons. She sang with Constanza Chorus while living in London.
ANITA MASSENGILL grew up in New Orleans. She studied piano and music theory at Louisiana State University and Loyola University New Orleans before moving to New York and studying at Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Massengill has taught piano, and she is currently choir director at Metro Baptist Church in Manhattan.
KATHLEEN MCCLAFFERTY was a biomedical engineer in Boston before moving to NYC to focus on music. She performs in many genres, including classical, opera, musical theatre, jazz, folk, pop, and cabaret. Favorite roles include Anne (A Little Night Music) and Casilda (The Gondoliers). Ms. McClafferty was a soloist at Italy’s Orvieto Musica Chamber Music Festival, and she sang with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus for the Boston Symphony and with the Dessoff Choirs for the NY Philharmonic. She performed in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at Radio City, and she sang back-up for Ray Davies (of The Kinks) on tour. She has also performed with Chelsea Opera and Khorikos.
BRENNA O’TOOLE is an artist, calligrapher, and musician in Croton-on-Hudson. Her family introduced her to music at a young age, and she grew up learning classical piano, playing traditional Irish fiddle, and singing with various choirs, including the Cathedral Choir School of Greater Rochester. Ms. O’Toole is currently a member of 1601: The Queen’s Singers and the Croton Chorale, and she occasionally performs with Tullamore Celtic Band in Rochester, NY.
MARY PECK holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Education from the Crane School of Music at Potsdam College. She has performed with Carolina Voices’ Festival Singers and MainStage Choir, Opera Carolina, and Collegium Westchester. She has spent many years as a worship leader in Carmel, NY and Pretoria, South Africa. Ms. Peck is a Nationally Certified Reflexologist with a practice based in Cold Spring and White Plains. In addition, Ms. Peck teaches knitting and crochet to children and adults.
JULIA PERRIN recently moved to the Rivertowns from Brooklyn and is Angelica’s newest member. She grew up in Germany and sang in various choirs there before taking an inadvertently long break from music during her time in graduate school. Dr. Perrin obtained her Ph.D. in German literature from Columbia University in 2012 and has since taught German at Columbia, Vassar College, and Manhattan School of Music. Currently, her doctoral cap can be found in her kids’ trunk of dress-up clothes, and she is happy in her role as a stay-at-home mom of three. In recent years, she has sung with the Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale and with Amuse Singers.
SUSAN SASLOW, a retired attorney, lives in Katonah, New York, with her husband, Ron Younkins. She has sung with Angelica since 2001. Before that, she performed with several other vocal groups, including the Université d’Aix-Marseille Chorale, Aix-en-Provence, France; the New Calliope Singers; and Charis. Ms. Saslow holds a master’s degree in French Literature/Language from New York University and a JD from Brooklyn Law School. She currently teaches English at Neighbors Link in Mount Kisco, NY.
AMY YOSHIZUMI grew up in Portland, Oregon. She sang in every school choir and competitive ensemble available. She attended Portland State University as a music and vocal performance major. In 2006 she moved to New York City to attend AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) for musical theatre. Since then, she has been a member of the Star Theatre Company as well as a performer in freelance musical theatre and classical revues around NYC. Ms. Yoshizumi is currently a career bartender in Manhattan and lives with her husband in Peekskill, NY.