Chorus Abilene

Who We Are

Chorus Abilene, Inc. (formerly known as The Classical Chorus of Abilene, Inc.) and its mission to promote choral music through performance and participation, began in 1990 with a 23 member adult chorus as the dream of Dr. Betty Karol Wilson. Since that time, they have added youth choirs and a pop style a cappella group, and now consist of singers, first grade through adult, in four different ensembles, from all over the Big Country. Between the youth and adult choirs, Chorus Abilene has toured internationally to Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Greece, and the Caribbean.

Our People

Staff

Executive Director

Abigail Payne

Abigail is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she earned a Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano as a student of Allison Gagnon. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Piano from Abilene Christian University and also studied with pianist/coach Dale Fundling of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

As an active pianist, Abigail has been a performing participant at the Vancouver International Song Institute and has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist in masterclasses with distinguished musicians such as Thomas Pasatieri, Rachel Barton-Pine, Aldo Mancinelli, Cameron Stowe, Lee Thompson, Lenora Eve, Eugenia Grunwald, Mary Saunders-Barton, Anton Nel, Rudolf Rudnynstky, and Joyce Farwell. She has a passion for opera and has been a pianist/coach and musical director for Opera Breve, Red River Lyric, and the Hardin-Simmons University opera program. She is currently the collaborative artist in residence for the Church of the Heavenly Rest Chamber Music Concert Series.

Abigail has a passion for arts education and young people and is particularly looking forward to reaching out to students in the Big Country and introducing them to the youth choruses of Chorus Abilene. While Abigail enjoys an active career as a professional musician and arts administator, she says her most important job is being mother to her daughter, Josephine.

Conductor of the Classical Chorus

Dee Romines

Dee Romines, associate professor of choral music education, earned the Bachelor of Science degree in instrumental music education from the University of Tennessee, the Master of Music in choral conducting from the Eastman School of Music, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His principal teachers were Dr. Eph Ehly, Dr. W J Julian, Dr. Donald Neuen, and Dr. Charles Robinson. At HSU, Romines teaches courses in choral music education, undergraduate and graduate conducting, supervises student teachers, directs the HSU Chorale, and assists with all aspects of the choral program. Prior to his appointment at HSU, Romines held similar music education positions at the University of Georgia and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. From 1987 to 1998, he was the academy choral director at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Additional experience includes teaching elementary, middle, and high school instrumental music in Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri, as well as directing church and community choirs. Professional affiliations: American Choral Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Pi Kappa Lambda.

Conductor of Youth Chorus and Chorale

Adam Samuels

Joining the St Paul staff in 2007, Adam leads the music ministry and is Executive Producer for the weekly Broadcasts. He is also a Conductor for Chorus Abilene’s Youth Chorus and Youth Chorale. Prior to Abilene, Adam served churches in Weatherford, Cleburne, and Corsicana; accepting his first church position in 1993. The first time Adam lived in Abilene was to study for the Bachelor of Music in Church Music at McMurry University. He is frequently a judge and clinician for choral events. In addition to Texas, his ensembles have performed in Brady, Stephenville, Dallas, New Orleans, London, Paris, Salzburg, Prague, and Vienna; not in that order, nor all in one trip.
Adam is married to Holly, and teacher at the AISD Magnet Program at McMurry Univesity. They have two daughters, Rigby and Hazel, and a son, David. As a family, they enjoy watching movies and planning trips to the mountains, the lake, the river, or the beach. Adam is fluent in pop-culture references spanning most Galaxies and Middle Earth, identifies Wookie-Hobbit, and is still waiting on his letter from Hogwarts.
Director of BackBeat

Serayah Peters

Serayah Peters received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education (Choral) Grades EC-12 from Hardin-Simmons University. She has been a music director for Clyde High School’s musicals for the past five years, as well as been on the stage multiple times herself. Her last roles were Marmee in HSU’s production of Little Women the Musical, and Anna Glawari in the HSU’s production of an operetta, The Merry Widow. Serayah is also currently the Box Office Supervisor for the Abilene Philharmonic. She keeps herself busy in the fine arts in order to allow herself to grow and gain more experience. Serayah is currently a voice teacher where she trains singers in classical, musical theatre, and even commercial music. She is also the director of Chorus Abilene’s brand new a cappella ensemble, BackBeat. She also finds time to perform her own gigs as a soloist. She most recently won the Jerry Herman Legacy Contest and was featured as a guest soloist to perform with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra.

Accompanists

Classical Chorus

Shirley Anderson

Shirley J. Anderson, accompanist for the Adult Chorus, is an honor graduate of Hardin-Simmons University with Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Music. While a student she was recipient of the Dean’s Honor Award, the SAI scholarship, and winner of the TMTA Composition Contest. Mrs. Anderson has maintained a successful independent piano studio in Abilene for 37 years, teaching preschool through adult students. Abilene Music Teachers Association selected Mrs. Anderson as Teacher of the Year in 1979, 1984, and 2003. In 1995 Texas Music Teachers Association presented her the prestigious award for Outstanding Pre-College Teaching. Mrs. Anderson has held numerous offices in AMTA and during her presidency in 2002, Abilene MTA was chosen as the Outstanding Local Association of the Year by Music Teachers National Association. Shirley Anderson teaches class piano and serves as a staff accompanist at Hardin-Simmons University. She is the pianist at Lytle South Baptist Church. She is married to chorus charter member Marcus Anderson. They have a daughter April (Mrs. Bill) Darroch and two grandchildren, Hannah and Samuel.
Youth Chorus & Youth Chorale

Van Hayes

Van Hayes has accompanied the Chorus Abilene Youth choirs since 1995. He is the organist at Aldersgate United Methodist Church and teaches music at Wylie Elementary School. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from McMurry College and his Orff Schulwerk training in music education at Southern Methodist University. In 2005, he was voted Teacher of the Year at Wylie Intermediate School. In 2014, he was voted runner up for favorite teacher in the Abilene Reporter News Readers' Choice Awards. His wife, Kristy, is a retired Wylie Choir Director & Elementary Music Teacher.