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Meet some of the Members of the Livonia Civic Chorus

Livonia Civic Chorus

Jeff Swan

Our Director...
Our new Music Director, is a native of Livonia, Michigan. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Central Michigan University. Jeff has sung in choirs for more than 40 years at Interlochen Arts Camp, Central Michigan University, Schoolcraft College, and with the Measure for Measure Men’s Chorus and the Michigan Gospel Singers to name a few. With the Michigan Gospel Singers Jeff toured England, Scotland, and Switzerland.
Jeff has acquired his conducting skills through study and performances with well known Choral Directors such as Dr. Jerry Smith, Dr. Jerry Blackstone, Maynard J. Klein, Dr. Kenneth Jewell, and Dr. Nina Nash Robertson just to name a few.
The Livonia Civic Chorus is pleased that Mr. Swan has joined us in this leadership position. We look forward to a continued association as he guides this group of volunteer avocational singers who "Love to Sing".

Kimberly Swan

Our Accompanist…

Kimberly is our new Accompanist. Kimberly is a native of Livonia, Michigan. A graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, she holds two degrees in vocal performance. She has appeared in supportive and leading roles in operas and musicals for over twenty-five years.
Kimberly has appeared as the soprano soloist with the Michigan Gospel Singers in numerous concerts throughout Europe. She has attended the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Italy where she studied and performed numerous operatic programs. Since returning to the area, Kimberly frequently appears in the Metro-Detroit area as a concert soloist and an operatic soprano.
Pertinent to this position, Kimberly started her piano studies at the age of seven. By age fifteen, Kimberly continued her pianist pursuits at the University of Michigan. She currently maintains both private and professional vocal studios that provide individual lessons to more than sixty students. She often accompanies her vocal students for music competitions and performances. Kimberly now serves as Professor of Voice for Marygrove College in Detroit.

Our 2016-2017 Chorus Board/Officers
Peggy Gaskill, President
Kathleen Chichester-Akey, Vice President
Cynthia Windecker, Secretary
Suzanne Cassady, Treasurer
Kim Alderman, Librarian
Donna Gleason, Ex-Officio

Peggy Gaskill

Peggy Gaskill, President
Dr. Peggy Gaskill is currently an independent consultant engaged in educational reform initiatives at middle and high schools. She consults as a Program Development Project Manager at Michigan Virtual University® for the development of online learning experiences for students and teachers.

Dr. Gaskill has been the Associate Dean of the Walden University College of Education, the largest graduate program for educators in the United States. Her primary focus was the Master of Science in Education Program. Prior to joining Walden, Dr. Gaskill was at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where she was a professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Professional Development and founder and director of a major W.K. Kellogg-funded initiative called "Michigan Schools in the Middle," a center for excellence in middle level teacher preparation and professional development. She was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators. She was also a mathematics teacher in Livonia and Detroit.

As she considered retirement, Peggy was interested in developing some hobbies. Her first choice was singing with the Livonia Civic Chorus which she has enjoyed for nine years. She is supported in this pursuit by her husband of 52 years, Dick, son Mark and his wife Kelly, son Alan, and grandchildren, Katelynn, Joseph, and Jack. The entire Gaskill family are long-time residents of Livonia.

Kathleen Chichester-Akey

Kathleen Chichester-Akey, Vice President
Kathleen has been an active musician since the age of 8 when she started singing with her church youth choir. Since then she has appeared on stage around the country and been involved with Church Choirs in three states, including a stint as Music Director at her church in Novi, MI. A member of that choir led her to join Livonia Civic Chorus in the Fall of 2011 and she has been active ever since as a singer, dancer, show coordinator and choreographer.

Kathleen's love and excitement extends to her family where in the Spring of 2012 her husband Steve decided to join the chorus as well.

Cynthia Windecker

Cynthia Windecker, Secretary
Cynthia has been singing since childhood as a member of church and school choirs. After graduating from university, she began working in the financial services industry, where she recently retired after more than 35 years in the business. Formerly a manager at DFCU Financial, she decided she wished to give back to the community, and joined the Livonia Civic Chorus in 2008. She has been Secretary since 2010.

Cynthia is a member of Chirst our Savior Lutheran Church (Livonia), where she is a member of the Festival choir. She lives in Canton with her husband of 31 years, Mark. They have threee sons aged 25 to 29.

Suzanne Cassady

Suzanne Cassady, Treasurer
Suzanne Cassady joined the Livonia Civic Chorus in Fall of 1996. Right out of the gate, she auditioned for a part in her first Spring production and snagged the role of Lulu Bufont, saloon singer, in "How the West was Sung." In subsequent shows, she was a Swing Sister in "Jump in Time" and Elaine Change, traffic reporter and telethon co-host, in "Dial M for Music." Not only has Suzanne been active singing and acting on stage, she has served as Vice President, Treasurer and President on the Chorus Board. Her accounting background and business experience were useful in achieving our 501(c)(3) status and she continues to keep a mindful watch on the Chorus finances. Suzanne has been married to Kevin for 31 years and they have two wonderful daughters.

Kim Alderman

Kim Alderman, Librarian
Kim lives in Westland with her husband of 30 years. She has 2 boys, 2 daughter-in-law and a grandson, that have supported her throughout the years. Kim is currently employed at Meadowbrook Insurance Group as a data entry clerk.

Kim has been a part of this chorus since the age of 9, when her father joined the chorus. She has been a very active part of the group ever since. She started out by collecting tickets and passing out programs at concerts, also assisted with selling tickets in the ticket booth, assisted with costume changes, and moving sets during half time for concerts, all before joining the chorus in 1979. During Kim's membership she has served on several Board of Directors as secretary, President and several times as librarian. With the skills that she has developed at her place of employment, she believes that this has prepared her for the current position of Librarian of the Chorus.

Her favorite memories were singing in ensemble groups with her father and duets with her younger brother who was also a member of the chorus. She also enjoys the many friendships that she has made over her 35 years as a Chorus member.

Profiles of Other Chorus Members…this section will grow as information is received.

Hank Kanar

In his 52nd year...
Our Charter Member Hank Kanar

Hank Kanar...Fifty-one Years with the LCC
None of the original members like Charter Member Hank Kanar would have thought that fifty-one years after the inception of the LCC it would still exist much less be as strong and vibrant as it is today. Certainly there were times of discord and stress, but there were strong elements that kept the chorus intact. These remain today. The people who make up the membership, although coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences, share many things in common such as a love of choral music, the enjoyment of entertaining a live audience, a sense of community responsibility and the pleasure of sharing these things with others of a like mind.

When Hank scans through programs of past performances or listen to tapes, CDs, or views DVDs recorded over the years, a lot of memories arise. Memories of people singing outstanding solos, duets, and group numbers, great choreography, costumes and sets. There are memories of long rehearsals and anxious moments too, but these don’t seem so important when at the end of a performance the audience is on its feet applauding. There is something truly satisfying in all of this. Hank says, "I would not have missed it for all the world."

Kim (Meyer) Alderman (joined 1979)
Kurt Meyer (joined 1982)
Sister and brother, Kim and Kurt Meyer were introduced to the chorus as children because their father joined in 1969. As a result of his involvement with the chorus, Kim and Kurt were able to observe their father’s enjoyment of, and love for music. His enthusiasm was very infectious and grew in them as well.

Kim started her singing experience as a child in the children’s church choir and continued through middle school and high school. Kurt started his singing experience in the children’s choir at church as well, stopped to join the band in middle school, then picked singing up again in high school. Having this background and their parents’ influence in their lives, joining the chorus at an early age was a natural choice. Many of the chorus members who had become close family friends made it a very comfortable choice as well. One of the distinguishing features of the LCC is that we memorize all the music. This is important in relating to the audience. The chorus members get to share their feelings and emotions, which makes for a better performance for the audience as well as the performers. Another important characteristic of the LCC is the choreography. Having movement on stage keeps the audience involved and in return keeps the chorus members energized and able to give a better performance. Many members have commented through the years that the LCC is their weekly therapy session, a place to enjoy and make friends, and let the troubles of the day fall by the wayside. These characteristics have kept Kim and Kurt coming back year after year.

A fond memory as children was passing out programs, collecting tickets at the door, moving props backstage, and helping with costume changes during show time. A Chorus member’s family involvement is a big part of the LCC social environment. Kim and Kurt have tried to instill this feeling in their own families and have the third generation of singers eager to join.

Watch for more Chorus Profiles!

Chorus Tenure...
As of our 50th Anniversary Year in May 2015 our Livonia Civic Chorus of 63 members has devoted many years to providing choral listening for the citizens of our community.

Length Number
40-50 years 2
30-40 years 6
20-30 years 6
10-20 years 15
1-10 years 34

Livonia Civic Chorus Members participate in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Livonia Symphony Orchestra on September 27, 2012.

From left: Laura Williams, Bill Joyner, Cynthia Windecker, Kim Alderman, and Lewis Williams.
Back row left: Sue Cassady, Deb Bonde, Cynthia Windecker
Front row left: Kim Alderman, Peggy Gaskill, and Jennifer Perry