Michele Alford, Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Hopewell Valley Youth Chorale; Director of the Concert Choir, received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College in Princeton and her Master of Education degree with an emphasis in Music Education Research from Temple University in Philadelphia. She also holds Kodaly Certification from Westminster Choir College and Orff-Schulwerk Certification from SUNY at Potsdam and St. Thomas University in Minnesota.
Ms. Alford has directed children’s choir festivals and lead workshops and seminars on children’s choirs and music education pedagogy and techniques. She led the youth music ministry program at the Pennington Presbyterian Church for twenty years and was the Musicianship Training Instructor for Albemarle, a summer music program at The American Boychoir School for fifteen years. Currently, Ms. Alford teaches vocal music at Hopewell Elementary School.
Ingrid Ladendorf, Director of the Preparatory Choir, lived and taught in Manhattan for 16 years, at The Diller-Quaile School of Music before moving to New Jersey in 2010. At Diller-Quaile, she held positions including: Musicianship Department Head, Curriculum Development Specialist, Undergraduate and Graduate level Teacher Training Course Instructor. She is currently the Early Childhood Advisor, Rug Concert Program Director and Summer Music Institute Director. Ms. Ladendorf has several years experience in the preschool classroom teaching inclusion classes for children on the autism spectrum. She currently conducts the Joyful Noise Choir in Princeton, NJ, and is an Adjunct at TCNJ where she teaches the K-8 Music Education Practicum and serves as a Student Teaching Supervisor.
Ms. Ladendorf’s performance career has included solo recitals, concerts, and staged productions of musicals, and operettas at theaters across the United States. She received her B.M. with dual degrees in Classical Vocal Performance and Music Education, with New York State certification from Ithaca College, and her M.A. in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She enjoys presenting at local and national conferences on topics related to children and developing musicianship.
Born and raised in Northern California, Jennifer Ghannam, Managing Director, landed in New Jersey six years ago by way of Chicago, Illinois. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Davis and her Master of Education at DePaul University.
Having created her own business from conception to fruition, Jennifer comes to HVYC with resourcefulness, mad organizational skills, and the drive to get things done. When she isn’t at her toy shop, she likes spending time outside gardening, running, hiking and occasionally lying in her hammock. She also bakes a mean snickerdoodle.
Jennifer happily lives in Hopewell with her husband, Ameen, their two spunky sixth graders, Amelia and Lilah, Maisy the dog and Linus the cat.
Patrick Fink, Accompanist, was born in Pittsburgh, PA and began studying classical piano at age five with Ron Bickel (Duquesne University) and Ralph Zitterbart (Carnegie Mellon University). He then moved to Philadelphia in 2007 and earned a degree in jazz piano from Temple University. Patrick has performed with Benny Golson, Karrin Allyson, Nicholas Payton, Wycliffe Gordon, Ralph Lalama, Larry McKenna, Mary Ellen Desmond, and others. Patrick released an album of original jazz music in 2012 called Sedgwick Sessions. In 2015, Patrick arranged and recorded the Debussy song cycle Ariettes Oubliées with soprano Diana Corliss. He has recently completed tours of Massachusetts and England as the staff accompanist at Rancocas Valley High School. Patrick also accompanies and teaches piano at the Pennington, Lawrenceville, and Friends’ Central schools. Patrick currently studies with Tom Lawton and takes jazz gigs throughout the Philadelphia area as a leader, soloist and sideman.