Founding Faculty, Teen Mentors and Clergy
Peter Stoltzfus Berton
Peter Stoltzfus Berton arrived in Newport in June 2014, with the specific task of working with colleagues to establish The Choir School and to serve as organist/choirmaster of the Church of St. John the Evangelist. Previously he had directed intergenerational choir programs at St. John’s Church, West Hartford CT, All Saints Church, Worcester MA (where he grew the number of children in the program from 2 boys to 35 boys and girls in four years) and Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn Heights, NY. He grew up in Lancaster, PA and attended the music schools of The University of Michigan and Yale. Integral to his training was serving as Assistant Organist at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven, and Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York. He lives on the campus of the Church of St. John the Evangelist with his wife Jenn and two musical daughters.
Joseph Burdick is a 2014 graduate of Saint Thomas Choir School in NYC. He loves to sing, and compose music (decants, choral introits & keyboard pieces including fugues). Dr. John Scott & Ben Hutto have used some of his compositions at Saint Thomas Church, New York and at the RSCM Newport summer training course, respectively. He has studied composition and counterpoint with Scott Eyerly, Stephen Buzard, and David Shenton at Saint Thomas. He was awarded merit and distinction prizes on his ABRSM exams in piano, vocals, and theory. He plays classical piano and is a student at Bishop Hendricken Catholic High School.
Thomas Burdick, Jr.
Thomas Burdick, Jr. (brother of Joseph) is also 2014 graduate of Saint Thomas Choir School in NYC. He loves to sing, and compose music (decants, choral introits & keyboard pieces including fugues). Dr. John Scott & Ben Hutto have used some of his compositions at Saint Thomas Church, New York and at the RSCM Newport summer training course, respectively. He has studied composition and counterpoint with Scott Eyerly, Stephen Buzard, and David Shenton at Saint Thomas. He was awarded merit and distinction prizes on his ABRSM exams in piano, vocals, and theory. He plays classical piano and is a student at Bishop Hendricken Catholic High School. Thomas has played preludes at Trinity Church, Newport and at St. Luke’s in East Greenwich, RI.
Cody Mead is Director of Liturgical Music at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Newport. The music ministry at St. Mary’s has flourished, seeing significant growth in numbers and vitality since he arrived in late May of 2013. His duties at St. Mary’s include playing the organ at all four weekend Masses, directing two choirs and cantor program, teaching music in CCD classes in the Summer and Fall, coordinating funerals, and about twenty weddings per year. He is currently pursuing a degree in music education at Rhode Island College, and has studied organ with Mark Laubach and William Porter, and voice with William Decker. He lives on the Point section of Newport, and when not involved in sacred music, he has a passion for art song, opera, and chamber music.
Madeline Green is an eleventh grade student at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School. She has been affiliated with a Royal School of Church Music choir program since the age of eight, much of that time under the direction of Peter Berton. She sang with the All Saints Church St. Cecilia Choir in Worcester, MA, when they toured in Washington DC, Pennsylvania and abroad including performing in the 2008 Three Choirs Festival in England. Later she was Head Chorister at St. John’s Church, West Hartford and has made regular trips to Newport to sing and to coach younger singers. Madeline has been in a dozen theater productions in her local community, including the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors in the lead role of Amahl. She has been involved in the Western Mass Junior and Senior District chorus for three years. In summer 2013, Madeline participated in the Sound of America Honors Band and Chorus, touring Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France and Luxembourg. During this tour she performed in the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Basilica di San Marco in Venice as well as many other venues throughout Europe.
A native of Monkton, Maryland, Stephan Griffin holds a Master’s degree in Organ Performance from The University of Texas at Austin where his principal teachers were Drs. Gerre and Judith Hancock. Equally at home as a singer, he earned a BMus in Vocal Performance from Boston University, where he studied voice with Susan Ormont and has done additional studies at the Royal College of Music in London with Stephen Roberts. Stephan has been privileged to sing with ensembles including Texas Early Music Project, Ensemble Settecento (chorus master & baritone soloist), the Marsh Chapel Choir, and the Compline Choir of St. David’s Church (Austin, TX). He is currently pursuing his DMA in Organ Performance at Boston University under Peter Sykes. He joined Trinity’s staff as Director of Music in September 2013, and has established a new community-based youth choir, funded in part by a grant from the Congregational Development Commission of the Diocese of Rhode Island.
Daaé Ransom developed her love of choral singing as a member of the St. Cecilia Choir of All Saints Church, Worcester MA under Peter Berton. Some of her most memorable choir moments were singing in the 2008 England tour in the cathedrals of Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford, and more recently with the choir of St. John’s Church, West Hartford at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. She sings with the 180-voice Hartford Chorale Symphonic Chorus, under the direction of Richard Coffey presenting several choral masterworks with orchestra each season. She dances at Massachusetts Academy of ballet, and attends Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School.
Waylon Whitley is an Episcopal musician who most recently served as organist and choirmaster at St. Michael’s, Bristol, from 2007 to 2012. At St. Michael’s he built a successful program consisting of an adult vocal choir, an extremely active RSCM program, an Angel Choir for children ages 4 to 7, and a handbell ensemble. After leaving St. Michael’s he spent a year in residence at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Waylon has served on the organizing committee of the RSCM Newport Course since its inception in 2010 and has served as Head Proctor for the Course in 2012 and 2013. An active performer and composer, he holds degrees in music and journalism from the University of Georgia and Rhode Island College.
The Reverend Nathan J.A. Humphrey
Before accepting the call as Vicar of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Newport in 2013, Fr. Humphrey was Priest-in-Charge at Saint Paul’s Parish, K Street, in Washington, DC, noted for its choir school program. Fr. Humphrey grew up in Southern California and attended Saint John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and Yale Divinity School. He is married to Anne Stone, originally from Newburyport, Massachusetts, formerly a senior editor at National Geographic and currently a freelance communications consultant. The Humphreys have two elementary-aged children, a girl (who is a Professional Chorister) and a boy.
The Reverend Canon Anne Marie Richards
The Rev. Canon Anne Marie Richards was called as the 30th Rector of Trinity Church, Newport in May 2010 – the first woman to hold that position. A graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary, she previously served as Associate Rector at Trinity Church, Princeton, NJ, home to one of the finest choral music programs in the country. In the Diocese of Rhode Island, she has served on Diocesan Council and the Bishop’s Search and Nominating Committee. Beyond Rhode Island, she is actively involved in the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes and Gathering of Leaders. Before entering seminary, Anne Marie worked for several years as a lay school chaplain and teacher at St. John’s Episcopal School in Olney, Maryland; and, prior to that, spent many years in the non-profit professional theatre world. Anne Marie and her husband Brook have two sons – Malcolm, age 21 and Max, a former Trinity Princeton Chorister, age 19.
The Reverend Dr. Anita Louise Schell
The Rev. Dr. Anita Louise Schell has been Rector of Emmanuel Church, Newport since 2010. She holds degrees in music, English literature, and world religions from Brown University, General Seminary and Episcopal Divinity School, where she wrote her doctoral thesis on the topic of environmental justice. She is the President of RI Interfaith Power & Light, and serves on the board of the Brown University Council, as President to the Diocese of Rhode Island’s Standing Committee and as the Episcopal denominational representative to the RI State Council of Churches. She also sings in the early music consort Ecclesia.