Woodstock Community Choir Board and Staff

Artistic Director

cassandra vohs-demann

Cassandra’s love of singing and the arts came at an early age while growing up on a farm in Woodstock, IL. She is the owner of A Place to Shine Music, where for 25 years she has been teaching, performing, writing and producing music. After receiving a degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois in 1991, Cassandra continued her professional training in opera and acting in Chicago where she performed with the Grant Park Symphony, toured with The New Organization for Vocal Artistry and was an anthem soloist for the Chicago Bulls. She has had the pleasure of working with several amazing coaches and directors including Ollie Watts Davis (University of Illinois), Conductor-Donald Nally, Opera Singer-Kay Sparling and she spent 6 years training with world renowned opera singer/coach Winifred Faix Brown. She has extensive experience both as an actress and musical director and co-wrote/directed a children's musical entitled "Randolph's Dream."


In 1999 Cassandra shifted from opera to contemporary music and began focusing more on her passion for writing and performing her own original songs. Since then, she has toured as a solo performer and has been the lead vocalist for numerous rock bands. Her CD "Here I Am" was recorded at Starbell Hatchery Studio with friend, collaborator, and producer, John Hegner, and was released on October 23, 2010. The CD can be heard on Pandora Radio and is also available on iTunes.  Many of her songs have also been used to help promote area nonprofit organizations including Pioneer Center, Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, The Food Shed CO-OP and most recently, she is working on one for Mainstay Therapeutic Riding.
 

Cassandra has an original screenplay in development and has plans for a new album in 2019, as well as several other creative projects. She continues to feed her passion for teaching in her home studio in Woodstock. Cassandra performs solo and collaborates with many other area musicians.  A performer at heart, she is thrilled to be back singing regularly after a long hiatus. Cassandra loves to use her musical gifts to bring people together and build community. She is currently producing a new Second Saturday Concert Series in collaboration with the Woodstock Opera House starting in 2019. She co-hosts a monthly Original Open Mic at the Stage Left Cafe' in Woodstock partnering with Offsquare Music to give original artists a platform to share their work. She also started the Ukulele Superhero Club.  Women playing ukuleles!  In 2015 Cassandra founded the Woodstock Community Choir and continues to function as the artistic director. The choir is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is dedicated to building community through singing!  It has recently been recognized as the Official City Choir of Woodstock!  Cassandra lives in Woodstock with her husband Phil.

Assistant Director

Diane Parrish

Diane Parrish grew up with musical instruments of all kinds. Music has always been a prominent part of her life and she has served as church accompanist and hand bell choir director. Diane undertook the Choir director position at the First United Methodist Church of Kirkland where she realized how little she knew about vocal music. Cassandra Vohs-Demann encouraged Diane to join the Woodstock Community Choir in its first season and learn by being part of a choir. The Woodstock Community Choir has been a source of joy and reconnection to her musical background. Being a member of the WCC under Cassandra's dynamic conducting gave Diane insight into vocal conducting and fueled Diane's desire to learn more from Cassandra. The intern assistant director position is an opportunity to improve her skills, continue learning from Cassandra, and grow personally in music conducting. The First United Methodist church of Kirkland choir has benefitted from her learning.

Debra Anderson

Accompanist

 

Debra M. Anderson is a soon to be retired piano teacher after having taught 35 years in Woodstock. Her passion is working with students to find the joy of music making. She grew up in Naperville, Illinois where her first piano teacher was her father, Robert McCabe. Debra graduated from NIU in 1980 with a B.A. in music. She began her teaching career at North Central College in their preparatory piano department. She is married to Doug Anderson, trumpet craftsman and trumpeter. They have two grown daughters who were extremely involved in the Woodstock music and theater scenes. Debra is active as pianist, accompanist, and is part of a piano duo with fellow pianist, Danik Kooistra. They have recently recorded their first cd. She is looking forward to accompanying the Woodstock Community Choir in 2019!

President

Devon Ruhde

Devon is on her third year as a board member, starting off as the social chair before moving up into the President role.  She had prior experience with her music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, has she had been their president her senior year at Southern Illinois University, where she earned a degree in psychology.  She is currently in her second year earning her MBA in project management with Capella University.

In her free time, other than practicing music, Devon practices special effects makeup, works as a freelance event coordinator, writes, spends time with family and friends and loves to travel whenever she is able.

Secretary

Judy Stettner

Judy Stettner currently serves as the Woodstock Community Choir secretary and can be found singing with the sopranos. Outside of choir she is an active member at Tree of Life UU Congregation and is their office administrator. Judy lives in Crystal Lake with her husband, Marc, two practically grown kids, Emma and Alex, and her lab mix, Ellie, all of whom she loves a lot.  

Treasurer

Vilia Jakaitis

Music has always played a huge part in her life, from singing in Lithuanian choirs, to playing organ in church, to being on the hunt for a new favorite song to add to her collection.  It's picked her up when she was down, and was an integral part of "crying it out" (She has a playlist for everything).  She currently work as a Finance Director at Nielsen; She's also an active CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). She's also participated in the leadership of many volunteer organizations over the years (scouts, church youth ed, folk dance group, PTA, etc.).

Venue and Performance Chair

Stephanie Pleva

Stephanie currently serves as the Venue & Performance Chair.  Stephanie has always loved music and started performing at the age of seven at her church in Marengo.  She is an active member of her church choir and sings in a trio with her sisters.  She plays multiple instruments and sings soprano at church and in the Woodstock Community Choir.  Along with singing Stephanie enjoys watching movies, crafting, shopping, baking, spending time with her family, boyfriend, and four fur babies.  Stephanie works from home as a retail property manger and hairstylist.  She says joining the choir was one of the best decisions she's ever made.

Marketing Chair

kristen babchak

Music has been a part of Kristen's life since she was old enough to remember. Her first great memories including music are of dancing in her living room to the "The Oldies" with her father and mother! They introduced her to wide variety of genres that stuck with her into adulthood. She is now a fan of almost everything from pop to rock, to classical, to metal.

She started singing in an organized choir in the 3rd grade where she gained her love of singing. She has earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with a marketing focus from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Professionally, she has worked in higher education, in the online program management sector, for the past nine years. Her hobbies include travel, crafting/scrapbooking, reading, watching sports, and singing (of course).

The Woodstock Community Choir has reawakened her love for both performing and singing!

Fundraising Chair

Kathleen Bogolia

Kathy has been a member of the choir since its inception. Prior to joining, she had been looking for a fun, secular choir, but all of her attempts to find one failed. She was delighted when she found WCC, a perfect fit! She enjoys the camaraderie and pursuit of mutual purpose that a choir provides, much like her previous experience in community theater and improv did.

Once voted on the WCC board, Kathy took on the challenge of fundraising and is now in charge of corporate and foundation sponsorships.

After having been a lifelong resident of Northwest Indiana, she now lives in McHenry, with her husband Jeff and their dog, Baron. She enjoys traveling, gardening and golf and can be found in Bellingham, WA. in the summer.

Social Chair

Beth hoover

Beth Hoover is a retired music teacher. She taught for 35 years in Schaumburg, Jr. High Chorus for 16 years and 19 years at the K-6 level, finishing in 2012. In addition to singing in the Woodstock Community Choir and serving on its board she plays oboe/English horn in the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest and is also their General Manager. Twice she has been named General Manager of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras! She is a member of the Tree of Life Church Choir and The Ukulele Superhero Club. For a non-musical pursuit, she runs the McHenry County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Beth has a Bachelors in Music Education from Roosevelt University in Chicago, a Masters in Music Education from U of I (Champaign/Urbana), plus an extra 30 hours from VanderCook School of Music in Chicago.