Dr. Benjamin Hutchens, Managing Artistic Director
… is a native of Statesville, North Carolina. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Furman University.
Currently, Dr. Hutchens is also the Director of Music Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria. At Westminster, he conducts a 60 voice adult choir, multiple handbell ensembles, a robust graded children’s choir program, and serves as organist.
Ensembles under Dr. Hutchen’s direction have enjoyed a warm reception at national and international concerts and received top awards at the same.
He is a resident of Takoma Park. When not making music, he enjoys travel, cooking, and sailing.
Kay Sidahmed, Musicianship Instructor
…is the Kinderchoir’s founder and former director. Ms. Sidahmed has several years of experience leading early childhood music classes in the area and has taught music in the elementary school classroom setting. She is a classically trained soprano, who has embraced choral singing her entire life, and she currently sings with the choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria. Ms. Sidahmed, who holds a doctoral degree in Agricultural Sciences and is a devoted yoga teacher and practicioner, lives in Del Ray with her husband and two children.
Yeri Jang, Accompanist
… is an accomplished organist and pianist who has served in many music ministries and choruses. As a recitalist, Ms. Jang’s performances have been featured in the DC and Baltimore metro areas as well as in Austria and South Korea. She received her Master of Music degree in Organ Performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she was awarded the Bruce R. Eicher Prize in Organ. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Church Music with a concentration in Organ Performance from Seoul Theological University in South Korea. She also studied at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts in Austria.
Currently, Ms. Jang is the Organist at First Christian Church in Falls Church.
Emily Roberts, Intern
…is a senior at T.C. Williams High School and has studied piano since she was 7 years old. In addition to her interest in journalism and creative writing, Emily has furthered her love of music by volunteering with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Chorus of Washington. Emily enjoys working with young students to help them develop their love of choral music and the performing arts. She is thrilled for this opportunity to work with Dr. Hutchens and The Alexandria Kinderchoir in their 2018-19 season.
Melissa LaSalle, Board President
…spent much of her childhood and young adult years singing in choirs, musical theater, and the shower. She is delighted to share this love with her daughter, Emily, who seemed to come into the world singing and eagerly joined the Kinderchoir in the spring of 2017. With a professional background in children’s literature, Melissa currently authors the website, WhatToReadToYourKids.com, where she curates newly-published children’s books for the benefit of parents and teachers. Melissa brings to Kinderchoir many years of fundraising on behalf of her children’s Montessori schools. Melissa and her family relocated from Chicago to Virginia in 2010 and have found in Alexandria a warm, vibrant, and intellectually curious community. She is thrilled to be helping the Kinderchoir serve such a special community.
Bridget Baker-White, Board Vice-President
… has participated in a variety of choral groups over the past 30 years, ranging from community choruses to the University of Chicago Motet Choir. She is also an attorney with prior environmental and family law practices and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. In her spare time, Bridget loves to camp and hike with her husband and two children – and, of course, to sing! She currently sings with the Alexandria Choral Society.
Melynda Dovel Wilcox, Board Secretary
… is a 25-year resident of Alexandria and a two-time past president of the Alexandria PTA Council. A freelance writer and editor, she blogs about issues related to Alexandria public schools at Port City Notebook. She also serves as co-vice-president of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees.
Stefan Sidahmed, Board Treasurer
…has nonprofit management experience as Board Chair of the Potomac Crescent Waldorf School from 2012 – 2014. Stefan spent 20 years in the US Navy operating and repairing nuclear submarines and managing submarine programs. He has been with Booz Allen Hamilton since 2012 providing program management consulting services. Stefan is a graduate of the US Naval Academy (BSEE), The Pennsylvania State University (MSEE), and The George Washington University (MBA – Finance Focus).