Meet our dedicated and professional artistic staff
Meghan Alfaro, a St. Petersburg native, is a lyric soprano and music educator. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University. She is also a graduate of St. Petersburg College and St. Petersburg Catholic High School. She is an active performer in the Tampa Bay area, having performed with Florida Pro Musica, Herald Vocal Arts, and the St. Petersburg Opera Company. In addition to her vocal experience, she has been an elementary school music teacher for Pinellas County Schools for 13 years. Currently the music teacher at Northwest Elementary School in St. Petersburg, she teaches general music, chorus, and world drumming. She also serves Pinellas County Schools at the district level, serving on multiple curriculum and learning cadres. She has twice been a presenter at the Florida Music Educator’s Association state workshop, and an adjudicator for the elementary all state auditions. She was a finalist for the Pinellas County Elementary Music Educator of the Year in 2010. Mrs. Alfaro was thrilled to serve as the guest conductor for the 2013 Pinellas All County Elementary Honors Chorus, and regularly has students selected for All State Elementary Chorus. In 2015, Mrs. Alfaro was nominated for Pinellas County Outstanding Educator of the Year. She is married and the mother of two wonderful children, a girl and a boy.
Highly sought after as a soloist and chamber musician, soprano, Ruthie Nelson, has captivated critics and audiences alike with her “unerring” performances of concert and operatic literature that “cast a spell of sublime simplicity.” Nelson was named the Florida Female Vocalist of the Year by the Florida Federation of Music Clubs and credited by the Tampa Tribune as “memorizing” and was a “high point” in the performance of Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light. Nelson is no stranger to the recording studio. She is on the Grammy nominated recording of The Brahms Requiem with Miami based Seraphic Fire.Nelson received her Masters in Music in Vocal Performance at the University of South
Florida. Nelson has been a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, Nelson is on the voice faculty at the College of Central Florida and Patel Conservatory, the director of the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus and The Ocala Children’s Chorus, has a private voice studio, and is a soloist at the First Presbyterian Church of Tampa.
Barbara Ott, is a graduate of Florida State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Ms. Ott taught general music and chorus at the elementary level in Miami for five years. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Choral Conducting at University of South Florida where she directs the Honors College Choir and co-directs the Women’s Ensemble. As a performer, Ms. Ott has sung at Carnegie Hall with several choirs and has performed with the featured artist Andrea Bocelli on numerous occasions. Her professional affiliations include the American Choral Director’s Association, Music Educator’s National Conference, and Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity.
Charissa Denham, a Tampa native, is an adjunct professor at Trinity College of Florida where she serves as the choral director and teaches applied piano and voice. She also provides private piano and voice instruction at Bigel Music. Ms. Denham received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano and Voice Performance Summa Cum Laude from Florida Southern College where she studied piano under Dr. Robert MacDonald and voice under Professor Diane Stahl and received vocal coaching from Professor Beverly Wolff. Ms. Denham completed her Master of Music degree in piano performance at The Boston Conservatory under the instruction of Professor Jung-Ja Kim and Dr. Jonathan Bass. Ms. Denham has been a member of the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus, the New Singers of Tampa Bay, and The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and participated in the 2009 Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. She is currently a member of the Richard Zielinski Singers.
Averill Summer is the Founder of the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus and a retired Associate Professor of Piano at the University of South Florida. Dr. Summer holds the Masters and Doctor of Music degrees from Indiana University. She is active as a clinician, lecturer, and recitalist, and has performed in the United States and Europe. Dr. Summer has served as guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator for the American Choral Directors Association, Royal School of Church Music, Music Teacher’s National Association, and the Florida Music Educators Association, and is an Artist-Teacher in the Choral Music Experience Program.