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GCCC Music & Executive Team

Grand Cities Children's Choir aims to Inspire Excellence in its members. The conductors, collaborative pianists, and staff are the driving forces behind the choir - pouring their passion, love, and artistry into the choir.

Melanie Popejoy

Founder, Conductor of Primo Voce
(701) 777-2818 melanie.popejoy@und.edu Melanie Popejoy is Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of North Dakota where she conducts the Allegro Women’s Choir and Vivo Chamber Ensemble, and instructs courses in Choral Music Education Methods and Music Fundamentals. In addition, she is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Grand Cities Children’s Choir, serving as co-conductor of the Primo Voce choir. She has taught in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas prior to coming to North Dakota. In her 32 years of teaching, Mrs. Popejoy has taught at the elementary, middle school, high school, and collegiate levels. She has conducted numerous honor and festival ensembles, and served as an adjudicator. Mrs. Popejoy has earned numerous teaching awards throughout her career, including selection as the Raytown South Middle School (MO) Teacher of the Year; Meadowbrook Elementary (TX) Teacher of the Year; Waco Independent School District (TX) Teacher of the Year; the DeLay Middle School (TX) Teacher of the Year; Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club North Dakota Teacher of the YearDistinguished Alumnus award from the Central Missouri State University Department of Music; an Athena Award for Professional Excellence and Community Leadership; North Dakota Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Leadership Award; Grand Forks Thursday Music Club Gold Note Award; the Phenomenal Woman Awardfrom UND Multicultural Student Services; and selection as the North Dakota Choral Director of the Year.

Amy DeWitt

Director, Primo Voce

Amy DeWitt is in her thirteenth year of teaching elementary music. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Dakota and her Masters degree in Music Education from North Dakota State University. Amy earned a certificate of Kodaly Mastery from Minnesota State University-Moorhead and also completed Level III Orff training at the University of St. Thomas. Currently, she teaches K-5 elementary music and chorus at Century Elementary School in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She lives in Grand Forks with her husband Kyle of ten years and their cat, Lily.

Jack Boyer

Director, Primo Voce

Jack Boyer is currently serving as the Elementary Music Specialist and Director of Bands for the Emerado Public School District in Emerado, ND. Prior to this position he was Director of Bands and Choirs for Larimore Public Schools in Larimore, ND. During his five-year tenure at Larimore, his band and choir students received high accolades at both the regional and state level in Small and Large Ensemble competition. His students have been selected to participate in regional, state, and national level honor bands and choirs. Under his direction, the Larimore High School choir completed two performance tours, including a performance at Carnegie Hall with GCCC in 2020 and was selected as the North Dakota Governor’s Chorus through a blind audition process for the 2021-2022 school year. Mr. Boyer also serves as the Sanctuary Choir director at Sharon Lutheran Church, a position he has held for three years. He formerly directed the Chancellor Choir of Augustana Lutheran Church for four years. A graduate of the University of North Dakota in May 2016, he plans to finish his Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of South Dakota in August of 2022. When he’s not directing choirs and taking graduate classes, Mr. Boyer enjoys spending time with his family: his wife Lynneah, their daughter Wren, and their black lab Pepper.

Kayla Skjervheim

Director, Accordo Voce

Kayla Skjervheim is thrilled to be the director of Accordo Voce this year! She is currently in her 9th year of teaching music in North Dakota public schools. Miss Skjervheim has been an elementary music specialist at Discovery Elementary School in Grand Forks since the school first opened in August 2015. Prior to teaching at Discovery, Miss Skjervheim was the Pre-K-12 music instructor at Munich Public Schools for two years. Kayla earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of North Dakota in 2012. While attending UND, Kayla enjoyed being a member of the UND Concert Choir, the UND Wind Ensemble, and the Grand Forks Master Chorale. She also served as the undergraduate student conductor for the UND Allegro Women’s Chorus for two semesters. In addition to singing and teaching, Miss Skjervheim loves to play the piano, explore new places, learn new things, read great books, and spend as much quality time with family and friends as possible.

Ruth Ann Tuseth

Director, Canto Voce

(701) 772-9270
rtuseth@gmail.com 

Ruth Ann Tuseth brings a variety of experience to the GCCC directing team. Mrs. Tuseth has been the conductor of Canto Voce since 2007. She has served as an elementary music specialist at Ben Franklin, Lake Agassiz, Lewis and Clark and Winship Elementary schools in Grand Forks and a K-12 Vocal Music specialist at Thompson ND. She has had training in Creating Original Opera for children through the Education at the Met program and had the opportunity to work on several original productions with kids. Mrs. Tuseth is a principal accompanist for the Summer Performing Arts program. She served as the chancel choir director and principal organist at First Presbyterian Church for 24 years, and she is currently serving as the director of the Sing and Ring program at United Lutheran Church and organist for the traditional worship service at First Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Tuseth received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Iowa and her Master of Music degree from the University of North Dakota.

Annella Winger

Director, Poco Voce

annella.winger@gmail.com

Annella Winger was the original director of Poco Voce in 2005-2007. She returned to this role in 2016. Mrs. Winger was the music specialist at Ben Franklin Elementary School for 34 years, retiring in June 2015. Through the North Dakota Teacher Support System, she has been serving as a mentor for first-year educators as well as experienced teachers during her retirement. Mrs. Winger was inducted into the Grand Forks Public Schools Teachers Hall of Fame in 2018. She was honored to receive the North Dakota Music Educator of the Year Award; the WDAZ “Teachers Making a Difference” Award; the VFW Citizenship Education Teacher Award for North Dakota; and the Service to Children Award from the Ben Franklin Elementary PTO. She has shared her passion for music education by being a presenter for numerous organizations throughout the state. Mrs. Winger played clarinet with the Greater Grand Forks Symphony from 1978-2013. She continues to work with the Symphony on presenting their Young Audience Concerts. Mrs. Winger earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and Elementary Education from the University of North Dakota. Being a lifelong resident of this community, she cherishes spending time with the four generations of her family who all reside in Grand Forks.

Cassel Everson

Collaborative Pianist of Accordo Voce

Cassel Everson has been teaching elementary and middle school band students in the Grand Forks Public Schools since 1982.  Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science from North Dakota State University, and a Masters of Education from the University of North Dakota.  She is a charter member of Higher Ground, the contemporary worship team of Sharon Lutheran Church.  Cassel is an accomplished instrumentalist in percussion, woodwinds, and brass.  She has been a proud parent supporter of the Grand Cities Children’s Choir since the inaugural season and an equally proud SPA parent supporter since 1992.

Roxanne Gessler

Collaborative Pianist for Poco Voce

Roxanne Gessler received her Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN and her Masters of Music degree from the University of Arizona, Tucson.  She is currently the Director of Music Ministries at Sharon Lutheran Church.  Her past experiences include teaching at UND and U of A, accompanying the Tucson Children’s Choir, and performing in many piano, vocal, and chamber concerts.  Her daughter, Lacey, is a charter member of GCCC.  Mrs. Gessler has enjoyed every concert and thoroughly embraces the nurturing philosophy of GCCC and the opportunity to be a participating member.

Alyce Stokke

Alyce Stokke

Collaborative Pianist of Primo Voce

Alyce Stokke has been a General Music Specialist in East Grand Forks since 2008. She taught at South Point (Grades 3-5) for two years and is presently at New Heights Elementary (Grades K-2). She earned her B.A. in K-12 Vocal Music and a B.S.Ed. in Middle School Education with concentrations in Math and Business & Vocational Education from the University of North Dakota in 2008. In 2018 she completed her M.M. in Music Education from North Dakota State University. She also has Orff Level 1 & 2 certification as well completing an Introduction to Dalcroze course. Mrs. Stokke is also the Music Director at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Grand Forks since 2008. Playing piano has been a passion of hers since beginning lessons at 5 years old and has accompanied a multitude of vocal solos, ensembles, choirs, lessons, and musicals. Mrs. Stokke also served as vocal lesson staff for SPA for a number of years. In addition to music responsibilities in the area, she enjoys riding motorcycle with her husband Kent and running after their three children, Paige (11 and in Accordo), Ben (10), and Ella (6).

Gretchen Kindseth

Collaborative Pianist for Canto Voce

Gretchen Kindseth received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and Elementary Education from Jamestown College (University of Jamestown), Jamestown, ND. Her music career includes K-12 vocal instructor, accompanist for soloists and ensembles from elementary ages through the collegiate level, private piano teacher, church worship leader and organist, accompanist at International Music Camp, and most recently, early childhood music teacher. Gretchen is the current owner of Lifesong Family Music LLC, a music studio in Grand Forks that specializes in early childhood music classes for infants through preschool age children. She is honored to be a part of GCCC, working with children to foster their love of music for life!

Catherine Olson

Collaborative Pianist, Website Manager

Catherine joins the GCCC team this year as the website manager and an accompanist for Primo Vocewebsite manager. She is a hobby musician and mom to several Grand Cities Children’s Choir singers. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Education and a minor in Music from the University of North Dakota. She currently works at UND as the Self-Paced Enroll Anytime Coordinator. Her other hobbies include playing and singing piano at Christus Rex and Family of God churches, baking cakes for friends and family, camping, and spending time with her husband Joseph and their four children: Michael (Primo), Ali (Accordo), Abby (Canto) and Megan (future GCCC member).

Sara Peters

Sara Peters

Operations Manager

Bio coming soon.

Kecia Peters

Kecia Peters

Managing Director

Kecia Peters is the Managing Director of the Grand Cities Children’s Choir program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of North Dakota and graduate degrees in School Psychology from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She has been employed as a school psychologist for the Grand Forks Public Schools since 2004 and has been a part of the GCCC family since 2005. Kecia began her work with GCCC as a director of Canto and Accordo Voce before transitioning to the position of Managing Director in 2008.

Greg Nelson

Finance Director