BOARD & STAFF
This internationally acclaimed children’s choir has impressed audiences with the best of choral music, both sacred and secular, since its founding in 1991 by Grammy Award winning composer and keyboardist Paul Halley.
Board of Directors
Behind the Voices
Dr. Gabriel Löfvall
GABRIEL LÖFVALL, Artistic Director, is a conductor, pianist and tenor who grew up listening to the sounds of the tango in his native Argentina. Born in the city of Mendoza, he graduated from the National University of Cuyo and sang with the Boys’ Choir there, as a youth, under Marcelo Coltro. He studied piano with Dora De Marinis.
Gabriel moved to the U.S. in 1997, where he attended the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, and received a Masters of Music in piano performance under Luiz de Moura Castro, and later, a Masters and Doctorate in Choral Conducting, under Dr. Edward Bolkovac. Gabriel has taken his music to many different corners of the world: Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, England, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, and the U.S. With flutist Gonzalo Cortes, he formed Duo del Sur, a chamber music ensemble mostly devoted to the research and dissemination of South American contemporary music. He co-directs the vocal ensemble Vallis Musicae, a community chorus that meets regularly for seasonal performances and international tours.
Gabriel was the assistant conductor for The Main Street Singers of New Britain. He currently serves as the Director of Music for St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in downtown Hartford, and recently obtained a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford with Dr. Edward Bolkovac.
Junior Choir Director
ANDREW SKINNER grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, the son of a church musician and a teacher. Andrew majored in music education at Gordon College in Wenham, MA, where he studied French horn as his primary instrument. He was admitted to the Boston Conservatory thereafter for a master’s degree in horn performance, but decided to pursue teaching rather than return as a student. He still teaches horn lessons privately, and plays whenever he can.
Andrew has been teaching choral music in the public schools for ten years, first in Chelsea, MA, growing a regionally successful choral program from the ground up before moving to Connecticut in 2017. Andrew now directs the choral program at Torrington Middle School in addition to roles as music director for theater productions in Torrington and neighboring communities. Though choral music remains a passion, he always delights in any opportunity to get back to his roots and work with instrumental ensembles.
Mr. Skinner completed a master’s degree in performance technology from Southern Utah University in 2022. He and his wife are expecting their third child in November 2022.
Angels in Training Director
KAREN SOVAK is a native of Schenectady, New York, and comes from a family of musicians - instrumentalists, choral, band and orchestra conductors, and church organists. Karen majored in Music Education at SUNY Potsdam and pursued further musical studies with many choral and instrumental ensembles. Karen also indulged her love of the visual arts, with classes at SUNY Albany and then at the Corcoran Art School in Washington, D.C. where she also began her career teaching young children at the Rudolf Steiner School in Falls Church, VA.
Beginning in 1988, The Children's Discovery Center in Winsted, CT became the happy recipient of Karen's considerable creative, teaching, and organizational talents. As Head Teacher and Director, Karen expanded this arts and language-based program for pre-school children, winning National Accreditation for the school's innovative, experiential curriculum. Karen has been singing in Gaudeamus since the ensemble's founding in 1991 and worked with Paul Halley at his recording and music publishing company Pelagos, as General Manager from 1998- 2003. She was the Executive Director of Joyful Noise from 2003-2006.
Karen continues as Director of the Chorus Angelicus Angels in Training, helping very young people to explore and rejoice in their emerging musical potential.
Bethany J. Lee
Bethany manages the Chorus Angelicus office. She manages the billing, payments, enrollment, tuition, payroll, donations, advertising, grant writing, website, phone calls and emails. She is also a homeschooling mother to a Senior Chorister who has come up through the ranks and is in her 10th year in the Chorus Angelicus Choir. She is perseverant, passionate about music and art, mother earth, her daughter, and her chickens. If you need something from the office, you will inevitably be in communication with Bethany. She is happy to help you and hopes her laughter will brighten your day.
Senior Choir Collaborative Pianist
Elizabeth recently retired from forty years of service in the public-school system and is pleased to be associated once again with Chorus Angelicus. She is the Minster of Music for the Church of Christ Congregational (UCC), Norfolk, having followed Gabriel's tenure there. She worked for many years with the late Ruth Lansche, in her private voice studio and at The Hotchkiss School. She is honored to be serving as accompanist, with Gabriel, for the senior choir. These young voices and their devotion to our choirs are an important beacon of hope and beauty in today's society.
Junior Choir Collaborative Pianist
Sandra Simpson-Kleisner has been active in the area as a music teacher, pianist, accompanist and voice coach. She has been musical director at the Roxbury Congregational Church since 1999. She has performed solo and chamber music concerts at the Gunn Library and other venues. She is presently teaching private piano at the Montessori school in Washington and at the Roxbury Church. She is enjoying being an accompanist for Chorus Angelicus and the Kent Singers. She also finds time to study the works of Bach, Beethoven, Faure, Mendelssohn, Mozart—to name a few, and taking care of her dog, Lady.
Angels in Training Choir Collaborative Pianist
A native of Litchfield County, Beckie has been singing and playing the piano for as long as she can remember. Following her graduation from Shenandoah Conservatory with a degree in Choral Music Education, Beckie ran the choral music program at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT. While there, she and her 100+ member choir won national competitions sponsored by Disney and Busch Gardens.
Beckie then composed and produced an album of original songs and performed throughout Nashville at such venues as the Bluebird Cafe. Beckie has been active in local theater as a music director and piano accompanist. She teaches private voice and piano lessons and runs her own photography business. Beckie and her husband Chris have three daughters. Beckie is thrilled to share her love of music with Chorus Angelicus and the Angels In Training.