Capital Singers of Trenton (CST) started in the spring of 2006 as a select group of mixed voices under the leadership of Richard M. Loatman. A non-sectarian, non-partisan, semi-professional chorus, CST maintains its commitment to promoting the art of choral singing, enriching the cultural life of New Jersey, and serving as a goodwill ambassador for the city of Trenton.
At its inception the ensemble, augmented by the 50-plus members of Trenton Community Singers, provided concerts, special performances, and community outreach throughout the New Jersey Capital Region and Bucks County, PA. Now in their thirteenth year, the groups continue as CST and CST Chorale. Under the direction of Artistic Director and Conductor Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. they perform a repertoire of sacred and secular choral works that reflect various musical styles and historical periods.
CST has been privileged to appear with a variety of organizations who share their passion for choral music. Highlights include performances of Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living and the New Jersey premiere performance of Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater with Sinfonietta Nova of West Windsor, NJ; a performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with
the Warminster Symphony Orchestra in Warminster, PA; the shared celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary and the 85th anniversary of the founding of Adath Israel Congregation in Lawrenceville, NJ; and the dedication ceremony of the New Jersey World War II Memorial in Trenton. The chorus has given performances locally at Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton Artworks (in conjunction with the Mill Hill House Tour), the William Trent House, The City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion, and St. Paul Church in Princeton, as well as concerts in Plainfield, West Windsor, and Hamilton, NJ; and Bristol, PA. CST has given benefit concerts in Bay Head, Beach Haven, Ewing, and Bridgeton, NJ. The groups perform twice annually at Sacred Heart Church, Trenton.
Mission, Vision, & Values
Capital Singers of Trenton is a mixed chorus that strives to promote the art of choral singing, enrich the cultural life of New Jersey and the surrounding region, and serve as ambassadors for the City of Trenton through concerts, special performances and community outreach.
Capital Singers of Trenton aspires to be an inclusive choral organization recognized by its musical peers and the greater Trenton area as an accomplished chorus that educates and inspires its audiences and singers with a challenging repertoire that showcases its musical diversity and artistic excellence. CST will be the acknowledged chorus for events throughout the capital region and state, and a leading contributor to the cultural initiatives of the region.
Values represent the guiding principles and core beliefs in our organization’s culture, including what drives members’ priorities and how they truly act. Values are manifest in everything we do and help determine how we operate. All members’ actions will abide by these core beliefs and values:
We strive to be the best at what we do.
We are always prepared and accountable to ourselves, our fellow members, and our audience, for active and engaged support, attendance and participation at meetings, rehearsals, concerts, and events.
We make every effort--physically, operationally, and financially--to perform music that reflects and represents challenging but universally recognized choral repertoire, and upholds our status as a semi-professional chorus. We will not sacrifice quality for quantity.
We believe in our city and know that our music can enrich and make a difference in the quality of life for its residents and visitors.
We know that when we give unselfishly of our time, talent, and resources, it benefits our community, and the world at large.
We are truthful and sincere with ourselves and with each other.
We work together in the spirit of fairness, cooperation, and transparency to do the right thing.
We engage in the highest forms of integrity and ethical behavior, as our reputation is our most important asset.
We recognize that everyone has something important to say.
We welcome an environment that embraces diversity, tolerance and mutual respect.
We abide by the Golden Rule.
We view our work as a labor of love, and derive great satisfaction and pleasure from it.
We are committed to having fun. When we find that other life stresses and priorities or work/life imbalances are having a negative impact on the group’s or our own enjoyment, we need to rectify the conflict so that the group succeeds, and everyone can truly enjoy their work.
Artistic Director and Conductor
Artistic Staff Bios
VINROY D. BROWN, JR. | Artistic Director and Conductor
Vinroy has credits in conducting, sacred music and music education. He is a member of the conducting, organ and sacred music faculty at Westminster Choir College, where he conducts the Westminster Jubilee Singers. A church musician, he is director of music & worship arts at Elmwood United Presbyterian Church. Maintaining an active conducting schedule, he is founder and artistic director of Elmwood Concert Singers and is artistic director and conductor of Capital Singers of Trenton.
During the 2019-2020 season, he will conduct Margaret Bonds’ Ballad of the Brown King, spirituals and hymn arrangements in concerts across the tri-state with the Elmwood Concert Singers; with Capital Singers of Trenton, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Robert Ray Gospel Mass; and with the Westminster Jubilee Singers will commemorate their 25th anniversary with performances of Adolphus Hailstork’s I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, R. Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee and a world premiere. As clinician, he will also headline the Voices United Choir Festival for the New Jersey chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Harlem Classical Music Festival in New York.
Professor Brown holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, American Choral Directors Association, National Collegiate Choral Organization and the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., for which he is Eastern Region Director. He holds the Master of Arts in Practical Theology degree from Regent University, and Bachelor of Music degrees in Sacred Music and Music Education from Westminster Choir College.
SPENSER R. GALLO | Principal Accompanist (soprano)
Spenser has been accompanying Capital Singers since 2014. She is a 2014 graduate of Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in Music with a piano concentration. In addition to her work with Capital Singers, Spenser is the staff choir accompanist at Timberlane Middle School and Central High School in Hopewell Valley Regional School District, and she frequently freelances as a solo musician and collaborative artist. Hailing from Dover, Delaware, she has been a pianist since 1998 and an accompanist since 2004.
While at Lebanon Valley, Spenser studied piano with the world-renowned Dr. Eric Fung. She sang with and accompanied the Concert Choir, as well as accompanying numerous vocalists, instrumentalists, and theatrical productions. She was also the principal accompanist for the Chancel Choir at nearby Palmyra First United Methodist Church from 2011-2014.
Spenser was awarded the Lois Brong Miller Music Scholarship in 2010, the Knauss Memorial Award in Music for performance ability, musicianship, and character in 2011, the Pickwell Memorial Music Scholarship for exceptional pianistic ability in 2013, and the Elizabeth May Meyer Award for musical performance ability and academic standing in 2012 and 2014.
ZACKARY D. ROSS | Accompanist
Zackary is an active accompanist and pastoral musician. Originally from Raleigh, NC, Zackary has worked with many communities of faith to bring vibrant, meaningful music to their worship. Having completed his Master’s Degree in Sacred Music at Westminster Choir College in the spring of 2019, he is thrilled to be welcomed into the CST family this season. In addition to his work with CST, Zackary also serves as staff accompanist for the Westminster Jubilee Singers at WCC, and as accompanist and assistant conductor for the Elmwood Concert Singers in East Orange, NJ.
DAVID J. ABERS | General Manager (bass)
David is proud to serve Capital Singers in this capacity. He is a founding member of the chorus and has previously served as tenor section leader and head of the Production committee. David is also the General Manager for Bristol Riverside Theatre, a professional regional theater located in Bristol, PA. When not engaged in his two great passions (professional theater and singing), David spends time in the theatre department at George School in Newtown, PA.
ELLEN J. DONDERO | Associate Conductor (alto)
Ellen is the Minister of Music at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Beach Haven, New Jersey where she is organist and choir director, and also plans and coordinates special events, such as Holy Innocents’ Spring Concert Series, and Annual Messiah Sing.A charter member of CST, Ellen first worked with founding Artistic Director Richard M. Loatman over thirty years ago while fulfilling student teaching requirements for a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Westminster Choir College. Ellen is proud to continue working with CST as associate conductor.In addition to her Music Ministry at Holy Innocents’ and her work with CST, Ellen is the manager of two retail stores, How to Live and How to Live Bayside, on Long Beach Island, NJ.Ellen is married to John P. Dondero, and together they have three children, all performing musicians.
Board of Trustees
Ed Kurocka, Chair
Jean Bickal, Vice Chair for Finance
Suzanne Proulx, Vice Chair for Administration
Suzanne Kazi, Secretary
MarrLa LiPuma, Treasurer
Rev. Dennis Apoldite
Dr. Rochelle Ellis
Samaad Robinson Werner
The trustees are committed to upholding the mission, vision and values of the Capital Singers of Trenton. Board members strive to bring the music of CST to an ever widening audience and ensure fiscal sustainability of the organization.
Founding Artistic Director
In December of 2017 Richard retired as Founding Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Capital Singers of Trenton, passing the baton to Vinroy D. Brown, Jr.
Richard is a New Jersey native and graduate of Westminster Choir College. He continued his graduate studies in choral conducting at both Westminster and The College of New Jersey from 1971-1982. He was Producing Director of the Notre Dame High School Performing Arts Department for 15 years. As an adjunct or musical director Richard held positions at Mercer County College, Rider University, McCarter Theater of Princeton, and with other local theater groups: Princeton Community Players, Pennington Players, Backstage Breaks, and Bristol Riverside Theater. From the early 1970s until 2000 he was involved with over seventy-five theater productions.
Richard was Minister of Music at the Dutch Neck Presbyterian Church for twenty-three years and Choir Master at Holy Cross Church in Rumson, New Jersey for three years. As a composer/arranger he has written four children's operas, a cantata Children's Voices based on children's poems about 9/11, many hymn and folk song arrangements, and choral or instrumental scores for several local college and high school productions, Medea for Rider University and The Tempest and Marat/Sade for George School among them. Richard composed a lengthy score for the 2014 production of Oedipus at George School. It is a thirty minute work with instrumental interludes, underscoring for texts, solos and choral segments for the Greek chorus of singers. In 2014 he also produced and conducted the LEGACY 2014 CD for both Capital Singers of Trenton and Trenton Community Singers. It is a combination of sacred, secular, patriotic, and folk selections, featuring narrations and historic references of four Trenton wonders: Sacred Heart Chruch, the William Trent House, the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
Founding Artistic Director and Conductor; Executive Director Emeritus
Previous to Capital Singers of Trenton and the Trenton Community Singers, Richard was the founding director of the Greater West Windsor Schola Cantorum and the Lawrence Chorale; he also conducted the New Jersey Gay Men's Chorus of Princeton for three years. The CD To Everything There is a Season was the result of his tenure with the men's chorus.