Peter Hilliard, Director
Peter Hilliard is deeply involved in the musical life of the greater Abington area and is also active on a national scale. Peter holds a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory and a Master’s in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. His musicals and operas have appeared at The New York Musical Theatre Festival, the Tanglewood Institute, Manhattan Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of the North, Urban Arias, Opera Memphis, Carnegie Mellon, and the Chicago Fringe Festival, among many others. His new opera The Last American Hammer will receive its second production in February 2020 at Pittsburgh Opera. A comic reduction of the complete Verdi Operas, commissioned by a consortium of four opera companies, will also premiere next season in Pittsburgh, Memphis, Washington and Duluth. Peter has accompanied Broadway legend Christiane Noll, Tony nominee Marla Schaffel, and local theatrical luminaries like Krissy Fraelich, Jeff Coon, Keith Spencer, and Alex Keiper. He has provided vocal arrangements and orchestrations for the Barrymore Awards and Another Holiday Show with the Swing Club Band at Theatre Horizon, as well as orchestral music for the Orchestra of St. Olaf College, the Old York Road Symphony, the Abington Symphony and the Ocean City Pops. His choral music has been performed by numerous choirs including The Mendelssohn Club, Vox Musica, The San Francisco Choral Artists, and the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia. His music has also received awards and nominations from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition, Vocal Essence, The Young New Yorker’s Chorus, and the Ned Rorem Award. Upcoming projects include pieces for the Lyric Theatre program at the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
Peter has music directed on both coasts and Off-Broadway, was the music director for a reading of Kerrigan and Lowdermilk’s new musical Republic at the Arden, and was assistant music director for a workshop of Saturnalia by acclaimed percussionist/composer Susie Ibarra and Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa at the Music Theatre Group in New York. Peter is an adjudicator for the Mario Lanza Scholarship, serves as accompanist for the choirs of the Abington School District; is the minister of music at Berachah Church in Cheltenham, the Music Director of The Savoy Company, and an Assistant Professor at Villanova, where he oversees the music and art minors and is the musical director of the Graduate Theatre Program. He has conducted The Pirates of Penzance and Iolanthe at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, England. He occasionally plays jazz piano with the Bob Wagner Quartet and the Sean J. Kennedy Trio. Peter works and teaches in Glenside where he also lives with his wife Allison and their children.
Keith Beale, Assistant Director
Keith Beale is a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in music education. Keith has had a varied career, teaching music in public schools, working for Verizon Communications, and, after retirement, he served as part-time administrator at the Church of the Open Door and was the director of finance and marketing at CLC Ministries International. He is very involved with West Chester University having served on the Board for 12 years and as Chairman of the Board for the last two years. Mr. Beale has sung the lead in a few operas, performed many concerts as a core soloist with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, sang with the Philadelphia Orchestra and was the interim director of the Abington Choral Club. He currently sings with the Abington Choral Club and Ambler Choral Society and he is the choir director at Church of the Open Door. He is an accomplished organist and pianist. His wife, Nancy, is a pianist and often accompanies him in solo concerts and at church.
Roburt Gajdos, Accompanist
While attending the Pennington School on a music scholarship Roburt studied piano forte with Mathilde McKinney of the Westminster Choir College of Rider University, and at Oberlin College with Joseph Schwartz and Albert Stanziano.
He continued his studies at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts with Susan Starr. Roburt studied composition with Dr. Eugene Copeland for an M.A. at The College of New Jersey, and also studied tone production with Olga d’Stroumillo, an associate of Vladimir Horowitz. From his earliest studies, Roburt realized a powerful attraction to the Romantic composers, and a startling ability to comprehend and interpret their music. He appeared as a soloist with local symphony orchestras and was the winner of numerous awards and scholarships.
Roburt is currently on the faculty of the Central Bucks Conservatory. He has been the pianist and organist for St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in New Hope, PA since 2001. He is currently performing in Duo D’Esterhazy with violinist Alexandre Djokic. The duo has performed extensively in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York City and Bucks County, PA. Roburt also gives solo concerts featuring works of the Romantic and Impressionist composers, as well as original compositions.
Nancy Lee Beale, Accompanist
Mrs. Nancy Beale is a 1977 graduate of West Chester University in Pennsylvania. She has her B.S. in music education and has been a music instructor since 1977. She has taught in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District, Upper Dublin School District, Cairn University and now teaches private students at Open Door Christian Academy and in her home.
Nancy has been the pianist at Church of the Open Door in Ft. Washington, PA for over 42 years and is presently the Director of Music. For the last 20 years Nancy led the Women’s Ministries of the church, responsible for leading women’s retreats, organizing banquets and managing the overall program of the ministry. Nancy has traveled with the youth to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru and Arizona on missions’ trips.
Nancy is a noted accompanist for young artists and professional musicians for concerts, competitions and for community theatre productions. Often asked to judge the ACSI Arts Festivals and Tri-County Competitions, Nancy loves to support and encourage young aspiring musicians. She has judged the Miss New Jersey, Miss Maryland, Miss Teen New Jersey, Miss Teen America and Miss West Chester University Pageants.
Nancy’s husband Keith is the assistant director of ACC. Nancy and Keith are the parents of two sons, Robert and Scott. Scott is a veteran and Rob continues to serve in the United States military. Nancy and Keith reside in Fort Washington, PA and in Ocean City, NJ.
Board of Directors
President: Alan Wendell
Vice President: Rachelle Leese
Treasurer: Sue Schmid
Corresponding Secretary: Megan Smith
General Secretary: Chari Small
Directors: Ira Cooperman, Bruce Johnson, Noel Kress, Tina Sirkin
Music Committee Chair: Sharon Dicker
The Music Committee sets the musical direction of ACC and works with the Music Director to select the pieces for each concert.
Chairperson: Sharon Dicker
Music Director: Peter Hilliard
Assistant Music Director: Keith Beale
Board President: Richard Gustafson
Music Librarian: Jane McCrabb
Soprano Representatives: Diane Dilks and Annie Scozzare
Alto Representatives: Laurie Pellicore
Tenor Representative: Keith Beale
Bass Representatives: Edwin Barnes and David Small