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 of Music and a Master’s in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. He studied voice with Edward Sayegh and John Shirley-Quirk, Composition with David Conte and film scoring with Phillip Johnston. His musicals, Don Imbroglio and Going Down Swingin’ appeared in the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and his opera The Filthy Habit has received multiple productions across the U.S., was a finalist in the National Opera Association Chamber Opera Competition, and this year became the first opera to appear in the Chicago Fringe Festival. It will be performed at Carnegie Mellon University in April.
He is currently writing a series of new operas for Urban Arias in Arlington, VA. The first of these operas, Blue Viola, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, received a full production in 2015 directed by acclaimed opera director Tazewell Thompson, accompanied by the Grammy Nominated Inscape Orchestra with a cast including rising star Alicia Olatuja. The second production took place in Duluth in October and the third production is slated for April in Memphis. Peter is slated to write a new one act opera for Urban Arias next season.
Peter’s music was featured in the York Theatre’s prestigious Neo 4 concert where he accompanied Broadway legend Christiane Noll. 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 Old York Road Symphony, the Abington Symphony and the Ocean City Pops. He accompanied Krissy Fraelich’s Cabarets at the Arden and Media Theatres.
His choral music has been performed by numerous choirs including The Mendelssohn Club, 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.
He 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 a Visiting Assistant Professor at Villanova, where he teaches music history and is the musical director of the Graduate Theatre Program. In August 2016, Peter conducted The Savoy Company’s production of The Pirates of Penzance at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate England.
Peter will perform Claude Bolling’s Toot Suite with Bob Wagner and the Sean J. Kennedy Trio on a local tour in February, and is currently working on a ballet score, a new chamber musical called Motivation, and a set of art songs to poems by Chicago poet Elise Paschen. Peter works and teaches in Glenside where he also lives with his wife Allison and their four 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 the Chairman of the Board at West Chester University. 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 Abington Choral Club; he is the choir director at Church of the Open Door and he sings with the Ambler Choral Society. He is an accomplished organist and pianist. His wife, Nancy, often accompanies him as a pianist.
Roburt Gajdos, Accompanist
On scholarship to Philadelphia College of Performing Arts he continued his studies with Susan Starr. He studied composition with Dr. Eugene Copeland for an M.A. at New Jersey College. From his earliest studies, Roburt realized a powerful attraction to the romantic composers and a startling ability to comprehend and interpret their music. Already in command of such works as the Liszt Concerto No. 1 in E flat and the Grieg Concerto No. 1 in A minor, he began appearing as a soloist with local symphony orchestras and was the winner of numerous awards and scholarships.
Roburt commands a vast repertoire, including the many works of Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Scraibin and Chopin. In addition to radio and television appearances, he performs extensively throughout the Delaware Valley in public and private recitals. A native of Pennington, NJ, he is currently on the faculty of the Central Bucks Conservatory and the Wendy Hellyer Music Studio. Roburt has been the pianist and organist for St. Phillips Episcopal Church in New Hope, PA since 2001. He has accompanied many musical revues in Phillips Mill, PA. 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.
Board of Directors
President: Richard Gustafson
Vice President: Karen Guy
Treasurer: Sue Schmid
Corresponding Secretary: Marianna Sullivan
General Secretary: Therese Maher
Directors: Wayne Geisser, Tina Sirkin, Konnie Stark, Alan Wendell
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
Alto Representatives: Laurie Pellicore
Tenor Representative: Keith Beale
Bass Representatives: Edwin Barnes and David Small
Other Committee Chairpersons
Membership: Keith Beale
Patrons: Marianna Sullivan
Concert Attire: Therese Maher
Ushers/House Management: Patricia Imms
Webmaster: Lon Sullivan.