Artistic Staff

Christopher Eanes | Artistic Director

Eanes_headshotChristopher Eanes is a conductor and teacher living and working in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he is the Managing Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Boychoir, the Artistic Director of Collegium Cincinnati, and the co-founder (with his wife, KellyAnn Nelson) of the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective. Chris’ passion lies in finding new ways to connect young people with musical experiences, and he has done this through various media, including choral, orchestral, and chamber music, opera, and as a private coach and teacher.

An avid collaborator, Chris has presented concerts in conjunction with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Taft Museum of Art, the Center for Holocaust & Humanity Education, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Chris’ work with the Cincinnati Boychoir was featured in Chorus America’s Spotlight On Innovation (The Voice, Fall 2009) and the Cincinnati Enquirer (April 30 & December 10, 2010; July 11, 2012).

An appearance with the Cincinnati May Festival in 2010 prompted Music Director James Conlon to write, “The Cincinnati Boychoir, under the direction of Christopher Eanes, is an outstanding cultural asset to Cincinnati’s rich musical life.”

Before moving to Cincinnati, Chris was an active musician in Los Angeles while pursuing his doctorate at the University of Southern California; between 2006 and 2009 he served as artistic director of the Chamber Opera of USC, chorus master and assistant conductor of the USC Thornton Opera, and as the conductor of the USC Thornton Apollo Men’s Choir. Since 2005, Chris has spent his summers teaching chamber music to gifted high school musicians at the Hotchkiss Summer Portals program in Lakeville, CT. He has edited several of the works of Baldassare Galuppi, two of which will appear in print in 2013 from Tropp Music Publications.

Recent performances include an appearance on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in March 2011, Handel’s Messiah in December 2011 with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra (one of the only performances in the United States to use a choir of boys and men), Britten’s Saint Nicolas (Cincinnati Boychoir & Collegium Cincinnati), and an appearance as guest conductor of the 24-voice professional Vocal Arts Ensemble for their annual holiday concert “A Candlelit Christmas” (click here for the review).

Recently, Chris was the co-recipient (with KellyAnn Nelson) of the Norma Peterson Award from the Over-The-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, and named as a member of the 2013 class of ‘Forty Under 40’ by the Cincinnati Business Journal.

KellyAnn Nelson | Associate Artistic Director

KellyAnnKellyAnn Nelson is the Associate Artistic Director for the Cincinnati Boychoir as well as the Founder and Artistic Director of the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective of Cincinnati (YPCC). She is a sought-after choral music professional and has served as guest conductor, clinician, adjudicator and presenter at various National, All-State and Regional honors choir events, conferences and choral/vocal jazz workshops in Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, North Carolina, Connecticut, Minnesota, Kentucky and Indiana.

KellyAnn has enjoyed presenting on the topic of incorporating music literacy activities into the choral rehearsal (most recently at the Central Division ACDA conference in 2014 and the national Chorus America conference in 2012), as well as sharing ideas on young professional engagement in choral music at the World Choir Games and the 2014 Chorus America conference in Washington, D.C. YPCC (which took second place in their division at the aforementioned World Choir Games) was also the subject of a Chorus America feature article in May 2012 about innovation and engagement, as well as part of KellyAnn’s TedxCincinnati talk on the topic of transforming communities through participation in music.

KellyAnn has had the privilege of conducting, managing and teaching choral musicians of all ages in a variety of venues. Before joining the Cincinnati Boychoir (where she has the privilege of conducting 3 Primary & Intermediate choirs, teaching music theory to over 200 boys, and organizing community events such as a free All-City Boychoir program in the Cincinnati Public Schools, SongFest Summer Music Camp for Boys, and the annual All-City Boychoir Festival for hundreds of boys from throughout the city of Cincinnati), she served as Associate Conductor of both the Cincinnati Children’s Choir and the Princeton (NJ) Girlchoir, as well as directing Linton Music’s Children’s Music Series Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions.

KellyAnn served as adjunct faculty at Western Michigan University where she directed the Gold Company II vocal jazz ensemble, and has been at the helm of active school choral music programs in Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. While pursuing her doctoral degree in Choral Conducting and Arts Administration at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), KellyAnn taught in the music education department and was the assistant conductor of the Women’s Chorus. She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in music education from Western Michigan University.

Her most recent endeavor, the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective (YPCC) allows KellyAnn the opportunity to work with over 600 motivated singers, aged 21-45, who work and live throughout the greater Cincinnati area. The choir (now in its fifth season) reconnects singers to their early music education through the creation of quality choral music, and successfully engages with new audiences, partners with local businesses, presents innovative performances in unique spaces, and celebrates the choral music history, growth, and energy of the city (Cincinnati) and neighborhood (Over-the-Rhine).

Michael Pekel | Assistant Conductor, BeauxTies

MikePheadshotMichael Pekel is thrilled to serve as the director of the BeauxTies for the 2016-17 season. A Cincinnati native, he earned a degree in vocal performance at Xavier University and a master’s in conducting at Western Kentucky University.

In Cincinnati, he leads his own seasonal choir, the Cincinnati Summer Singers, who have now had three seasons together. He also teaches private piano lessons to students at the beginner level, and is currently accepting students.

Lisa Peters | Assistant Conductor, Advanced Division

Lisa Peters headshotLisa Peters is a graduate of Ithaca College School of Music in Ithaca, New York where she received a Bachelor of Music Education with an emphasis in Choral and Vocal Music. In addition, she holds a Master’s Degree in Education with Music Emphasis from Xavier University. Originally from the state of Vermont, Lisa taught high school choir in the Cincinnati area for 30 years, first at Amelia High School and then at Walnut Hills High School until her retirement in 2013. Her high school choirs consistently received superior ratings at OMEA contests and performed with many prestigious organizations in Cincinnati including the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras, the University of Cincinnati CCM Choirs and the Vocal Arts Ensemble. 

Upon retirement from Walnut Hills High School, Mrs. Peters held the position of adjunct choral director at Mount Saint Joseph University for three years. In addition to her positions as a school music educator and choral conductor, Mrs. Peters has taught voice privately for the Northern Kentucky University Preparatory Department and the Mount Saint Joseph Music Academy. She also held the position of Children’s Chorusmaster for the Cincinnati Opera for a number of seasons. Over the years, Mrs. Peters has sung with numerous groups here in Cincinnati including the Cincinnati Opera Chorus, Cincinnati Camerata and the Christ Church Cathedral Choir. She presently sings alto with the Cincinnati Choral Society where she is also a member of the Board. Mrs. Peters is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America and the VoiceCare Network.

Shiloh Roby | Staff Accompanist

shilohShiloh Roby is a native of Staunton, Virginia. He studied organ with Stephen Cooksey and J. Thomas Mitts and percussion with Eugenia Burkett at Shenandoah University, where he earned dual bachelor degrees in music and business. He graduated magna cum laude. He completed a master’s degree at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied music theory with Kip Wile and Thomas Benjamin. He also studied organ with Donald Sutherland and held one of the two fellowships in ear-training.

In 2007, he departed for the United Kingdom, where he served as organ scholar at Truro Cathedral in Cornwall. This was followed by a year of serving as organ scholar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the national cathedral of Ireland. Shiloh returned to the United States in 2009 to accept a position as director of music at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holliston, Massachusetts. He moved to Cincinnati in December 2010, to join the staff of Christ Church Cathedral.

Bonnie Keller Spain, Associate Director and Lead Accompanist

bks-1Bonnie Keller Spain, Associate Director and lead accompanist, has worked for the Boychoir since March 2001. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude, from Birmingham-Southern College and a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A private teacher of piano and organ for more than twenty years, she has taught on the music faculty of Edgecliff College, now part of Xavier University.

Bonnie is currently Organist-Choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Church in Florence, KY.


Christopher Wheeler | Assistant Conductor, Intermediate Division

chris_wheelerChristopher Wheeler has recently relocated to Cincinnati and brings with him a wealth of experience in music education and choral directing. His previous position was at the American Boychoir School where he served as director of summer camps, resident houseparent, music theory teacher, touring proctor, and has directed the Apprentice Choir alongside Mr. Fred Meads. During his 5 year tenure at the Boychoir in Princeton NJ, he earned his master’s degree in sacred music at Westminster Choir College with an emphasis in choral conducting. While at Westminster Christopher had the privilege of studying with Dr. Steve Pilkington, Dr. James Jordan, and Dr. Joe Miller. In 2013 he was a member of the first class of conductors to study at the Westminster’s Conducting Institute at Oxford University, UK.

Christopher currently teaches music the Bethany School of Glendale, OH—an Episcopal school that services students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. He teaches general music in grades 1 through 8, and directs the Bethany Singers chapel choir.

Operations Staff

Joy Bennett | Communications Associate

Joy Bennett, Communincations AssociateJoy is a marketing and messaging consultant who specializes in connecting people with what lights them up. She has worked since 1998 to guide businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits to engage and grow their audiences, believing that the best marketing and messages are person-to-person and build people up. She lives on social media, actively pursues new experiences, finds people and culture endlessly fascinating, and is obsessed with punctuation and proper grammar.

Joy believes that the arts are an essential building block of society and is delighted to support the mission of the Cincinnati Boychoir. She and her husband Scott have been married since 1998 and together have 4 children, 3 living. Her oldest son has been a member of the Cincinnati Boychoir since 2011.

Heather Lally | Personnel & Concert Manager

lallyHeather Lally has been involved with the Cincinnati Boychoir since 2004 when her oldest son, Sean, joined the Training Choir. Since then, she has served the Boychoir in a multitude of capacities including ticket sales, hospitality, Silent Auction Chair, New Parent Liason, tour chaperone, parent representative to the board, and concert manager. Both of her boys sang with the Boychoir for more than six years each. Her younger son Ryan currently sings at St. Xavier High School as well as with the BeauxTies.

Heather holds a bachelors degree in Elementary Education from the University of Dayton as well as a masters degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Iowa. She taught piano lessons for eighteen years in her home. Her oldest child, Bridget, attends the University of Dayton and her son Sean is studying Music Production and Sound Recording at Ohio University.

John Spain | Director of Operations

John Spain John Spain, Director of Operations, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ from Birmingham-Southern College and a Master of Music degree in organ from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

John is currently the Organist at St. Anne Episcopal Church.