Meet Our Staff

Artistic

Artistic Director

Paul Caldwell, Artistic Director

Paul Caldwell, Artistic Director

Member since 2016

paulc@seattlechoruses.org

he/him

Now in his sixth season as Artistic Director of Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus, Paul Caldwell defines the creative trajectory for one of the nation’s largest community choral organizations. He conducts both choruses for performances in Seattle’s most prestigious venues. He has redesigned the chorus’s small ensemble structure, creating the first permanent group to include members of both the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses. His focus on community engagement has enabled the organization to establish sustained, meaningful relationships with new civic partners.

Before coming to Seattle in 2016, Paul was in Chicago, serving as Artistic Director of the Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire. He was also Artistic Director for the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago, a community- based after-school program enrolling 200 young people in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Paul’s work with youth garnered national recognition when his chorus received the Chorus America/ ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. Paul composes and arranges music collaboratively with Sean Ivory. Their choral works have been telecast on PBS and A&E and performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. Legendary guitarist Steve Vai collaborated with Caldwell and Ivory to create a choral-rock fusion song, “Book of the Seven Seals.” Paul made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut in 2014, leading concerts comprised entirely of music he composed. He has also been artistic director for the ¡Canta! Costa Rica festival in San Jose. He returns to the Sing A Mile High choral festival in Denver biennially. Paul served three terms on the Board of Directors of Chorus America. His efforts on behalf of the choral field nationwide were recognized when he received the Michael J. Korn Founders Award for Philanthropic Contribution to the Arts. 

Principal Accompanist - Seattle Women's Chorus

Ingrid Verhulsdonk, Principal Accompanist - Seattle Women's Chorus

Ingrid Verhulsdonk, Principal Accompanist - Seattle Women's Chorus

Member Since 2022

she/her

Ingrid Verhulsdonk has been an active performer, collaborator and teacher in the Seattle area for the past 20 years. She has worked with the Emerald Ensemble, Northwest Opera in Schools Etcetera, Cornish College of the Arts and Northwest Sinfonietta's chamber music series. Currently, she is adjunct music faculty at Holy Names Academy, Principal Organist at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Everett and staff accompanist for the Cascadian Chorale and the University of Washington. Ingrid holds degrees in piano performance from the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii. Aside from having an active performance schedule, she also thoroughly enjoys teaching and operates a small piano studio in the Shoreline area.

Principal Accompanist - Seattle Men's Chorus

Benjamin Killey, Principal Accompanist - Seattle Men's Chorus

Benjamin Killey, Principal Accompanist - Seattle Men's Chorus

2011

Benjamin Killey is thrilled to transition from singing with the Seattle Men’s Chorus for 10 years to playing the piano for them.  Ben attended Illinois Wesleyan University for college, earning a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a BA in Biology.  While at IWU, he won the 1997-98 MTNA collegiate state piano competition for Illinois as well as Illinois Wesleyan’s concerto-aria competition.  After college, he went to Southern Illinois University for medical school and specialized in emergency medicine.  After a 17-year career in emergency medicine, he switched to aesthetic medicine and founded Blue Haven Medical Spa in Seattle in 2011. 

Director of The Supertonics, Assistant Conductor of SWC

Nikki Blackmer, Director of The Supertonics, Assistant Conductor of SWC

Nikki Blackmer, Director of The Supertonics, Assistant Conductor of SWC

Member since 2018

nikkib@seattlechoruses.org

she/her

Nikki has a Bachelor of Music from Wake Forest University in North Carolina and a Master of Music from the University of Washington. She's been singing and performing classical music since 1995 and started her career in a cappella in 2003. In 2016, she won the illustrious International Quartet Championship of Sweet Adeline’s International, the largest women’s barbershop organization in the world, with her quartet, Frenzy. They are now called Queens of Harmony...and if you ask you can try on her crown! They travel around the world performing and teaching workshops.

Administration

Interim Executive Director

Craig Coogan, Interim Executive Director

Craig Coogan, Interim Executive Director

2022

craigc@seattlechoruses.org

(206) 323-0750 

he/him

Prior to joining the Seattle Choruses Craig Coogan served as Executive Director from 2012-2022 of Boston Gay Men's Chorus. He is an expert in developing strategies and programs to help LGBTQA and other nonprofit organizations achieve their operational and artistic goals. A graduate of Syracuse University, he brings experience in both the for-profit and non-profit arenas. Mr. Coogan previously served as Executive Director for One Voice Mixed Chorus in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was a founding board member and treasurer for ten years of the acclaimed women’s choral group Vox Femina Los Angeles. He has also produced independent films, award-winning documentaries, and acclaimed original plays that tell the LGBTQA experience. To learn more visit craigcoogan.com.

Marketing Director

Samantha Berry, Marketing Director

Samantha Berry, Marketing Director

2021

samb@seattlechoruses.org

(206) 323-0750 x 202

she/her

Samantha Berry moved from Colorado to Seattle in spring of 2021. She is excited to come onboard at Flying House Productions leading the choruses marketing and corporate sponsorship initiatives.

After earning a Cultural Communications degree from The University of New Hampshire Keene State, Berry worked as a Global Communications Specialist for Markem-Imaje Corporation. There she collaborated with an international team and successfully drove revenue in the Vertical Markets through targeted campaigning.

Samantha spent her youth performing in theatre productions and was a member of her college's acapella group, 'Chock Full O' Notes'. With a lifelong passion for music and singing, Samantha hopes to combine her love of the arts and experience in Marketing Communications to grow the organizations opportunities and expand upon the already robust audience that the Seattle Choruses captivate.

Have a sponsorship opportunity? Please reach out to connect: samb@seattlechoruses.org

Box Office and Accounts Receivables Manager

Mandie Frye, Box Office and Accounts Receivables Manager

Mandie Frye, Box Office and Accounts Receivables Manager

2021

mandief@seattlechoruses.org

(206) 323-0750 x 222

she/her

Mandie moved to Seattle in January of 2021 from Fairbanks, Alaska and originates from Chicago. She joins the Seattle Choruses family with a background in Customer Service and Administration, and as a performer herself, having been a member of the Sweet Adelines since 2017.

Mandie is a Music Business graduate from Full Sail University, and attended Gallaudet University for Theatre: Production/Performance. Additionally, she is an Improv graduate from Bovine Metropolis Theater in Denver, CO. Fun fact: she started a Disney Acapella group in Colorado, although short-lived. 

As a child of Deaf adults (Coda) and a member of CODA, International, Mandie brings a welcomed perspective to the choruses along with her first language, American Sign Language. Her personal hobbies include knitting, crocheting and playing the ukulele. Say hello at the next concert where Mandie is our Box Office extraordinaire! 

Director of Video

Michael Willer, Director of Video

Michael Willer, Director of Video

2022

michaeldavidwiller@gmail.com 

he/him

Michael Willer is an award-winning film producer, director, and editor with over a decade of experience working around the world. His films are watched internationally, from feature documentary “Music Triumphs Homophobia” to the award-winning sci fi short film "The Volunteer".

Michael has dedicated his film expertise to social change through his seven years as Director of Video for the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, and now with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus. It is Michael's goal to create art and tell stories that will reach through walls and broaden understanding.

Nancy Hautala
Production Stage Manager

Johnny Baca
Sound Design

Doris Black
Artist in Residence (Costumes)

Peter Bracilano
Lighting Design

Kurt Walls
Set Design

Lindsay Lush
Graphic Design

Julie L. Wilchins, LLC
Grant Writing

Mercedes Dunn
Events Manager

Sara Remus
Social Media Manager

John Pai
SMC Photographer

Conrado Tapado of eQuality Images
SWC Photographer