Beaver Valley Choral Society
Lee Pfeifer —Chancel Choir Director and Beaver Valley Choral Society President.
While in High School, Lee was active in the choral arts programs participating in the Beaver Falls Area High School Concert Choir and in the auditioned group, The Madrigal Singers. He studied voice and music theory under Jay Mann and was selected to participate in the Honors Chorus and District Chorus. Lee began college in music education with a major in voice.
While at West Chester University, he studied voice and choral technique under Roy Sweet.
Lee ultimately earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and gained experience in every phase of management. He also achieved one of the highest levels of recognition for business analysis and process improvement by earning a Lean/Six Sigma Black Belt. Having held a variety of positions in management, sales, and marketing, he traveled extensively throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. In 2016, Lee retired from his positions of General Manager of the Carbon Division for Kureha America and President of Kureha Advanced Materials.
Lee has remained active in music by singing in various choirs and providing leadership for some of those music organizations. He has been a member of the Beaver Valley Choral Society since 1982 serving as Bass Section Leader and BVCS President. Lee is the Music Director of the Syria Shriners Chanters. Under his direction, the Chanters have accomplished numerous first place awards in adjudicated competition with other Shriners groups in the Mid-Atlantic region. Lee is also choir director for the Valley of New Castle Consistory Choir. Lee is privileged to have benefited from many years of studying the conducting technique of BVCS Director Emeritus Phil Inman.
Shirley M. Hallman — Organist
Shirley returns to service with the Choral Society after having been the primary pianist from 1979 to 1986 under the directorship of Phil Inman. Shirley is a graduate of Geneva College and the University of Pittsburgh where she earned degrees in mathematics. She was a teacher of mathematics in the Riverside schools. Shirley began her organ work at the age of twelve as the organist for the North Sewickley Presbyterian Church. Currently she is entering her 35th year of being the organist at New Brighton United Methodist Church. She studied organ under Phil Inman of Geneva College and has taken classes in organ at Duquesne University and Olmsted Manor. She also was a regular participant in the Lenten Organ Recital Series at various churches in Ellwood City. Shirley recently had the honor of playing a 250-year-old pipe organ in John Wesley’s chapel in Bristol, England.
Mrs. Sharon R. Burchill —Associate Director
Beaver County native Sharon R. Burchill is an active choral conductor, teacher and singer, and is a third generation choral conductor. In addition to her duties as Conductor of the Treble Youth Chorale, She is also Associate Conductor of the Beaver Valley Choral Society, working closely with her father, Artistic Director Ray Rotuna. Mrs. Burchill currently teaches choir at the Aquinas Academy High School and conducts the Novus Children’s Choir, both in the Pittsburgh area. She is also active in her church, St. John XXIIII Quasi-Parish, where she sings in the Adult Schola Cantorum, and conducts the Pueri Cantorum (Children’s Choir) and the High School Schola. Sharon holds both a B.S. in Music Education and an M.M.Ed., both from Duquesne University. She has served on the music faculty at Duquesne University, Westminster college, Point Park University, North Catholic High School, Deer Lakes Middle and High Schools, and the Jewish Community Center. Sharon has been a cantor and choir member at St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church, Saints Simon and Jude Roman Catholic Church, and Assumption or the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church. She has sung with the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, The Bach Choir of Pittsburgh (also serving as Associate Conductor for 3 seasons), and the Pittsburgh Bach and Baroque Society. She resides in Beaver County with her husband and four children.
Karen High — Pianist
Karen High and her husband Keith have enjoyed singing together with BVCS since 2014. Karen works full-time as a Family-Based Mental Health Professional at Glade Run Lutheran Services. She is the organist at Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church in Aliquippa and is a member and substitute pianist at St. Andrew’s Anglican in Beaver Falls. Karen grew up attending school all thirteen years in the same building in Middleburgh, NY, spending lunch and study halls practicing piano and flute. She accompanied “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and the choir in high school, sang trios with her sisters in church, and was accused often by her piano teacher of sight-reading her lessons. Karen performed “Godspell” at Gordon College and again at Pocono Mountain High School where she taught Chemistry. She completed her Masters in Education at Duquesne University and has her MA in Counseling from Geneva College. Karen continues to accompany choirs at the Hopewell school where she did her internship.
Ray Rotuna — Artistic Director
Through high school, Ray studied voice in western PA with Grace Mansel and classic pipe organ with John Sayre. Through college, he studied voice with tenor Albert Wood, student taught at Dormont Elementary School, and participated in teaching the Baldwin Senior High School Concert Choir and Girls’ Choir programs, in Pittsburgh, PA. Approached by CBS, Inc., Ray accepted the position of Senior District Manager for Steinway & Sons, New York. In his career at Steinway, Ray assisted music institutions and performing artists in US and Canadian universities and performance venues. He provided professional on-site council annually for The Tanglewood Festival, The Chautauqua Institute Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. His career travels included Europe and Asia. He participated in the National Association of Music Merchants Business Institute, Washington, DC, and was named recipient of the “Executive in Residence Award”, The State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Institute for Music Business, and was published in the National Piano Foundation Call Report, Dallas, Texas.Ray serves as Vice President of the Beaver Valley Choral Society, Executive Director of the Vision 2020 Campaign, Chair of the Scholarship Programs, and Executive Director of the Student Summer Academy. He attended Duquesne University for a BS degree in music education with a major in voice, minor in piano, concentration on choral studies.