Leandra Merea Strope, Artistic Director
Leandra is a fifty-year-old artist, teacher, mom, musician … early in her life she studied violin, piano, and guitar. In junior high she played flute and oboe. In high school she concentrated on flute and pursued flute through college at Meredith College. She sang in choirs and choruses for most of her life, started helping with children’s choirs when she was in high school, took on the direction of a children’s choir in college, and in graduate school at Yale and Indiana University she focused on choral music which had become her love. Since then, she has taught Pre-K through 12th grade music, worked at several churches, and taught at the Governor’s School of North Carolina – West for ten summers. She has also trained and worked as a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist, learning more about the structure of the human body, movement, and breath. More recent influences on Leandra’s teaching have been her family (especially her daughter), the students and faculty at the Governors’ School of NC, students and parents of Sisters’ Voices, Montessori, Kodály, Jung, and Maslansky.
Fundamental to Leandra’s work with Sisters’ Voices is her belief in a woman’s right to self-determination, to govern her own body, to develop her own mind, and to seek happiness on her own terms. She believes that recovering from the sexist systems that govern today’s US society will require both that girls learn to realize their own power and that other individuals and society as a whole become prepared for women to be our powerful selves. So Leandra’s passion is working with girls, helping them develop vocal competence, explore new forms of expression, and know what it feels like to muster courage from deep inside and let their voices be heard.
In addition to Leandra’s work with Sisters’ Voices, she serves as Music Specialist at Montessori Community School, teaching kindergarten through 8th year students. She lives in Chapel Hill with her family – four humans, three dogs (one of whom sings), and a sweet rat.
Leandra’s small part in creating solutions to our national and global crises is to teach children how to sing, to teach them songs from all over the world, to help them listen to each other well, and to give them lots of opportunities to share their voices.
Alexandra Hanes-Buob, Accompanist
Alex is a pianist, organist, singer, conductor, hammer dulcimer and recorder player, student of French, and quilter who loves riding her horse, Major. She has played organ, piano, and harpsichord, and has accompanied many ensembles along her way, including at Middlebury College (while she was in school there), Dartmouth College, and in churches in upstate New York and Vermont. She has been teaching piano for years, and in addition to her work with Sisters’ Voices, she currently serves as organist and choir director at Pittsboro Presbyterian Church.
Alex moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, and she lives in Pittsboro with her family of two humans, three dogs, and two miniature horses.
Sisters’ Voices members are girls who love to sing and who have chosen to join forces and raise our voices together. We come from schools in Chatham, Orange, Durham, Wake, and Alamance counties – public, charter, independent, and homeschools. We enjoy language and math, playing video games and riding horses, writing stories and playing hopscotch, discussing politics and solving hard problems … and all of us love to sing.
We welcome other singers who would love to join us! There is no audition. Our work is built on inclusion and cooperation, and we are better for having lots of different experiences, interests, and gifts among our singers.
Beth Philemon, Managing Director
Beth Philemon is National Board Certified Teacher and choral conductor based out of Raleigh, NC, where she is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration with a focus in marketing and entrepreneurship from North Carolina State University. After ten years of teaching choir in public schools, she found a personal and institutional gap in the understanding of how to run school choir programs like the businesses they are and she hopes to educate others how to effectively promote, manage, and build choral music programs through the art of business. Conversely, Beth believes the world of business has much to learn from choral singing and she is passionate about delivering opportunities for community involvement in choir.
Beth earned an undergraduate music education degree from Trevecca University in Nashville, TN, and a master’s degree in choral conducting from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. At NAU, Beth conducted the Shrine of the Ages choir, Women’s Chorale, Chamber Singers, Northern Voices vocal jazz ensemble, and opera scenes. Beth was Assistant Director for the 100+ member Flagstaff Master Chorale and Arizona Mountain Chorale and currently serves on the choral music faculty of the North Carolina Governor’s School. Beth taught middle and high school choral music in Tennessee and North Carolina (and several other courses along the way like musical theater, fundamentals of music, show choir).
In 2018 she founded CHOIR BATON, a collaborative online community about life and choir. CHOIR BATON seeks to engage others through social media takeovers, the CHOIR BATON podcast, and online resources, under the mission of #morepeoplesinging. CHOIR BATON sends weekly newsletters to the community and information about how to sign-up for an Instagram takeover. Sign up at bit.ly/ChoirBatonEmail or follow along @choirbaton on Instagram. While on Facebook and Twitter, Beth’s main love is Instagram where you can see what shenanigans she’s up to @bethphilemon. And because she’s in business school, know you can also connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/bethphilemon.
Board of Directors
The Sisters’ Voices Board of Directors is the behind-the-scenes backbone of our organization. They are responsible for the fiscal health and security of the Sisters’ Voices, Inc. organization. Board members, all volunteers, also spearhead projects related to fundraising and community development.
Current Board members:
- Jenny Walters, Chair
- Angela Fowler, Secretary
- Susan Reese, Treasurer
- Karen Howard
- Kenene Lee, Alumna
- Annie Smith, Alumna
- Leandra Merea Strope, President and Artistic Director
These are the responsibilities of the Sisters’ Voices Board of Directors:
- to protect and shape the Sisters’ Voices Mission, Vision, and Values
- to act as Sisters’ Voices legal fiduciary – acting legally on behalf of SV
- to hire, supervise, and fire Artistic Director and Managing Director
- to set an annual budget, build the organization’s resources, and ensure that Sisters’ Voices has the resources it needs to thrive
Expectations of individual board members include:
- presence at Board meetings (first Monday of each month, 6:30 – 8pm)
- presence at Board Orientation, Saturday in September
- follow-through and communication between Board meetings
- presence at Sisters’ Voices events, especially SingFling!, Winter Concert, and Spring Concert
- financial donation that is indicative of your strong support of Sisters’ Voices
- connection with others about SV — talk about SV
- hands-on support of fundraising efforts and the work of committees