Leandra Merea Strope, Artistic Director
Leandra is a fifty-one-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 teaches through her private studio, Wrensong Workshop. She lives in Chapel Hill with her family – four humans and three dogs (two of whom sing).
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 connect to each other, and to give them lots of opportunities to share their voices.
Jenny Walters, Managing Director
Jenny has been involved with music all of her life, having started singing in her church choir at the age of four. In middle school, she started playing the flute, even studying under the tutelage of Leandra while she was in high school. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Duke University with a minor in education. She currently works for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system as a Volunteer Specialist.
Jenny first became involved with Sisters’ Voices in 2014, serving as an assistant to Leandra. Since then, she has been involved in summer camp and joined the board in 2017. She served as chair from 2018 to 2020 and was able to immerse herself in the inner workings of Sisters’ Voices. She is excited to combine her love of music with her love of math and problem solving in the managing director position.
Matt Cottrell, Social Media Director
Matt has been surrounded by music for their entire life. They grew up in a house full of music, and at age 7, they started studying flute. They even studied flute under Leandra for a few years! They are a Sisters’ Voices Alum, having sung with the group from 4th to 8th grade.
Matt is an openly queer, non-binary person who values compassion, self-advocacy, and community. They are not currently part of an official musical group, but they do spend a lot of time singing along to Spotify and they are always happy to sing a lullaby-usually a Sisters’ Voices song that they still have memorized!- if someone needs help sleeping.
Currently, Matt is a full-time student at Appalachian State University working toward a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. They are excited to fulfill the role of Social Media Director for Sisters’ Voices!
Jada Poteat, Intern
Jada is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Music Education with a concentration in Vocal Performance. She has loved music for her entire life, but became interested in studying it professionally after attending a performing arts high school. Jada loves youth and teaching. Throughout her time at UNC, she has volunteered as a private voice teacher for students ages K-12, and has also spent lots of time as a nanny in general childcare. Jada sings with a local church in Chapel Hill, as well as with a community choir in Durham whose mission is to support nonprofit organizations through benefit concerts. Outside of music, Jada is passionate about Women and Gender Studies and Psychology. She also enjoys taking walks, board games, watching TV shows, and playing with dogs!
Jada is currently student teaching at both a high school and an elementary school as her final step in studying Music Education. After graduating, she hopes to one day go on to study choral conducting at a graduate level.
Jordan Taylor, Intern
Alexandra Hanes-Buob, Accompanist
Alex is a pianist, organist, singer, conductor, hammer dulcimer and flute 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.
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:
- Kate DeAlmeida, Chair
- Kristin Trangsrud, Secretary and Grant Writer
- Sue Wallace, Treasurer
- Gretchen Aylsworth
- Carmen Bapat
- Hajnalka Katona
- Mala Puri
- 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 the 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 Tuesday evening of each month)
- presence at Board Orientation Retreat annually
- 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