Laura Witte, Soprano

Laura Witte graduated with a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Indiana University. She’s a Hoosier, born and raised. She loves to travel, has two cats, and all things arts related. Laura started her career as Development Officer with The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus in March 2023 and joined the The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus shortly after, in the Fall of 2023.

Kathleen Mead

I am a life-long singer; I discovered my musical passion singing in the kindergarten Christmas pageant and have been singing ever since. While still in college, I began singing with the newly formed Saint Louis Symphony Chorus under the direction of Thomas Peck. After five years, my teaching duties and a new family forced me to scale back my commitment. For a few years, I sang with various community groups.

I was thrilled to eventually be invited to join the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus—a professional a cappella chorus based in Saint Louis, Missouri. I was honored to sing with them for more than two decades. Concurrently, I performed with the Ellenwood Consort, an early music ensemble under the direction of lutanist, Jeffrey Noonan.

When a cross-country move landed my husband and I in Pennsylvania for two years, I sang with the Pittsburgh Camarata. Our next move brought us to Santa Fe where I’m delighted to be singing with The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus!

When not singing, I love to travel; most trips these days are to visit far-flung family members, including our three adult children. Our youngest is carrying on the family musical tradition as a pianist and composer in the Bay Area. When not singing or traveling, I am usually “playing with fabric” and enjoying the company of other fiber artists.

LaVelle Martin

LaVelle Martin grew up in a musical family. Her dad had a country western band and played engagements all over the Panhandle of Texas. He couldn’t read music, but played many instruments by ear—his specialty was the fiddle. Music has been an important and satisfying part of LaVelle’s life. She took voice lessons in high school and has participated in singing groups throughout her life. LaVelle is a retired teacher from the NM Public Schools. In 1974 she moved to Santa Fe and began singing with the Chorus of Santa Fe in 1979. When The Santa Fe Symphony decided to add a chorus she immediately joined. She has sung with us every season since.

Cathy Lewis, Alto

Alto Cathy Lewis joined The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus for the 2018-2019 Season, having just moved to Santa Fe from the Bay Area with her husband Jon and their two cats. Her choral singing experience began in Portland, Maine, with her temple’s youth choir. After moving to California, Cathy joined the San Francisco Lyric Chorus, and sang with the choirs of Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere. In 2010, she joined the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Her eight seasons there included dozens of performances, led by Michael Tilson Thomas and guest conductors such as Charles Dutoit, James Conlon, Ton Koopman, and Andras Schiff. Cathy has also sung with the San Francisco Festival Chorus at the Grand Teton Music Festival and participated in the Berkshire Choral Festival in Canterbury, U.K. Choral singing is a source of great joy for Cathy, and she is delighted to be a part of The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus.

Carolyn Ives, Soprano

Carolyn Ives began singing at age 5 in the Children’s Church Choir, in Duluth Minnesota, where her father was minister. Her adult years took her away from singing as she pursued a career in psychology. In 1997, she moved to Santa Fe and joined the choir at Santa Fe Community College and soon after, The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus. For Carolyn, singing in performances of Handel’s Messiah are a marvelous experience of shared joy with Santa Fe’s enthusiastic and appreciative audiences. “Being a member of the chorus is extremely rewarding,” she says, “and I was delighted when the opportunity arose to give something back by becoming a Council member and Chorus Librarian.”

Ellis Grabe

A member of The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus since August 2018, Eilis Grabe sings with the St Francis Pontifical Chorus directed by Carmen Florez Mansi. He also performs for three masses at San Felipe de Neri Parish in old town Albuquerque, and with Lingua Angeli, a group of singers mostly from Our Lady of Assumption in Albuquerque, in addition to singing for the archdiocese’s television masses. Over the years, he has performed with two different folk groups—a Scots Gaelic and a Welsh singing group—as he enjoys singing old Irish songs, brought over from his grandparents who emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. “It is a blessing to have the gift to sing,” he reports, “but more importantly, to give praise and attention to God.” He is a member of the Pastoral Musicians Association and the National American Association of Catholic Chaplains.

Doug Escue, Tenor

Doug has sung with The Santa Fe Symphony Chorus since moving to the city in 1991. He and his wife, Laura, and their two sons, Nathan and Samuel, came to Santa Fe when Doug was called to serve as pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church. He has enjoyed singing all his life. “I consider it a privilege to sing and support The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus. For me, singing Handel’s Messiah is nothing less than a spiritual experience! God bless the tenors—the backbone of every good chorus!”

Patricia Emerson, Alto

With parents who both played instruments and sang in church choirs, it was natural that Pat began harmonizing with her Mom early in life. Pat played piano and clarinet as a youth, but reports that she began singing “officially” in a bicentennial chorus in Maine, when she became—in her words, “a singing fool.” In Sacramento, California, Pat sang in three choruses, including the Sacramento Choral Society, where she also served as its first board president. Since retiring and moving back to her native New Mexico, she has been active in Santa Fe’s music community, serving a term on the board of the Santa Fe Community Orchestra (plus singing its every-other-year chorus), and singing in Coro Santa Fe, Zia Singers and The Symphony Chorus. Now in her second term on the Chorus Council, Pat is excited to see the chorus grow in size and musical excellence. 

Connie Cummins

Connie Cummins has been a choral musician since 1988. In Denver, she sang with the Cherry Creek Chorale and the Colorado Chorale until moving to Durango, Colo., where she sang with the Durango Choral Society and at summer festivals such as Music in the Mountains. Connie moved to Santa Fe in 2014 and has been singing with The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus ever since. She has performed at Carnegie Hall twice—once perform Brahms’s Requiem with the Cherry Creek Chorale and again in 2009 to perform Mozart’s Requiem under the direction of John Rutter. In 2010 she performed in Europe—in Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague—with the Durango Choral Society, under the direction of Dr. Linda Mack.