Founding Conductor / Artistic Director

PHILIP SPENCER is enjoying a career spanning over forty years as a full-time professional musician, including the roles of award-winning educator and composer, conductor of choral ensembles in the United States and Europe, church musician, and concert organist and harpsichordist. In 2021, he conceived of the idea for a new philanthropic choir composed of both professional and auditioned amateur singers in Naperville, Illinois, the city where he and his wife Pamela (Vice-President, NaperVoice Inc) have resided since 1994. He donates all of his efforts on behalf of this choir without accepting compensation. 

Also in 2021, Mr. Spencer was named Professor Emeritus of Music at Joliet Junior College, where for twenty years he conducted both of the college’s choral ensembles; taught applied and class voice, harpsichord, and world music; and served as coordinator of the college’s Musica Viva Concert Series. Prior to coming to JJC, he was Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral Activities at Grand View University, Des Moines, Iowa, as well as a full-time church musician in several large congregations in Ohio, Minnesota, and Illinois. 

In addition, Mr. Spencer was Founding Conductor of the Lutheran Youth Choir International; Founding Artistic Director of the Festival of Global Vocal Music at Mansfeld Castle in Mansfeld, Germany; and Founding Conductor of the Edina Chorale, one of the Minneapolis area’s finest community-based choral ensembles. An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, he has served at both the region and state levels as Two-Year College Chair and conference accompanist, and as Chair of the Illinois-ACDA Choral Composition Contest. In 2011, Mr. Spencer was named recipient of the annual Saint Genesius Award by Lewis University “for extraordinary achievement in choral music and music education.” 

Mr. Spencer earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Wittenberg University; holds the Master of Music degree from the Yale University School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music; completed one additional academic year of music study in Berlin, Germany; and pursued doctoral work in choral conducting at the University of Iowa.  His conducting teachers include Martin Behrmann in Berlin; William Harwood and Jon Bailey at Yale; and Don V Moses, Richard Bloesch, Harold Decker, Bruce Browne, Sandra Willetts, and William Hatcher at the University of Iowa. 

As a composer, Mr. Spencer was awarded First Prize in the prestigious Roger Wagner International Choral Composition Contest at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles; was a finalist in the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest; and was the winner of the Illinois Chapter, American Choral Directors Association Choral Composition Contest in both 2014 and 2022. His compositions have been published by Augsburg Fortress Press and Choristers Guild.

Collaborative Percussionist

SHELLEY MAY HUTCHISON is a National Board-Certified music educator in Naperville District 204, teaching general music and chorus at the elementary level. She is also a percussion specialist in the district, teaching at yearly festivals and summer programs. At Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Naperville, she is the director of the handbell choir Bach Ringers. In the community, Shelley plays in the marimba quartet Rosewooden Carols, and performs as a percussionist with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, the Naperville Municipal Band, and the Agape Ringers. She can also be seen leading drum circles in the Chicago area. Shelley holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Iowa in Percussion Performance and Music Education and a Master of Education degree from Benedictine University.

Collaborative Pianist/Organist

DR. ZACHARY ZWAHLEN currently serves as the Director of Music Ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, IL. He is always looking for new opportunities to work on collaborative musical projects with choirs, instrumentalists, and ensembles. Dr. Zwahlen earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied with David Higgs and Nathan Laube.  During his studies at Eastman, Dr. Zwahlen received the Gerald Barnes Award for Excellence in Pipe Organ (2014), the Dr. James B. Cochran Organ Prize (2017), and in 2016 he was a finalist in the AGO National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. In his free time, Zachary enjoys running, baking, and spending time with his cat, Gingersnap.