Get ready to sing with us this semester!
Pemi Choral welcomes current, former and new members to join us for an inspiring winter concert series.

Bring a friend! Check us out without obligation, for the first 3 rehearsals...

Further details, including our Fall rehearsal and concert schedule, are available on the Members page on our website.
Dear Pemi Choral members and friends,

I hope you have all had a relaxing summer and are as ready to get back to singing with Pemi Choral as I am. 

Plan to join us on Monday, August 22nd at the Silver Center, Plymouth State University, for the start of our fall season. If you skipped a semester or have not sung with us for a while, we would love to see you return. Also, invite friends to join us in singing a beautiful winter concert series featuring three Ave Marias by Javier Busto, Nathaniel Dett, and Arvo Pär
t, along with a gospel Gloria.

We are so lucky to have the incomparable Will Gunn as our Music Director, and the very talented Laura Belanger as our collaborative pianist. 

We are also fortunate to have a very active volunteer Board of Directors who enable this non-profit organization to continue to grow and flourish. Enjoy meeting them in the bios that follow. 
Susan C. Scrimshaw
President, Pemi Choral

Susan C. Scrimshaw, has been on the Pemi Board since 2018 and as the new President is enjoying the opportunity to work with the other Board members to support Pemi’s wonderful group of singers, its dedicated accompanist Laura Belanger, and its remarkable director, Will Gunn.

Susan is a second soprano, and has been singing since kindergarten. She looks for a chorus to join wherever she goes, and was thrilled to find the Pemi when she retired from full-time work in 2017. She is married to tenor Allan Stern, and they live on the family farm on the Sandwich Notch Road in Thornton. Their blended family includes three children and three grandchildren.

Susan is a medical anthropologist focusing on public health, health equity and international health. She grew up in Guatemala where her father worked for the United Nations. After 20 years on the faculty at UCLA, Susan spent 12 years as Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and 11 years as a college president (Simmons and Russell Sage). She continues to work on boards and scientific advisory committees in retirement.

Besides singing (with Pemi Choral and the NH Friendship Chorus) she and Allan enjoy kayaking, cross-country skiing, travel, gardening and helping around the farm. She also likes cooking and making beaded necklaces and earrings.
Meet the Board
Lea Stewart, Vice President
Lea Stewart has been a member of Pemi Choral since 2004. In that time, she has served as both the Librarian and later as President. Longtime Music Director and Accompanist, Bob and Margot Swift, retired during that latter period. The chorus had over 140 singers that year, as many former members returned for those final seasons! Lea’s term limit expired just as Leslie McDonnell and Will Gunn became the new Music Directors. 

Since that time, Lea has been an active volunteer at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in many capacities, including as a Docent and as a Kirkwood Gardener.  As a member of their Board of Directors for 9 years, she served as an at-large member, Secretary and Vice President, along with many committees.

Music and nature were a major part of Lea’s upbringing. Her father was a life-long member of the Orpheus Club (a men’s singing group in Philadelphia), he and his friends would burst into song at every gathering. Musical toasts to the hosts or person of honor were an honored tradition. All of her five siblings, and many of the nieces and nephews, are music enthusiasts in some manner.

Lea lives in West Campton and spends her spare time gardening, fishing, hiking and camping.
Deb Corr, Treasurer
Deb Corr joined the Pemi Choral Society in the fall of 2012 right after retiring. She and her husband built a house on Lake Waukewan in New Hampton, NH on land that had been in the family, and moved there in 2006. Prior to retiring, Deb had her own practice as a Federal Enrolled Agent, business counselor and financial planner for 28 years primarily in Vermont and for a few years in New Hampshire.

Music has always been a part of her life, and prior to joining the Pemi she had sung with the NH Music Festival’s Symphony Chorus as well as with several groups in Vermont. Joining the Pemi in 2012 has been a high point for her, and she wishes she hadn’t waited so long to join!

Deb has served as the Pemi’s Treasurer for several years and says, “I am glad to be able to give back to this wonderful organization that has already given so much to me.”
Mary Hazelton, Secretary
Mary Hazelton has sung in groups all her life, from children’s choir in church, a capella choir in high school, college Messiah Chorus, church choir, NH Music Festival and, since 1977, Pemi Choral. She has loved singing Alto since finding out in elementary school that there is more to music than the melody!

She grew up in Concord, N.H. and spent time away from her home state for college and early working years. When she returned, she settled in Hebron in 1973 with her husband Paul where they turned a sheep barn on his parents’ property into their home. They raised their two children and continued to renovate buildings on the property including the farmhouse which is now an AirBnb. In 2012 she retired from teaching elementary school math and reading for the Newfound Area School District, and in 2014 retired from 30 years as a volunteer coordinator of the choir at Starr King UU Fellowship in Plymouth. 

In retirement Mary spends her time gardening, vacuuming and changing sheets in the AirBnb, visiting their 3 year old grandson (and his parents) in Wyoming and singing, of course! 
Allan Stern
Allan Stern, Fundraising & Webmaster
Allan Stern considers himself “an instrumentalist who happens to love choral singing.” He has played the clarinet and saxophone since 4th grade and was in various jazz bands and community theater orchestras from high school on. He grew up in the Chicago area and joined the DePaul University Community Chorus in Chicago in the late 90s where he got hooked on choral singing. He met Susan Scrimshaw in the early 2000s and they bonded over their shared love of singing. They were married in 2006 -- in a wedding with three choirs! They both joined Pemi in 2017, and began serving on the board of directors soon after.

Allan has served with many non-profit organizations, and likes the idea of building community in organizations. He is a retired teacher with a background in teaching technology and enjoys working with spreadsheets and databases, as well as editing and proofreading in general. He has taught web design and is the webmaster for the Pemi website Allan is also an avid photographer and self-described Photoshop junkie. 

In addition to their joy in finding this wonderful community chorus, Allan and Susan have enjoyed singing and traveling with the New Hampshire Friendship Chorus to Bulgaria in 2018 and to Iceland this past July.
Gary McCool
Gary McCool, Concert Planning & Management
Gary has been singing Tenor 2 with Pemi Choral since 1978, when he started work as a librarian at Plymouth State. At PSU, Gary was an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Reference Services at Lamson Library. He was active in faculty governance and was one of the leaders in the successful effort to unionize the faculty. He also served for 35 years as the faculty advisor to Common Ground, PSU’s environmental, peace, and social justice student organization. Gary retired from PSU in 2021.
Born and raised in Denver, Gary moved to Chicago and taught in all-Black elementary schools for four years before moving to NH in 1972, where he taught at Somersworth Middle School for six years. He has long been active in movements for peace and social justice. In NH, Gary became active on energy issues, supporting policies promoting energy efficiency and conservation, and he served for nine years on the Board of the NH Electric Cooperative.
Gary has a B.A. in History from Knox College, an M.A. in History from the University of Denver, an M.A. in Urban Teaching from Roosevelt University, and an M.L.S. from the University of Rhode Island. He lives in Rumney with his wife Nancy.
Sarah Bunkley, Music Librarian
Sarah Bunkley first joined the Pemigewasset Choral Society in 1984 when she arrived from Cape Cod to work at the high school in Plymouth. In addition to teaching English and social studies, Sarah built an award-winning theatre program there. Due to a conflict in rehearsal schedules with the theater group, she took a long break from Pemi, returning in 2012 after she retired. Sarah is happy to be back singing with Pemi. Formerly singing Alto, she now sings Tenor 1. 
Sarah previously served on the Board in an At-large position, before taking the reins as the Music Librarian. As Music Librarian she coordinates the ordering, cataloging, collating and distribution of the music in folders for every choral member, including distribution of black music folders for concert use. In addition, she also stores the hundreds of pieces of music in a series of metal filing cabinets in her barn!

When she is not singing, or otherwise involved with all things Pemi, Sarah fills her hours making quilts for friends, clients, and charities. 
Families in her Plymouth neighborhood also know Sarah is an avid equestrian who can be seen giving horseback riding lessons in the field near her house and traveling to horse shows all over New England. She is a Life Member of the New Hampshire Educational Theatre Guild and the New England Drama Council and an active member of the Northern Lights Quilt Guild.


Sue Chadwick, Communications
Sue Chadwick moved to Bristol, NH in 2016 after living in Nashua, NH since 1983, where she and her husband Wes raised their two children (now adults). She learned about Pemi Choral from Ann Nichols while traveling to Cuba with the NH Friendship Chorus (NHFC) in 2016, and was delighted to know that they practiced in nearby Plymouth, NH. She joined Pemi in 2016, and began serving on the Board in 2019. Previously, she had sung for 15 years with the Souhegan Valley Chorus and in the Nashua UU church choir. Sue still sings with the NH Friendship Chorus when they form every two years preparing for their next tour. She and Wes also sang with them in Bulgaria in 2018 and in Iceland 2022. She also serves on the NHFC Board of Directors.

Sue retired in 2018 after a career in Marketing, Communications and Public Relations for both non-profit and for-profit companies in New Hampshire. Part of her work within each company has included writing for publications, website content management, social media, newsletters, collateral development and event management.

Since February 2022, Sue has been a volunteer for CASA NH, where she is a Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad litem (CASA/GAL) for children in the Foster Care system. She and Wes live adjacent to Newfound Lake with their 2-year old Labradoodle, Rosie.

Lourdes Avilés, At-large/Wardrobe
Lourdes Avilés, PH.D. joined the Pemigewasset Choral Society in the spring of 2017, singing with the alto 2 section. She is looking forward to serving on the board as an at-large member, and will also be responsible for planning and communicating about concert attire. 

Lourdes is a department chair and professor of meteorology and physics at Plymouth State University. She is a member of various regional and national boards and committees related to atmospheric science, and does research on atmospheric physics. Currently she is focusing on the science and history of atmospheric optics (rainbows, blue skies, etc.). She has also done work related to hurricanes.

Lourdes loves nature photography and, of course, singing. She additionally loves appreciating musical theater, and art exhibitions of all shapes and sizes. She is originally from Guánica, Puerto Rico and has been living in Campton, NH with her family since 2004.

Robbin Adams, At-large
Robbin has been singing with Pemi Choral since 2014 and has served on the board since 2019. Singing has always been a passion for her, but she had not been in an organized group for years. She is very glad to have found Pemi, where she sings in the Alto section.
Robbin and her husband Peter owned and operated a small bed and breakfast called the Campton Inn from 1991 until 2002. During that time she helped start two art co-ops, Artistic Roots and Squam Lake Artisans, which are still thriving today.

She currently works as the office manager for the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, and is the coordinator for the statewide NHSaves Button Up Workshops.
Robbin graduated from Plymouth State College in 1983 with a BFA in printmaking and a minor in drawing. She is still an active artist when time allows.

Her hobbies are cycling, sailing, snowshoeing and hiking. She lives in Campton, NH with her husband Peter. Their adult son Ben lives in Maine.

Anita Ross, At-large
Anita has served on the Pemi Board, since 2017 as publicity head, and currently as a member-at-large. She loves working with people to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and to help everyone feel welcome at Pemi Choral.

Anita was a music and theater major at Plymouth State College, and sang with Pemi Choral for one semester as a student, and loved it. She has been involved in music all her life. Her mother spent two summers at Juilliard in New York City as a piano major, and almost everyone in her family played an instrument or sang, or both. Currently, Anita gives private piano lessons to area students. 

Anita has been a teacher’s assistant at Thornton Central School for 25 years. She loves working with the students, mainly in special education, and she co-teaches in many other areas as well. She also works for the White Mountain Boogie and Blues Festival, held every August in Thornton.

In her civic life, Anita has been a Library Trustee for the town of Thornton since the 1990s.  She is president of the NH National Education Association for the Thornton support staff and head negotiator as well.

Serving in town leadership positions has been in Anita's family for generations. Her grandmother and grandfather both served as town clerk and tax collector for many years. Her mother served as town clerk as well. Until the Thornton Municipal Building was built in 1991, the Thornton town office was always in Anita’s house -- it was literally part of her growing up experience. It is no surprise that she is now the Clerk for the Town of Thornton!

Anita lives in Thornton with her husband Rob, and her two sons, Logan and Corbin. Logan has sung as a Bass 2 with Pemi Choral, for many semesters and Corbin is a sophomore at Plymouth Regional High School where he takes band and chorus classes with “Mr. Gunn.”
Victoria Merriman
Victoria Merriman, At-large
Victoria Merriman joined Pemi Choral in the fall of 2021, where she sings Alto 2. New to the area, she was very happy to become a part of this community chorus, and to serve on the Board.

She currently lives in Ellsworth, NH where she transitioned into stone masonry in 2019 after 20 years of working in website design. Having grown up on a dairy farm, she was eager to get back outside and work with her body as well as her mind. Stone masonry appeals to her love of puzzles and her desire to build beautiful and long-lasting outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. She appreciates the sense of peace and stability that natural stone brings to any environment.

Victoria is a professional member of The Stone Trust in Dummerston, VT, an organization dedicated to the art and craft of traditional dry stone walling. In September 2020, she became the 4th woman in the US to attain the Level 2 Certification through the Dry Stone Walling Association. She also completed a three-month stone masonry apprenticeship in Australia that year.

Victoria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Design from Harvard University. Her hobbies include hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, skiing, playing the clarinet, and of course, singing!
Ann Nichols, Past President
Ann Nichols joined Pemi Choral almost 15 years ago, and serves on the Board of Directors, most recently as President and currently as Past President.

She was raised in a musically talented family which provided her with many opportunities to sing with choruses that performed both domestically and internationally. In 1976, Ann auditioned and was selected by the Universal Academy of Music, based out of Princeton University, to sing with America’s Youth in Concert; an organization consisting of 1,000 of the best young musicians from all across the nation who would participate in the first ever National Honors Youth Musicians program. The chorus, orchestra and concert band performed in Philadelphia for the nation’s bicentennial and in Carnegie Hall in New York City before departing for an international tour where concerts were performed in some of the most famous concert halls across Central Europe.

Professionally, Ann worked in the banking industry for 36 years, retiring from this career as Chief Retail Banking Officer. In her second career, she served a local nonprofit agency as the Director of Development and Public Relations for more than 6 years. She was responsible for the marketing, advertising, fundraising, grant writing and public communications before finally retiring this year.

Ann has sung with the NH Music Festival Chorus, the NH Friendship Chorus and remains involved in several community and civic organizations.She resides in Gilford NH.
Looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at our first rehearsal on August 22nd!
Registration and music distribution begins at 6:00 pm, the rehearsal begins at 7:00 pm at the Silver Center, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH.

Pemigewasset Choral Society |