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Who We Are

Our Conductor

Robert Duff

Robert Duff, our conductor, is the artistic director of the Handel Society of Dartmouth College, and teaches courses in music theory and musicianship in the Music Department. Before coming to Dartmouth in 2004, Dr. Duff served on the faculties of Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University, and Mount St. Mary's College, and as the Director of Music for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he directed the music programs for nearly 300 parishes. He holds degrees in conducting, piano and voice from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Temple University, and the University of Southern California, where he earned a doctorate of musical arts in 2000.

An active commissioner of new music, Dr. Duff has given several world premieres of works for both orchestral and choral forces. He has been appointed by Governor John Lynch as Councilor to the New Hampshire Council on the Arts, and is the Vice President of the Eastern Division of the American Choral Directors Association.


Our Accompanist

Annemieke Spoelstra

Annemieke Spoelstra, collaborative pianist was born in Kampen, The Netherlands, and started piano lessons with Joke Venhuizen at age seven. She studied classical piano at the Conservatory in Zwolle, The Netherlands, with Rudy de Heus, earning her degrees Docerend and Uitvoerend Musicus (Bachelor and Masters as Performing Artist) for soloist, chamber music and art song accompaniment. She later studied Art Song Accompaniment at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam as a duo with German tenor Immo Schröder. She has often been invited to serve as collaborative artist at conservatories and national and international competitions.At age 21, Spoelstra was First Prize winner at the Dutch National competition Young Music Talent Nederland for best accompanist. She was praised for her touch and coloring. In 1997 she was First Prize winner for Music Student of the Year for her final recital. The jury report wrote, "She shows great intellect in music pedagogy and is a sensible, great performer, with well-balanced programs." In 2001 she was a finalist in Paris at the international Nadia and Lili Boulanger competition. Since January 2004, she has been a US resident living in Vermont. She performs solo, teaches piano at St. Michael's College and at her studio, and coaches vocalists and instrumentalists for auditions, competitions and performance. Spoelstra serves as accompanist for the chorale at St. Michael's College, and has accompanied the Vermont Youth Orchestra Choruses. Since 2011, she has been the pianist for the Thetford Chamber Singers. She has performed concerts in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and the USA.


Our Vocal Coach

Erma Mellinger

Erma Mellinger, a Lecturer in Music at Dartmouth College, earned her Bachelor of Music degree with Highest Distinction from Northwestern University and her Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music where she earned both Teaching and Performance Awards. A professional singer, Erma Mellinger has performed leading roles with many of the country's major opera companies including Cleveland Opera, the Dallas Opera, the Florida Grand Opera, the Fresno International Grand Opera, and the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh.



Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is a representative body drawn from the members of the Handel Society. Of the fourteen elected members, at least one must come from each section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). An elected member may serve for up to two 3-year terms, but must leave the Board for at least a year after the second term. In addition, the Board includes the Music Director, the student manager(s), the conducting assistant(s) and the immediate past president for a one-year term. Members are elected to the Board at the Handel Society Annual Meeting, which is usually held in April.

The Board usually meets five times each year, typically in August, October, January, March and May.

The Board's purpose is to assist the Music Director by reflecting the views of the Society membership on questions of importance, and by taking responsibility for some administrative duties. Under Music Director Robert Duff, the Board has been asked to take a larger role in shaping the future of the Society than has been the case in the past.

Members of the Handel Society are encouraged to nominate themselves as a candidate for a Board opening. Nominations should be sent to the Nominating Committee of the Board. Such nominations are then listed on a slate distributed to all members at least 14 days before the Annual Meeting. The By-Laws also provide that nominations can be offered from the floor at the Annual Meeting.

Last Updated: 8/16/14