Arundel Vocal Arts Society

About Us


Each voice counts in AVAS — All Voices Are Significant. The Arundel Vocal Arts Society is a choral group that numbers between 25 and 35 voices where every individual makes an important contribution to the total sound and atmosphere of the group. Our repertoire is diverse, including everything from Bach to Broadway. Each season presents new and challenging musical opportunities as we continue to improve our sound, precision and vocal techniques.

A brief Audition for the director is required of potential members. Auditions for new members are held during the first four weeks of each rehearsal period. For the Fall concert, regular rehearsals begin in September and conclude after the concert, traditionally performed in the first half of December. Rehearsals for the Spring concert start in January and end after the concert, unless there are special performances added to the season.

Rehearsals are held on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Gloria Dei! Lutheran Church, 461 College Parkway, Arnold, MD. Additional rehearsals are held on three or four Saturdays for each concert period, usually from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Production Week rehearsals are Monday and Wednesday in the week preceding the concert, with the final dress rehearsal on the Friday evening or Saturday afternoon immediately before the concert.

The Annual Membership Fee is $125. Music is ordered for the group and each singer purchases his/her own music.

Our Music Staff

JoAnn Kulesza, Conductor and Music Director

Ms. Kulesza is the recently retired Music Director of the Opera Program at the Peabody Conservatory and began her career at the Hochschule Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, as coach/accompanist in opera and Lied. Professionally, she has worked as rehearsal accompanist, chorus master and assistant conductor for the Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Baltimore Opera Young Artist Program, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Compania Lirica Nacional (Costa Rica), and the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. She also assisted Maestro Loren Maazel for two of his Chateauville Chamber Opera Projects.

While much of her work inevitably takes place in the background, coaching singers and preparing productions for other conductors, she made her Peabody opera conducting debut in 2003. She continues in that capacity today, and has many productions and several world premieres to her credit. She regularly conducts for the Lowveld Chamber Music Association in Nelspruit, South Africa and returns there in June, 2019 to conduct a chamber version of Johann Strauss’s DIE FLEDERMAUS.

A recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Excellence in Teaching award, Ms. Kulesza has conducted master classes and guest residencies at various institutions around the country and is much in demand as a clinician and educator. As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Kulesza has played chamber music and vocal recitals throughout Europe and the United States, as well as accompanying master classes for such artists as Walter Berry, Edda Moser, Renata Scotto, and Placido Domingo.

As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Kulesza has played chamber music and vocal recitals throughout Europe and the United States, as well as accompanying master classes for such artists as Walter Berry, Edda Moser, Renata Scotto, and Placido Domingo.

Since 2011, she has served as Head of Opera for Music Theater Bavaria, a month long summer opera training program in Oberaudorf, Germany. She spent six summers as Music Director of the Opera/Musical Theatre section of the two-week Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (AK). Ms. Kulesza has also been Chorus Master for the Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Company, as well as assistant for the Lyric Opera Chorus (Chicago).

A choral music enthusiast, she feeds her love of choral music as director at Eastport United Methodist Church in Annapolis, MD, and as director of the Arundel Vocal Arts Society.

Diane Kinsley, pianist and accompanist

Ms. Kinsley has been an active performer and teacher in the Baltimore-Washington area for nearly 20 years. She has been the rehearsal accompanist and performed with Opera Vivente, Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Chorale, and Young Victorian Theater Company. Ms. Kinsley has also performed with Arundel Vocal Arts, Annapolis Symphony, New Moon Theater, Opera Odyssey Theater. Music Series that she has performed on include Washington Performing Arts, Cello Speak, Live Arts at St. Anne’s Church and St. Andrew by the Bay in Annapolis, Long Green Pike Music Series (Hydes, MD), and St. Cecilia Society (WV). Ms. Kinsley has also performed at Artscape (America’s largest free art festival), An Die Musik and Germano’s.

Ms. Kinsley has been on the faculty of Anne Arundel Community College’s music department since 2001 as piano instructor (class and applied), faculty accompanist, rehearsal accompanist and coach for Opera AACC, organ instructor, co-teacher of Opera Workshop and chorus accompanist. She was featured with the AACC Symphonic Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in the spring of 2012. In the fall of 2012, she was the music director for Opera AACC production of Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and Schubert’s The Conspirators.

In October 2013, Ms. Kinsley began the position of Assistant Organist at the United States Naval Academy.

Ms. Kinsley earned a Master of Music degree in Ensemble Arts from the Peabody Institute of Music of the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with Robert MacDonald and Boris Slutsky. Prior to that, she was a student of Lee Luvisi at the University of Louisville, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree while studying both piano and organ and performing solo recitals on both instruments. She also has a private studio in her home in Arnold, MD.

Our Board of Directors

Executive Board
President Carolyn Sonnen
Vice President Vacant
Treasurer Theresa Wolf
Secretary/Membership Charlotte Kerns
Music Staff  
Music/Artistic Director JoAnn Kulesza
Accompanist Diane Kinsley