Meet the ladies of Belle Voci and our Staff
Barrett, Jude Beckjord, Trish
Meverden, Paula Miller, Sandy Minnigh, Beth
Craig G. Cannon, Artistic Director
Craig G. Cannon is the founder and artistic director of Belle Voci. He was the Director of Choral Activities at Fox Chapel Area High School (FCAHS) for 34 years. He also served for ten years on the adjunct faculty of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University, and was the Director of Choral Organizations at Duquesne University from 2013-2015. Craig graduated from Duquesne and went on to study choral conducting with the late Douglas McEwen and David Stocker at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona where he earned a Master of Music degree in choral music.
During the last forty years Craig has met former students (most often women) who confess a longing to once again sing in a good choir. Some of them say they haven’t sung since they were in high school or in college. Others say they’ve found some musical satisfaction by joining church or community groups, but still possess a strong desire to be part of a more intimate and sensitive ensemble, engaging in artistic singing. All have expressed a desire to be part of a group in which they could feel as if they were important and substantial contributors.
Craig knows he will always have a passion for creating quality art in the form of choral performances. About seven years ago he began to dream about creating a community-based choir for women that would continue to be part of his musical life following retirement from public school teaching. Craig spent a full year making detailed plans and on September 5, 2012, he led Belle Voci in its first official rehearsal. Today his dream has become a reality.
Under Cannon’s direction, the FCAHS choral ensembles were selected to sing at PMEA state conventions, the ACDA-PA Summer Conference, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (NYC), The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (NYC), Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris), and the ACDA Eastern Division Convention in Baltimore in 2000. Enjoying an active career as a conductor, singer, teacher, and adjudicator, Craig frequently appears as a festival director, music clinician, adjudicator and oratorio soloist for schools and churches throughout the country. In 2017, Craig Cannon was presented with the Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.
In addition to his service with Belle Voci, Craig is currently working at East Liberty Presbyterian Church as the Interim Executive Director of Hope Academy for Music and the Arts. Hope Academy is an after school music education program; a safe place where young people of diverse ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds can further their personal and artistic growth through the study and performance of theater, dance and music. Craig’s professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America, National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA). Mr. Cannon is a life member of ACDA and has served both as President and Treasurer of the Pennsylvania chapter. He also completed a two-year term as President of ACDA’s Eastern Division from 2002-2004.
Kelsey Benigni, Accompanist
Kelsey Benigni is musician and educator based in Pittsburgh, PA, and she is honored to be serving as Belle Voci’s piano accompanist this season. A graduate of both Duquesne University (Bachelor of Science in Music Education, 2017) and Boston University (Master of Music in Music Education, 2021), Kelsey is currently teaching middle school band and chorus in the Quaker Valley School District. Here, she also serves as music director for the middle school musical theater productions. Preceding her tenure at QV, Kelsey taught instrumental music in the Armstrong School District (2017–2018).
At Duquesne, Kelsey studied classical piano with Sister Carole Riley and was the recipient of two awards for Excellence in Piano Performance by the university piano faculty. She also sang and served as section leader in the Pappert Chorale. Upon graduation, Kelsey was awarded the PMEA Society for Music Teacher Education Award for Scholarship and Research and the Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award.
Kelsey is an active musician in the Pittsburgh area, currently holding piano accompanist appointments with both Belle Voci and the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus. She frequently plays at Faith United Methodist Church in Fox Chapel and regularly accompanies local school programs and festivals, including the 2019 PMEA Elementary Sing Fest and the 2022 Allegheny Valley Honors Band.
Kelsey is a member of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Dr. Beth Minnigh, Rehearsal Accompanist
Beth studied piano privately for 17 years before moving to the Pittsburgh area in 1973. Since then, she has accompanied choirs and served as assistant to the organist-director at Emory Methodist Church, Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church and East Liberty Presbyterian Church, where she was part of the interim music team from 2010-2011. In addition, she has accompanied choirs in several local School Districts and spring musicals at Mars and Fox Chapel Area School Districts.
At her day job, Dr. Minnigh is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, Supervisor of the Small Molecule Biomarker Core Laboratory, and lecturer in pharmacology and medicinal chemistry.
“The beauty of music is that it draws us together and enriches our lives, regardless of our chosen professions.”
Alice Arnold, Assistant Director
Alice has been teaching in and around Western Pennsylvania for 12 years. For the past 6 year she has been the Elementary General Music Teacher and Elementary Chorus Director in the Penns Manor Area School District in Indiana County.
Alice holds two degrees from Duquesne University: Bachelor of Science in Music Education & Master of Science in Education with her major area of study being Elementary Education. She has also obtained additional graduate credits from Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University & Seton Hill University.
Alice is an active member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), and the Pittsburgh Golden Triangle Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (PGTAOSA). She also has obtained her Orff-Schulwerk Level 1 Teaching Certificate.
Alice has been a member of Belle Voci since its inaugural 2012-2013 season and she is pleased to be serving as the Assistant Director for the 2018-2019 season. She has also been a member of Solo Voci for the past three seasons.