Staff and Board Directory

The Chorus of Westerly 
George Kent Performance Hall
119 High Street
Westerly, RI 02891

Artistic Staff
Andrew Howell,
The Marion and Bill Palm M
usic Director

Genviéve-Ashley Spitale, 

director of education

Kathryn Aaron,
artistic associate

John Tafone,
resident composer and arranger

Pamela Young, librarian 

Administrative Staff
Ryan Saunders, executive director

Hannah Veale, deputy executive director

Jillian Hirst, patron services manager

Harvey Blanchette, facility and events manager

Carrie Praeger, bookkeeper

Erin Deveau, special events stafff
Michael Chicoria, special events staff

Most staff can be reached by calling 401.596.8663 during business hours.

Kent Hall Rental Inquiries:
Call 401.596.8663 and request to speak with Jill Hirst or email

Board of Directors

Rudi Hauser, chair
Dan Van Winkle, vice-chair
Ann B.C. Kaschuluk, secretary
Christopher Fusaro, treasurer
Jennifer Brinton
Charlotte Brittan

Johanna Danaher
Tracey Datson
Deborah Dunham
Jennifer Kushner

Ruth Foster Morgan
Robin Marvel
Seth Paradise
Bill Quirk, Sr

Walter Tomenson
John Townsend
Ryan Saunders, ex officio
Andrew Howell, ex officio

Chorus advisors
Douglas Rayner
David Prigmore

Members of the Chorus of Westerly Board of Directors can be reached via US Mail by sending items to their specific attention to the Chorus Offices at 119 High Street, Westerly, RI, 02891. 

The Members of the Board of Directors are approved by the singing membership of the Chorus of Westerly at the organization's annual meeting. The directors themselves then select their officers for the year ahead. 

The Chorus board term year runs typically January 1 to December 31 (or whenever the annual meeting is scheduled). The Chorus fiscal year is October 1 to September 30.

The Chorus of Westerly is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable performing arts organization. Donations to the organization are deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. 

Donations to the Chorus for any of its programs, including but not limited to Summer Pops, the Chorus Annual Fund, the Kent Hall Fund, the Chorus of Westerly Reserve Fund, Capital Fund, or Endowment Trust are all tax-deductible. The Chorus of Westerly does also gladly receive and can receive gifts of stock.



The Marion and Bill Palm Music Director 
of the Chorus of Westerly
Appointed 2012


Andrew Howell, conductor and organist, is Music Director of

The Chorus of Westerly in Westerly, RI. He also serves as

Music Director for Mystic Congregational Church in Mystic, CT

and during the summer months at the Watch Hill Chapel in

Westerly, RI. Mr. Howell received his Bachelor of Music in Music

Education and Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Organ

Performance from the University of Rhode Island. His primary conducting teachers have been George Kent, Mark Conley, Ann Danis, and Richard Coffey. Andrew has also been a member of the faculty at the University of Rhode Island, where he conducted the University Chorus and taught Ear Training and Sight Singing, as well as Music Appreciation.


Since his appointment as Music Director of The Chorus of Westerly in 2012, Mr. Howell has overseen the expansion of the children’s program to include a series of ensembles that are tailored to the age and ability level of each child, designed to help them develop their music literacy and musicianship to become independent and confident musicians. Under Mr. Howell’s baton, the Chorus of Westerly undertook its first international tour in 19 years, singing Dvorak’s Stabat Mater to much acclaim in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, and will travel to Germany in July of 2017 to sing Bach’s Mass in B Minor, most notably as part of the Sunday morning service at Bach’s own Thomaskirche in Leipzig. In Westerly, he has led the Chorus in world and regional premieres of new music and commissions, as well as deepening the core of masterwork repertoire that is the bread and butter of the Chorus's reputation.

Mr. Howell has worked with a number of choral organizations and churches in Rhode Island and Connecticut – as Music Director of the Stonington Choral Society, Organist and Choir Director of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John in Providence, RI, Organist for the Anglican Singers, and most recently, Organist and Choirmaster at St. James Episcopal Church in New London, CT. In addition to his work as conductor and church musician, Mr. Howell has played organ recitals at numerous churches in Rhode Island and Connecticut, and from 2004 to 2011 worked as a harpsichord technician, tuner, and primary voicer for Zuckermann Harpsichords International in Stonington, CT.

He lives in Westerly, RI with his wife Emily and their four children: Sadie, Rowan, Henry, and Arthur. 

Executive Director of the Chorus of Westerly
Appointed 2009

Ryan Saunders was appointed executive director of the Chorus of Westerly

in May 2009. As a child, Ryan grew up in nearby Pawcatuck, CT, and sang in

the Chorus from 1986 to 1996.

Prior to his current professional tenure with the Chorus of Westerly, Ryan

was manager of music events and public relations for Tufts University.
During his nine years in the music and arts program at Tufts, Ryan helped
open the university's (then brand new) Granoff Music Center and managed its nearly 150 events and concerts annually. In 2009, Ryan was the recipient of the Tufts Change Agent Award for creating new opportunities for innovation at Tufts in the Granoff Music Center.

As executive director of the Chorus of Westerly, Ryan has helmed several major projects including the organization's first-ever music director search in 2012. In 2014, Ryan led 227 people on the Chorus's first international tour in 19 years. Recent projects include the production of a one-hour documentary, the organization's first-ever recording project, the Kent Hall Restoration Project, the tour for the Chorus to Germany in July 2017, and the 2023 tour for the Chorus to France.

A firm believer in community partnerships and the arts as an economic driver, Ryan was a key part of the coalition responsible for the passage of Rhode Island's $35-million Cultural Facilities Bond in November. The passage of this unprecedented program awarded to the Chorus of Westerly $1,054,200 for renovation work on their organization home, the George Kent Performance Hall. Locally, Ryan also co-founded the Westerly Regional Arts Partnership, a new arts collaborative created to promote and support the Westerly region's creative sector.

In addition to his work with the Chorus, Ryan is also a visiting professor in the music department at Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts) teaching arts administration, serves on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of the professional vocal ensemble, Lorelei, and is an alumni Class Gift Chair for Wheaton College. In January 2015, Ryan was appointed a fellow in the inaugural cohort of the new EmcArts national program, Arts Leaders as Cultural Innovators, a program he has recently completed.

Ryan holds degrees from Boston University and Wheaton College, Massachusetts. He resides in Massachusetts and commutes daily to Westerly. Ryan and his wife, Alisa, are the proud parents of two sons.