Staff & Volunteers

FWCC Staff:

Jonathan Busarow, Executive Artistic Director
Treble Choir, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers Director

Mr. Busarow holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Valparaiso University, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from The Ohio State University, and Kodály Certification from the Kodály Institute at Capital University.  Mr. Busarow also serves on the faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne where he teaches voice and choral music education.  He has also served as the interim director of choral studies at IPFW and Valparaiso University.  Mr. Busarow serves as the choir director at Emanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven, IN.

Mr. Busarow is in frequent demand as a clinician and as a tenor soloist.  He has conducted at the American Choral Director’s Association National and Regional Conferences, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, the Indiana Music Educators Association Convention, and the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University.  Mr. Busarow serves as the Reading Session Chair for the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Conference.  In 2015, he received the Arts United Award as the Emerging Leader.  He lives in Fort Wayne with his family, Nicole, Simon, and Matthias.

Pam Pierson, Associate Artistic Director, Director of Lyric Choir
Mrs. Pierson is currently a Limited Term Lecturer at IPFW, teaching courses in music education. She previously worked at Lakewood Park Christian School where she held positions as Elementary Principal and Assistant Superintendent.  Prior to her work as a school administrator, she taught elementary music in the Fort Wayne Community School district where she was also appointed to a position as the Elementary Music Liaison.  She is a past board member of the Indiana Music Educators Association and Area 2 coordinator of Circle the State with Song.  She frequently presents at educational conferences and workshops.  Mrs. Pierson received her Bachelors degree from Taylor University - Fort Wayne and completed both her Masters degree and the Principal Licensure Program at Indiana Wesleyan University.  She is also certified in Levels 1 and 2 of Orff -Schuwerk. Mrs. Pierson and her husband, Ed, make their home in Auburn where they are active in their church and enjoy supporting the activities of their nieces and nephews.

Amber Foster, Managing Director
Friends and colleagues describe Amber as an effervescent, passionate, community-minded connector. She is an experienced fundraiser and marketer and plans to use her strengths to move the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir forward. A transplant from Illinois, she is a staunch advocate for our city and gives back by volunteering for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, Women United, SCAN, Fort Wayne Rotary, and Love Fort Wayne. She earned a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University. She is also a freelance writer for whatzup Magazine, Visit Fort Wayne, and Northeast Indiana Public Radio. In 2010, she was named one of our community’s top 40 Under 40 and a Top 100 Connector in Northeast Indiana. Her most important role, however, is mother to her daughter Annabelle and her two Great Danes, Max and Lenora.

Irene S. Ator, Artistic Assistant & Principle Accompanist
Mrs. Ator has been accompanying the Fort Wayne Children's Choir since she traveled to Shrewsbury, England with the FWCC in 1999. Now in her 17th season with the FWCC, she has traveled on many tours, and she feels extremely privileged to work with our talented singers and directors. Mrs. Ator is in demand as an accompanist and as a private piano and organ instructor. She spent twenty-five years in church music ministry.  Since the early 1980s, she has been organ instructor at IPFW and the organist and   harpsichordist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, and further piano and organ study took place at the Eastman School of Music in her hometown of Rochester NY.  Mrs. Ator is married to Jim, a retired IPFW Music Professor.

Tena Crist, Volunteer Coordinator
Mrs. Crist is a native of Fort Wayne.  She graduated from IPFW with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology and received her MBA, with a health care concentration, from Indiana Tech. Volunteering has been a part of her life. While employed at KUS she served as the company coordinator for the Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon, March of Dimes fundraisers, and the United Way workplace campaign. She also has volunteered with her church and other activities in the community. Mrs. Crist and her husband, Jeremy, have devoted time to the FWCC by chaperoning for many tours that their daughter, Brianna, participated in. Brianna is currently in her 10th year with the FWCC and participates in the Youth Chorale and Chamber Singers.

Susie Peirce, Communication & Grant Manager
Mrs. Peirce is known in the community for her volunteer and collaborative work with nonprofit organizations. Educated as a professional registered nurse, she has also worked in the capacity as a media clerk, director of outreach, grant writer, and literacy program coordinator/recruiter.  Married to John Peirce, she is the mother of two adult children. Her spare time includes spending time with her two grandgirls, traveling, walking, biking, needlework, and playing with her dog.

Nancy Swanson, Administrative Assistant & Financial Manager
Mrs. Swanson has served the FWCC for nearly 12 years, first as a choir secretary, and then joining the staff in 2004. Previously, she worked at the University of Saint Francis, all for One productions, and The University of Texas. Mrs. Swanson holds a B.S. in Organizational Management from Goshen College. She enjoys gardening and baking and can often be found preparing meals for families in need. Her husband, Jon, is an active supporter of the FWCC, often assisting behind the scenes. The Swansons have two married children, and her daughter, Hope, is an alum of the Fort Wayne Children's Choir.

Susan LaCroix, Director of Apprentice Choir and Preparatory Program
Mrs. LaCroix is in her 21st year with the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir. A native of Minnesota, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Concordia University in River Forest, IL. She received additional training in the child’s voice, conducting, and Level One Kodály Certification at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She has operated a private piano and flute studio and taught music education at IPFW, Unity Lutheran School, and with Southwest Allen County Schools. She is currently a music education specialist and band director at Holy Cross Lutheran School. All three of her daughters are alumnae of the FWCC.

Kathy Coulter, Accompanist for Apprentice Choir
Mrs. Coulter has been with the FWCC for eleven years. She received a Bachelor of Music at the College of Wooster in Ohio and a Masters of Art in Music Education at Montclair State University in New Jersey.  She taught music for many years in New Jersey, New York, Iowa, and Indiana, most recently at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne. She is currently teaching preschool at the SonShine Christian Academy in Fort Wayne, thoroughly enjoying her class of three year- olds. She lives in Auburn with her husband, Scott, two of their three adult children, and four cats. 

Phyllis Boester, Director of Lyric Choir
Mrs. Boester received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. She teaches general music at Weisser Park Elementary School. At First Wayne Street United Methodist Church, Mrs. Boester is the Associate Choir Director and Director of Children's Music. She has completed Levels I & II of Orff-Schulwerk and is a member of the NIOSA Chapter. She completed three levels of Kodály training at Capital University and two levels of Creating Artistry for Choral Conductors at Butler University.  She is the Area 2 Middle School Coordinator for the Circle the State with Song Festival and a dedicated member of Heartland Chamber Chorale. Her two sons are both alumni of the FWCC program. 

Donna Hartleroad, Accompanist for Lyric Choir & Treble Choir
Mrs. Hartleroad was the former accompanist for Concert Choir working with Mr. Fred Meads, former FWCC Artistic Director. She also accompanies at IPFW where she assists students in preparation for performances, competitions, and degree recitals. She also maintains a private piano studio. Mrs. Hartleroad serves as the Director of Music at Shoaff Park Baptist Church. Previously, Mrs. Hartleroad was coach and accompanist for the IPFW Department of Music, was Assistant Musical Director for the IPFW University Singers, Chamber Singers and Opera Ensemble.  Mrs. Hartleroad has a degree in piano performance from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio and has done post-graduate work at Ohio State University.   She and her husband Randy, an engineer, have two children.

Jonathan Mann, Accompanist for Lyric Choir
Dr. Jonathan Edward Mann earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University Bloomington under Dr. Karen Shaw and a Doctoral Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under James Tocco. He has held faculty positions at the University of Idaho, State University of New York, Fredonia, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Brevard Music Center. A Steinway Artist, Dr. Mann has published for Clavier Companion and currently serves on the faculties of The University of Saint Francis and Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne.

Becky Walter, Director of Whitley Community Children's Choir
Mrs. Walter is retired after 30 years of teaching elementary music in Whitley County. She is now focusing her energies on creating musical and artistic opportunities through the Whitley Arts Partnership for people of “all ages and stages”.  She earned her music education degree from Western Michigan University and her Masters degree from IPFW. She has completed Levels I and II of the Orff-Schulwerk training, is an Endorsed Trainer with Education Through Movement, and has a certification in First Steps in Music. a music literacy program for the very young. Mrs. Walter and her husband, Larry, are the proud parents of a Brady Bunch and six grandchildren.

Carolyn Hindbaugh, Accompanist for Whitley Community Children’s Choir
Carolyn Hindbaugh has been an Indiana music educator for 35 years, most of them in the Whitley County Consolidated Schools district. A graduate of Ball State University, she currently teaches General Music and Band at Indian Springs Middle School, Columbia City. Mrs. Hindbaugh has enjoyed working with Columbia City High School students in extracurricular activities involving the CCHS show choirs and drama department. She has two sons, one residing in Reno, Nevada, and the other with her in Columbia City.

Mitch Rorick, Director of the Boychoir
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Rorick is an active choral conductor and organist. Interested in working with choirs of all ages and talents, he has served children's and adult choirs in Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. In addition, he has led successful music ministries at churches in Chicago, Columbus, Indiana, and Thomasville, Georgia. Mr. Rorick directs the Singing Dons and teaches aural skills at IPFW.  He also serves as the Associate Director of Music at Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, where he plays the organ, conducts two handbell choirs, and works with children's, youth, and adult choirs. He holds degrees in choral conducting, sacred music, and organ performance from Wheaton College, Indiana University, and Florida State University. Mr. Rorick has completed three levels of Kodaly training, a specialized approach to music education used by FWCC.

Laura Dallman, AccompanistLaura Dallman is a pianist and musicologist residing in northeastern Indiana. She received a Bachelor of Music in piano from Ball State University in 2007 and a Master of Arts in musicology from Indiana University in 2009.  She is currently a doctoral candidate in musicology at Indiana University. Her dissertation, “The Significance of Accessibility in American Orchestral Music,” is in progress and concerns the intersection of symphonic music, elements of accessibility, and select modern composers.  

Professor Dallman currently teaches courses in music history, music appreciation, and class piano at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Trine University. She is also an active accompanist in the Fort Wayne area and plays various percussive instruments in a local steel drum ensemble.

Tavis Schlicker, Director of Youth Chorale
Mr. Schlicker is the director of choral activities at Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne. He has lead quality high school vocal programs in Wisconsin, Texas, and Indiana. The Concordia choral program frequently garners gold ratings “with distinction” at Organizational competition and was honored to earn a spot at the Indiana State Finals and receive the ISSMA “All-Music Award” for the past two years. In Texas, choirs under the direction of Mr. Schlicker were annual sweepstakes award winners and competed successfully at regional and state levels. Mr. Schlicker was nominated twice for Texas private school director of the year honors. He is an active regional and national ACDA member and serves on the ad-hoc ISSMA jazz committee as the ICDA District 2 Representative and All-State Coordinator. He also participates on the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir music advisory board. Mr. Schlicker and his wife, Jennifer, have four musical children, of which two are in Treble and Concert Choirs, respectively.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Board of Directors:


President: Carrie Minnich, Dulin, Ward, and DeWald, Inc

Vice-President: Justin Shurley, TinCaps

Treasurer: Tony Strickler, Sweetwater 

Secretary: Meg Ryan, Bishop Luers, Educator

Members at Large:

Diana Bartscht, Community Arts Volunteer

Kevin Christenson, Sweetwater

Kathryn Lemish, Lincoln Financial

Mitchell McKinney, Fort Wayne Police Department

Debbie Powers, Kelly Services

Tim Robinson, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church

Michael Ross, Carson Boxberger

Stephanie Taylor, Child Protective Services


Music Advisory Board:

Erin Bean, Heritage Elementary - President

Fort Wayne Community Schools:
Wendy Bloom, Haley Elementary
Amy Maupin, Price Elementary
Laura McCoy, St. Joseph Central Elementary
Janet Piercy, Arlington Elementary
Sara Pulse, Indian Village Elementary
Tess Stachofsky, Harris Elementary

East Allen County Schools:
Ellen Augsburger, Woodlan Primary K-3
Erin Bean, Heritage Elementary

Northwest Allen County Schools:
Diane Barton, Hickory Center Elementary
Sheila Gagen, Arcola Elementary

Southwest Allen County Schools:
Krista Swaidner, Covington Elementary

Lutheran Schools:
Dr. Jonathan Eifert, Ascension Lutheran School

Catholic Schools:
Leah Wedler, St. Jude’s Catholic School
Christy Maloney, Bishop Dwenger High School

Whitley County Consolidated Schools:
Lisa Stephens, Mary Raber & Northern Heights Elementary Schools

Mary Smith, Antwerp Local Elementary

Parent Organization:

President: Jamie Wilsey-Heckman
Vice President: 
Treasurer: Seema Reddy
Fundraising Chair: Jamie Wilsey-Heckman
SCRIP Chair: Alicia Davis
Social Chair: Jennifer Balkenbusch
Logo Chair: Tracey Wahl
Board Liaison: Kathryn Lemish
Staff Liaison: Tena Crist

The Parent Organization was formed to support the social activities of the choir and help provide fund raising opportunities to defray tuition costs and tour expenses for the singer and the organization. The success of the Parent Organization depends on volunteers to serve on the social committees, fund raising committees, committee chairs and choir representatives.


Latest News


The Fort Wayne Children's Choir invites youth, in grades 3 - 12, to participate in our auditions. Open to any singer interested in...

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Join in the fun and learn more about the art of singing. Under the direction of Susan LaCroix of Fort Wayne Children’s Choir,...

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