BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Joel Zylstra, President
Mary Rousseau, Vice-President
Catherine Besonen, Treasurer
Tim Kuehl, Secretary
Bel Canto Director
Gregory Douma has directed choirs at the middle school, high school, college and adult levels for over 20 years. In addition to being the founding artistic director of the Allegro Choral Academy, he serves as Director of Vocal Music at Eastview High School in Apple Valley, MN, where he teaches five choirs and leads the annual musical extravaganza, BRAVO! Greg received his training at Luther College (Bachelor of Arts) and the University of Iowa (Master of Arts), and is in increasing demand as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the region. Choirs under his direction have received numerous invitations to perform, including Minnesota Music Educators Association clinics (2006, 2009 and 2018), the Luther College Dorian Choral Invitational and Festival, the ACDA of MN Fall Conference (2010), the North-Central ACDA Conference (2010 and 2014), and collaborations with Chanticleer, the Minnesota Chorale and Vocalessence Ensemble Singers. In 2005, he was recognized as Outstanding Young Choral Director of the Year by the Minnesota chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. For several years, Greg sang in the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and was on the teaching staff for the Festival's Youth Choral Academy under the direction of Dr. Anton Armstrong. Greg has served as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Tenor-Bass Choirs at both the state and regional levels of ACDA. In 2016, he conducted the Wisconsin Children’s All-State Choir and served as the 9-10 TBB Honor Choir conductor in 2022 for ACDA of Minnesota.
Prima Voce Director
Kari Douma has directed choirs with singers ages 8 to 18. In addition to over 20 years of teaching in the public school system, Kari is the co-founder of the Allegro Choral Academy, a non-profit organization that has served children since 2006. Outside of Allegro, Kari stays active as Director of Vocal Music at Eastview High School in Apple Valley, MN, where, in addition to directing five choirs, she is vocal music director for Eastview’s award-winning musical theatre program. She has been professionally active both as Repertoire and Standards Chair for SSA Choirs for ACDA of MN, as well as Editor for the professional publication, Star of the North, a job for which she was recognized at the ACDA National Convention in Miami (winner of Large State Newsletter of the Year). Kari received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Luther College with Weston Noble, Sandra Peter and Timothy Peter and her master's degree from St. Mary's University.
April Rios has taught elementary music in Minnesota since 2005. She received her undergraduate training at Bemidji State University in Vocal and Classroom Music grades K-12 and her graduate degree at the University of St. Thomas (Master of Arts in Music Education with a dual concentration in the Kodaly and Orff-Schulwerk methodologies). April is actively involved in music education in both the Kodaly Chapter of MN and the MN Orff Chapter, as well as the Minnesota Music Educators Association. April taught K-6 music in both Saint Paul Public Schools and Hopkins Public Schools before her current position in District 196 at Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies.
Rebecca Hahn graduated from Northern State University with a BME degree in piano and vocal music. Rebecca has been teaching private piano lessons since college. She is currently teaching strings at Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts & Science and 6th grade choir at Rosemount Middle School. Rebecca lives in Apple Valley with her husband and two children. She has been accompanying for choirs since 7th grade and is excited to be part of Allegro.
Laurie Herman taught for 44 years and was a music specialist at Red Pine Elementary School where she oversaw a program of over 750 students. In addition to her work with Allegro, Laurie serves on their Board of Directors. She has degrees from Morningside College and St. Mary's University.
Maria Brandel has been the Arts & Activities Secretary at Eastview High School since 2017 and was the head school secretary at Faithful Shepherd for 15 years before that. At Eastview, she assists the Fine and Performing Arts departments and is heavily involved with the theater productions and BRAVO!. Maria graduated from the University of Minnesota - Duluth with a double major in Communications and Spanish. She is a former Allegro Choral Academy parent and lives in Apple Valley with her husband and two children.