Artistic Leadership

Dawn Willis

Dr. Dawn O. Willis, Artistic Director

Dr. Dawn Willis is the Artistic Director of Solaris Vocal Ensemble, a twenty-four member mixed-voice ensemble she founded in 2013. Her broad knowledge of exceptional choral repertoire is at the base of the Solaris mission to present exciting and meaningful performances to its varied audiences. Under her leadership, Solaris has performed as the featured ensemble at the Vermont/New Hampshire American Choral Directors’ Association Gather at the River conference in New Hampshire, and on performance tours in Maine and Canada. Solaris has also performed at the Vermont statehouse in Montpelier by invitation. Solaris regularly performs in Burlington, Montpelier and Waterbury along with other venues throughout Vermont and has produced four CDs. Dr. Willis is also the founder and Artistic Director of Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont, and she has served as the Interim Music Director at College Street Congregational Church, Burlington and Music Director at First Baptist Church, Burlington; Chorus Director for the Green Mountain Opera Festival; and as the Assistant Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Dr. Bethany Blake, Collaborative Accompanist

Bethany Blake is a keyboardist and music historian. Originally from Michigan, she attended graduate school in the northeast (Stony Brook University) and is happy to have ended up in the beautiful state of Vermont. Bethany teaches music history courses and private lessons in piano and harpsichord at the University of Vermont. She is also the music director and organist at First Congregational Church of Essex Junction. When she isn’t teaching or playing music, Bethany enjoys being with her husband and three daughters.

Cameron Brownell, Assistant Conductor

Cameron, a native Vermonter from Colchester, graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music with degrees in Music Education and Voice Performance. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Sacred Music from the University of Notre Dame where he received the Sacred Music Program’s Academic Achievement Award.

After living in Utah for three years, where he worked as a chorus teacher and parish music director, and sang with the Utah Chamber Artists under the direction of Dr. Barlow Bradford, Cameron moved back to Vermont to accept the job as Chorus Teacher at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg in 2020. In February 2022, he took on the additional role of Music Director at Charlotte Congregational Church in Charlotte.

Solaris Board of Directors

Dean King, Chair

Nan O’Leary, Secretary

Linda Wheeler, Treasurer

Jenny Berchling

Becky Peterson

Caleb Roman

James Stewart

John Trackey

Gail Whitehouse

Dawn Willis