Music Staff

Chorus Staff
For the 2016 – 2017, the CBA Chorus will be directed by our three Chorus Director Candidates:

Stephen Blackwelder
Chorus Director Candidate

Concert: Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Handel, Faure & Mahler

Stephen Blackwelder is currently Music Director of the Waukegan Symphony and Director of the DePaul Community Chorus. Previous positions include Music Director of the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra and numerous civic and educational orchestral, opera, and choral ensembles in the greater Chicago area. As a professional singer, he performed frequently under conductors James Levine, Robert Shaw, Sir Georg Solti, Claudio Abbado and Margaret Hillis while a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Aspen Chamber Choir. He served on the conducting staff of the Harford Opera Theater of Baltimore, Hinsdale Opera, Opera Illinois, Opera da Corneto and Chicago Opera Theater and also on the faculties of Lake Forest College, East Carolina University and DePaul University’s CMD.

Blackwelder holds a BM from the University of North Carolina (1978) and a MM from Northwestern University (1979). Professional study included four seasons with the Aspen Music Festival and conducting master classes with Sir Georg Solti, Max Rudolf and Erich Leinsdorf.

Christopher Windle
Chorus Director Candidate

Concert: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Mostly Mozart

Christopher Windle is the Concert Choir Conductor and an Instructor with the Department of Music at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL. Additionally, he is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University’s Beinen School of Music in Evanston, IL. Additionally, Windle serves as the Assistant Choirmaster of the Church of the Atonement in Chicago, IL, where he conducts the Schola, Atonement Choir, and St. Cecilia Choir. Each week, these choirs sing a different choral mass setting, motets, and chant.

In previous seasons, Windle has conducted and prepared choirs for numerous and diverse organizations. These include Singing City in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument! in Philadelphia, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Northfield Youth Choirs, Temple University, and Northwestern University's choral and opera departments. Windle served for two years as the Assistant Director of Music Ministry at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Here, he helped lead a music program of over 200 musicians. He conducted four choirs with singers of ages 10-80, a handbell choir, flute choir, and orchestra.

Windle continues to sing professionally in choirs throughout the country. During the 2015-2016 season, he sang with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, the Aestas Consort, the William Ferris Chorale, and Schola Laudis, a professional group specializing in early liturgical music. Previous ensembles have included The Crossing (Philadelphia), the Choir of St. Clement’s Church in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Singers, the South Dakota Chorale, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and the St. Olaf Choir.

Currently, Windle is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music under Dr. Donald Nally. He received his Bachelor of Music from St. Olaf College with Dr. Anton Armstrong and his Master of Music from Temple University with Dr. Paul Rardin.


Marek Rachelski
Chorus Director Candidate

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams

Marek Rachelski enjoys a rich variety in his musical life as conductor, pianist/harpsichordist and as collaborative artist in recital. He has appeared with orchestras in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Canada and the USA. Mr. Rachelski has served on the faculties of Loyola University and De Paul University.

He is the Artistic Director of Musica Lumina Ensemble and Conductor/Founder of the Niles Metropolitan Chorus. In four seasons the NMC/ML has performed major works of the repertoire: Requiems of Mozart, Faure, Rutter; the Magnificats of Pärt, Bach and Pergolesi; Haydn’s Creation, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, a yearly Handel’s Messiah, and the St. John Passion of J. S. Bach (scheduled for April 2, 2017).

Previously, as Music Director of Opera Las Vegas he conducted complete staged performances of Puccini’s La Bohème, Donizetti’s L'elisir d'amore, Mollicone’s The Face on the Barroom Floor, a Puccini 150th Retrospective and accompanied numerous aria recitals. While in Nevada he was also the founder and conductor of the Las Vegas Peoples Valley Chorus.

A composer of over 100 works, Marek is published with World Library and M Gerard Publications. He was commissioned for a setting of Psalm 145 for the 1989 Papal Mass in Detroit and for a Magnificat by the Lira Singers for their 25th Anniversary.

Marek holds degrees from Northwestern University, Wayne State University and the Academy of Music in Prague HAMU.

Rebecca Patterson
Chorus Director Emeritus

Chorus Director Rebecca Patterson retired from directing the Chicago Bar Association Chorus at the end of the 2015 - 2016 season after directing the chorus from the date the chorus was started through the next ten years.

Rebecca brought more than thirty years of professional experience to her work with the Chicago Bar Association Chorus. As a soprano soloist, she has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and regional orchestras. In operatic performances she has portrayed such diverse characters as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Musetta in La Bohème, and Amahl in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.

As a choral musician, Rebecca has experience as both singer and conductor. As a chorister she sang with The Chicago Symphony Chorus under Margaret Hillis and the Grant Park Festival Chorus. In 2006 Rebecca led the CBA Chorus in rehearsals for its performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Navy Pier. Since then, she has prepared the chorus for performances of Fauré's Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, Poulenc’s Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bruckner’s Te Deum and Brahms’ Requiem.

Visit Rebecca's web site at We wish Rebecca well in her future endeavors.
holmes Janet Eckhardt
Rehearsal Accompanist

Well known among Chicago’s choral singers, Janet Eckhardt has served as accompanist for numerous professional and community choral groups and church and synagogue choirs. Currently an adjunct faculty member at North Park University, Janet also serves as staff accompanist at Moody Bible Institute. Prior to her appointment at North Park, she taught piano at Seattle Pacific University. Janet is a graduate of North Park University and the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford.