Fort Street Chorale
The Fort Street Chorale is a 70+ member community chorale founded by Edward Kingins in 1971 with a handful of dedicated volunteers, singing occasionally in Sunday services, and it has grown into a cohesive, well-organized, musically proficient, nonprofessional ensemble that has received widespread acclaim.
With his retirement in late 2016 Marilyn Biery succeeded Edward Kingins as Music Director and Dr. Arianne Abela who directs the Women’s Chorale and Choral Union at Wayne State University was appointed as Interim Conductor of the Fort Street Chorale for the 2017-2018 season.
Music Director Emeritus
Ed Kingins received his musical education at the American Conservatory of Music, Heidelberg College, and Wayne State University. Most of his vocal study was with Avery Crew; he has, however, also studied with Maude Taylor Childs, Edison Harris, Barre Hill, and Ferris Ohl. More recently, as the recipient of a Martha Baird Rockefeller Award, he studied with Boris Goldovsky.
Ed has appeared as leading tenor in Michigan Opera Theatre productions of The Merry Widow, Boris Godunov, Die Fledermaus, Regina, Carmen, and in tours of Lucia di Lammermoor, Madame Butterfly, and Die Fledermaus. He has also sung principal roles with the Cleveland Opera and made numerous appearances with the Des Moines Metro Opera Festival.
A former Belle Isle Auditions winner, he has appeared as soloist on numerous occasions with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Chamber Orchestra, the Detroit Concert Band, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. In addition, he has appeared with the Flint Symphony, the Saginaw Symphony, the Kalamazoo Symphony, the Scandinavian Symphony, and the Niagara Falls Philharmonic.
Aside from orchestral and operatic commitments, Ed has performed throughout the Midwest as a recitalist and in oratorio. Included among the many series and festivals in which he has appeared have been the Laudenslager Chamber Music Series, the Pro-Mozart Society, Schoolcraft Summer Festival, Brunch with Bach, Marygrove College Chamber Concerts, Wayne State University Spring Festival, the Cranbrook Festival, and the Meadowbrook Festival.
Dr. Marilyn Perkins Biery
Dr. Marilyn Perkins Biery (pronounced “Beery”) succeeds Edward Kingins as Music Director. She is also Organist and Conductor of the Fort Street Choir, as well as overseeing the musical life of the church. Marilyn has been with Fort Street since August of 2016.
Marilyn Biery’s educational and experiential background is phenomenal and includes extensive work as an organist, conductor, composer, adjudicator, and educator. She holds Bachelor of Music (B.M.) and Master of Music (M.M.) degrees in organ and church music from Northwestern University, two years toward a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree in choral conducting from the University of Connecticut (UConn) as well as the D.M.A. in organ performance from the University of Minnesota. She was the conducting assistant to Dr. Peter Bagley, nationally acclaimed choral conductor, who was the Director of Choral Activities at UConn.
Dr. Biery was a finalist in the National Open Competition in Organ Playing, sponsored by the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in Washington, DC; guest soloist with Orchestra New England at the Region One AGO Convention, New Haven, CT.; Organist/Accompanist for the National Lutheran Choir; GIA Publications Showcase Organist; and Fulbright Screening Committee Member, Organ/Harpsichord. In Connecticut, she was Director of Music Ministries at the First Church of Christ in Hartford. In Minnesota, she was the Founder and Conductor of the Cathedral of Saint Paul Concert Choir; Principal Conductor for Diocesan Hymn Festivals; and Conductor for the Hymn Festival at the Cathedral of Saint Paul for the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada’s Annual Convention. She is the composer of numerous published organ and choral works.
Marilyn and her husband James ̶ Minister of Music at Grosse Pointe Memorial (Presbyterian) Church in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan ̶ have performed as organists and conductors throughout the United States. More information about them is available on their website.
Dr. Arianne Abela
Interim Chorale Conductor
Dr. Arianne Abela as Interim Conductor of the Fort Street Chorale for the 2017-2018 season will rehearse and conduct the Chorale for their December performances of Handel’s Messiah on December 2 and 3 2017, as well as the Chorale’s May 2018 concert.
Arianne Abela currently directs the Women’s Chorale and Choral Union at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, and serves as the Director of Music at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor, MI. Arianne is the founder and conductor of 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra, a volunteer orchestra and chorus of 60 that was featured recently in the quarter finals of America’s Got Talent (Season 8) at Radio City Music Hall. Arianne is also a founder and Artistic director of the Detroit Women's Chorus and sings in the ensemble she and her husband Noah founded in 2013 Audivi.
Arianne was selected as one of ten to participate in the Dallas Opera’s inaugural Women’s Conductor Institute, and recently was appointed Music Director of Canadian-based opera company, Re:Naissance Opera. She also has been invited to guest conduct upcoming productions of Falstaff and Don Giovanni for the Detroit-based opera company, OperaMODO. Abela has served as Director of the University of Michigan Residential College Singers, Chorus Master for the University of Michigan Opera productions, under the direction of Martin Katz, Assistant Conductor for University Musical Society’s Choral Union, and Assistant Conductor for the University of Michigan Chamber Choir. She has conducted choirs at Yale University, served as Assistant Conductor for the Yale Alumni Chorus on tours to Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. As a professional singer, she has appeared with Yale Choral Artists, Sounding Light, Arkora, Yale Schola Cantorum, and Audivi. Abela has a doctorate from the University of Michigan, under the tutelage of Jerry Blackstone, and a master’s degree in conducting from the Yale School of Music, under Marguerite Brooks, Jeffrey Douma and Simon Carrington. Originally from San Francisco, California, Abela sang as a member of the San Francisco Girls Chorus for many years.