Columbus Music and Art Academy

2014 Central Ohio Singing Competition

Meet the Judges


Élise DesChamps

Ms. DesChamps is originally from Montréal, Canada. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Montréal Conservatory with degrees in Cello and Musicology. She is currently on the voice faculty of The Capital University Conservatory of Music and the Alto Soloist at Linworth United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ohio. She serves as Artist-In-Residence at The Bay View Music Festival.

Élise DesChamps has distinguished herself throughout the United States and Canada as an impressive singing actress in varied repertoire ranging from charmingly feminine portrayals to convincing trouser roles through a highly versatile and rich Mezzo-Soprano voice. She studied vocal performance at Indiana University, where she received a Master of Music in Voice with legendary Soprano Virginia Zeani, and, went on to complete two apprenticeships with Cincinnati Opera and Opera Columbus. Recent engagements include Handel’s Messiah with The Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach and The Boise Philharmonic, Carmen in Princeton, NJ, a debut with The Springfield Symphony Orchestra as the title role in CarmenCarmen with the newly created Operanauts, Verdi’s Requiem, performances of Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy with Grammy Award­winning conductor Arnie Roth in Columbus, as well as a series of recitals in Winston-Salem, Columbus, Saurel, Québec and Montréal. Future engagements include a debut with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra as Mercedes in Carmen, a return to The Springfield Symphony Orchestra as the Alto Soloist in Mahler’s Symphony #2, and a recording of French & American Songs with MDA, Canada.


Cynthia Mahaney

Soprano Cynthia Mahaney has extensive performing and teaching experience. A graduate of Ohio State University, Cynthia received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance where she studied with Eileen Davis. While there, she was awarded the Margaret Speaks Award as the top female singer.

Among Dr. Mahaney’s most recent operatic roles were: Madame Butterfly (Flower Duet/Opera Project Columbus), a Valkurie (Act III Opening/ Opera Project Columbus), and The High Priestess in Opera Columbus’ production of Aϊda, which received a favorable review in Opera News magazine. Other roles include Gertrude in Hansel and Gretel, Annina and Violetta in La Traviata, Delphinia in Babes in Toyland, and First Lady in The Magic Flute. Cynthia’s performances also include solos in Carmina Burana, Mozart’s and Durufle’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah. Recordings featuring Dr. Mahaney include Calidente and Yet I Will Rejoice.

Cynthia is soprano section leader of Broad Street United Methodist Church and is an instructor of voice at Kenyon College. With Piano Lessons in Your Home, Inc. she is part of the Voice Faculty. She resides in the Clintonville area where she maintains an active private studio of over 25 students.


Anne Todt

Anne Todt received a Bachelor of Music Education Degree in Voice from The Ohio State University and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She teaches voice at Capital University’s College Preparatory and Adult Education Departments.

Mrs. Todt has sung professionally with several choral groups in the area: Cantari Singers, The Columbus Bach Ensemble and Lancaster Chorale. She sang in opera choruses with the Columbus Symphony prior to Opera Columbus. She has directed the Columbus Chamber Singers for 23 years. She is excited to hear young singers


Jennifer Whitehead

Jennifer Whitehead, soprano, is a Columbus native and recently graduated from the Ohio State University with a doctorate of musical arts in voice and singing health. She frequently appears in both staged and concert works in central Ohio, where recent roles with Opera / Columbus include Kate Pinkerton in MADAME BUTTERFLY, Guinevere in CAMELOT, Papagena in THE MAGIC FLUTE, and Yum-Yum in THE MIKADO.  Jennifer has also been extensively involved  with the Opera / Columbus education and outreach programs, through which she performed roles in the world premieres of the children’s operas BAREFOOT and SOMEBODY’S CHILDREN, as well as Little Red Riding Hood in LITTLE RED’S MOST UNUSUAL DAY.  As concert soloist, she has performed with the Columbus Bach Ensemble, the Columbus Symphony, the Westerville Civic Symphony, and the orchestras and choirs at the Ohio State University, Kenyon College, Otterbein University, and Denison University.  She resides in Westerville, Ohio where she maintains a private studio and serves on the voice faculty of Otterbein University. 



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