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2017 Adjudicator Biographies


Rhonda Dillon

Ms. Rhonda Dillon holds a Bachelor Degree in voice and a Master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Southern California. She conducted the chorale of El Camino College to rave reviews during the Spring of 2009 and conducted the Community Choir from 2010-13. Her stage work includes appearing as Carlotta and Madame Giry in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera in every company in the United States! Ms. Dillon loves recital work and celebrated her fourteenth appearance in the Resident-Artist Series at El Camino College June 12, 2014.


Shirley Nute

Shirley Nute is one of California’s most honored choral music professionals. She received a bachelor degree from Occidental College, with majors in choral conducting and voice where she studied with Howard Swan. She was awarded a master’s degree from Columbia University where she sang in the New York Collegiate Chorale under the direction of Robert Shaw. Ms. Nute has taught in the Glendale Unified School District at both Glendale and Crescenta Valley High Schools. During her 43 year tenure her choirs participated regularly in regional and state conventions. Noted for her exceptional training skills, Occidental College, California State University at Northridge and the University of Southern California engaged her to be a master teacher for their choral music credentialing programs. She has held the office of President for the Southern California Vocal Association and the Southern Section of the American Choral Directors’ Association as well as Vice President of the southern section of the California Music Educators Association. In 1977, Shirley founded the Crescenta Valley Alumni Chorale and continues to direct that ensemble.


Renee Sousa

Ms. Renee Sousa regularly performs with the L.A. Opera, most recently as the First Swallow in their production of The Birds. She recently reprised the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly. Other solo concert appearances include a Hollywood Bowl tribute to John Phillip Sousa with the American Winds and yes, she is related. Ms. Sousa also performs regularly with the Desert Symphony. She appeared at Carnegie Hall in a unique concert exploring the influence of classical on popular music. Ms. Sousa was also one of the adjudicators for the 2011 California Women’s Chorus Scholarship auditions.