Artistic Staff

Charles Sundquist

Artistic Director

Dr. Charles Sundquist, was recently named Artistic Director of Anima – Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus. Dr. Sundquist recently relocated to the Chicago area from New Jersey where he was Director of Choirs at Mountain Lakes High School and Princeton High School.

Dr. Sundquist’s passion to provide musical and cultural exchanges to his students is evident in his past collaborations. He has prepared his choirs for performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Schauspielhaus in Berlin in collaboration with the G. F. Händel school, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms with the Kostroma Symphony, outside of Moscow, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky at the Princeton University Chapel, Poulenc’s Gloria, Mozart’s Requiem with Metropolitan Opera soloists Paul Plishka and Sharon Sweet, a collaboration with the St. Charles University Orchestra in Prague, St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, and many solo concerts in Dresden, Weimar, Stockholm, Vienna, Budapest, Montréal, and the White House and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.  In 1997, the Princeton High School Choir performed in Moscow with the Moscow Conservatory’s Children’s Choir as part of Moscow’s 800th Anniversary celebration.  His choirs have also been featured at ACDA conventions.

Dr. Sundquist, a native of Duluth, Minnesota, received his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Organ Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where he was a student of David Craighead. He was awarded the Prix d’Excellence from the Conservatoire de Région de Ruiel-Malmaison in France while a student of Marie-Claire Alain.  Also in Paris, he was Associate Choirmaster and Organist at the American Episcopal Cathedral, accompanist for the Paris Ballet School and coach/accompanist for members of the Paris Opera Chorus. Dr. Sundquist’s coaches have included Gwendolyn Koldovsky, Robert Spillman and Samuel Sanders for piano, and the vocal studios of Jan DeGaetanni, Marcia Baldwin, John Malloy and Udo Reinemann.

Brandon Pemberton

Assistant Music Director

Brandon Pemberton is a passionate and enthusiastic music educator who enjoys working with students of all ages and ability levels. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Choral Music Education from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, with Highest Honors and is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Education Degree from Florida State University.

During his time at the University of Michigan, Pemberton served as the Manager and Musical Assistant of the Michigan Youth Ensemble choral program. He also served as the manager of the Lisbon Summer Choral Festival, and was selected as one of nine nationally chosen semi-finalists for the prestigious American Choral Directors Association conducting competition.

As the Assistant Music Director of Anima-Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, Pemberton conducts the Treble and Concert Choruses. Through his work with Anima, he has prepared singers for collaborations with the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Music of the Baroque, and the Joffrey Ballet. Recent tours with the Concert Chorus include participation in the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Serenade! Choral Festival in Washington D.C. Lastly, Pemberton leads both the Summer Music Academy and Summer Sing camps through Anima – Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus.

In addition to his work with Anima, Pemberton serves as the Director of Choirs at Barrington High School. His position in Barrington includes overseeing seven curricular choirs, four a cappella groups, a madrigal ensemble, directing the Freshman Spotlight production, and serving as the Vocal Director of the musical.

Sally Hepler

KidSingers Instructor

Sally Hepler teaches general music, choir, and drama at Hall Elementary School in Aurora, IL and loves every second of it.  She holds a Masters of Music Education from Vandercook College of Music and a Bachelors of Music Education from Indiana Wesleyan University.  Born and raised an Ohio State Buckeye, Mrs. Hepler now resides in Woodridge, Illinois with her wonderful husband. She has had the pleasure of performing in numerous plays, musicals and operas, as well as sing in various collegiate choirs.

William Buhr

Principal Accompanist

Enjoying a national reputation as an accompanist, chamber musician, adjudicator and clinician, William Buhr’s work as a collaborative pianist has taken him to performing engagements in over thirty countries on six continents. Holding degrees from the University of Illinois and DePaul University, Mr. Buhr is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and holds membership in many other professional organizations. He has enjoyed an association with Anima – Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus since 1984.

Marta Pasek

Concert Chorus Accompanist

Marta Pasek holds a M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in piano performance from the University of Music in Krakow, Poland. In her homeland, she performed and taught widely as a pianist, chamber musician, and professor in various music schools as well as serving as accompanist and coach with the Wroclaw Opera. She has extensive experience as a music teacher at all levels of education, from elementary to university, and served as Assistant Professor of Music at Krakow’s University of Music. Currently, she accompanies the Concert, Chamber and Women’s ensembles at Elmhurst College. Ms. Pasek lives with her husband in Palatine and joined the Anima staff in 2017.

Daniel Segner

Treble Chorus Accompanist

Mr. Segner currently  holds the position of Director of Music at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. He was the Principal Organist for First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple in the city, and he is a faculty member at Music Makers of Western Springs where he teachers piano, voice and organ. Recent performances in Chicago have included the Elliot Chapel, Loyola University, and Paul Manz Organ Recital Series. As a collaborator, Mr. Segner has performed with Chorus Angelorum Civitas (Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chamber group), and with the Valparaiso University and La Porte Symphony Orchestras. He was awarded the Ronald F. Reidenbach Prize in Church Music, the Signature Artist Award, and was a finalist in the Schweitzer Young Professional Organ Competition. Having earned his Bachelor of Music in Church Music/Organ Performance under Dr. Lorraine Brugh, Mr. Segner is a graduate of Valparaiso University.

Administrative Staff

Simrit Patel

Executive Director

Simrit Patel began her tenure as Anima’s Executive Director in 2015 and has a rich history with Anima and choral singing. An alumna of the chorus, Ms. Patel earned bachelor degrees in Economics and Psychology from Northwestern University, followed by a law degree from Chicago – Kent College of Law. Prior to joining Anima’s staff, she served actively on Anima’s board of directors while practicing as a family law attorney with A. Traub & Associates. Previous to her law career, Ms. Patel worked in the financial services industry for PricewaterhouseCoopers. She founded and served as Music Director for Brown Sugar, the first Indian fusion a cappella choir at Northwestern University. In addition to her role as Executive Director, she is the parent to two young Anima choristers.

Leslie Morgan

Program Director

Leslie Morgan has served as Program Director since 2001, administrating the logistics of Anima – Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, organizing performances, tours and events for Anima singers and families. She has taken the chorus on 11 international tours on 6 continents to Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Newfoundland, Hong Kong/China, South Africa, England, Spain/Morocco, Latvia/Estonia/Russia, Alaska/British Columbia, Scotland/Ireland, and most recently Greece. She has also taken singers to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center as well as to Washington DC at the Kennedy Center. Leslie has organized Anima to perform with world class organizations including the Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Music of the Baroque, Joffrey Ballet, and celebrities like Julia Roberts, Styx, and Barenaked Ladies. She relies on a dedicated team of parent chaperones and volunteers to make it all happen.

Board of Directors

Tonya Parravano


Ellen Albright


Gabriella Bean


Doug Quinn


Chuck Brown

Caitlin Lehman

Maggie McCoy

Lauren McDonald

Kelly Raffel

Steven M. Ruffalo

Nancy Schuessler

50th Anniversary Honorary Board

Michael Black

Chorus Master
Lyric Opera of Chicago

Stephen Hatfield

British Columbia, CA

Donald Nally

Director of Choral Activities
Northwestern University

Wayland Rogers


Jerry Blackstone

Director of Choral Activities (Retired)
University of Michigan

Mei- Ann Chen

Music Director
Chicago Sinfonietta

Lisa Kaplan

eighth blackbird

John Nelson

Chicago Bach Project

Duain Wolfe

Chicago Symphony Chorus

Robert Bowker

Founder and Conductor
The Lakeside Singers

David Fox

President (retired)
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital

David McGowan

DuPage Foundation

Imant Raminsh

British Columbia, CA