Mr. Andrew J. Nemeth
Andrew J. Nemeth, Director, is currently in his ninth year of teaching. He completed his B.M. degree in Music Education from Butler University (2010). He studied voice with Steven Rickards and Mary Anne Scott, and studied conducting with Henry Leck, Eric Stark, and Tim Brimmer. He earned his M.M. degree in Music Education from Boston University in 2016 where he studied conducting with Ann Howard Jones. Nemeth first taught at Prairie Heights Middle School and Prairie Heights High School in LaGrange, Indiana. The choir program has grown under his direction, thriving with nearly 250 students in seven choirs. New for the 2015-2016 school year, Mr. Nemeth began a chamber choir, Viva Voce, at Penn HS that specializes in the music of living composers. This choir has commissioned several composers since that time, including Daniel Brinsmead, Dan McIntosh, Ben Goshorn-Maroney, Paul Carey, and most recently, Ola Gjeilo.
Mr. Nemeth has been an active member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) since 2010 and regularly attends conferences to learn from master music educators and conductors. Since his time at Penn, his students have received great ratings from clinicians and adjudicators. The Penn Choirs have also begun participating in ISSMA Organizational Contest. Having worked with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, many middle and high schools, and community choirs, Nemeth has experience in making music with all ages and continues to believe that singing is one of the best ways to grow not only as musicians but also as humans. He sings tenor with the South Bend Chamber Singers, and is Music Director at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in South Bend. He directs Concert Choir, Rhapsody, and Viva Voce.
Mr. Lavon Oke
Lavon Oke, Associate Director, has been teaching in Indiana for more than 30 years. He began as a choral director at Dickinson Middle School and moved to John Adams High School, both in South Bend. After completing a Masters in Conducting from IU Bloomington in 1994, he was hired at Penn High School in the spring of 1995, where he has taught Band, Orchestra, Choir, Recording Arts, and Music Theory. He plays piano and keyboards for his local church and is married with three teenage children. Born and raised in Alberta, Canada, Mr. Oke has conducted professionally in the United States, Canada, and Japan. He directs Bella Voce and Singing Kingsmen.
Mrs. Allison Secaur
Allison Secaur, Assistant Director & Accompanist. After 7 years of directing choirs at Schmucker Middle School, Allison Secaur is returning to Penn Choir. Before her years at Schmucker, she spent 3 years at Penn as an accompanist and 2 years at Penn as a director. She has also played for 6 Penn musicals and many contest solos and ensembles. Her experiences outside of PHM include touring with the Ball State Chamber Choir in the Pacific Northwest and the St. Mary’s Women’s Choir in China, accompanying the LaPorte High School Choirs, directing the Mississinewa High School and R.J. Baskett Middle School Choirs, coordinating the Circle the State with Song middle school festivals at Goshen College, and accompanying under the direction of Dr. Nancy Menk at Carnegie Hall. She directs Bel Canto Chorus and Cantabile Choir.