Staff and Officers

Artistic Director: Alison Skinner

Alison Skinner, Artistic Director, has been directing the Davis Chorale since 2010. Before returning to her hometown of Davis, Skinner lived in Philadelphia, where she was the Artistic Director of the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, taught high school music at Germantown Friends School and was the assistant conductor of Philadelphia’s Choral Arts Society. Skinner graduated with honors from University of California Santa Cruz, with an emphasis in vocal performance. She holds the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Temple University, where she was a student of Alan Harler. In addition to conducting the Davis Chorale, Skinner is also the music director of Sierra Master Chorale in Grass Valley.

Accompanist: LuAnn Higgs

LuAnn Higgs, Accompanist, is a Davis native, Director of the Davis Children’s Chorale, and accompanist for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis. She can be found as a Staff Accompanist for California State University Sacramento, where she frequently vocal directs the Department of Theatre and Dance’s musical productions. LuAnn is also the Director of the Congregation B’nai Israel High Holy Day Choir in Sacramento. She completed some years of study at UC Davis, CSU Sacramento, and at die Hochschule der Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, but her main influence and muse was pianist Louise Savage, currently of Boulder, Colorado, whom she studied with for many years. In Davis, you may have seen her on the stage in many Davis Comic Opera Company productions, also as accompanist for “Citizens Who Care” fundraisers. LuAnn teaches both voice and piano privately in her home studio in Sacramento.

Founder and Director Emerita: Rachel Day Kessler (1936-2022)

Rachel Kessler was the founder and Artistic Director of the Davis Children’s Chorale. She was a member and soloist of the Robert Shaw Chorale and the Roger Wagner Chorale on many international and national tours. She earned a B.S. in Music Education from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and a M.M. from Indiana University, Bloomington.

In 1983, she was guest conductor of the institute now known as Chorus America, in Lake Placid, New York. She also served as a faculty member at the CSUS Summer Choral Workshop, the Zephyr Point Summer Sing, and the Albuquerque Music and Worship Conference.

After hearing her sing in rehearsals leading up to the first public performance of his Requiem (Sacramento, 1985), John Rutter wrote the soprano solo in the “Lux Aeternam” for her voice. She was the recipient of the Harmony in Our Lives award in 1993.

Many hundreds of Davis teenagers have profited from Ms. Kessler’s tutelage as chorus director at Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes Junior High Schools, and as director of the youth choir at the Davis Community Church. She was the founder and director emeritus of an adult community choir, the Davis Community Chorale, which has performed both in the U.S. and Europe. Ms. Kessler was a founding co-director of a very successful vocal/choral music camp held each summer in the Sierras, founded by Gus Noland of Sacramento.

Board of Directors

Section Coordinators