- William Griffel
Purdue Musical Organizations and Varsity Glee Club Director
William E. Griffel is thrilled to be serving as the Director of Purdue Musical Organizations at Purdue University. He directs the internationally recognized Purdue Varsity Glee Club as a part of the stable of ensembles offered through Purdue Musical Organizations. He also produces and directs the annual Purdue Christmas Show which is seen by thousands on campus and by millions on PBS across the nation each December.
Prior to this appointment, William was the Visual and Performing Arts Chairman and Director of Choral Music at Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis, IN. He directed the nationally recognized show choir “F.C. Singers” and the internationally recognized mixed Concert Choir. While at Franklin Central, William was also an assistant football coach for six years with the Franklin Central Varsity Football program.
William has traveled internationally both as a director and as a performer. He has sung with many of the world’s finest concert and operatic programs. He has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Civic Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Chatauqua Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Cathedral Singers, Oriana Singers, Blue Skies Vocal Jazz Ensemble and the Caroling Party.
William has served as a guest conductor and collaborator with the Purdue University Bands, Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir with his ensembles at Purdue Musical Organizations.
His voice can be heard on many commercial and professional recordings by some of the most recognizable publishing companies in the United States such as Warner Brothers, GIA Publications, Hal Leonard Publications, G. Shirmer and Hinshaw Press.
He is also an avid member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. He has won an Illinois District Quartet Championship with “Chicago Swing” in 2000, an International Chorus Championship with the Northbrook New Tradition Chorus in 2001, a Cardinal District Quartet Championship with “The Chase” in 2001 and was the Cardinal District International Quartet qualifier for that year. William currently sings with and is a vocal coach for the Kentucky Vocal Union Barbershop Chorus in Elizabethtown, KY.
William received his bachelor’s degrees in music education and vocal performance from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, WI in 1991. He went on to receive a master’s degree in vocal performance in 1994 and a performance certificate in vocal performance in 1996 from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.
William is sought after annually as an adjudicator, clinician, guest conductor and vocal coach for vocal music programs across the United States. He lives in Lafayette with his beautiful wife Stephanie and their children Chelsea, Rae, Wil and Josie.
- Rhonda Blacklock
Purdue Bells Director
Rhonda Blacklock is blessed to be a part of the PMO staff. Joining the staff in September 2013, Rhonda is serving PMO as the Purdue Bells Director. Rhonda also serves Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin, IN as the Director of Music and Fine Arts.
Rhonda obtained her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, IL. She studied piano with Gail Quillman and flute with Janet Bergman and George Radosavljevic. Her Master of Music degree was earned at Bradley University in Peoria, IL where she studied with Dr. Edward Kaiser. Post graduate studies in organ were at Indiana University with Todd Wilson and in Indianapolis with Rev. Dr. Robert Schilling.
Southport Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis served as Rhonda’s first introduction to the art of handbell ringing. It was there she became “addicted” to ringing and directing choirs from beginners to advanced ringers. Rhonda has also served AGEHR, Inc. (now known as Handbell Musicians of America) as a board member and a clinician at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda and her husband, Ron, have 2 adult children, both of whom are handbell ringers. Residing in Indianapolis, Rhonda enjoys teaching piano and flute, making jewelry, knitting and taking walks through the neighborhood with her beloved Cavaliers, Cooper and Chloe.
- Lance Connolly
Director of Donor Relations and Events
Lance Connolly started at PMO in 2009 as the Scheduling & Events Coordinator before becoming the Director of Donor Relations & Events in 2012. Lance serves as the key contact for all performance bookings, tours, special events and donor and alumni programming.
Lance grew up in Rushville, Indiana. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Hospitality & Tourism Management and performed with the Purdue Varsity Glee Club during his years as a student, serving as Chairman of the Purdusirs his senior year.
Outside of PMO, Lance can be found volunteering at Westminster Village Retirement Community, ushering during select events at the Elliott Hall of Music or traveling for work or pleasure.
- Jermaine Hill
Varsity Glee Club Assistant Director and Heart & Soul Director
Jermaine is thrilled to be joining Purdue Musical Organizations as Assistant Director of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club and Director of Heart & Soul.
At home on the operatic, musical theatre and concert stages, he has sung, most notably, with the Cornerstone Chorale and Brass, Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Jordan Hall, St. Mark’s Basilica, Notre Dame Cathedral and in productions, recitals, competitions and master classes throughout the United States and abroad.
From 2005 to 2012, Jermaine worked in the cruise ship industry as a vocal director and music arranger. During those years, he worked on more than 100 large-scale productions where he musically directed, created and orchestrated original shows and arranged vocal and instrumental music. An accomplished pianist, he has also served as a rehearsal accompanist and orchestra pianist for many years.
A native of New York, he holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College in New York where he also studied choral conducting with Lawrence Doebler and Janet Galván. He also holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance with Academic Distinction from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with John Moriarty and the late Helen Hodam.
- Marty Jacoba
On January 2, 2013 PMO welcomed Marty Jacoba as our new Account Clerk. Marty is from Otterbein, IN and is a proud mother and grandmother.
- Sarah May
Purduettes and University Choir Assistant Director, All Campus & Community Chorale Director and PMO Kids Choir Director
Sarah May is a native of Rockford, IL and earned her bachelor’s degree in music at Luther College in Iowa and a master’s degree in piano performance from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. In 2007, she won first prize in piano at the Chandler Starr Miller Competition at Rockford’s historic Mendelssohn Club.
Sarah has enjoyed performing a variety of musical styles, from early music to contemporary pop and theater. She has performed as an orchestral musician as well on piano, celesta, harpsichord, violin and viola. As an accompanist and voice coach at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, she coached operetta and musical theater students in their solo studies. She made her debut at Chicago Symphony Hall in 2010 during the Chicago Dorian Vocal Festival under the baton of Dr. Craig Arnold. Sarah has also served as an accompanist for many vocal ensembles throughout the Midwest, working with directors Weston Noble, Allen Hightower and Tim and Sandra Peter.
At PMO, Sarah serves as director of the All Campus & Community Chorale and the PMO Kids Choir, accompanies the Purduettes and the University Choir, coaches the women’s specialty groups and writes and arranges music for various ensembles.
- Andrea Ridge
Andrea Ridge, a native of White County, currently lives in Attica with her husband Scott and son Brock. Andrea attended Purdue in the 90's. Her father-in-law retired in May 2009 from Purdue's Office of the University Architect and her mother has retired from Purdue's School of Management.
Andrea enjoys cheering on the Boilermakers at football games, shopping and bike rides with her family. Her favorite spots on campus include Von’s, Qdoba and the fountains with her son.
It's a boy! On March 14, 2010 her stepdaughter, Morgan, gave birth to Andrea's first grandson, Koltyn Michael.
She is honored to be a part of the PMO staff and energized to work with an organization with such tremendous talent, excitement and dedication.
- Steve Schlenk
Director of Operations
Steve Schlenk serves as the Director of Operations for Purdue Musical Organizations at Purdue University. His primary responsibility is to manage all communications, public relations, marketing and media initiatives for PMO. In addition, he oversee the development and implementation of PMO's strategic plan and fundraising efforts.
In 2013, he graduated with an MBA from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. He also volunteers as the Senior Faculty Fellow for Harrison Residence Hall and in 2013, he was recognized as the hall’s Faculty Fellow of the Year.
A native of Carmel, Steve also earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Purdue University's Brian Lamb School of Communications. As an undergraduate, he participated in Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, the Old Masters Program and was inducted into Purdue’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
Having been a part of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club during his years as a student, Steve is enjoying continuing his experience with PMO as a part of the staff.
- Jeff Vallier
Purduettes, University Choir and Recruitment Director
Jeffrey A. Vallier is a graduate of South High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He majored in cello and voice and was a four-year member of the Concert Choir under the direction of the legendary Robert Fountain. In 1999, he earned his Masters Degree in Choral Conducting at Western Michigan University with Dr. Craig S. Arnold.
Mr. Vallier served as Department Chair and Director of Vocal Music at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, Michigan from 1989-2001. From 2001-2008, he directed the advanced women’s concert/show choir and the advanced mixed concert choir at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana. The “Varsity Singers” were consistently among the top choirs featured annually at the ISSMA State Finals as well as the IMEA and ACDA state and divisional conventions.
He has performed and directed in Carnegie Hall, as well as in Germany, France, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Italy. Mr. Vallier is a frequent adjudicator, clinician, and arranger for vocal ensembles throughout the United States.
Mr. Vallier is passionate about people, music, love, and life. He is a devoted husband to his wife, Sarah, and an active father for his three children, Adin, Riley, and Julia.