|M’Aiken Music Board of Directors|
Debbie Bruce, President
Beverly Wilson, Vice President
Lyn VanDervort, Music Director and Treasurer
Margaret Mead, Assistant Music Director
Tracy Spaeth, Secretary
Susanne Mead, Alternate Secrtary
Kathy Kraeling, Historian/Librarian
Carolyn Beeler, Emcee
Carolyn was born in the Land of Oz, hailing from Hutchinson, KS. She relocated to Aiken in 2003 from Denver, Colorado, with her husband and daughter. She enjoys performing and has been involved in musicals, ensembles, and choirs throughout her life. Outside of singing, she spends her time playing tennis and volunteering around town.
Debbie joined M’Aiken Music in 2013 and sings in the lead section. She grew up in northwest Indiana but has now called Aiken “home” for 35+ years. Debbie was fortunate to be able to retire early from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions after a 30 year career as a software engineer, and now enjoys working part-time in a local real estate company. She sings in the Millbrook Baptist Church worship choir. In her spare time she can usually be found making jewelry. She has been blessed with a very understanding husband, a daughter and son-in-law, and two absolutely adorable grandchildren who affectionately called her “Dib Dab”.
Tanya Desmond is new to the group this year. She sings lead and is excited to be a part of such a special group of ladies. Tanya is originally from Wilmington, Delaware but is a true southerner at heart. She has been singing since she was a young girl and got her love of music from her father. Tanya met her husband Ross while in college at Campbell University. They spent nine years in North Carolina before moving to Aiken 10 years ago. Tanya has been an active member of her church choir for the past nine years and has taught children’s choir as well. Tanya has a love for baking tasty sweets and is known for her hand rolled sugar cookies. She has three beautiful children – Morgan Leigh, Ryerson, and Patrick. Tanya is a devoted wife, mother and follower of Christ who treats every day as an opportunity to be a blessing for someone else.
Donna Ivey Johnson became a member of M’Aiken Music in November of 2016. She is a native of Aiken, SC and a current lifelong member of Millbrook Baptist Church. She began singing in the children’s choirs at MBC at the age of six and continued her love of music in the youth choir. She took voice lessons from her mentor, Ray Barbar, for five years. Upon graduation from high school she became a member of the adult choir and participated in all 34 years of the Millbrook Baptist Church Living Christmas Trees. She was selected to participate in the Baptist All State Choir and has participated in high school musicals to include Damn Yankees as Lola. She has also participated in Community Theater to benefit Diabetes to include Kismet and Oklahoma, as well as the Heart Fund Show.
She has been married for 30 years to Aiken native, Cyril (Kevin) Johnson and they have two children, Emalie Johnson Howle and Cullen Johnson.
Donna is a registered nurse. Her passion is singing and likes to travel, spend time with her family and friends and exercise.
Kathy is originally from Ohio; she also lived in Indiana, Kentucky, and Korea before coming to South Carolina. She credits her mother for kindling her love of music by singing to her as she rocked her every night. At six years old Kathy sang in her first choir at church and has been singing in church, school, and community groups ever since. “It has been a special treat to sing with the girls in MAiken Music,” she says.
Melissa Major, along with Founder and Director Lyn VanDervort, has been joyfully “MAiken Music” with these wonderful women since the group began in 2009. In addition to the shared joy of making music together, Melissa is thrilled to share many of life’s joys with these fabulous ladies. Originally from Ohio, Melissa found her love of singing as a teen in northern Indiana/Illinois/Chicagoland. She has sung in church choirs, school and community choruses, vocal ensembles, and LOTS of community theatre musicals – developing a lifelong love of a wide variety of musical styles and the thrill of performing all kinds of music. Melissa is thankful to be living her life full of blessings: married to her friend & partner Douglas Scott; mother to a son, daughter, and new son-in-law; “Meme” to an adorable grandson (and granddaughter expected soon!); member of South Aiken Presbyterian Church; Sunday school teacher for high schoolers; resident of our beautiful town of Aiken since 1987; and Broker In Charge of Carolina Real Estate Company.
Lisa McCullough is a Singer, Mom, and Grand mom from Aiken SC. Her Granddaughter says “Gramma Lisa has a song for everything.” Lisa sings tenor/lead with M’Aiken Music. She also sings soprano with the Aiken Choral Society. Lisa performed with ACS and Aiken Chamber Singers at Piccolo Spoleto several times and also sang on tour in the Czech Republic with the group and the Czech National Orchestra. Lisa retired as music director from SAPC where she directed the Adult choir, children’s choir and the handbell choir for over 10 years. Lisa studied voice with Penny Raymond, Tom Carswell, and Antione Cordahi. As a teen, she sang with the Presbyterian Youth Choir and toured the southeast for three summers. She studied business and music at Limestone College and has worked at SRS for 30 years. Lisa’s favorite hobby besides singing is traveling to Tybee Island.
Susanne Mead joined M’Aiken Music in October, 2015. She grew up in Connecticut singing in church choirs, school choruses, and college musicals throughout her life. She and her husband John relocated to Aiken in 1996 after falling in love with the town during a car trip in 1995. She worked at Aiken Technical College until retiring in 2008. Susanne enjoys playing tennis, traveling to foreign countries and karaoke at the Cedar Creek Club.
Keely Seider is a lifelong resident of North Augusta, where she lives with her husband, two children, and two dogs. She spends her days making women feel more beautiful as they sit in her stylist chair. Music has always played a huge part in Keely’s life, and she is now following her passion studying music at USC Aiken. She has sung in the shower, the car, church choirs, weddings, and has led the music program for Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church of North Augusta, where she attends church. She’s the kind of person who will randomly break out in song during a conversation, and the one you want on your team if there is a trivia question on anything to do with music. Keely’s friends would describe her as thoughtful, personable, and the life of the party, always showing up with a great joke or new game to play. In her spare time, Keely enjoys her husband’s amazing cooking, traveling to new places with her family, knitting, and passing down her love of music, movies, and Jesus to her two beautiful children, Cooper and Kailyn.
After a 35-year teaching career, Tracy and her husband moved to Aiken from Rochester, New York. Tracy has always been involved with music, spending most of her life playing the oboe. She has also danced to many genres of music as a clogger, directing The Lakeside Country Cloggers, a performance team in Rochester. Now Tracy enjoys vocal music as a member of the St. John’s United Methodist Chancel Choir and M’Aiken Music. She is also a member of the Joyful Handbell choir. In her spare time Tracy is an active volunteer and gardener.
Lyn hails from Ohio, where she worked at Ohio State for thirty-two years as a Radiologic Technologist and faculty member. Her love of music started at an early age, performing with her sisters, “The Van Sisters,” as well as in high school musicals and choirs. She now sings with five groups: M’Aiken Music, The Songbirds, The Heart of Columbia, church choir, and the quartet The BluJayz. Lyn still works part time at Aiken Regional in Radiology, and in her spare time she loves to travel and play golf.
Margaret has lived in Aiken for seventeen years after having “toured the country” for nine with her Navy husband and daughter. Margaret sang with the Aiken Choral Society for several years and currently serves her church as the music coordinator. She works at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Lab.
Bev was born and raised in the great state of Montana and was part of a large musical family that lived in both North Dakota and Montana. Singing has always been a part of her life and she particularly credits her parents for nurturing music within their family. After moving from the San Francisco Bay Area, Bev and her husband, Steve, watched their two children grow up in Aiken, move on to college, marry, and have children of their own. They are now the proud grandparents of five grandsons!
As a founding member of M’Aiken Music, Bev sings in the Bass section and has watched the group grow into a close-knit, talented group of wonderful singers. She has particularly enjoyed the group’s interactive/fun loving spirit and truly appreciates their willingness to try all kinds of music genres from classical to pop. She adds that after going through some changes over the years, M’Aiken Music has strived to come up with good, solid arrangements that have wonderful harmony, sound, and blend. Today, we have evolved into a group that truly loves to sing and entertain everyone with the best in a cappella music.