Dr. Marc Boensel, Artistic Director
Director Dr. Marc F. Boensel, DMA, has been conducting bands,orchestras, and choruses in California, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia for over 30 years. In 1999, he founded the Annapolis Wind Symphony, a 45-piece professional symphonic band and philanthropic organization.
He received a 2005 distinguished fund raiser award from the American Red Cross and the 2006 Community Champions Award from Sandy Spring Bank for his charity fund raising work with the Annapolis Wind Symphony.
Dr. Boensel was Director of Music for First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis 1996 to 2012, where he directed the 40-voice Chancel Choir, Handbell Choir and children’s choir. He has also been a guest conductor and clinician for professional, collegiate and high school ensembles throughout the U.S.
In 2012, Dr. Boensel joined the faculty of Darton State College in Albany, GA as an Assistant Professor of Music, where he conducted the Concert Band, Concert Choir, and taught courses in music theory and history. In 2016, he became an Assistant Professor of Music at Andrew College in Cuthbert, Georgia. He is also the Director of Music Ministries at Porterfield United Methodist Church, where he directs the Chancel Choir, and other musical ensembles since 2014.
Before coming to south Georgia, Dr. Boensel was the Symphonic Band Conductor-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor of Music at American University, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Music at Anne Arundel Community College, where he taught courses in music history and music theory, as well as conducting choral and instrumental ensembles. He continues a career as a professional oboist that has spanned over three decades, including 22 years in Navy and Air Force bands as well as various orchestras in California, Virginia and Maryland.
He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from California State University Fullerton, a Master of Music degree from San Diego State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Maryland. He has studied conducting with Benton Minor, Edmund Williams, Robert Gilson, John Wakefield and James Ross, and studied oboe with Larry Timm and Peggy Michel.
Meri Beth Hillard, Accompanist
Meri Beth was born in Spokane, Washington, and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She began her piano studies at an early age and studied music at both The University of New Mexico and Calvin College. Currently, she is active as a teacher, performer, and church musician. As music/youth assistant at First United Methodist Church in Albany, she directs the youth choirs, plays for the sanctuary choir, and assists in the worship services. She accompanies music majors as well as the college choir at Darton State College. Meri Beth also has a studio of private piano students. She has accompanied The Albany Chorale for the past eleven years. Meri Beth lives in Albany with her husband Claire Fox Hillard, they have three children: Jessica (and husband, Tim Morris), Kelsey (and husband, Blake Davis) and C.J. (and wife, Ann Marie); and two granddaughters, Sadie and Sally Beth Morris, and a grandson expected in November.