About Us

WHat we sing 

Click the song title to open the YouTube video on our YouTube channel. More links To recordings coming soon as we work through updating our YouTube channel.


Introitus from Requiem by Matsuura (United States Premiere Performance, First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, November 2016) Performed with Rosewood Ensemble Chamber Orchestra
Vier Gesänge für Frauenchor mit zwei Hörner und Harfe by Brahms (Sheldon Ballroom, November 2014) Performed with Chamber Music Society of St. Louis
Dominus Vobiscum by Narverud (560 Music Center, April 2016) 
Agnus Dei by McCoy (First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, November 2016) 

commissions/world Premieres

Poema by Melfi/Bianco - WHCSTL Commissioned Arrangement by Maness (Sheldon Concert Hall, March 2017) Performed World Premiere with Cortango Orquesta
Theater of Night and The Solder's Soldier from Theater of Hope - WHCSTL Commissioned New Work by Maness/Miller (Link Auction Gallery, October 2015) Performed World Premiere with 442s and guest soloist Erin Bode
Grace by Alexander (Ethical Society of St. Louis, May 2017) - WHCSTL Commissioned Arrangement, World Premiere Performance; Erika Cockerham, soloist


Over the Rainbow by Arlen/Harburg Arr. by Hayes (Sheldon Concert Hall, May 2016)
Till There Was You by Wilson Arr. by Shaw (Sheldon Concert Hall, May 2016)
Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home? by Cannon Arr. by Gilpin (Sheldon Concert Hall, May 2016) 


Still I Rise by Powell (Ethical Society of St. Louis, May 2017) Performed with Mayor Taylor; Lori Hoffman & Beth Davey, soloists


No One Is Alone from "Into the Woods" by Sondheim Arr. by De Sorgo (WHCSTL Commission - World Premiere Performance, Sheldon Concert Hall, March 2017) Performed with Cortango Orquesta
For Good from "Wicked" by Maguire/Schwartz Arr. by Snyder (Ethical Society of St. Louis, May 2017) Performed with Mayor Taylor; Sarah Shulman & Amanda Keene, soloists


Angel Band by Haskell/Bradbury Arr. by Genensky & Rose (Ethical Society of St. Louis, May 2017) Performed with Mayor Taylor, Dan Rubright guitar soloist
Cedar Swamp by Broeker (560 Music Center, April 2016)  by Broeker (560 Music Center, April 2016) 


Somewhere In My Memory and Star of Bethlehem from "Home Alone" by Williams (Purser Auditorium, Logan University, December 2016) Performed with St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra 
Jingle Bells by Pierpont Arr. by Snyder (First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, December 2014)
The Christmas Song by Torme & Wells Arr. by Shaw (First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, December 2014)
Silent Night by Gruber/Mohr (First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, December 2014)

WHAT others are saying

  • "....a highly polished vocal ensemble with impeccable intonation, diction, and balance. The voices are clear and warm, and their tone and presentation are a delight to the audience."
- Dr. Robert Hart Baker, Conductor, St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra

  • "The exceptional talent, the professionalism of the performers, and the philanthropic efforts of this group have taken community choir music to a new level. The Chorale is breaking down barriers and creating communities of people who strive to make a difference in our city and our world."
- Rachel Ebeling, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Angel Band Project

  • "The US premiere of 'Requiem' by Masa Matsuura exceeded all expectations. The depth of feeling and expert singing of this ensemble was stellar. Our community is blessed to count the Women's HOPE Chorale among it's top singing ensembles."
- Bill Stein, Director of Music Ministries, First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood

  • "The performance of Masa Matsuura's 'Requiem' was superb, and the Chorale's moniker "Singing to Inspire" certainly nails it on the head."
- Joseph B. Dence, Ph.D.

Would you like to sing in the chorale?

The Women's HOPE Chorale welcomes singers of diverse backgrounds, experience and ability levels. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about membership in the WHCSL.

  • When and where are rehearsals? 
Our season starts in September and usually ends in May. 
The first rehearsal of Season 24 (2018-19) will be on Sunday, September 9, 2018. The last rehearsal and performance of season 24 will be on Sunday, April 28, 2019. 
Rehearsals are held on Sunday evenings, 6-8:30 pm, at Maryville University in Auditorium Room 1423.
  • When and where are performances?
We usually have 3 concerts per season. 
Our concerts for Season 24 (2018-19) are scheduled for Sunday afternoons at 3 pm, with the dress rehearsal for each concert on the preceding Friday evening.
Friday, November 9, 2018, 6:30-9:30 pm @ First Presbyterian Kirkwood- Dress Rehearsal
Sunday, November 11, 2018, 3 pm @ First Presbyterian Kirkwood - Concert
Friday, February 22, 2019, 6:30-9:30 pm @ Third Baptist Church - Dress Rehearsal
Sunday, February 24, 2019, 3 pm @ Third Baptist Church - Concert
Friday, April 26, 2019, 7:30-10 pm @ St. Francis Xavier College Church - Dress Rehearsal
Sunday, April 28, 2019, 3 pm @ St. Francis Xavier College Church - Concert
Other frequently used venues include the Sheldon Concert Hall and Christ Church Cathedral.
  • What would be my financial obligations?
We do not charge dues to sing in the Chorale. Consequently, every member is asked to promote our concerts and sell tickets to our events. Singers may also be asked to volunteer their talents, skills, and resources to support the Chorale. Participation in this manner is always voluntary but always appreciated! We use black folders during performances which singers have to supply or purchase themselves. Our concert attire is usually all black; we do not require singers to purchase a specific dress or outfit. 
  • What are the audition requirements?
For general membership in the Chorale, new singers will be asked to:
- sing one a cappella solo (a hymn, art song, folk song, or aria); the solo does not need to be memorized
- Sing scales to determine range
- Repeat simple melodic patterns to determine tonal memory skills
- Sight-read to determine music reading skills
The Chorale will be expanding our opportunities this year by offering 8 paid positions in the form of Young Artist Awards. Our Young Artists also function as our Section Leaders. A Young Artist must have or be pursuing a degree in music and must be in the early stages of her career. Candidates must be above average sight-readers and have choral and solo singing experience. Interested candidates must perform from memory two contrasting solos: one in English and one in another language.

The Chorale will hold auditions on August 14 & 22, 2018. Please contact the Artistic Director, Leanne Latuda, artisticdirector@womenshopechorale.org to schedule your audition.

Musical Staff

leanne magnuson latuda, artistic director & conductor

Leanne Magnuson Latuda has been performing professionally, directing and teaching for more than 25 years. She has a Master of Music Degree from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Augustana College, where she was a Presidential Scholar and graduated cum laude.

Leanne is a gifted mezzo-soprano who has sung professionally with opera companies, musical theaters, and choral ensembles. She has performed locally as a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, The Bach Society, and the Masterworks Chorale and has been directing WHCSL since 2012.

ruth stith, Accompanist

Ruth Stith is an adjunct faculty member of Saint Louis University and the Community Music School of Webster University, where she teaches class piano, piano ensemble, and applied piano lessons. She is an accompanist for the St. Louis Children's Choir and is director and accompanist for the children's choir at Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton. Before moving to St. Louis in 2004, Ruth was an adjunct artist teacher of piano and theory at Vanderbilt University, as well as staff accompanist.

Ruth has a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville and a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from Vanderbilt University.

Young Artists



Amy is thrilled and honored to be joining the Chorale this winter. She will complete her degree in music education this December from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. For the past year, she has sung soprano in the choir of The Church of St. Michael and St. George. Amy's primary classical training has been with the cello. As a cellist, she participates in orchestras and chamber ensembles and has joined the pit for musicals and operas. She has taught private cello lessons since 2015, as well as instructed at an urban string camp and in a preschool music class. Amy looks forward to the experience of being in this richly diverse choir, and all that she has to learn from her fellow choristers. 



 Lori Hoffman received her Master of Arts in Music from Webster University, and currently teaches piano and voice lessons. Favorite past performances include chorus roles with Union Avenue Opera, solo recitals at First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, and a recital of blues / pop classics at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Lori is also a member of Sigma Alpha Iota and NATS. She currently sings with Bach Society, St. Louis Symphony Chorus, and Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis.




 Benedetta Orsi is a graduate of both Philharmonic Academy and Conservatory of Music in Italy. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and recently in A Masked Ball with Miami Lyric Opera; Cavalleria Rusticana with Opera at Florham; Roberto Devereux, Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena in England; Il Trovatore in Spain; and Carmen with Boulder Symphonic Orchestra and Winter Opera of St Louis. Benedetta has also won the Audience and Orchestra Award in the Boulder IVC, the First Prize in Barry Alexander IVC, the Third Prize at Roschel Vocal Competition, and First Prize and Star Performer Award in the American Protégé IMTC in 2011. Her latest album, Christmas around the World, received the Silver Medal at the Global Music Awards as Best Female Artist and Best Album.

Christy Schmalfeld


 Christy Schmalfeld holds a Bachelor's Degree in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota. She has participated in many ensembles and organizations, including the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as an Artist-in-Training, and the Missouri Fine Arts Academy as a student and later as a staff member. Although Christy is a professional Registered Nurse now, she has been searching for a way to nurture her musical soul once again and is thrilled to be invited to join the Hope Chorale this year as a Young Artist. 



 Jessica Tobin is currently the Music Therapist at Brooking Park Assisted Living and Senior Services Facility. She also has worked as a Music Therapist for children with autism, where she helped individual students reach IEP goals through Music Therapy interventions. Jessica received her Bachelor's Degree in Music Therapy from Maryville University, where she was honored with the Excellence in Music Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. This is Jessica’s seventh year singing with the Women’s HOPE Chorale, in which she has sung both soprano and alto.

Young Artist Awards


We will be expanding our opportunities this year by offering 8 paid positions in the form of Young Artist Awards. Our Young Artists also function as our Section Leaders. A Young Artist must have or be pursuing a degree in music and must be in the early stages of her career. Candidates must be above average sight-readers and have choral and solo singing experience. Interested candidates should memorize two contrasting solos, one in English and one in a foreign language. Contact Leanne Latuda, Artistic Director, for more information and to schedule an audition.


  • Richard Shaw, President
  • Veronica McGee, Vice President
  • Cynthia Deffenbaugh, Secretary
  • Mary Wittry, Treasurer
  • Christine Alsop, Member
  • Courtney Arndt, Member
  • Mary Lou Calzaretta, Member
  • Susan Kissinger, ex officio
  • Leanne Latuda, ex officio
  • Judy Rosen, ex officio
  • Mary Ann Shaw, Member
  • Barbara Washington, Member