Patricia Ramirez Hacker, Artistic Director
Was appointed as Artistic Director of the Huntsville Master Chorale in 2012. In 2010, Dr. Hacker moved to Huntsville to serve as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church where she directs the Chancel Choir, Youth choir and Youth and Adult handbell choirs. Since then she has gained recognition not only as conductor, but also as a vocal coach and singer. In 2011, she was invited to be the clinician for the Middle and High School mixed choir for the Huntsville All City Choral Festival. For the past three consecutive years, her students have won the Outstanding Choral Student for the city, regional and state choral competitions in Alabama.
Dr. Hacker has served as Adjunct Professor of Voice at Alabama A&M University and the University of Mobile where she taught diction, vocal literature, and choral conducting. At the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Hacker received full assistantship and scholarships in voice and choral conducting. During her tenure at Southern Miss, she taught voice and conducted operas for the outreach program. She also served as conductor and assistant conductor of the prestigious Southern Chorale, University Singers, Chamber Singers, and Gulf Coast Civic Chorale. Furthermore, she had the opportunity to conduct the Southeastern Louisiana University Concert Choir and served as assistant conductor for the University Singers and Women's Ensemble.
As a singer she has appeared as soloist in major choral works, with professional opera companies, and as recitalist in Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Washington D.C., México, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. In 2010, she appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall for the world premiere of "An American Requiem" by Edwin Penhorwood. For five consecutive years, Dr. Hacker won first place in state and regional NATS competitions. She is also winner of the William T. Gower concerto competition.
Along with her work in the academic field, Dr. Hacker has been a successful church choral conductor in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Dr. Patricia Ramirez Hacker obtained her Doctorate in Choral Conducting and Master's degree in Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi. She also received her Bachelor's of Music degree in Vocal Performances and Pedagogy from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Sharon Keffer, Accompanist
Sharon Keffer is Worship Arts Pastor at Huntsville First Church of the Nazarene where she has served for nearly 20 years. In addition to her work as a minister, she enjoys accompanying various groups in the community and is in her 11th season as the accompanist for the Huntsville Master Chorale.
Ms. Keffer accompanies several schools in the area for festivals and competitions, including Mountain Gap Middle School, The Academy for Academics and Arts, Hazel Green High School, Buckhorn High School, Sparkman Ninth, and Sparkman High School. She has had the privilege of accompanying the Madison County Honor Choirs for 4 years.
She enjoys interacting with and supporting teens in the school music programs and served for 5 years as an administrative assistant for the bands at Mountain Gap Middle School. For the past 8 years she has also been the announcer for The Brass Band of Huntsville.
Sharon is married to Dr. Charles Keffer, a senior research scientist, and they have three children. She has undergraduate degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Secondary Education. As an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene, Sharon stays busy serving on the pastoral staff of her church, but she also finds time for reading, bicycling, mentoring young people and trying to be a good long-distance “Grammy” to 3-year-old Emma in Minnesota.