Managing Artistic Director
Director - Coda Choir
Kayla Johnson is excited to be back teaching at BYC! Kayla took a break a couple of years ago to be with her growing young family. She has a two year old son and five year old daughter that is excited to join Prelude Choir this year. Prior to this, Kayla accompanied many levels of the BYC choirs and directed the Intermezzo and Coda choirs. Kayla returned to BYC last year and directed both the Intermezzo and Coda level choirs in addition to serving as the Artistic Lead of the organization. This year, she is thrilled to continue to work with the older students at BYC and looks forward to teaching healthy singing, musicianship skills through play, and collaboration and community through diverse music. Her sincere hope is that choristers will find a place of comfort and belonging at BYC along with a love for singing that they will hopefully carry with them throughout their lives.
Kayla earned her Bachelors degrees in both Music Education and Mathematics from WSU in 2012 and earned her Masters of Arts in Choral Music Education in 2013. She also completed the first level of Kodály certification while working with BYC choristers in order to learn new ways to develop music literacy and skills through play and joyful experiences. Kayla often sings with the Esoterics, has been a teaching artist with Seattle Opera, and runs her own private studio teaching voice, piano, and math.
Email: [email protected]
Director - Intermezzo Choir
Abigail Johnson is thrilled to join the amazing team at BYC! Teaching students the joy of making music is her passion and is excited to continue to share that joy as the director of the Intermezzo choir.
Abigail has called the PNW home for many years but is originally from Michigan. She received a Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Hope College in 2014 and Masters of Music in Music Education from Boston University in 2021. Her studies especially focused on vocal music and choral education, as well as how music education can be more accessible to people of all cultures and backgrounds. She is passionate about equity and inclusion in music spaces and imbeds that into her teaching. Abigail taught K-5 general music and choir for nine years, eight of them in the Lake Washington School District. In addition to starting her new role at BYC this fall, she is also taking on a new role of teaching early childhood music classes as a Music Together teacher with AlleyBell Music in Lynnwood and Shoreline. She has also been employed for the past two years as the worship director of Sanctuary Christian Reformed Church in the Crown Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Abigail lives in north Seattle with her two cats, Felix and Frankie.
Email: [email protected]
Heidi McIlroy has been teaching Prelude (PreK-K) and Prima (1st and 2nd grade) with Bellevue Youth Choirs since 2013. She loves playing with everyone who enters her music space and strives to make learning music as fun as possible. Her favorite thing is teaching choristers the power of their voices and the magic of singing together.
Heidi holds a degree in Music Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA and a Masters of Arts in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She studied the Kodály philosophy and uses it to help young musicians develop music literacy and aural skills through joyful musical experiences and play. She has taught 15 years in the Kent School District and will be opening the new Fife Elementary School in the Fife School District this coming fall. Heidi is thrilled her oldest daughter will be singing in Prima choir with her this year and can’t wait for her youngest to join Prelude in a few years. Heidi and her husband, Fred, love going to performances at the Seattle Opera and are always thrilled to see BYC choristers on stage.
Email: [email protected]
Administrator and Lead Accompanist
Beginning piano lessons around age seven, Nathan has continued playing piano to this day. Working as a student accompanist during his years of undergraduate study at Whitman College in Walla Walla introduced him to the pleasure of playing as a collaborative pianist... (read more)
Accompanist for Intermezzo Choir (Tuesdays)
Pianist David Lin is an active soloist, teacher, and collaborator. Working as a student accompanist during his undergraduate years introduced him to the joys of collaborating with musicians from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, including chamber music, musical theater, and choral music. Since 2021 he has taught private lessons to young pianists, which has grown his desire to hone his pedagogical skills to nurture the musical development of future generations. After graduating with his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Washington under Prof. Craig Sheppard, David continues to seek out collaborative opportunities as a freelance rehearsal pianist and performer, in addition to his teaching duties. The desire to connect with other musicians and further develop his musical skills has led him to perform both domestically and abroad, including at the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, and the Gijón International Piano Festival in Spain.
Accompanist/Assistant for Prima Choir
Huiling Liu came to the United States after graduating from college in Taiwan to study music, receiving her master’s degree in Music history at the University of Florida and later completing her doctoral candidacy in musicology at UCLA. While working on her dissertation, she first fell in love with making music with young children at a Kindermusik studio in L.A. Due to family and health reasons, Ms. Liu put her study and music career on hold for the next decade, focusing on her husband and son, Samuel, and her volunteer work at her church music ministry. She was deeply involved in children’s worship, adult choir, and choir accompanist and later helped establish the children’s choir at her church. Her participation and completion of Kodály Level I and II training rekindled her passion for teaching music to children. Having pursued a Master of Arts in Teaching degree at SPU, she earned her certification as a K-12 teacher with general and choir endorsements. Currently, Ms. Liu teaches in the Northshore School District, working with Grade K - 2 students at Moorlands and Sunrise Elementary, and serves as a piano accompanist for Moorlands choirs. Besides teaching, Ms. Liu loves traveling with her family, visiting her families in Taiwan, walking her dog, Max, singing with her church choir, practicing cello, and reading.
Teaching Assistant for Prelude Choir (Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Janet Ankomah is so excited to join the Bellevue Youth Choir as Heidi McIlroy's assistant for the Prelude Choir on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Janet received her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Ashland University in Ashland, OH in 2013 and is currently working on her Masters in Special Education at Eastern Washington University. She also earned her Kodály certification from the Southeast Texas Kodály Certification Program in Houston, Texas.
Ohio is home for Janet, but she began her career in Houston, Texas teaching K-5 general music for eight years before starting her next big adventure teaching K-5 general music for Renton School District in the fall of 2022. She loves making music with her students every day, but she also loves orcas, dinosaurs, and her two cats, Louise and Angelica.