Susan Anderson has long been actively involved in the international folk dance community as a dancer, singer and musician. As the leader of the International Folk Sounds orchestra and Ajde folk band, she sings and plays many instruments including gaida (bagpipe), balalaika, violin, guitar, and tambura. She helps lead the Beaver International Folk Dancing group, performs Appalachian clogging with Fiddlekicks, and is a musician with contra dance band SPUDS. In her spare time, she jogs and skis around the world with her husband.
Kimberly (Fedchak) DiMattia is our musical director, and has also enhanced our repertoire with several original arrangements. In addition to singing, she plays a variety of instruments including piano, clarinet, recorders, accordion, flute and percussion. She currently performs Middle Eastern music with world fusion band Animus, and plays English country dance music with Socks. Kim is of Ukrainian descent. She earned a PhD in Russian, and taught Russian language at Swarthmore College for a number of years. Currently she teaches at Harriton High School.
Leela Ehrhart first began performing at age six, starting with several years in The Philadelphia Revels, then singing with school choruses and learning the recorder for several years. She began singing with Slaveja Slavic Folk Chorus at age eleven, before helping to found Svitanya in 2001. A graduate of Drexel University, Leela has also long pursued her other artistic passion, jewelry making, and has has worked for herself as well as several small jewelry companies in the Philadelphia area. Currently she is pursuing a Master's degree in psychology.
Christine Hamilton is a classically trained vocalist with a deep appreciation for many different genres of music. She has sung with the Philadelphia Choral Arts Society, the Anna Crusis Womenʼs choir, and was a lead vocalist in several Brazilian jazz bands. In her spare time she enjoys taking photographs, late night dancing, and hanging out with her two cats.
Inna Lobanova-Heasley was born and raised in a music family in Moscow, Russia. Since age 6, Inna studied piano performance, theory and choral singing at the Moscow Regional School of Music. During her studies at the Moscow State Linguistic University, she worked for the USSR Theater Union where she was regularly immersed in the performance and back-stage process by leading Russian and International masters of ballet, music, theater, opera, and cinematography. In 1991, she moved to the US, continuing her vocal studies and singing with various ensembles, including Vox Renaissance Consort, Music Group of Philadelphia, Choral Arts Philadelphia, among others. Inna is a founder and owner of PR Perfect LLC, a boutique company focusing on promotion and marketing for local performing arts organizations and independent artists. She is also a freelance Russian interpreter and translator.
Adriana Samargia Prester's interest in world music began in California where she danced, sang and played instruments with the Santa Clara Valley Tamburitzans. She moved to Florida to attend college as a vocal performance major and later established a full time career as a freelance classical and jazz artist. Adriana’s greatest enjoyment has come from performing with her concert-pianist husband and three professional singer children. Music work recently brought her to the northeast where a whole new world of Balkan music opened up, most notably Svitanya. Adriana’s hobbies include equestrian sports, ballet and aerial yoga.
Chrissy Steele sang along with recordings of the Bulgarian Women's Choir for decades before discovering Svitanya in 2006. Encouraged by the fun of village-style music (meaning everyone can play!), she has taken up the Macedonian tambura and various percussion instruments. A life-long lover of languages and cultures, Chrissy has studied French, Tamil, and Arabic. In 2003, she acquired a Master's degree in TESOL and has been teaching English as a Second Language since then, primarily at Drexel University, with a two-year stint in Iraqi Kurdistan and Saudi Arabia. A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Chrissy also makes Artists' Books (a genre of hand-assembled, limited edition books.)
Krysten Terry developed her interest in Eastern Europe in college where she obtained her degree in Russian Linguistics and Litetature. While living in Maryland, she experienced Balkan Folk music for the first time after joining the Orfiea Vocal Ensemble. She recently moved to New Jersey to study Chemistry, and happily discovered Svitanya. In addition to Balkan Folk Music, Krysten also studies Serbian Folk and Arabic music with vocal trainers in Serbia and Lebanon.
Petia Zamfirova Born in Bulgaria, Petia Zamfirova moved to Baltimore with her family when she was 14 years old. As a child she would often stand on her grandmother's steps (she really liked the acoustics) and sing folk songs. Petia's musical background includes 12 years of classical training on the piano; her future goal is to rock out the accordion! She is currently the lead singer in the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Balkan brass band.
Jane Carver --on leave of absence-- is the Artist-in-Residence for The Association for Cultural Equity: The Alan Lomax Archive, and a co-founder of the performance series Low Stakes. She composes original works for accordion and voice, which she performs in tandem with her visual art work, including sculpture, photography and works on paper. She is a graduate from the Hunter College MFA studio arts program, an alumnus of Yasna Voices, and a member of the band Scrap Gold.
Anne Ehrhart--on extended leave of absence--has been an enthusiastic singer and folk dancer for most of her life. She has performed with diverse ensembles; from large choral groups such as Bucks County Choral Society and the Philadelphia Revels to tiny ensembles such as the Greenwood Singers, a Renaissance madrigal group she founded, directed & costumed. She plays percussion with Svitanya, and is our primary administrator. In 1998 she joined Slaveja with her daughter Leela, and together they became founding members of Svitanya. In addition, she currently performs with folk dance band Ajde, and leads the International Folk Dance Club at Ann's Choice in Warminster, PA. After 20-plus years as a software engineer at Mellon Bank, she served for several years as the Managing Director of Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble.