Artistic Staff

Cricket Handler – Artistic Director

Cricket Handler holds a B.A. in Choral Music from Pitzer College and an M.M. in Choral Studies from the University of Southern California where she studied with Dr. Thomas Somerville. She held the position of Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony from 1985 until 1994, establishing a strong music education program that included the Music Van and the after-school string program. From 1985 until 2013, she worked in the choral music department at San Luis Obispo High School as accompanist and choral assistant, traveling twice with the Concert Choir to New York city. Ms. Handler has sung with the Vocal Arts Ensemble, and held the position of assistant director from 2004 until 2009. She served as cantor for both Congregation Beth David and Temple Ner Shalom in San Luis Obispo and currently serves as a cantorial soloist at Congregation Ohr Tzafon in Atascadero. She has performed in the Mozart Festival Chorus and as a member of the Cuesta Master Chorale. During the summer of 2011, Ms. Handler studied conducting with Dr. Angela Broeker at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. She currently studies with Dr. Jeffrey Benson, Director of Choral Activities at San Jose State University.


Jill Anderson – Artistic Director

Jill Anderson holds a B.A. in Music/Voice from Pomona College, an M.M. in Opera from the University of Southern California, and a D.M.A. degree in Voice from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She was co-founder of the Pacific Repertory Opera in San Luis Obispo, of which she was Artistic Director for 23 years before stepping down in 2008. During her tenure with PRO, she conducted more than ten productions, most recently Don Giovanni, La Traviata and Carmen. She was also founder and director of Qualche Voce (“Several Voices”), a five-voice madrigal group formed in Los Angeles, which made three recordings of early music for the Musical Heritage Society. Dr. Anderson has sung professionally with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the San Francisco Opera Chorus. She has also performed both as a soloist and as a chorister with several local groups, including the Mozart Festival Chamber Chorus, the Cuesta Master Chorale and the Vocal Arts Ensemble. She was on the music faculty at Cuesta College from 2003-2013, teaching Voice Classes and Applied Music. She also teaches voice privately at her home.

Janis Johnson – Accompanist

Janis Johnson is a pianist, church organist, and choir director. She maintains a private piano studio in Morro Bay with about 30 students. Over the years she has served as an accompanist for Pacific Repertory Opera (now Opera San Luis Obispo), the Cal Poly choirs, Cuesta choirs, and various instrumentalists. She served as organist and choir director at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Morro Bay for many years and is currently serving as organist and choir director at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Arroyo Grande.