Interested in being featured? Fill out our online form to receive more information.

A headshot of a smiling woman with wavy hair wearing glasses.

Chesley Burke

Girl Choir Alum (8 years)

Chelsey Burke attended college at Viterbo University in La Crosse, where she was part of its Music Theatre BFA program. She later transferred to UW-Eau Claire to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After graduating college, she moved to Winter Park, Florida but quickly realized her heart was in Appleton. She has been an employee of the Appleton Area School District as a school secretary for the past seven years—currently serving at Classical School and the Renaissance School for the Arts—and has returned to the Community Music School for Early Childhood Music classes with her daughter as well as this year's Alums' Choir.

What instruments do you play, and how long have you been playing?

Although I took piano lessons for quite a few years in my youth, as well as violin, my instrument of choice has always been voice. I began singing with the Lawrence Community Girl Choir program in 1998, under the direction of Cheryl Meyer, which is where I first discovered my true passion for singing. A short time later, I began taking voice lessons with a private instructor. I have been actively singing ever since.


How do you continue to incorporate music in your life, and how has studying music benefitted you as an adult?

My winding road led me right back home: I am about to enter my 8th season singing with newVoices choir, under the direction of Dr. Phillip Swan, and I'm extremely excited to be singing with Lawrence Community Girl Choir’s Alumni Choir this year! In 2019, I returned to the musical theatre stage after taking a near decade long hiatus. Productions include Mamma Mia (Calumet County Community Theatre, 2019), Shrek the Musical (Fox Theatre, 2020), and Godspell (Riverside Players, 2021). Studying music has benefited me as an adult in many ways, but most specifically has I continue to nurture my passion for singing. The passion for singing I developed as a young singer has embedded itself into my personality, in all the best ways.


What was your favorite part or memory from your time at the Community Music School?

My favorite memory from my time at the Community Music School was traveling to New York City with the Cantabile Girl Choir in 2001. We had the privilege of singing at Carnegie Hall as part of the National Children’s Choir directed by Henry Leck, with guest composer and musician Malcolm Dalglish. I still have most of the music memorized from twenty years ago! It was after this trip we learned Karen Bruno was expecting her son, Will. Happy memories, indeed.


Do you have any advice for beginning musicians?

If you have a passion for music, make sure nurture that passion and never let it go. If you do lose your grip, don’t worry: it will always be there waiting for you to catch hold again when you need it most.


What are some of your hobbies outside of music?

When I’m not at work or in rehearsals, you’ll find me hanging out with my two children, Violet (6) and Eloise (4). We enjoy watching movies, eating snacks, playing outside, and (you guessed it) singing!


A collage of Chelsey's photos: photos from performances she's been in (posing with the cast and singing in costume) and a photo of her smiling with her two young daughters at a playground.