The Festival Celebration Choir is an ecumenical choral ensemble of mixed voices dedicated to the joy of singing music in praise of God. Founded in 1985, members of the choir represent many different churches throughout the Capital Region. The Festival Celebration Choir offers two major concerts each year, held in May and December.  The choir often sings at ecumenical events, benefit concerts, and at nursing/rehabilitation facilities.

The choir rehearses on Mondays from 7 to 9:15 pm at First Lutheran Church, 181 Western Avenue, Albany. The Fall semester starts the Monday after Labor Day. Join us for our Fall semester!


Julie Panke, Artistic Director

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she trained at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She served as Director of Music at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady for seventeen years and previously served churches in Albany, Burnt Hills, and Glenville. Ms. Panke also directs the Thursday Musical Club, a thirty-voice women’s chorus based in Schenectady and Capital Community Voices, a 60-voice mixed chorus based in East Greenbush. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and American Guild of Organists. She was a founding officer and former Executive Director of the Electronic Music Foundation. In 2015 she was named a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA of Northeastern New York.


Justan Foster, Assistant Director, and Accompanist

        Justan J. Foster serves as Music Director at Greenbush Reformed Church as well as Assistant Director and Accompanist for the Festival Celebration Choir in Albany. Justan has previously served as Organist at Trinity United Methodist Church (Albany), First Reformed Church of Scotia, and the Old Dutch Church (Kingston). Justan was awarded letters of Colleague of the American Guild of Organists (CAGO) in 2015.
        In addition to his duties as a sacred musician, Justan is a Past Dean of the Eastern New York and Hudson Catskill AGO Chapters, as well as a Notary Public & Data Analyst for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Justan has studied organ with Lonnie Kulick, Craig S. Williams, Peter Mahigian, and Alfred V. Fedak, as well as piano with Robert Nussbaum and Victoria von Arx, and holds degrees and certificates in Education, Liturgical Music, and English from Columbia-Greene Community College, the College of St. Rose, and the University at Albany (SUNY). He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Legal Studies at Albany Law School.
        Justan released his debut album, “An American Evolution,” in December of 2015. The recording features works of American composers on the June Selke Memorial Organ at First Reformed Church of Scotia. Justan is married to the Rev. Paige Convis, an ordained minister serving in the Reformed Church in America.


Festival Celebration Choir

Board of Directors

Voting Members
Crescentia Brynolfson
Alan Chandler
Diane Chandler
Paige Conviss
Susan DiFiore
Don Drew
Diana Loeffel
Dan Rogers
Marjorie Voytko
Al Yasus
Officers of the Board
President, Michael Glazier
Vice President, David Hains
Treasurer, Bruce Brynolfson
Secretary, Peggy Drew
Standing Committee Chairs
Finance, Bruce Brynolfson
Membership, Crescentia Brynolfson
Operations, Kathleen Nelson
Outreach, Donald Drew
Ad Hoc Committee Chairs
Scholarship, Crescentia Brynolfson