for women, for music, for excellence


The Conductor

Professional headshot of Katherine (KaeRenae) Mitchell, the VWC's conductor.

Katherine (KaeRenae) Mitchell has been involved in choral conducting for over 30 years. Her association with the Women's Chorus at the University of Virginia has been long and extensive, and she has conducted the Chorus for over twenty years. She is an alumna of the inaugural Chorus and also served as accompanist and Assistant Director. Under her leadership as Director,1982-1989, the University of Virginia Women's Chorus was chosen to participate in the American Choral Director's Association Convention in 1988 and recorded its first album (vinyl!) in 1983. It was also during this time that the Chorus toured the East Coast extensively and began its tradition of singing at the National Cathedral.

In 1989 the music department made the decision to stop funding the single-sex choral groups, and though the Chorus had begun an endowment fund in 1984, there were insufficient funds available for the ensemble to continue. It was heart breaking for many people when this resulted in the UVAWC disbanding. In 1994, KaeRenae returned to assist in the reorganization of the women’s choral ensemble, which emerged as the Virginia Women’s Chorus. However, after directing for one year, she “retired” to raise her three small children and continue in the position of Director of Music at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church. Upon returning as Conductor of the VWC in 2006, she expressed, "It is an honor to be working with these delightful, enthusiastic, musical women again!” 2019 marks her twenty-first year as conductor of the Chorus.

KaeRenae has a private studio where she teaches piano, voice, and the joy of music through improvisation, influenced by her studies with Grammy® Award-winning musician David Darling. She also composes and arranges music for voices and will have her music available for sale on her website soon (

Musical inspiration and guidance came from her work with Alice Parker, Dale Warland, David Conte, Ysaye Barnwell, Frauke Haasemann, Doug Hargrave, Otto Werner Mueller, Robert Harris, Brian Wren, Ken Nafsiger, Brian Tate, Allaudin Mathieu, and David Darling. KaeRenae has studied two modalities of music and healing: the “Music for Healing and Transition Program” and the “Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music”.