Lea Baker is the founder and Musical Director of Endeavour Harmony Chorus. Growing up in a musical family where harmony singing was "normal", Lea developed a wonderful ear and a passion for a cappella harmony singing.
Lea joined a local Sydney chorus in 1988 and spent six years with them, becoming Lead Section Leader and eventually Assistant Director. To fulfil her dream of leading a chorus of her own, in 1996 Lea formed the Endeavour Harmony Chorus.
A Certified Master Director, Lea is also a skilled vocal coach. An avid learner, she travels to the US often to attend educational workshops and competitions.
Lea now shares her knowledge and enthusiasm throughout the Australian region, coaching choruses and quartets on a regular basis. Lea is also a seasoned quartet singer (baritone). She was baritone in the quartet 'Andiamo', who competed on the regional competition stage six times and placed in the top five at regional contest five times.
In 2006 Lea was awarded the coveted ‘Master Director’ status when her chorus achieved more the 600 points at the Regional Contest.
In July 2009, Lea was awarded the prestigious Anne Gooch award by Sweet Adelines International. This award recognises her achievements in education and promotion of barbershop harmony singing in Australia. Lea was presented the award in October at the 2009 International Convention in Nashville, USA.
Lea is a member of the Regional Education Faculty of Sweet Adelines Australia, and in 2011 was invited by the board of SAI to be part of the International Faculty of Sweet Adelines International. This group of highly respected and skilled educators has only 35 members from all around the world.
Under Lea’s leadership, the Endeavour Harmony Chorus have won the National Sweet Adelines Competition at each of their last four attempts and have competed on the International Stage four times. The chorus currently hold the record for the highest chorus score achieved in the National Contest (661 points in 2014) and the highest score and placement for an Australian chorus at the International level. The chorus has competed on the International Stage four times, placing 27th in 2007, 15th in 2010, 13th in 2013 and 10th place in 2015. This is the first time an Australian chorus has made the Top 10 at the International Competition.
In October 2011, Lea decided to give up her "day job" to concentrate on singing, teaching and coaching full time. She is now a full time voice coach, working with individuals, and coaching quartets and choruses all around Australia. Lea has a private voice studio in Peakhurst Heights, NSW. Info at www.raiseyourvoice.net.au
Karen Ramirez is the Assistant Director of Endeavour Harmony Chorus. Growing up Karen studied classical piano completing AMEB 8th grade and 6th grade musicianship winning 2 scholarships and various eisteddfods. With her love of music she sang in the school choir whilst undertaking lessons in violin and clarinet to allow her to perform in the school band. As a young adult she took up vocal lessons giving her the confidence to audition for solo and wanting to share her passion for music, at the age of 14 years, Karen started teaching piano to children in her neighbourhood. As a vocal coach she helped individuals participate and pass singing exams, and she has also directed groups of children in various aged choirs.
Karen joined Endeavour Harmony Chorus as a Lead in the year 2000, quickly becoming Lead Section Leader. Wanting to expand her knowledge and understanding of the barbershop art form Karen undertook the Directors Certificate Program and became Assistant Director in 2010.
Karen is passionate about education not just for herself but to share and teach it across our region. She is continually developing her skills by attending workshops and classes both regionally and internationally at every opportunity.