About our Founders
Maestro Kenneth Olsson (Conductor/Founder, SVeLT) received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College, where he performed leading roles in The Tender Land and The Mikado. Since moving to Jamaica, VT, Ken appeared with Opera Theatre of Weston in Die Fledermaus and Raylynmor Opera of Keene in Don Giovanni, where he was Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master. Since 2008, Ken has been Musical Director for Main Street Arts’ productions of H.M.S. Pinafore, The Gondoliers, High Button Shoes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (directed by his wife, Julie), Batboy, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Sweeney Todd, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, in which he also performed as The Wolf, and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also sang the role of Jean Valjean for MSA’s Les Misérables. Ken is the Music Director of the Springfield Community Chorus, West River Valley Chorus and Nordic Harmoni. With the Springfield Community Chorus, he has conducted Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s The Creation and the final movement from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which was performed in collaboration with the Bennington Choral Society. Based on a YouTube video of the Mozart Requiem, the Springfield Community Chorus was invited to participate in a performance of that work at Carnegie Hall in February 2016. Through his association with Nordic Harmoni, Ken was appointed the National Director-in-Chief, having served as Assistant Director-in-Chief for 8 years, and the Director-in-Chief of the Eastern Division of the American Union of Swedish Singers. Ken has made several appearances with the Friends of Music at Guilford, playing organ recitals, accompanying his wife in recital and conducting the FOMAG Festival Orchestra on Labor Day since 2012. In 2013, Ken and Julie started Southern Vermont Lyric Theatre (SVeLT). They presented Amahl and the Night Visitors in December 2013 and, since November 2014, have been presenting the annual concert “Verdi in Vermont,” which celebrates the composer’s birthday. Last year, they presented La Bohème, performed in August 2017. This year, they will present Verdi’s La Traviata at the Grafton Community Church on August 24, 2018 and the First Baptist Church in Brattleboro on August 26, 2018. While living in New York State, Ken was a featured artist with Tri-Cities Opera (Amahl and the Night Visitors, Die Fledermaus, and Carmen) The Summer Savoyards (The Sorcerer) and Northeast Pennsylvania Opera (Gianni Schicchi), the latter of which Ken was Artistic Director. Ken has served as Musical Director/Conductor for numerous productions, including Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Pirates of Penzance, Jesus Christ Superstar, Ruddigore, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Ken was musical director for Elmira College Theatre’s productions of Cabaret, Beehive, Songs for a New World and Always…Patsy Cline. As a sought after pianist/keyboardist, Ken has appeared in “the pit” for productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, Honk!, And the World Goes ‘Round, Pippin, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Jerry’s Girls, Lucky Stiff, Baby, A Little Night Music, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. In addition, Ken was an Assistant Conductor for Syracuse Opera, serving as rehearsal pianist for productions of Tosca, Madama Butterfly, H.M.S. Pinafore, Macbeth, La Traviata, The Pirates of Penzance, The Magic Flute and Otello. He has accompanied several concerts and recitals throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey, including Ithaca College, Binghamton University and Elmira College. Having been involved in music ministries through various churches over the past 30 years, Ken is proud to be the Music Minister at the Grafton Community Church since 2015. Ken and Julie live in Jamaica VT, and are the proud parents of three beautiful and talented children.
Julie Olsson, soprano, (Director/Founder SVeLT) originally from Ledyard, CT, began her professional career at the age of 17, performing the role of Mrs. Hopkins in the American Musical Theater production of My Fair Lady. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, under the tutelage of Patrice Pastore. While in New York, Ms. Olsson enjoyed many performing opportunities, including the roles of First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Marchellina in Le Nozze di Figaro. She also won honors at both district and regional NATS competitions. After moving on to study voice with Barbara Honn at the International Institute of Vocal Arts and Ms. Honn’s private studio, Ms. Olsson began her graduate degree studies in Vocal Performance at the University of Missouri—Kansas City, with Dr. Anne DeLauney. At UMKC, Ms. Olsson sang the roles of Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and Suor Angelica in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. While in the Mid-west, she was actively sought out to perform with many citywide choirs and ensembles including the Kansas City Lyric Opera. At the Lyric, she sang and acted in their productions of Carmen, La Bohème, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and the world premiere performance of Coyote Tales, by Henry Mollicone and Sheldon Harnick, which was recorded and released on CD for the Newport Classics label. Upon returning to the East Coast, Julie embarked on a well-received career in jazz and blues/rock. Never wanting to stray to far from her roots in musical theater, she kept her feet wet by joining Salt Marsh Opera for their productions of Madama Butterfly and Tosca. Ms. Olsson sang the role of Katisha in The Mikado for Raylynmor Opera. Recently, Ms. Olsson was seen touring southern Vermont and New Hampshire with the Main Street Arts’ production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. She has also been featured in several concerts, with her husband, Ken Olsson, as accompanist/conductor, for the Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG), Springfield Community Chorus and Southern Vermont Lyric Theater, singing many favorite major works, songs, arias and scenes, most notably, the Wesendonck Lieder, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s The Creation, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Tosca, La Bohème, Aïda and Don Giovanni. Recent performances include the Lady in Waiting from Verdi’s Macbeth and The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors for Raylynmor Opera.