Musical Director

Musical Director - Ellen Belyea

Our new director - Ellen Belyea

Ellen Belyea grew up in a family that loved music. They encouraged her to participate in annual music festivals, community events and church choirs from a very early age.

Her love of barbershop began when she moved to Halifax. NS in 1985. Not knowing anyone, she decided she needed a hobby. After seeing an ad on the local TV channel, she visited her first rehearsal with Citadel Chimes and was hooked. That was 38 years ago. She became a charter member of Citadel Chimes and never looked back.

Administatively, on the Chapter level, Ellen has served at every position. At the Area 1 level, she held the position of Area 1 Director, previously known as Area 1 Rep. representing Area 1 on International Board of Directors for 3 terms. Being elected to the IBOD, she served another term as Director of Membership and VP Finance.

Quartet singing has also been a passion of Ellen's which began as a double quartet in 1986 - "Double Your Pleasure". This led to her first competing quartet, "Atlantic Appeal". in 1991, six weeks before the annual spring convention, she joined the quartet, "Spectrum", singing lead. Spectrum earned top 10 honours, a fourth-place international medal (1992) and received gold medals, becoming 1993-94 International Harmony Queens in Chicago, IL.

In later years, she also sang in many quartets including, "Euphoria", earning 4th place international ribbons and Area 1 Champions;, "Maritime Magic", "Encore" and "Last Call"; all receiving contest ribbons. She joined "Moments of Magic" in 2021. They hope to compete at AC&C in June 2024.

Former Director  and Current Assistant Director- Joanne Conrad

Joanne Conrad, our former Director and now our Assistant Director, has been a member of the Sea Belles since March 1988. 

In 1988 she had attended a "Parade of Harmony" put on by the "Men of Fundy", of which her father Nelson Day was a charter member, and there was an ad for the Sea Belles in the program. She started with the Sea Belles right away in the Bass section and was asked to sing in a quartet , "Seaside Harmony Blend" soon after. The quartet won the Findlay Plaque in 1989 at International Contest in Ottawa, as the highest ranking novice quartet and placed 7th overall. In 1996, Irene Goddard joined the quartet as a Baritone and they changed their name to "Joie de Vivre". 

In 2003 she began singing in a quartet called "Maritime Magic" and competed internationally with them, and they placed 10th and won the award for the highest presentation package for a non-medalist quartert.  In 2003, "Nova Quattro" was formed and they sang together until September 2023.

Joanne has been a member of the Music Committee as both Bass and Baritone section leader for over 30 years.

Over the years, among  other things,  she has been active in doing vocal warm-ups and teaching tags for the chorus.

Joanne plays piano and can read music proficiently, both staffs of music, which has been a great asset to our chorus.

She said "I am enjoying directing the Sea Belles through our Christmas Season and look forward to having a permanent director soon." 

Former Director -  Marilyn Hickman

Marilyn Hickman, our former Director, is originally from Springhill , Nova Scotia . She grew up singing and acting with her family and moved to Saint John in 1982. She was looking for a group to sing with and has been Barbershopping for 38 years, acting as Assistant Director for over 30 years.

She served as our Vice President and Membership chair. She also served as Lead Section Leader, Treasurer, Social, and Ways and Means. In March 2014, Marilyn’s contributions to the chorus were recognized by her Sea Belle sisters when she was presented the Barbershopper of Year Award.

Marilyn has sung in Quartets: A Notable Sound, won the area in 1989, Coastal Reflection, won novice award in 1995 and competed with Nova Quattro.
This gal is fun and upbeat, and is a pleasure to sing for.

Marilyn is retired from the Sea Belles and has moved to Alberta to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She will be greatly missed.

Former Director - Janet Kidd

Janet Kidd is a singer, composer, choral director and published author.

She first started directing Sea Belles women’s Barbershop Chorus in 1993. What began as a six month fill-in expanded into twenty eight years of exciting music making, and intensive learning about the Barbershop style of musicianship and presentation.
After she graduated from Queen’s University with her BMus, Janet worked for a summer with Canadian composer R Murray Schafer, then sang for seven years with the Vancouver Chamber Choir. She has been directing singing ensembles for more than forty years, and now shares all her favourite Magic Choral Tricks on her blog:

Since working with Sea Belles, Janet has developed a ‘Big Clean Sound’ choral workshop which she presents in different cities for the NB Choral Federation, and for individual choirs. “It is wonderful to work with such an eager group of singers who are so willing to try whatever I suggest in our quest to make a song more thrilling. And they have followed right along with even the seemingly craziest things I’ve asked them to do. It’s been an honour to be allowed to lead this enthusiastic and very kind group of women.”

She also directs Men of Fundy men’s Barbershop chorus, Heartbeat! – the Dalhousie Medicine and UNBSJ choir, and is the music director at Hampton United Church. She also coaches an a cappella singing group – Northern Voice, who do all Canadian folk and pop music and for 6 weeks each year she rehearses and directs the 100 voice choir for the Tracy Friars ‘Celebrate’ benefit show at the Imperial.

Janet is married to composer, retired teacher, church organist and jazz musician Richard Kidd.
Contact Janet at

Janet retired from the Sea Belles in November 2022. Her contributions to the Sea Belles are numerous. She will be greatly missed.
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