Our Artistic Director
Conductor and singer Simone Bernhard is thrilled to serve as Artistic Director of the Asheville Gay Men’s Chorus. Her many years of experience as a choral and orchestral conductor have honed her talents as an ensemble leader, vocal builder and diction specialist. As a jazz singer, Simone has appeared with trios and small groups as well as traditional big bands. She has also performed in operas and dinner theatre, and has appeared in and directed musical theatre productions. Simone has served as cantor and soloist in numerous churches of varied denominations. When she is not making music, Simone stays busy helping clients buy and sell homes as a Realtor with Preferred Properties. She lives in the River Arts District with her partner, Robert, and his son, Hunter.
Rob Blackwell has worked as a musical director/pianist on more than 100 theatre productions in New York, Europe and much of the United States, including two years in Europe with the London company of Grease and the revival of Do I Hear a Waltz?, supervised by Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents. Most recently, he conducted Full Monty and Avenue Q for Asheville Community Theater. Rob served for ten years as accompanist for the Philadelphia Voices of Pride, Philly’s celebrated LGBTQ chorus. He attended the Ohio State University on a full scholarship for piano performance. Rob is currently writing a young adult novel and sees clients for an advanced neurofeedback system called Neuroptimal.