Our Leadership

The focus is on children: "Our mission is to train children to sing beautifully and artistically, so they may open the hearts of people everywhere to what is possible if we come together as one family to make a better world. We firmly believe in the power of music and song to bring children and communities together, to celebrate diversity, and help us become better citizens. We truly believe the angelic voices of the children singing their beautiful songs of love and peace can help us break through our differences, and inspire all of us to work together to build a better world."

team member

Sondra Harnes - Artistic Director & CEO

Sondra Harnes, Artistic Director & Chief Executive Officer, is a lyric soprano, pianist, and conductor. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Southeast Missouri State University. She was awarded a full-tuition scholarship by the Juilliard School and received her Master of Music from The Catholic University of America. Ms. Harnes is a winner of many contests and awards, including a National Federation of Music Clubs I.P.F.A.C. opera scholarship, the St. Louis Symphony Young Artist Auditions, the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Artist Auditions, three Minna Kaufmann Ruud Scholarships, the Metropolitan Opera St. Louis District and Midwest Region Auditions, three Metropolitan Opera National Council grants and a diploma from the Concours Internationale de Chants de Paris.

She was appointed as Artist-in-Residence in the St. Paul, Minnesota school system. Ms Harnes has performed on radio and television and has appeared as soloist with numerous symphony orchestras and choral/oratorio societies. She assumed solo performance roles with the Aspen Festival, American Opera Center and the Garden State, St. Paul, Cincinnati and Sokol opera associations. Ms. Harnes performed in pops concerts at the United Nations and Carnegie Recital Hall.

Ms. Harnes was one of the first Suzuki Piano teachers in the Washington, DC area and was a founding director of the Greater Washington Suzuki Piano institute. Ms. Harnes has also been a private coach and accompanist for singers associated with the St. Paul, Washington and Metropolitan Opera Associations. She has given private lessons and master classes in voice and Suzuki Piano, and conducted choirs throughout the United States, Canada, and Bermuda.

In March of 1990, Ms. Harnes founded the World Children's Choir. She conducts season concerts and special event performances, and has produced five compact disks for the World Children's Choir and three recordings that help children learn to sing.

team member

James Selway - Associate Director

James Selway, Associate Artistic Director, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and The Catholic University of America. He is an accomplished pianist and has performed at the Phillips Collection and the World Bank in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Recital Hall, and the United Nations. He is director of Harnes Selway Arts where he maintains a Suzuki piano studio and directs operetta and music theater productions for the Harnes Selway Arts summer program, "Singers ONSTAGE." He specializes in directing operetta for youth and also produces Gilbert and Sullivan productions at Summer Music Festival - Suzuki Kingston, Kingston, Ontario. Mr. Selway is a frequent workshop clinician in the U.S., Canada, and Bermuda, both as a music theater director and as a pianist.

Mr. Selway has performed as pianist and choreographer with the World Children's Choir at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the White House, and other Washington, D.C. venues. A bass-baritone, Mr. Selway has sung with Aspen Music Festival, the Greenwich (Conn.) Philharmonia, the Aspen Contemporary Music Conference, the Washington Opera, the New York Chamber Soloists, the American Opera Center, the Yale Summer Music Festival, and at the United Nations. He has sung in Israel and throughout the Caribbean as a soloist with "Around the World in Ninety Minutes".

Mr. Selway is the composer of the song, "With One Dream", written after the September 11 attacks, recorded by the World Children's Choir, and now published by Warner Brothers.

Mr. Selway dances and performs frequently with Dianne Braden in the song and dance duo, Braden and Selway. He recently performed the character role of Ambassador Drosselmeyer in Arlington's Center Dance Company performances of "The Nutcracker".

team member

Lucía Elena Sánchez, Assistant Director

Lucía Elena Sánchez, Assistant Director, hailed as a singer of “great power and vocal beauty,” Ms. Sánchez has appeared as a soloist with numerous groups including the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Chattanooga Bach Choir, Choral Arts of Chattanooga, Opera Tennessee, and the Washington Chorus. She graduated Cum Laude from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance.

A founding member of the World Children’s Choir, Ms. Sánchez began studying voice at age 12 with Sondra Harnes, and with the Choir, she sang at the White House, Kennedy Center, State Department, and National Archives, to name a few.

A native of Washington, D.C., she has recently returned to the area to teach in a bilingual Montessori school.