CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (COF)
Home: St Paul’s United Methodist Church
Valley Drive, Syracuse NY
Steve Dethloff, director
4655 Bloomsbury Drive
Syracuse, NY 13215-
1997 to present: Contemporary Christian Sunday service at our home church
Camp Cosawasco Retreat 1997-2005
Reign for us Café Coffee House
Traveling coffee house band at area United Methodist Churches (UMC)
Bishop’s Welcome Northeast UMC
Traveling coffee house band at area United Methodist Churches
Habitat for Humanity Teen Festival featuring the touring Christian band Kiros
Bill Andrews’ first start was in elementary school where he played Hand bells, Guitar, Drums and Violin, so well on violin that he was in All District, All County, and All State in school. He played drums for a short time in his Jr. High School marching band. Eventually he traveled with a hand bell choir over most of the eastern seaboard including the Rotunda of the Senate Office Building in Washington DC. Now Bill is happy to strum rhythm guitar, and play the congas in COF and the band Mid Life Crisis (M.L.C).
Ellen Dethloff first began her singing career in high school starring in a number of Musicals. From there she continues to sing in the shower, at church and at work where she leads a choir of nurses that sing at special events around central New York. She is an original member of COF.
Steve Dethloff currently enjoys playing lead guitar in COF and jazz/variety with M.L.C. He preformed locally with several bands over the past 30 years. He has two CDs to his credit, one by COF of which he is an original member, and a jazz instrumental CD by Tradewind. Original instrumental compositions have aired on NPR radio and have been recorded onto three national distributed compilation discs. He is currently working on a second Tradewind disc and expects to start recording projects with COF and M.L.C this year.
Kasey McHale has had a love of performing her entire life, with some of the most enjoyable moments being singing with Circle of Friends. She is honored to be a part of such a positive, talented and encouraging group of people. She graduated from LeMoyne College in 2008 as a Theatre Major/Music Minor after performing with the vocal jazz ensemble, chorale, and performing in productions such as "Songs for a New World", and has been seen on stage in various local community theatre productions over the years. Recently returning from NYC, she looks forward to more fun in the "Circle" and singing every chance she can get!
Leonard Octave Renaud started playing drums at 12 years old in Orchestra, Concert, and Marching Bands through to High School, including the Halftime Show at the SU Football game in Old Archibold Stadium. While attending college he played with several rock bands and later in ‘Erie Street” and “Wizards Of Sound” through the 70’s and 80’s. Currently he enjoys playing contemporary Christian music with COF and light jazz and rock with M.L.C. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, gardening, and golf.
Beth Schwartz has been singing in different groups for 26 years, including a Select Choir and Show Choir that won National Awards. She was chosen for All-State Choir and performed in several musicals while in high school. A classical pianist for 31 years, she won several awards for piano competition and taught piano for 4 years. In addition she played French horn in various bands over 15 years. She volunteers her talents for the past 22 years, as a camper and counselor for Music Camp. She is an original member of COF and states: “I am thankful for the opportunity to continue doing something I love”
Mary Shirley’s love for singing began in elementary school and continues through today. Her most memorable moment is singing in the play “Hair” while in high school. She also enjoys sewing and volunteering with many local civic organizations. She plans on sewing and singing for her first grandchild due this spring.
Robin Wensel Began her musical career at age five singing accapella ‘Jesus Loves Me” at her home church. In high school she sang in several musical productions and played the Jane Russell role in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". Since age eight she has played the flute in church and the marching band leading to a prestigious spot in the high school jazz band. Her level of competence took her to New York State competitions for both voice and flute. Other engagements included halftime shows for college games and professional football games both in the U.S. and Canada.
Connie Six: Music has always been a big part of Connie’s life while growing up. She loves to sing and harmonize whenever she can. Connie’s singing career started back when she was 5 years old. She sang her first solo in church one Sunday, only because no one else showed up. She enjoys playing the piano, and of course she has to sing along. In her younger days, you could find her singing many folk songs and “Peter Paul and Mary” on the guitar. While in high school you could always find her in the chorus room, singing alto. Connie states “I’m the newest member of COF and consider it a gift from God to be a part of this great group. It is more than just the singing, it’s the laughter, concern, and true friendships that have developed that have made COF so special”.