The Capital District Youth Chorale, formerly the SCCC Children’s Chorus, was founded in 1983 by Diane Warner. The singers are drawn from numerous school districts across 5 counties of the Greater Capital District. Entrance into, and advancement within CDYC, is based upon audition results, experience, and availability/flexibility.

Over 40 years, CDYC has appeared with more than 20 adult, college, school, and Community Children’s choirs and orchestras from

Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York, including Albany Pro Musica and the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

CDYC Staff

Diane Brennan Warner (

CDYC Founder & Director Emeritus  (Retired 2023)

Diane B. Warner retired as the Director of Music for the Shenendehowa Central School District in Clifton Park, NY. Mrs. Warner previously taught in Scotia-Glenville, Schenectady City Schools and served as an adjunct instructor at Schenectady County Community College.

Mrs. Warner earned her B.Mus from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania where she was nominated to Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society). She earned her MS in Music Education from the College of St. Rose and has done further graduate study at Westminster Choir College, Saratoga-Potsdam Choral Institute, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Mrs. Warner is a certified NYSSMA vocal and choral adjudicator and a frequent choral clinician and conductor of All-County and Area All State Choirs. She served as the NY ACDA Repertoire and Standards chair for high school choirs, as well as serving as the chair for NYSSMA's Women's Choir and Treble Choir Music Selection Committee and the Urban Education Committee. She is a certified NYSSMA vocal and choral adjudicator.

Mr. Warner has been affiliated with Albany Pro Musica, the Octavo Singers, Capital Hill Choral Society, Schenectady Light Opera Company, and the Etude Club. Her many awards include five nominations to Who's Who in America's Teachers, two General Electric Starr Awards, two Shenendehowa staff recognition awards, the Schenectady High School Government Teacher of the Year award, and the Schenectady City School District's Teacher of the Year Award.

Lynn Reynolds Makrin (

CDYC Artistic Director

Lynn Reynolds Makrin, Artistic Director, is a choral music educator who has taught with CDYC since 2007. Mrs. Makrin is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton,  NJ; Rutgers University where she earned her Master of Music in Music Education; and The Kodály Institute at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She is a certified Kodály Music Educator. Her education led her to study for a summer in Hungary at the Kecskemét Kodály Institute. Mrs. Makrin has worked with the Cantigas Women's Choir of Hoboken and the Voorhees Women's Choir of Rutgers University. 

Prior to college, however, she was raised in Schenectady, NY, and participated and studied in the choirs of Diane Warner at Linton High School. As a high school student she assisted with CDYC during their evening rehearsals and was in the choir as a singer at age 8.  Mrs. Makrin began her teaching career at the Mustard Seed School of Hoboken, NJ; The Hudson School of Hoboken, NJ; and the Little Red School House of lower Manhattan. She has served on the National Board of the Organization of American Kodály  Educators and is a lifetime member.  Currently, Mrs. Makrin teaches elementary and choral music in the Gloversville Enlarged School District and formerly in the Greater Johnstown School District both in upstate New York. She serves on the leadership team of the Fulton County Music Educators Association as both participating educator and as treasurer. Mrs. Makrin is the recipient of a McCarthey-Dressman Education Foundation Teacher Development Grant for her collaborative work developing a Critical Friends Group between her public school districts. 

Mrs. Makrin serves as an Preaching Elder in the Reformed Church in America, and is a member of the First Reformed Church of Scotia, NY. Mrs. Makrin is an award winning quilter, a member of her local quilt guild, and an avid fan of sailboat racing. She lives in Niskayuna with her husband and two children who both sing with CDYC. 

Mrs. Makrin is honored to lead this incredible team into the next 40 years of beautiful singing with the students of the Capital District Youth Chorale.

Karen Houlahan (

CDYC Assistant Director

Karen Houlahan is a graduate of State University of New York at Fredonia and has taught in the Saratoga Springs City School District since 2008- currently at Saratoga Springs High School.  Karen is certified in Levels I and I of Orff-Schulwerk Music Teacher Training from the Eastman School of Music and earned a master's degree with a focus on Teacher Leadership.  Additionally, she seeks out additional graduate courses, most recently Vocal Pedagogy for Choral Conductors & Voice Teachers from the Eastman School of Music.

In addition to directing the choirs at Saratoga Springs High School, Karen prepares students for All-County, Area All-State, Conference All-State Choirs, prepares and accompanies more than 50 students for NYSSMA Solo Festival, and brings her choirs to NYSSMA Majors.  Her choirs have had the honor of being invited to perform alongside prestigious ensembles such as SUNY Schenectady Choirs, SPAC'S Festival of Young Artists, Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO), Albany Pro Musica, the Albany Symphony, and have consistently earned Superior ratings at music evaluation festivals.  Karen also adjudicates NYSSMA Solo Festivals and leads professional development sessions for local educators.  Mrs. Houlahan is proud to have former students pursuing music and theater degrees at Berklee College of Music, NYU-Tisch School of the Arts and University of the Arts.

Beyond her professional career, Karen loves cooking, baking, spending time with her family, and traveling.  She lives in Ballston Spa with her husband, Andy, and their two children; Reid and Harper.

Mrs. Houlahan is proud to be a part of the Capital District Youth Chorale since 2018 and loves working with the singers, staff, parents, and board members.

Elizabeth Lancto (

CDYC Music Instructor

Elizabeth Lancto began singing with CDYC at 11 with Diane Warner and Lynn Makrin. Elizabeth is a graduate of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and is the director of choirs at Schalmont High School. Elizabeth also currently teaches private woodwind and voice lessons. She is certified as a choir and band director and received her graduate degree from SUNY Buffalo State University with a concentration in music education. 

Mrs. Lancto loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, skiing, and traveling with her husband. 

Derek Bull

CDYC Accompanist

Derek Bull is a music teacher at Greenfield Elementary School, located in the Saratoga Springs City School District. He has taught General Music, Chorus, and Orchestra there since 2017. Derek is a graduate of the Crane School of Music and SUNY Potsdam, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in both Music Education and Mathematics. Derek studied the piano with Russian pianist Eugenia Tsarov and took secondary organ lessons with Michelle Martin-Atwood. He completed concentrations in Piano Pedagogy, both Band and Orchestra methods tracks, and minored in Jazz Studies. More recently, Derek has completed graduate Certificates of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership at the College of St. Rose.

Derek is highly active in his school community, serving on a variety of building and district committees and directing student activities including the Greenfield Drama Club and Orchestra Club. He also co-music directs the musicals at Maple Avenue Middle School and Saratoga Springs High School. Derek enjoys hosting student teachers and supporting new teachers through training and mentorship. He has facilitated professional development in topics including educational technology, music notation software, and audio-visual technology. Additionally, Derek has supported the Saratoga Springs High School summer school each year by teaching Mathematics or co-coordinating the program. Outside of school, he teaches private piano and string bass lessons and adjudicates NYSSMA solo festivals around the state.

Derek enjoys a variety of other musical interests, including music advocacy, piano tuning, composition, and playing his theremin.

Mr. Bull is very excited to accompany the Capital District Youth Chorale and collaborate with the students and staff.