Fairfield resident Carole Ann Maxwell has been named honorary chairwoman for the 41st annual Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition, set for Dec. 1 and 2 in Westport.

Presented by the Connecticut Alliance for Music, with the support from the Westport Arts Center, the two-day vocal competition, for singers 19 to 35 years old, has total cash prizes of more than $10,000. The event, which will take place in Westport Town Hall, is named for the late Heida Hermanns, a concert pianist who lived in Westport with her husband Artur many years.

"A new generation of inspiring and aspiring musicians is eagerly waiting to take their place on the concert stage," Maxwell, known as a conductor of professional and community choral ensembles, said in a press release announcing her appointment. "What better way to open wide the doors to this wondrous musical world than to support them in the early years of their careers?"

Maxwell has been the artistic director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut since its inception in 1984, and has also been the director of choral and liturgical music for Fairfield University since 1980. She was the founder and conductor of the Summer Festival Chorus at the university's Quick Center for 18 years.

This year, Maxwell was named conductor of the Fairfield Choral Festival, and is a chorus master for the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra.

Maxwell has prepared and conducted choruses for the Wallingford Symphony, as well as the Connecticut Grand Opera and Yale operatic ensembles.

Next year, she will be associated with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She has also been named one of the conductors at the "Messiah Sing-In" at Lincoln Center.

For more information about the Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition, call the Westport Arts Center at 203-222-7070, or visit http://www.heidahermannscompetition.org