What is your story as a singer? My first singing experience was the 5th grade talent show. I sang Killing Me Softly while accompanied by my sister on guitar via a cassette player! I have been hamming it up ever since.
Do you sing with other choirs? I have sung in my church choir for over 35 years and can’t imagine stopping!!!
Favorite onstage experience: At the age of 15 being asked to sing at someone’s wedding for the first time.
What are you listening to these days? Cu Dubh – Heavy metal bagpipers!
What is your story as a singer? I have always loved to sing. I grew up singing at the piano while my dad played. That is of course, until I could accompany myself. I was 4 when I sang in my first talent show. I participated in choirs throughout my public school education. After graduating from a performing arts high school, I decided to major in music education in college. I sang in the top choir at the university I attended. After graduating, I moved to Italy with my husband for two years and sang in two local choirs that toured the Veneto region (near Venice and Verona). That was a great experience because no one spoke English except the director, and his was quite broken. My Italian was decent enough to participate in light conversation with the other members. But, I didn't have any problem understanding what the director would ask us to do vocally because he used musical terms and clear gestures. We truly connected through the universal language of music. The other delightful part of this experience was truly "drinking in" the Italian culture. Our concerts began at 9 pm, were always free, and hosted in beautiful little cathedrals in towns around the region. After every concert, the local town would prepare a five-course meal for us. The Italians would get tipsy, sing folk songs, and tease us Americans who would be falling asleep at the table because we didn't get a "riposo." Upon returning to the States, I sang in two different choirs in North Carolina. The reason I love to sing is because it is how I best connect with God and feel His presence in my life. It is an honor and joy to be singing with the Cathedral Choral Society.
Do you sing with other choirs? I sing in my church choir and an a cappella group on my husband's campus that consists of medical school students.
Favorite onstage experience: I have always loved to perform. The most fun I've ever had was being a chorus member in the Marriage of Figaro in college. The most spiritually moving experience was singing Handel and Vivaldi in a cathedral in Italy.
What are you listening to these days? I have been listening to everything from 40s swing, to bluegrass, to Enya, to 90s country.
Do you sing with other choirs? Does my competitive karaoke team count? If so yes, I'm part of team Super-nerdy-quite-artistic-totally-precocious. We compete every Thursday at Ten Tigers Lounge in Petworth, DC
Favorite onstage experience: My mother was a professional opera singer (mezzo). So as a child I had bit parts in some her operas. My favorite was playing one of the gingerbread children in Humperdinck's Handel and Gretel (my mom played Gretel). As an adult however, my favorite onstage experience was singing in Orpheo et Euridice at Spoleto Opera House in Italy as part of the Spoleto Vocal Arts Symposium.
What is your story as a singer? I joined the Virginia Children’s Chorus at age 10 in 2004 and sang with them until I graduated from high school in 2012, performing in a United Kingdom tour and numerous high profile concerts. In college, I continued to pursue music opportunities and was one of the first members of both singing groups on my campus. Throughout high school and college, I took private voice lessons which led to performance opportunities with a boutique opera company called the Tidewater Opera Initiative. When I moved to the District, I promised myself I would audition for the Cathedral Choral Society. I am proud to have done just that and am excited to sing with this phenomenally talented group.
Favorite onstageexperience: I have always enjoyed performing and it is hard to choose a favorite experience, but some include singing in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with his daughter, Jamie, in the audience, singing in the “Ragazzi” in Carmina Burana with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (twice!), and singing as the First Alms Sister in Suor Angelica.
What are you listening to these days? David Bowie is always a go-to, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Odell and Empire of the Sun.
What is your story as a singer? I have been in choirs since elementary school, mostly through experiences through school and university, and have always been in love with it! I was even fortunate enough to serve on the board of directors for a choir based in Akron, Ohio. Choir has always been like a home away from home for me, so I've tried to stay as involved as possible in one choral group or another throughout my life.
Favorite onstage experience: In high school I was involved in a choir called the Summit Choral Society, which was fortunate enough to be able to go on international tours every other year. At the end of every season the choir would often get a little sad when the last concert came around and the time would come to have to go back home to Ohio. It wasn't unusual that a few members of the choir would cry a little during a concert because the music and the ambiance of wherever we were touring would be a very emotional experience. Well, one such concert like 80% of the choir started to cry and our director was desperately trying to get us to stop because we sounded really bad. It's just so funny to look back on now! Such a weird moment.
What are you listening to these days? I pretty much listen to Lana, the Neighbourhood, and Bad Suns on rotation. But now I've added Rachmaninoff's Liturgy to the mix!
What is your story as a singer? My grandmother had a beautiful voice. She raised 8 children and sang around the house until she died at 92. She had five daughters and each one with a lovely voice. My aunt, who is a nun, sings every day with all the other nuns in her convent. She also sings Elvis tunes. My other aunt (a nurse) sings with the Sweet Adelines. My mom used to sing everything, but had a special place in her heart for country music. As the only daughter, I also inherited this affinity for singing. I started studying voice “for real” when I was sixteen. After my mom died when I was 22, music saved me. My voice teacher had already become a second mom to me. My choir supported me and the music itself soothed me. I couldn’t live without music, but I doubt anyone associated with CCS who is reading this could either.
Favorite Onstage experience: Once, I played the Virgin Mary in a "Madrigala" at a big, old, stone church on Fifth Avenue. During the meal, which included a boar's head and flaming pudding(!), I sat next to a handsome trumpeter, dressed as a lord. He said his favorite carol was In the Bleak Midwinter and instantly it became mine as well.
What is your story as a singer? Coming from a family of singers, I’ve sung all my life and can’t imagine a day without making a joyful noise.
Favorite onstage experience? A favorite in-concert moment was in the Mozart’s Jubilate with CCS. It was a cloudy May afternoon, but just as the soprano sang the refrain “and there was light,” the Cathedral’s rose window came to life. All the people gathered for the performance were bathed in color and light and sound, and it was one of those moments where you are part of touching the eternal.
What are you listening to these days? A little of everything! There is great music all around us.
What is your story as a singer? I've been singing ever since I can remember. My mother and grandmother were musicians so there was always music around me. I sang in school and church choirs and later went on to study music and began conducting church and children's choirs myself. Through high school and university studies I also sang with the choir of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts that specialized in medieval orthodox music and traditional Serbian church chant - an experience that had a huge impact on me spiritually and musically. Since moving to the States, I have sung with Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, St. Romanos Choir, and Serbian Singing Society "Branko Radichevich" (Chicago, IL). I am thrilled to be singing with the CCS now!
Do you sing with other choirs? I direct my church choirs (adult and children's).
Favorite onstage experience: Choral concert of Serbian medieval sacred music in an 11th century Roman church in Alsace, France and more recently, directing the world premiere of a composition for mixed choir and cello "O Most Wise Father Sava" by Serbian composer Natasha Bogojevich, in Nichols Hall, Evanston, IL.
What are you listening to these days? Serbian Christmas music and Bach's Cantatas.
What is your story as a singer? I started singing at a young age in my church choir and performed in a few musicals as a child, including playing Greta in the Sound of Music. In high school I sang in multiple choirs, including varsity choir, chamber choir, and show choir. I was also selected to sing in the Nebraska All State Choir and participated in the Midwest European Honor Choir. This is my first time back in a choir since high school and I'm so glad to be in one again!
Do you sing with other choirs? Not currently, but I play music and sing with friends.
Favorite onstage experience: Performing opera pieces with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra with my high school choir. Also singing in beautiful cathedrals across Europe during a three week choir tour.
What are you listening to these days? A lot of pop, hip hop, and indie music, and anything I can sing along to.
What is your story as a singer? Our family always sang was I was growing up, so singing in school choirs was part of our student lives. Choral music has always been special to me. I accompanied our high school choir for 3 years, so I looked for opportunities to sing with choruses at Georgetown University, overseas as a foreign service officer, and here in DC when I returned from overseas posts. Performing choral classics in the stunning setting of the National Cathedral always moves me to -- grateful -- tears.
Favorite onstage experience: Singing with Dave Brubeck, one of my jazz superstar favorites!
What are you listening to these days? Since I have a new car with Sirius XM, I am listening to many different musical genres... jazz, classical, lots of Frank Sinatra (it's his 100th anniversary), Broadway musicals, Top Hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and country. Great fun!!
Season Joined: 1983-1984 (auditioned with Paul callaway for his last concert)
Birthplace: Aurora, IL
What is your story as a singer? I sang in my church choir as a child, in high school, and at St. Olaf College. My husband Colin- who also joined CCS in 1983- and I have been fortunate to sing, in addition to our CCS concerts, with the Berkshire Choral Festival (now the Berkshire Choral Institute "BCI") in Vienna, Salzburg, Edinburg, and Portland, OR, as well as in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires with Norman Scribner and the Choral Arts Society. Several years ago, we joined Cantori Domino, a small Santa Monica-based Bach choir, for its Central European tour. In 2015, we had the pleasure of singing John Rutter's final Carnegie hall concert and then joined the National Philharmonic Chorale for its New Year's tour of Germany later that year. We also continue to sing in our church choir at Bethesda Presbyterian church.
Favorite Onstage Experience: Probably the week of Carmina Burana performances with the Washington Ballet at the Kennedy Center. Other spectacular moments included singing the Verdi Requiem at the magnificent Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, singing the Marseilles and the 1812 Overture with all the exuberant French people waving huge flags at Wolf Trap on Bastille Day, the moving Lincoln Center performance of Russian works with Dmitri Hvorostovsky (with a huge contigent of Brighton Beach residents weeping as they sang along with the songs from the war years.)...Working with Denis Graves and Dave Brubeck were terrific experiences too. There are so many musical experiences; it's impossilbe to pick A favorite!
What are you listening to these days? Several weeks ago, we heard Leon Fleischer (one of my heroes) and his wife Katherine Jacobson (also a St. Olaf alum) perform Schubert's Fantasy in F Minor and Ravel's La Valse, two of my favorite piano works both for 4 hands. I can't stop listening to them.
What is your story as a singer? I can't ever remember a time when I wasn't in chorus in elementary school. I also loved it when we did song and dance programs. I vividly remember sitting in junior high, listening to the high school Madrigal group and saying to my friend that I would be in that group as soon as I was eligible. And I did make it! To this day, I have always been a sucker for a Madrigal group!
A favorite onstage experience? My very favorite CCS experience was singing the Carmina Burana at the Kennedy Center, wearing those weird sacks as monk robes and standing on that scary but cool scaffolding, watching the INCREDIBLE dancing that Septime Weber choreographed. It was awesome!
What are you listening to these days? I have two teenage daughters, so we listen to pop music!
Birthplace: I was born in Ft. Worth, TX, but grew up in Grand Forks, ND
What is your story as a singer? I Performed "My Heart Will Go On" as a third grader in an elementary school talent show. Then went on to perform in choirs, musicals, and recitals through high school. I finished one year as a vocal performance major at the University of Minnesota, but decided to pursue a career in preventive health instead!
Do you sing with other choirs? I was a member of American University's Chamber Chorus during graduate school.
What are you listening to these days? Always listening to indie rock, jazz, and folk music.
What is your story as a singer? I began singing in an elementary school choir and was always in a choir through my Senior year of college. I was always trying to out-sing and out-choir my two older, very talented siblings and by joining the CCS, I think I finally won! For now...
Favorite onstage experience? I toured Europe with the Utah Ambassadors of Music in 2005. We arrived in London the day of the terrorist attack on the London Underground. We had to leave right away and spend a few extra days in Paris instead. Somehow, someone pulled some strings and we were given the opportunity to sing Ave Maria in Notre Dame. It was beautiful and amazing and a feeling I will never forget.
What are you listening to these days?: Florence and the Machine, Haim, If/Then soundtrack
I should probably contribute my earliest singing memory to Livingston and James Taylor. My mom would play their albums on repeat during her carpool days and I wound up being this 6 year-old who was obsessed with trying to harmonize to "Fire and Rain." From piano and guitar lessons in elementary school to performing in choirs, my parents and older sister instilled in me a love of music at an early age. One of my biggest regrets is taking a hiatus from singing in college, so I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to sing with CCS this season.
Favorite onstage experience: Performing Eric Whitacre's "Sleep" and "Lux Aurumque" with my high school choir. The sound his compositions generate from a SSAATTBB ensemble is almost surreal.
What are you listening to these days? I'm currently getting reacquainted with Queen in preparation for the Freddie Mercury movie!
Background as a singer: Began singing in 5th grade, went to Amherst College (The Singing College).
Favorite Onstage Moment: The Brubeck To Hope! concert was amazing, as was the Carmina Burana with the Washington Ballet where we were on scaffolding dressed as monks--I was very pregnant and it was precarious--at least I was on the end with a handhold!
What is your story as a singer? I have sung all my life. From "Voces Discordes" & "Humditties" before college, to the Yale Glee Club, Yale's Proof of the Pudding and senior group Whim'n Rhythm, and now the Yale Alumni Chorus. I've also enjoyed joining choruses and choirs all over the world in my overseas stints. I've sung with the National University of Singapore Choir and the Singapore Singers. In my years back in Washington I sang with an acapella group, "Take Note", the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and with the St. Columba choir & singers under the baton of Judith Dodge.
Favorite onstage experience: The first concert in 1981 for the newly formed Whim'n Rhythm - a college senior group tradition still going strong after 34 years after a small band of gals formed the group.
What are you listening to these days? Donizetti's L'esire D'amore, and an eclectic mix of swing, 1980s rock, Lauridsen, Mozart, acapella, Bernstein, and others.
What is your story as a singer? I sang in chorus in high school, then began as a music major in college. After two years, I married, moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, took a year off, and when I returned to college, I ended up majoring in English. Through the years, I have sung with a choral society in Salisbury, in an Episcopal Church choir, with the UMES Gospel choir, and done solo work. Currently, I chant the liturgy (I am an Episcopal priest) in worship on Sundays.
Favorite onstage experience: I have two. The first was getting to alternate one of the lead roles for The Merry Wives of Windsor (four nights of production) in college. The second was getting to sing the role of the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors some years back.
What are you listening to these days? At the moment, mostly Rachmaninoff, so I can learn the Rachmaninoff Liturgy better! I also listen to a new folk musician, Maggie Rogers, as well as some Alison Krause and Yo-Yo Ma.
What is your story as a singer? I grew up singing in church choir and listening to musicals. I sang in a 90-person choir in college at UVA, which gave me a greater awareness of and appreciation for the great works of classical music. I am happier when I am part of a choir. Performing with others gives me great joy.
Favorite onstage experience: Singing "Do You Hear the People Sing?" for Claude-Michel Schonberg...and singing the Verdi Requiem twice in one weekend.
What are you listening to these days? Musical soundtracks and film scores. (Good for work concentrating.)
What is your story as a singer? I was encouraged by my parents to express myself through music-making from a very young age both instrumentally and vocally. My father is a music lover and former professional musician and my household was a musical one. I began vocal training in high school and was lucky enough to be invited to sing sacred repertoire with a highly regarded nearby college choir.
Once in college on my own, I sang with my school’s chorale, enjoyed a brief stint in musical theatre, and even did a bit of wedding singing. For many years after school I didn’t sing at all outside the shower and the occasional duet with my father. After a move to DC, I attended events at the Cathedral and fell in love with not only the place, but the music made there. Somehow, I finally mustered up the nerve to audition for the CCS, and here I am!
Favorite onstage experience: Performing the Bach B Minor Mass under Reilly Lewis’ direction was truly one of the most moving and fulfilling events of my musical life.
What are you listening to these days?: At the moment, Ockeghem’s Intermerata Dei Mater. I enjoy early music.
What is your story as a singer? I have been singing my entire life, but my chorus experience started in high school, when I participated in the Connecticut All-State choir. I continued to sing throughout college as a member of both the chorus and an a cappella group.
Do you sing with other choirs? I sometimes sing with the youth choir at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America at the 12PM Sunday mass. We're a very small choir, and we often get to sing original choral compositions that have just been composed by our director!
Favorite onstage experience: I got to sing Bach's St. Matthew's Passion during the spring of my junior year in college. The concert was a ton of work (3 hours onstage, all in German!) but I'm really proud of the performance. We performed for a full house in the beautiful Grace Church in Providence, Rhode Island.
What are you listening to these days? I'm always looking for new music, but these days I've been listening to the album "Semper Femina" by Laura Marling.
What is your story as a singer? Other than church school choirs as a kid, I waited until my mid-20's to let it rip as a member of the Anchorage (Alaska) Concert Choir and the Anchorage Civic Opera.
Favorite onstage experience: Many great choral experiences with Dave Brubeck, Helmut Rilling, and Slava Rostropovich. In Anchorage I sang with the choir on A Prairie Home Companion. I really enjoyed the CCS concerts with the Baltimore Symphony.
What are you listening to these days? West African pop, classic Country and Western, bagpipes, Mongolian throat singers.
What is your story as a singer? Jr High Chorus with Mrs. Woodruff, Dominion Junior High, Columbus Ohio. Gave up the trumpet to focus on singing. Sang all through Jr and Sr High (chorus, men's glee, mixed ensemble) and college. Joined CCS right after graduation and have been with it ever since.
Favorite onstage experience? Missa Solemnis with Robert Shaw at the Kennedy Center. Transformative.
What are you listening to these days? Mostly groups like Maroon 5, Goo-Goo Dolls, and Dave Mathews. I love the jazz classics like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn and enjoy the rock music of my youth (AC/DC, ZZ Top, Queen). Honestly, I rarely listen to classical music.
What is your story as a singer? I got hooked on singing choral music and dropped orchestra for good my sophomore year in college when the chance came along for our chorus to sing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Previous choruses: Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Choral Arts of Washington, and New York Choral Society.
Favorite onstage experience: Two of the most memorable performances for me have been the Bach B Minor CCS did a in 2012. And, many years earlier, the Rachmaninoff Vespers in the Cathedral under the baton of Rostropovich, the first time he was ever able to perform it with Solzhenitsyn and a relative of Rachmaninoff present. Also was the only choral performance my parents ever heard me in.
What are you listening to these days? I have a roster of classical stations I rotate among—WETA, WGBH, WKSU, and WIAA—and work with headphones on much of most days.
What is your story as a singer? My father was in the piano business and knew many concert artists, so I was brought up in music, being taken (dragged!) to the opera and symphony frequently. None of this “took” until I joined a symphony chorus in college, to my father’s great pleasure (finally!) With my children no longer at home, there has been time to participate in a truly great symphonic chorus in a wonderful performance venue.
A favorite onstage moment: When music overwhelms and you know you are part of something greater than the parts, both physically and spiritually.
What are you listening to these days? Soft rock and classical!
What is your story as a singer? Boringly predictable: churches, schools, community and select/auditioned choruses from pre-school on.
Favorite onstage experience: Performing Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light” in the Cathedral as part of the “Visionary Women” concert. The chorus and orchestra were in the great choir behind the projection screen for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent film, “The Passion of Joan of Arc”. We were surrounded and immersed in the sound of the concert—cut off from the audience and any sense of the twenty first century. I experienced it as a haunting, deeply moving, other-worldly experience.
Story as a singer: I grew up singing a little in my church choir, and sang in a college chorus for a couple of years. In addition to singing with the CCS I sing with Carmina, a chamber choir specializing in Renaissance music. I also sang for ten years with the Washington Kantorei, which was dedicated primarily to singing German music from a wide range of periods.
Favorite onstage experience: One of the reasons for my joining the CCS was to sing Bach under Reilly's direction. In my first year we did the St. Matthew Passion, and that performance was quite poignant and will remain in my memory for a long time.
What are you listening to these days? I listen to local classical music stations a lot (WETA and WBJC) and have learned so much by doing so. I also have a large collection of vinyl and CD recordings. I love lots of genres, especially music for the piano, chamber music and songs of many types, in particular the French and German repertoires.
What is your story as a singer? My mother (piano teacher and choir director) signed me up for my first church choir in 3rd grade. I have been singing in choirs ever since, from church choirs to school choirs, to regional symphony choruses in Springfield (IL), Chicago, Boston, Miami, New Haven (CT), and now DC. I also love to sing jazz and rock and have sung with several groups and bands over the years (mostly in friends’ living rooms).
Favorite onstage experience: Singing the Verdi Requiem with Chicago’s Apollo Chorus in Orchestra Hall with my grandmother (a church organist and choir director) in the audience.
What are you listening to these days? My most visited Pandora stations: Bill Evans, Renaissance Music, Missy Elliot, Paundah Bhangra, and Bluegrass.
What is your story as a singer? I started singing in elementary school, and just haven’t stopped! I sang in my high school chorus and barbershop group, where we performed singing valentines for people on Valentine's Day. I just graduated from Swarthmore College where I sang in the college’s chorus and in Mixed Company, a student-run co-ed a capella group.
Favorite onstage experience: I once sang in Carnegie Hall as part of a chorus for the world premiere of a symphonic work by James Eakin, titled “Flowers Over the Graves of War”. It was my favorite moment of high school!
What are you listening to these days? A little bit of everything, but mostly whatever Spotify puts on my “Discover Weekly”
What is your story as a singer? I’ve actually only been singing since about 2010, and this was due only to a chance invitation from a friend to participate in the National Presbyterian Church Festival Choir’s annual performance of the ‘Messiah’. The first few rehearsals were a bit rocky for me at first, and I nearly quit, but fortunately I didn’t yield to that impulse and I ended up enjoying it immensely. Since then, I have been singing every year, trying to make up for lost time.
Do you sing with other choirs? No.
Favorite onstage experience: So far, I would say this would be the first time I got to experience singing at the Kennedy Center in a performance of the 5th Symphony of Philip Glass. This was a very exciting piece to perform. It recounts what might be considered a global sacred history of the world, from the Creation through the fall of human beings to the hope of their redemption, drawing from many and diverse sacred texts, including Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu selections, along with certain Japanese and African narratives.
What are you listening to these days? In the concert music genre, I have been listening to early music, both sacred and secular; chamber music; and music for solo piano, all by various composers. I also have been listening to Native American flute music, such as that of
R. Carlos Nakai, and “space music”, which I first learned about through an NPR program called “Music from the Hearts of Space”. Steve Roach is one exemplar of this genre.
What is your story as a singer? When I was 9 I was offered the part of "Oliver" and turned it down so I could go to Disney World the week of the show. I did eventually take music seriously. I sang in choirs, jazz, and rock groups, and at 17 I went to New England Music Festival with Rollo Dilworth.
Favorite onstage experience: In college I sang with the AU Chamber Singers and went on the 2013 Russia tour. (Before the war in Ukraine.) In the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Moscow, I remember singing an iconic Russian song to a completely silent audience, hearing complete silence as we finished, followed by an almost-whispered "bravo" in the front row, and finally applause. That quiet "bravo" gives me chills to this day.
What are you listening to these days? A lot of the Beatles recently, but as I write I'm listening to Handel's Royal Fireworks Music.
What is your story as a singer: I was an instrumentalist long before I was a vocalist! I started playing the trombone and the euphonium in 4th grade, and I was one of those kids who just added on extracurricular after extracurricular. In high school, I started mixing chorus in with my weekly dose of musical activities, and I loved it!
In college, I continued to sing in choir while working towards my trombone degree, and I also became the vocal percussionist in an a cappella group! Since I completed my undergrad, singing has slowly taken over as my primary form of music making (much easier to keep up with than the trombone, let me tell you!), and being in a choir truly scratches my performance itch!
Do you sing with other choirs? Nope! I sang in the American University Chamber Singers while I was completing my Master's, and I sang with the Eastman-Rochester Chorus in Rochester, NY before that, but for now it's all CCS, all the time.
Favorite onstage experience: Performing the trombone solo part in "Superbone Meets the Badman" with a jazz ensemble at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. That experience playing for a packed piazza on the top of a mountain in the Italian countryside gives me chills just thinking about it! Sorry it's not a favorite choral experience, although there are many of those too!
What are you listening to these days? I've been pretty into a band called Sidewalk Chalk lately. I've known them for a couple years but have done a deeper dive into their album "Leaves" in the last month or two and it gets better every time. If you want to know what's so great about them (in long form), ask me some time!
What is your story as a singer? I have been around music and singing most of my life; my mother is a classically-trained singer and my earliest lessons on the basics were with her while she was cooking. I started off singing in gospel choirs and wasn't very fond of classical music because it didn't 'move' me. At the suggestion of my high school choral director, I began taking private voice lessons at 15. Shortly after I began, she invited the choir to a performance of Handel's Messiah where she was the alto soloist. I was deeply moved by her singing as well as that of the bass soloist who delivered his arias with such conviction that it moved people in the audience to tears. It's likely the only time I will see people 'catch the holy ghost' from a rending of 'The trumpet shall sound'! This experience impressed upon me the notion that it's not the genre that determines how moving a piece of music is but rather how it's performed. I doubled my commitment to study singing and a year later in that very church, I made my debut as the bass soloist in Messiah at the age of 16. Having caught the classical music bug, I later ended up at the Eastman School of Music where I completed my undergraduate studies in voice. Being a risk-averse person, I decided that the life of an artist was not for me and went on to study computer science and public administration in grad school and pursue a career in non-profit management. However, I have managed to remain musically active over the years as a professional church musician, occasional recitalist, and as a member of various choirs in Chicago and in the Washington DC area.
Do you sing with other choirs? Yep. Since 2006, I have been cantor and bass section leader at the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church in Arlington. I have also sung with the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington.
Favorite onstage experience: Performing Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with Robert Shaw while an undergraduate at Eastman. The performance was a memorial to my first voice teacher at Eastman, Seth McCoy, whose career maestro Shaw had helped launch. While the performance required extreme concentration (Mr. Shaw had made an annotation of some sort over virtually every note in the piece!), it remains one of my fondest musical memories.
What are you listening to these days? I missed the first CCS concert of the 2018-19 season because I was doing a recital a day before CCS' Kastalsky performance. The recital program centered on 20th century song cycles so I spent a lot of time preparing by listening to other artists' interpretations. Two notable recordings were Pierre Bernac performing Tel Jour Telle Nuit with the composer Francis Poulenc at the piano and Anne Sofie Von Otter's performance of Alban Berg's Sieben frühe Lieder.
What is your story as a singer? I decided to pursue music in college at the very last minute. I auditioned into the Mansfield University Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Peggy Dettwiler who's known worldwide for her conducting and teaching. At Mansfield, we proceeded to win awards on an international level at the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia in 2014 and the Harmonie Festival in Limburg, Germany in 2017. Since then, I am always looking to new opportunities to improve my choral experiences. I participate in multiple church choirs as well as sing at one of the churches at the University of Maryland.
Favorite onstage experience: Throughout my college career, I have been blessed to have performed at Carnegie Hall three different times. In April of 2018, the Mansfield University Concert Choir was invited by Rob Fisher to be the chorus of Candide. Getting to share the stage with John Lithgow for a completely sold out performance is something that nobody should forget any time soon.
What are you listening to these days? I listen to a lot of rock and metal these days, but I'll never complain if some classical comes on.
What is your story as a singer? I sang in choirs throughout high school and college, have performed in madrigal groups, and have spent a lot of time performing in musical theater over the years. I was a member of CCS before, from 2001-2002, and again in 2010. I work in international development and travel a lot, so I try to work singing in between busy travel years.
Do you sing with other choirs? No, but I perform in a competitive karaoke league. My team has made it regularly to the city-wide finals!
Favorite onstage experience: Singing Enya's Orinoco Flow in those city-wide finals in front of 300 people with my whole team dressed as sea creatures while we built a boat on stage.
What are you listening to these days? Always listening to Belle and Sebastian, Morrissey, Motown, Brazilian music, and Broadway divas.