Chor Anno's Singers


Sopranos

MacKenzie Aitken (Boise) became a member of Chor Anno in 2014 along with her husband, Paul. She lives in Hidden Springs, Idaho, not far from Boise. Having earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Puget Sound, she began work at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in 2000, and continues her work there a few days a month as a certified Child Passenger Safety Expert. MacKenzie is one of our Chor Anno family who is not a choral director, at least as a career. Her full-time vocation is as a Realtor, sharing an office with her mother. She has been an active member at Boise's Cathedral of the Rockies for over 25 years and was awarded Volunteer of the Year there in 2009.

Shannon Anderson (Vancouver) is currently a student at Marylhurst University. Formerly at Clark College, she has had numerous opportunities to perform both as a soloist and in three choirs. She studies privately under April Duvic while pursuing her degree in vocal performance. Teaching piano lessons out of her home, Shannon enjoys working with people of all ages. She lives in Vancouver Washington. (Shannon is unable to sing in the 2016 concerts, but will be back in 2017.)

Alison Askeland (Longview) directs the choirs at R. A. Long High School heads the music program at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Longview. She also co-directs the Columbian Choral Ensemble, a community based choir in Longview, with fellow Chor Anno member, Brian Mitchell; a choir founded by Howard Meharg. A native Montanan, Alison holds two Bachelor Degrees from the University of Montana, one in Vocal Performance and another in Music Education. Alison also holds a Masters Degree in Education from Lesley University. At home, Alison stays busy with her husband Eric, an elementary music specialist, raising two boys, Leo and Luke.

April Brookins Duvic (Vancouver) is thrilled to be a member of Chor Anno! She teaches at Clark College where she is the college's vocal music program director. She directs the Women's Ensemble, Concert Choir and the Clark College Chorale. April has donned many musical hats, teaching K-12 music, singing with the Portland Opera Chorus, the Norman Leyden Singers and the Oregon Symphony, Concord Choir, and performing in musical theatre through the Portland/Vancouver area. She is active in ACDA, NAfME, MTNA and NATS and her voice students have earned recognition at the local, state, and national levels. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Whitman College and earned her Masters of Science in Teaching from Portland State University.

Molly Holleran (Richland) performs widely as a chorister and concert soloist, as well as appearing in opera and musical theatre. She is a founding member of both the Chicago Chamber Choir and the Tucson Chamber Artists, has performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus and currently sings with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers. Her most recent solo concert performances include the Northwestern premiere of Libby Larsen’s Missa Gaia, Verdi’s Requiem with the Mid-Columbia Symphony, Vivaldi's Gloria with renowned soprano Julianne Baird, and Handel's Messiah. Molly holds undergraduate degrees in voice and theatre from Lawrence University (WI) and a master’s degree in voice from the University of Arizona. She teaches voice in Richland.

Nicole Lamartine (Laramie) has sung with Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson, conductor), the Santa Fe Desert Chorale (Josh Habermann, conductor), and the Colorado Bach Ensemble (James Kim, conductor). While living in England she sang with the choruses of the London BBC and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, performing across Europe and the UK. She can be heard on six choral CDs on labels including Harmonia Mundi and Chandos. As the only member from Wyoming, it is an honor for her to be a part of Chor Anno. Nicole takes on the role of Associate Conductor of Chor Anno, beginning in 2015. She holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the University of Arizona.

Rebecca Pierce (Astoria) teaches French at Astoria High School in Astoria, Oregon. She has enjoyed singing since childhood. Starting out in the children’s choir in her church, Rebecca then participated in the choral program in the Central School District in Monmouth/Independence, Oregon, and continued to sing at Western Oregon University during her undergraduate years including in choirs in Poitiers, France during her junior year study abroad. She has also sung with the North Coast Chorale in Astoria. Rebecca holds both a BA in French and an MAT from WOU. She hopes to pursue a Masters in French soon.

Leora Schwitters (Issaquah) is the Artistic Director/Founder of Rainier Youth Choirs in Kent, WA. Leora retired from directing high school and junior high choirs in the Kent schools. Her Cedar Heights Junior High choirs performed in state and regional conferences for WMEA and ACDA. She earned a B.M. from Yankton College Conservatory of Music, SD, and a MAT in Music Education from the University of Washington. A Past-President of WA-ACDA, she remains active as a clinician, adjudicator, and honor choir conductor. Leora is a member of ACDA, NAfME, NW Kodály Educators, Chorus America, and NATS, and currently sings with the Lyric Arts Ensemble. She and her husband Larry enjoy trail running and are avid birders.

Carrie Scott (Auburn) is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Creative Arts in the Curriculum from Lesley University. She has taught middle school/junior high choir in the Sumner School District for the past 18 years where she also acts as the district music coordinator. She has previously performed with Choral Arts (under the direction of Richard Sparks) and currently sings with PLU’s Choral Union (under the direction of Richard Nance). Some of her favorite choral experiences have been with the 5th Avenue Theater performing in the chorus for “Titanic the Musical: In Concert” and in “Carmina Burana” with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Besides her love of performing she is a passionate football fan and attends all Husky and Seahawks home football games. She and her husband Tim are also avid travelers and have visited six continents with only Australia left to complete all seven! She is thrilled to join Chor Anno for the 2017 season!

Sopranos who are former members:
Holly Cullom
Catherine van der Salm


 

Altos

Stacy Brown (Olympia) lives in the Olympia area and teaches middle school choir. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. She has performed with numerous ensembles in the Portland and Seattle areas, including the Oregon Catholic Press recording ensemble, the Portland Symphonic Choir, Joan Szymko’s Pleiades, the David York Ensemble, The Trinity Consort, and the Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble. Stacy will direct choirs at Washington Middle School in Olympia, Washington. Stacy took 2014 off from singing with Chor Anno, giving birth to baby girl, Gracie, about the time of our September concert, 2014.

Twyla Brunson (Kent) is a graduate of the University of Idaho and hold Bachelor's and Master's degrees in vocal performance, Twyla taught junior high choral music for 33 years in Walla Walla and Sumner, WA, retiring in 2002. She has studied at the Kodaly Institute, Esztergom, Hungary, Orff Institute, Salzburg, Austria, and St. John’s and Kings’ Colleges at Cambridge University, England with John Rutter. She has sung with the Oregon Bach Festival Choir, Seattle Symphony Chorale, Walla Walla Choral Society, and currently Opus 7. In 1988, she was a member of the Washington State Delegation of Visual and Performing Artists to the Peoples’ Republic of China. She is a past president of the Northwestern Division of American Choral Directors and Washington ACDA.

Leigh Falconer (Boise) received her BA in Choral Conducting from California State University, Fullerton, and her MA in Music Education from Boise State University. She has sung with the Pacific Chorale, the Seattle Symphony Chorale, Choral Arts (Northwest), the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale. She served as the assistant conductor and accompanist of Seattle Pro Musica. She is the vocal music teacher at Idaho Fine Arts Academy in Eagle.

Karen Fulmer (Federal Way) graduated from Kelso High School and sang in groups there under Howard’s direction. Her degrees are from PLU. She taught choral music for thirty-one years in Sumner, as well as serving as music coordinator for the district. Her service on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission helped develop academic learning requirements in the arts for the state. She helped create classroom-based performance assessments in music. Karen has served as president at three levels for ACDA; state president, NW president, and national president of the 20,000 member organization. Other honors include an award for professional excellence from WWU, the 1996 Christa McAuliffe Award, the 1997 State Teacher of the Year Award and the 2008 Leadership and Service Award from WA-ACDA. Karen is currently the Executive Director of Rainier Youth Choirs of Kent.

Solveig Holmquist (Salem) taught for seventeen years as Director of Choral Studies at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, where she conducted two choirs, taught graduate and undergraduate conducting, and served as Music Director for yearly musical theatre productions. She continues as Founder and Artistic Director for the Salem OR-based civic choir Festival Chorale Oregon, now in its 34nd year, and whose primary repertoire is choral/orchestral masterworks. FCO often schedules performing tours abroad, and has participated in five Carnegie Hall concerts with Solveig as guest conductor. Solveig has been a member of the Oregon Bach Festival's professional chorus for 26 years under Conductor Helmut Rilling. She was president of the NW Division President of ACDA from 2010-2012. Solveig is an active clinician and adjudicator. She lives in Salem with her husband Jon.

Janet Reiter (Yacolt) says she was destined to have a life of music since her parents performed in the “Marshall Family Orchestra” before she was even born. Even though Janet has her master’s degree in piano performance, she has spent her musical career directing choirs at Mountain View and Skyview High Schools in Vancouver. Although now retired from public school teaching, Well, retired is not quite true. Janet directs the choirs at Seton High School, a private school in east Vancouver. But, as much as possible, she spends her time enjoying her home, “Riversong,” overlooking the East Fork of the Lewis River near Yacolt, WA that she shares with her husband, Gordon.

Rhonda Slinkard (La Center) directs choral music at La Center Middle School in La Center, WA. She received her BS in Music Education at Warner Pacific College and her Masters Degree in Education at WSU in Vancouver. Rhonda sings in the Portland Symphonic Choir and frequently sings on the worship team at her church. She also teaches a middle school drama class and coaches cross country and track. She is Repertoire and Resources Chair for Junior High and Middle School Choirs for the Washington ACDA chapter. Spare time activities include spending time with her beautiful dog, along with hiking, running and playing the piano.

Lori Wiest (Pullman) joined Chor Anno in 2014. She is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at Washington State University where she conducts the WSU Concert Choir and Madrigal/Chamber Singers, teaches choral conducting and graduate choral history/literature, and is Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She has served the American Choral Directors Association as the national chair of Youth and Student Activities and as president of Washington ACDA. Lori received degrees from North Dakota State University, Arizona State University, and University of Arizona, studying with Edwin Fissinger, Douglas McEwen, and Maurice Skones.

Altos who are former members of the section:
Daryl Browne
Margaret Green
Susan Hale
Karen Spence

Tenors

 

Jacob Funk (Vancouver) comes to the Northwest from Kansas City where he just completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. He earned his masters in choral conducting from the University of British Columbia, and his undergraduate degree in vocal performance from John Brown University. He has been on the music faculty of John Brown University and Northwest Arkansas Community College, where he taught choir and voice. Jacob has taught 5-12 grade vocal music in the state of Kansas, conducted choirs at the University of Arkansas, the University of British Columbia, and has prepared choruses for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. He is excited to begin teaching at Clark College this fall as the Director of Choirs.

Gary Gross (Battle Ground) first sang in a choir directed by Howard Meharg in 1973. He has a diverse choral experience, both international and domestic. Gary is the owner and meadmaster of Ethereal Meads LLC (honey-based wines). He lives just outside Vancouver.

 

Justin Raffa (Richland) is originally from South Jersey. Justin has a Bachelor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College in Princeton. He taught music in Bisbee, AZ before receiving his Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Justin has sung with the Berkshire Choral Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Voces Novae et Antiquae, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival, and ongoing performances as a founding member of the Tucson Chamber Artists. In addition to Chor Anno, Justin is a member of Male Ensemble Northwest alongside his friend and voice instructor, Reginald Unterseher. He lives in the Tri-Cities with his partner, soprano Molly Holleran. Justin serves as Artistic Director of the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers and the Yakima Symphony Chorus.

Joe Strandjord (St. Helens) is pastor at First Lutheran Church in St Helens, Oregon. He graduated with a major in Music Education Secondary Choral from Pacific Lutheran University in 1984. While at PLU, Joe sang in the Choir of the West for four years, under directors Maurice Skones, Ed Harmic, and Richard Sparks. Joe has sung with Male Ensemble Northwest and currently sing in Choro in Schola, Bruce Browne, conductor. Joe has served as pastor at ELCA parishes in Harlem, Hogeland, and Turner Montana, Clatskanie Oregon, Bigfork Montana, and now St Helens. Joe, his wife Karina, and daughters Olivija and Sofia live in Columbia City, Oregon.

Jim Taylor (Salem) teaches at McNary High School in the Salem-Keizer School District. Jim completed his Music Education Degree at Western Oregon State College. He taught music in the Seaside area before moving to Arizona where he completed his master’s in Choral Conducting at the University of Arizona. Jim remained at the UA as an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies serving as Director of Vocal Jazz and Jazz History. He served as Assistant Director of the Tucson Arizona Boys Choir, did vocal back-up and was choral assistant for Linda Ronstadt, was Artistic and Musical Director of Reveille Gay Mens Chorus and Minister of Music at First Congregational U.C.C. Jim sings tenor in Male Ensemble Northwest.

Justin Wisness joins Chor Anno for the 2017 concerts. Justin is director of choral music at Rogers High School in Puyallup, Washington. More about Justin soon!

Tenors who are former members:
Les Green
Jonathan Vaughn
Rob Dennis
Bart Kryger
Jim Crislip

 

Keyboard Artists/Accompanists

Brian E. Hoskins (Renton) has degrees in music education from WSU and from the Steinhardt School at New York University. He currently serves as the choral director at Nelsen Middle School and Lindbergh High School in Renton, Washington. He is a two-time recipient of the “Ahead of the Class: Excellence in Teaching Award” given to outstanding teachers by the Renton Chamber of Commerce. Brian studied choral conducting in New York with Francisco Nunez, founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and world-renowned composer. He has accompanied MENC and ACDA honor choirs as well as for the Young People Chorus of New York University. Brian is also featured on an album “Songs to Get You From Here to There” with Seattle folk artist Wes Weddell and performs with the Wes Weddell “Super Band” throughout the year. Brian is currently director of the Young Men's Ensemble and Co-Director of the Rainier Youth Choir's Consonare.

Janet Reiter (Yacolt) says she was destined to have a life of music since her parents performed in the “Marshall Family Orchestra” before she was even born. Even though Janet has her master’s degree in piano performance, she has spent her musical career directing choirs at Mountain View and Skyview High Schools in Vancouver. Although now retired from public school teaching, Well, retired is not quite true. Janet directs the choirs at Seton High School, a private school in east Vancouver. But, as much as possible, she spends her time enjoying her home, “Riversong,” overlooking the East Fork of the Lewis River near Yacolt, WA that she shares with her husband, Gordon.

Ann Long studied piano at Indiana University and at the University of Illinois, graduating with a degree in piano and in music theory. She has played for the SWW Symphony and worked with groups in the Longview schools, though nowadays she and her husband, Gary Lennstrom, also spend several of the winter months in southern California.

Solveig Holmquist (Salem) taught for seventeen years as Director of Choral Studies at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, where she conducted two choirs, taught graduate and undergraduate conducting, and served as Music Director for yearly musical theatre productions. She continues as Founder and Artistic Director for the Salem OR-based civic choir Festival Chorale Oregon, now in its 34nd year, and whose primary repertoire is choral/orchestral masterworks. FCO often schedules performing tours abroad, and has participated in five Carnegie Hall concerts with Solveig as guest conductor. Solveig has been a member of the Oregon Bach Festival's professional chorus for 26 years under Conductor Helmut Rilling. She was president of the NW Division President of ACDA from 2010-2012. Solveig is an active clinician and adjudicator. She lives in Salem with her husband Jon.

Accompanist emeritus (original keyboard artist for Chor Anno)

Sharon Bolster, (Rainier, OR) retired music teacher in the schools of St. Helens, Oregon. Sharon holds a degree in music education from Lewis and Clark University, has extensive piano and organ credentials. She served as accompanist in the Longview schools from 1989-1994 as well as organist in several churches in SW Washington.


Basses

Paul A. Aitken (Boise) is Director of Music & Worship Arts at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise, Idaho where he oversees twenty ensembles and a professional staff spanning two campuses. He is also artistic director and conductor of the McCall Concert Singers in McCall, Idaho. The first ever winner of the ACDA Brock Student Composition Competition for his piece “Flanders Fields.” In 2010, Paul conducted his work, "And None Shall Be Afraid" in Carnegie Hall with a choir of 200 and the New England Symphonic Ensemble. Dr. Aitken holds degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and the University of Oklahoma. You may commission works by Paul HERE or see some of his compositions HERE.

Erik Edmundson (Longview) became a member of Chor Anno in 2013. Erik is the director of vocal music at Cascade Middle School in Longview, Washington. He has been a member and soloist for the Columbian Choral Ensemble as well as ensembles at Portland State and the University of Oregon. He lives in Longview with his wife, Bethany, and his two children, Jasmine and Elijah.

Brian E. Hoskins (Renton) has degrees in music education from WSU and from the Steinhardt School at New York University. He currently serves as the choral director at Nelsen Middle School and Lindbergh High School in Renton, Washington. He is a two-time recipient of the “Ahead of the Class: Excellence in Teaching Award” given to outstanding teachers by the Renton Chamber of Commerce. Brian studied choral conducting in New York with Francisco Nunez, founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and world-renowned composer. He has accompanied MENC and ACDA honor choirs as well as for the Young People Chorus of New York University. Brian is also featured on an album “Songs to Get You From Here to There” with Seattle folk artist Wes Weddell and performs with the Wes Weddell “Super Band” throughout the year. Brian is currently director of the Young Men's Ensemble and Co-Director of the Rainier Youth Choir's Consonare.

Joel Karn is Director of Choirs at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Washington. He received his Bachelors degree in Music from Portland State University, where he also received his Master of Education. He is a member of ACDA as well as the Lower Columbia Regional Music Educators, serving as President in 2006. Joel received his National Board Certification in 2008. He is currently serving as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women’s Choirs for the Washington ACDA.

Brian Mitchell (Longview) began teaching at Mark Morris High School, Longview, WA in 1996. Both his Bachelor's degree and his Master's degree were earned at Central Washington University. Mitchell performs regularly in the Longview/Kelso area with church and civic groups and is the vocalist in a jazz quartet “Off the Cuff”. He directs four choirs at Mark Morris High School and is co-director of the Columbian Choral Ensemble. He is currently the president of Washington's chapter of ACDA. Brian and his wife Jenny are both teachers. In his spare time Brian loves wood working, photography, and fly fishing.

Matthew Pierce (Astoria) works in the Astoria School District where he teaches choir at the Middle and High Schools. He has brought a choral program from nearly non-existent to competing at the state level for the first time in Astoria High School history. His groups have performed in concerts with Genesis and the New York Voices. Matthew graduated from Western Oregon University with his Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Arts in Teaching where he performed with many various ensembles from Chamber Choir to Jazz Ensembles and solo performances. He has performed with the North Coast Big band, North Coast Chorale, String of Pearls as well as his own group The Main Course Quartet.

Daniel Schreiner (Sumner) is the Director of Choirs and IB Music at Foss High School in Tacoma. He also serves as the Music Supervisor/Music Director at ManeStage Theatre Company in Sumner. Additonally, he sings with the Wellspring Ensemble in Seattle. Daniel has a BM in Music Education from Central Washington University, where he also studied composition. Daniel was the recipient of the 2011 Opus 7 Undergraduate Composition Award for his piece, "Cain." His choral compositions are published with Santa Barbara Music Publishng and through his website.

Reginald Unterseher (Kennewick) is a composer, voice teacher, and conductor. His compositions and arrangements are published by Oxford University Press, Walton Music, and the Northwest Choral Consortium. He is Music Director and Composer-in-Residence at Shalom United Church of Christ, Richland, Washington, and is a member of Male Ensemble Northwest. He maintains a private voice studio, and and often serves as a choral and vocal adjudicator and clinician. He is currently the Repertoire and Standards chair for Men's Choirs in the NW ACDA. Please visit Reg's website for more information.

David Walworth (Kelso) was Music Coordinator for the Longview Schools. David has enjoyed a full career in music education spanning over 40 years in Bellingham, Kelso and Longview. He spent most of his career teaching high school choral music, but also worked at the middle school level in both choral and instrumental music. He has served as musical director and orchestra conductor of over 30 school and community musical productions at R. A. Long High School in Longview. He remains active as a percussionist with the Southwest Washington Symphony, choir director at Trinity Lutheran Church, and as a singer with Columbian Choral Ensemble.

Former members of the section:
Paul Dennis
Brent Liabraaten
Will Lekobou
Stephen Meharg


"Sometimes the impact of singing seeps into more intimate places in our hearts" - (Ann Long)