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Staff Singers


 

Staff Singers - Muscians in the Temple

This article by Michael Diorio appeared in the October 2012 issue of Voice of The Redeemer.

Musicians come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of ability and differing expectations. Yet for liturgical music, they have one intention: to assist in the praise and worship of God. The origin of liturgical music is attributed to King David. It seems that he was the first Choir Master. I Chronicles tell us that David’s forces were legend: three Levite clans from which he could procure musicians to perform specific duties to assist in worship. 4,000 full-time musicians were employed to praise God in song.

While The Redeemer does not have the same royal resources, nor the need for so many musicians, we still continue the tradition set forth by David and the Levites. We are blessed to offer beautiful liturgical music. Within the choirs we have a wealth of experience and potential, youth and adult alike. Some volunteers have sung for 40 years. The singers’ backgrounds are greatly varied, but their love for music and God is a shared sentiment. The backgrounds of our staff singers are equally varied: school teachers, chem-ists, music stu-dents, patent writers, scien-tists, and trained  profes-sional musi-cians. We come together for the sole purpose of being a part of something greater than ourselves and to teach each other as we grow in the love of our work for the church.

Having the good fortune to include staff singers within the choir affords a wealth of opportunity, attracts additional choristers, opens a wider breadth of repertoire, and makes music more accessible. A musically strong church choir will invariably draw musically strong participants, and paid staff singers provide consistency to the voice sections. Volunteers have competing obligations of job travel or family commitments which may take them away from the choir on occasion. Staff singers ensure the quality of music in worship regardless of the other obligations of the volunteers. The greatest advantage of having staff singers, however, is the vocal confidence brought to the volunteer members, encouraging the growth of their own musicianship and their sight-singing skills, attracting more volunteers to the group. This allows us to bring the highest possible quality of musical art into our worship as an offering to God.

Our staff singers also have a vested interest in the life and growth of our church. Their volunteerism can be seen throughout the year in the various programs offered, and their good nature and years of experience all contribute to the program we love and support today. Short biographies of these modern-day Levites, can be found at www.theredeemer.org/staff_singers.

 


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Matthew Fisher
Baritone

Baritone Matthew Fisher, a native of Lancaster, Pa, feels equally at home singing in an ensemble or as a soloist. Recently Matthew has performed with the Philadelphia-based Poor Richard’s Opera, having sung the roles of  ntonio and Bartolo (The Marriage of Figaro: The Las Vegas Version), Bob (Old Maid and the Thief), and Dr. Gregg (Gallantry) with them. During his graduate studies at Temple University Matthew performed the role of Apollo in Temple Opera’s production of Cavalli’s L’Egisto. He has been a member of the Philadelphia Singers expanded-core since 2011, and is looking forward to being a part of their recording of Randall Thompson’s Requiem in 2014. Other choral experience includes singing in choirs at St. Luke and the Epiphany (Philadelphia), and Tenth Presbyterian (Philadelphia) churches. He holds a M.M. in Voice Performance from Temple University.

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Ken Garner
Tenor

Kenneth Garner is an accomplished tenor performing, these days, almost exclusively in oratorio. He has been a member of the all-professional core of The Philadelphia Singers since 1977, appearing regularly as soloist with the ensemble. A review of a Handel’s Messiah performance with The Singers said “tenor Kenneth Garner sang Ev’ry valley shall be exalted with angelic brilliance.” Ken can be heard on recordings of the Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Beethoven Ninth Symphony and J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion on the Lyrichord Classical label. On Good Friday 2014, the St. John Passion was broadcast on Philadelphia's classical radio station WRTI. In May 2014, he will perform the solos in Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore with The Philadelphia Singers and Symphony in C at the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. He is a regularly sought-after soloist with The Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, VOX Ama Deus Ensemble and The Philadelphia Chamber Chorus and has also appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, The Bach Festival of Philadelphia, Choral Society of Montgomery County and other regional performing arts organizations. He is an inherent interpreter of the music of J. S. Bach having performed solos in the Passions, B Minor Mass, Magnificat and nearly all of the Cantatas. He made his west coast debut at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles in an all Bach program with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Symphonia. In addition to Bach, Mr. Garner specializes in the oratorios of Handel, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. He sings regularly at Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal), in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He has also appeared in over 30 operatic roles with The Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Opera Theater, Lake George Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, the Corfu International Festival and The Friends of French Opera at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Mr. Garner is a graduate of the all-scholarship The Academy of Vocal Arts and Temple University, and studied business at Bloomsburg State University. 

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Katy Gentry Hutchings
Soprano

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, soprano Katy Gentry Hutchings completed her undergraduate studies at Haverford College in 2005. At Haverford, Katy sang multiple solos with the Haverford College Chorale and orchestra under the direction of Thomas Lloyd. Works included Bach’s B Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, and Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem. Katy graduated with a BA in Music as well as a minor in Educational Studies. At Temple University, Katy recently completed her M.M. in Voice Performance as well as a Professional Studies Certificate under the instruction of Dr. Christine Anderson. While at Temple, Katy produced, directed, and sang the title role in Carlisle Floyd's Susannah and performed the roles of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium, Semele in Cavalli's L'Egisto, and La Bergere in L'Enfant et les sortileges. Other favorite roles have included Mimi in La Bohème, the title role in Suor Angelica, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Micaela in Carmen

Katy has been involved with the Choirs at Church of the Redeemer since the fall of 2005, first by teaching voice lessons to members of the choir and later by becoming a soprano section leader. In 2008, Katy became the administrative assistant to the music director, and in 2009, Katy directed the Cherub Choir, the Redeemer's newest choir for beginning singers.

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Wilson Jeffreys
Tenor

A North Carolina native, tenor Wilson Jeffreys has enjoyed a diverse musical career since completing studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) where he earned both bachelor and master of music degrees. At UNCG, he studied voice with Arvid Knutsen, Charles Lynam, and the late Norman Farrow. He distinguished himself in competitions, including the North Carolina Symphony Young Artist Competition (Finalist), Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist Program (First Alternate) and the Fulbright Scholarship Program (Finalist). Wilson also attended the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied operatic techniques with the late Boris Goldovsky.
Wilson currently lives in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and performs with The Philadelphia Singers. His past area performances include appearances with Vox Ama Deus, the Philly Pops, the Pennsylvania Pro Musica, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. He has sung with the choirs of The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Chestnut Hill), and St. Martin-in-the-Fields (Chestnut Hill).
In North Carolina, Wilson sang and recorded with the Bel Canto Company (Greensboro) and is a featured soloist on Dan Locklair: Holy Canticles (Gasparo). He was tenor soloist at First Presbyterian Church (Burlington), and appeared as a guest soloist with the Choral Society of Greensboro, the High Point Choral Society, the Raleigh Oratorio Society, the Tar River Chorus (Roanoke Rapids) and the Hickory Choral Society.
Wilson is currently director of stewardship for Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jim Jordan
Baritone

Jim Jordan has been singing at the Redeemer since 1996. His musical experiences are varied and he has performed with choirs and orchestras throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. He is a founding member of Conjunto 23; an ensemble that performs the traditional music of Cuba. He is the Musical Director at University City High School in Philadelphia where he teaches vocal and instrumental music. He holds a B.M. from Temple University and a M.Ed. from Eastern University. Jim and his wife Vanessa live in Ardmore, PA.

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Hope Knight
Mezzo-Soprano

Hope Knight, mezzo soprano, has been active in the Redeemer Music program since October 2001. She was initially hired to sing alto in the Chancel Choir and, throughout her nine years of service at Redeemer, has had the opportunity to take on a variety of responsibilities. In 2004, she began teaching chorister voice lessons, specializing in voice therapy. In January 2008, Hope was appointed as Interim Music Director for a brief period. She took on the position of Interim Choral Director in the fall of 2009 until Dr. Diorio took up the baton officially in January 2010. She is currently working as Alto Section Leader. 

When not at church, Hope enjoys teaching guitar and directing three burgeoning choirs at William Allen Middle School in Moorestown, NJ.

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John McCarthy
Baritone

Lyric baritone, John McCarthy, has performed and received honors from across the nation. He recently was honored as a recipient of the John T. Douglas Award for Young Artists presented in memory of Temple’s past opera director. Past venues have included Chautauqua Opera, Opera Saratoga, Opera Delaware and the Teatro Nuovo in Spoleto, Italy.  Mr. McCarthy appears very frequently as a soloist across the greater Philadelphia area working with groups such as The Philomusica Chorale of Delaware Valley, The Germantown Concert Chorus, Voices of Pride, The Rittenhouse Orchestra, Moravian College and Opera Libera. He has been honored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions several times being a regional finalist and encouragement award winner in both the New York and San Antonio districts and regions. In September, Mr. McCarthy will premier Maurice Wright’s exciting new work Galatea_Reset in which he will sing a long side singing, moving robots.  Mr. McCarthy holds degrees from Temple University and the Cincinnati Conservatory.

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Laurie MacKenzie
Mezzo-Soprano

In addition to her career as a pharmaceutical research scientist, Laurie MacKenzie has also had a lifelong involvement in music and art. She began her solo career at All Saints Church in Wynnewood and has been a professional mezzo-soprano soloist at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr for over twenty years. She has studied voice with Paula Brown and Sean Deibler and flute with Kenneth Scutt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Laurie has sung as both a chorister and a soloist with the Music Group of Philadelphia and the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and has been a flute soloist in many concerts at various Philadelphia churches. In addition she has sung with Cantores, a small a capella choral group founded and directed by Peter Sipple. In 1999 she premiered local composer Joseph Nocella's song cycle "Songs for a Season Slowly Dying" in Philadelphia. As an artist, she has provided scientific illustrations for presentations and publications from The Wistar Institute, The Fox Chase Cancer Center, The Atlanta Zoo, and the journal Bioscience. In addition, she has illustrated numerous programs for the Philadelphia Orchestra Children's Concert series. Laurie holds degrees from Eastern University and Villanova University. Her daughter Ariana has been a singer with the Bryn Mawr Girlchoir for nine years. Laurie currently resides in Chester County with her husband Steve, daughter Ariana, and a rescued Catahoula Leopard dog named Bengal.

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Brenna Markey
Soprano

In the Greater Philadelphia Area, soprano Brenna Markey has appeared as a soloist in The Temple University Singers choral ensemble, The Temple University Concert Choir ensemble, numerous Temple jazz and classical student recitals, and The Temple University Opera in Lee Hoiby's A Month in the Country and Mozart's The Magic Flute. After making her opera debut at the Trenton War Memorial Theater in 2008 for Boheme Opera Company's La Traviata, Ms. Markey went to Washington DC to study performance with Washington National Opera's Youth Opera Program. Since then she has performed at The Prince Music Theater for Center City Opera Theater production of La Traviata, The Academy of Music in Opera Philadelphia's Don Giovanni, Christ Church in Concert Opera of Philadelphia's Andrea Chénier, and numerous productions for community opera theatersA native of Bucks County, Brenna Markey is currently pursuing a career as a full-time performer studying under the direction of Dr. Christine Anderson. Ms. Markey received her Bachelor's degree in music from Temple Univeristy's Boyer College of Music and Dance, graduating with honors and receiving the Professor Klara B. Meyers Tribute Scholarship presented to Ms. Markey by the head of the vocal department, Dr. Christine Anderson. When not performing, Brenna Markey teaches and resides in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

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Chloé Olivia Moore
Soprano

A dual Canadian and French citizen, lyric soprano Chloé Olivia Moore has been described as “touching and radiant in personality and voice” and her career so far has already brought her to perform in North America, Central America, Europe, and Africa. She recently performed Donna Anna at Loren Maazel's Castleton Festival, and just prior the title role in Massenet's Manon and debuted as Violetta, both with AVA in Philadelphia.  She is a recent graduate from the Academy of Vocal Arts, studied with Bill Schuman, and performed numerous roles including Tatyana (Onegin), Adina (L'Elisir) Mélisande, Antonia (Hoffman), and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni). In addition to performances with AVA, she also performed with the New Jersey Master Chorale as the Soprano Soloist in the Rossini Stabat Mater.  As a young artist in the Crested Butte Music Festival 2010, Ms. Moore performed Antonia in (Hoffmann), Frasquita (Carmen) and Giulietta (Capuleti).  Ms. Moore has received many awards and most recently 1st Place in the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition for 2013 and 2nd place in the Giulio Gari Foundation International Vocal Competition. Others have included a George London Award and prizes from the Loren Zachary Vocal Competition, the Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition’s Opera Division, the Leoš Janácek Prize, the Donald James Goldberg Prize in the Czech & Slovak International Voice Competition, and the Rosalind Jackson Memorial Award with the Crested Butte Music Festival.  

The 2014-15 season is highlighted by her company and role debut as Leïla in Les pêcheurs de Perles with Dayton Opera, the Vivaldi Gloria with Symphony in C and the New Jersey MasterChorale and the Verdi Requiem, also with the New Jersey MasterChorale.

Church of the Redeemer - 230 Pennswood Road - Bryn Mawr, PA 19010