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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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Meghan Dewald
Soprano

Meghan Dewald, soprano, "accomplished feats of valor" in her recent performance in the role of Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In the summer of 2010 she was a Young Artist with Cincinnati Opera, where she covered the role of Musetta in La Bohème and performed with Denyce Graves in their 90th Anniversary Gala, conducted by Edoardo Mueller. In 2009, she covered renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw in the role of Margarita in Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar at Cincinnati Opera. A frequent interpreter of contemporary music, her other roles include Camelia la Tejana in the world premiere of Gabriela Ortiz's videopera ¡Únicamente la verdad!, Diana in the collegiate premiere of William Bolcom's A Wedding and Margarita Xirgu in the collegiate premiere of Ainadamar at Indiana University.  
She has performed as the soprano soloist in major concert and oratorio works, including the Britten War Requiem conducted by Robert Porco, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Bloomington Chamber Singers, the Bach Magnificat in D and Handel's Ode to St. Cecilia with the Bach and Handel Chorale of Jim Thorpe, PA, and the Mozart Requiem and Handel's Judas Maccabaeus at Northwestern University.
Dewald has been the recipient of several awards including Second Place Regional Finalist (Upper Midwest Region) and District Winner (Florida and Wisconsin) in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Indianapolis Matinee Musicale Competition and a Friends of Music scholarship at Indiana University. Dewald is a native of Reading, Pennsylvania and completed her Bachelor of Music degree magna cum laude at Northwestern University. She studies with Costanza Cuccaro. Meghan is currently a student in the doctoral program at Indiana University. 


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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.

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