Enriching Alaska through excellent choral music since 1986
Katy Green has just returned home to Anchorage after taking a two-year leave of absence from the Anchorage School District to obtain her Master of Music Education in Choral Conducting Degree from Murray State University. She is thrilled to be the new Choral Director at Bartlett High School. An outdoor enthusiast, Katy enjoys mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and snowmachining with her husband, Corey, and their golden retriever, Madison.
Kathy Jin Hagen (*soprano section leader) is the ACS accompanist. A private piano instructor, she was a piano major and voice student at George Fox College and received additional training at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music. Kathy is active as an ensemble singer, having performed with the Portland Symphonic Choir, Portland State University Singers, Anchorage Opera, and Anchorage Festival of Music. She has appeared as a soloist with the Alaska Chamber Singers and Anchorage Concert Chorus. Her voice can be heard on the children's CD Wee Sing Around the World, part of the internationally popular Wee Sing series.
Kimberly Hayes moved to Alaska from Arkansas in September of 2016. She currently teaches at Bear Valley Elementary School in the Anchorage School District. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a vocal emphasis from John Brown University and a Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary Education from Harding University both which are located in Arkansas. During her spare time she works for Alaska Missions and Retreats doing mission work around the state of Alaska. Kimberly grew up in a very musical family and music has always been one of the joys in life. She loves to hike, fish, hunt, and enjoy the beauty of Alaska.
Katherine Huffman - As a member for about 25 years, Katherine feels enriched by the musicianship, repertoire, travel and friendships of ACS. She loves cabin trips with family and friends, works as a health educator for Planned Parenthood, volunteers for social justice projects with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and is always in the middle of a mischievous art project.
Kimberly Martin has been singing as part of the Alaska Chamber Singers since 2000. She enjoys the fulfillment her garden and flower beds provide during the beautiful Alaskan summers. Along with her bachelor’s in education from Eastern Mennonite University, she completed a minor in Music. Kimberley performed with the university’s Chamber Singers for four years under the directorship of Kenneth Nafziger. Currently Kimberly is teaching 2nd grade at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in Anchorage.
Gabrielle Pierle is a St. Louis, Missouri native and moved to Alaska in 2016. Gabrielle was encouraged by her music teacher to begin singing with the St. Louis Children’s Choirs in 3rd grade and was instantly hooked. She went on to receive her Bachelors in Music in music education at Murray State University in Western Kentucky where she also conducted the Paducah Youth Symphony Chorus. She is in her fourth year as the choral director at Romig Middle School and West Anchorage High School. She lives in Alaska with her husband, Sam, and their spoiled dog, Archer.
Meredith Rude was born and raised in Anchorage and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor's degree in music education. She teaches choir and beginning band at Begich Middle School, gives private music instruction and serves as accompanist and youth director at her church. Meredith is an accomplished trumpeter and pianist, and has a knack for learning how to play new instruments. When she's not singing, strumming or blowing her horn she enjoys hiking, running, skiing, and playing with power tools.
Megan Sandone grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and received her early musical education from Janet Stotts while singing with the Alaska Children's Choir for thirteen years. She received a degree in vocal performance from the University of Puget Sound, and sang as a member of the Anchorage Opera chorus for several years after graduating from UPS. She has been singing with the Anchorage Concert Chorus since 1996. Megan is an attorney and lives in Anchorage with her husband and daughter.
Emily Shem is a junior at West Anchorage High School. She is lifelong Alaskan who discovered her love of music in her youth. Coming from a very musical family, she joined the choir at Romig Middle School and has continued singing at West Anchorage High School. An active singer, she has participated in the NAfME All-Northwest Choir as well as the Alaska All-State Choir. Emily also plays the violin in the Anchorage Youth Orchestras, and is thrilled to be involved in this in addition to singing. Emily is exceptionally excited to be performing with Alaska Chamber Singers!
Emilee Smith started her choir journey right here in Anchorage at West High School. At West, Emilee was very involved with choir and performing in musicals. She went on to receive her Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Colorado State University and is now very excited to be the choir director at Service High School! When she’s not singing or teaching, Emilee enjoys reading or hanging out with her family and her four dogs.
Stephanie Williams sings with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Alaska Chamber Singers and has recently started her own performance group "Next In Line Productions." Some of her more challenging solo opportunities have been as the soprano soloist in Poulenc's Gloria with the Anchorage Youth Symphony, as the Queen of the Night with UAA Opera Ensemble and as Geraldine in Barber's A Hand of Bridge with the Anchorage Opera. Born and raised in Anchorage, she has studied voice at Chapman University in Southern California and locally, at UAA and with Kate Egan. Though she enjoys operatic roll greatly, her favorite music is that from the Renaissance and Baroque Periods by composers such as Josquin, Palestrina and Bach. She and her husband James have two funny little girls, Isabella and Brighton.
Elizabeth Astle grew up in Los Angeles and has lived in seven states and four countries. After saying goodbye to the military she is now proud to call Alaska home for years to come. From Broadway to Barbershop to Opera Chorus to Oratorios she has dabbled in and enjoyed all kinds of singing groups. One very memorable experience includes singing Mahler's 8th symphony with over six hundred musicians including a children's chorus, two separate eight-part choruses and a double-sized orchestra. Elizabeth is now happy to be creating chamber music. She has a degree in music from Brigham Young University and a Master's in International Relations from Georgetown which she uses to teach her four children Spanish and piano and to conduct her church choir.
Mary Britton arrived in Anchorage in January 2014, welcomed by a display of Northern Lights, quite a sight for someone who had always lived in the Midwest and had never seen them before. A piano teacher, music therapist, singer and conductor in her past life, Mary is thrilled to have an opportunity to again participate in musical excellence in this, her first season with ACS. When not making music, Mary can be found volunteering at a mobile food bank and her church, reading, and exploring Alaska with her newly retired husband.
Ann McDonald Cherrier is thrilled to be joining the Alaska Chamber Singers this year as a new member. A 20-year teacher in Anchorage, Ann teaches mathematics and coaches running at Wendler Middle School. Her love of singing and music began in the 4th grade, inspiring her to play the flute through high school. She was a member of the Anchorage Youth Symphony, sang with the Adelphian Choir at the University of Puget Sound, was a student conductor for the Tacoma Children's Choir, and has sung the National Anthem for the University of Alaska, Anchorage for over 25 years. Ann earned her private pilot's license this summer and can be found sharing her love of flying with family and friends in the beautiful state of Alaska.
Liesl Davenport-Wheeler is a music educator with training in voice, piano and French horn. She studied music at the University of Oregon and received a master's degree in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a member of Good Dog, a duo performing original songs for kids. Liesl's fondest musical memory is performing in the opera chorus of Carmen at the University of Southern Mississippi with Denyse Graves as Carmen. Liesl is currently teaching music at Trailside Elementary.
Andrea Gardner, (*alto section leader) a native Oregonian, was born and raised in Portland. She attended Oregon State University where she received both her Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees. While at OSU, Andrea studied choral conducting, vocal performance, and piano performance and was employed as a collaborative pianist for the music department. After graduating, Andrea taught choir at Ridgeview High School in Redmond, OR and elementary choir with the Youth Choirs of Central Oregon for two years before she made the move to Alaska in the summer of 2016. She currently teaches choir at Dimond High School in the Anchorage School District. Outside of the classroom, Andrea enjoys playing with her dogs, Coda and Forte.
Carolyn Gordon has been a member of ACS since 1998, after attending a concert led by guest conductor Moses Hogan. She's been a choral singer since elementary school and her experience now extends over 40 years. Singing has seen her through breast cancer and knee replacement surgery and keeps her heart fulfilled. Born and raised in San Diego, California, Carolyn flew into Anchorage in 1990 and plans to stay awhile longer.
Mary Klebs started singing with the Chamber Singers in 1995, shortly after moving to Alaska. She took a 10-year hiatus while her children were small, but rejoined Chamber singers in the 2015-16 season. Mary grew up singing – at home, at church, in school – and enjoyed many high school and college performances, tours and competitions. Singing with the Chamber Singers has been the most rewarding musical experience for her. Mary’s heart is her family – her husband Mike, daughters Alli and Lexi, and her church family. Mary works in the commercial HVAC industry and loves her job and her bosses. She also enjoys gardening, spending time at the family cabin, and rooting (loudly) for the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Rachel Richardson is excited to share her joy of music by continuing to sing with Alaska Chamber Singers for her second year. As a graduate of the West High choral program, Rachel received Alto I and Alto II principal chair in the Alaska All-State Music Festivals of 2014 and 2015, respectively. While she has loved to travel the country singing with various choirs, she still finds her "home sweet home" to be Alaska, where she has participated in performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Atwood Concert Hall, and also joins with the Anchorage Concert Chorus in the winter to perform their annual Handel's Messiah concert. Rachel is currently studying to be a pilot at UAA, where her end goal is to serve the people and villages of bush Alaska.
Juli Robinson has had the honor of singing in choirs in six states and four countries. After traveling the world with her husband's career, she is pleased to return to Alaska and call Anchorage home. She first began performing as a young child with her sisters in Idaho. After singing in high school and 6 years of vocal studies, she joined the Ricks College Concert Chorale and Ensemble. She went on to Brigham Young University where she sang with the BYU Women's Choir. Some of her great musical pleasures include touring Ireland with Caliente Choir, soloing in John Rutter's Magnificat, and performing in the "Thanksgiving of American Folk Hymns." In addition to singing, she is also plays piano and cello. Formerly a science teacher, she now stays home with her five children, who share her interest in exploring the great outdoors.
Mary Sindorf has sung with ACS since 1990. A few of her most memorable experiences with ACS include the sister-city concert in Magadan, singing on A Prairie Home Companion, and the concert with guest conductor Moses Hogan. After 25 years as a teacher, counselor and administrator in the Anchorage School District, Mary "failed retirement" and is enjoying a second career as a loan officer for Academy Mortgage.
Jeremy Austin grew up in Southeast Alaska in a largish family of classical and folk musicians, studied music pedagogy in British Columbia, and taught privately until 2018 in the Interior of Alaska. French horn, piano, voice, and arranging are particular passions. His second career as a senior network engineer at Alaska Communications still leaves him time to enjoy singing, supported by his wife and two musical teenagers.
John Braden's tenor voice, musical skills and riser moving talents have anchored the ACS tenor section since 1992. A singer since high school, John claims choir was a good diversion from physics during college. John worked as an engineer for ConocoPhillips for 31 years before retiring, where life is even busier with projects and travels.
Musically, Jack Britton considers himself primarily a cellist with vocalist inclinations. He has played cello in the Columbus, Mississippi Symphony and the Indiana University Southeast Orchestra, holding the principle position for 8 years. Vocally, he was privileged to participate with the Columbus, MS Madrigal Singers as well as the Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus Barbershop chorus, being a participant for 3 medals in International competition. His professional work includes 20 years as an AF pilot having flown the RF-4 and C-130 and 24 years of international flying with UPS. Jack and his wife, Mary, moved to Anchorage in 2013 after 30+ years in Louisville, KY.
Deb Geeseman has been singing since her unsolicited solo debut in a department store at age 4. She sang in choirs throughout her school years, a women's quartet during college, numerous Messiahs, and just for fun. She has sung with both the Anchorage Opera chorus and the Anchorage Concert Chorus. Deb is a psychiatrist, providing psychotherapy for growth and healing. She is also a world traveler and loves photography and wilderness activities.
Mark Iverson is a charter member of the Alaska Chamber Singers. His 53 years of choral singing began in his mother's church choir and includes the USAF Academy Cadet Chorale, which he joined so he could stand at ease for a few hours each week. He has also performed with the Anchorage Opera, the basically Bach Festivals, Anchorage Summer Music Festivals and the 25th Statehood Anniversary Russian Choir. He recently retired as an IT project manager after having been employed within the Alaska oil industry for 39 years.
Dustin Jorgensen has been singing as long as he can remember. He grew up in Wyoming, where he participated in his high school Jazz, Contemporary and Chorale Ensembles. After four years in the Navy, Dustin moved to Washington State, where he sang with the South Puget Sound Community College chorus, in which he met his wife Lauren. He has lived in Alaska for over 10 years, the last six of which have been in Anchorage. Dustin has sung locally with the UAA Opera Ensemble, the Anchorage Opera chorus and the Midnight Sons A Capella Chorus. Dustin has performed in numerous musical theater productions; highlights include Dickon in The Secret Garden, Fyedka in Fiddler on the Roof and soloist/ensemble member in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Forbidden Broadway.
Jim Powell (*tenor section leader) is one of the few remaining Chamber Singers who sang our first concert. His singing began in high school, continued at the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point) and through law school in Ann Arbor. His Alaska singing debut was in Fairbanks with the Messiah tenor solos in 1964. He then continued with those solos for the next 20 years in Anchorage. He practiced civil trial law for 40 years in Anchorage, and now runs a B&B in Turnagain. He is frequently seen on his bike or flying his Cessna at Merrill Field.
Bardon Simons grew up in Seattle where he received his early musical training-playing violin in school orchestras. Seeking new outlets for musical expression while at Whitman College, he joined the college madrigal and concert choirs and performed as a chorus member in college opera productions. Since moving to Anchorage in 1985, he has sung with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Anchorage Festival of Music, Anchorage Opera, and National Symphony Orchestra during its 1992 Alaska tour. Bardon enjoys gardening and reading history and biographies when taking a break from his job as business manager for a commercial real estate development firm.
Jeremy Sivitz received his Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Born and raised in Anchorage, Jeremy is a burgeoning young artist noted by his teachers and coaches as a “stage animal.” A versatile actor, he has a particular propensity for comedic and character roles: most recently he captivated audiences with his audacious and delightfully precocious Mozartian tenor—Pedrillo—in Opera in the Ozarks’ production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail this summer. At school, Jeremy had the distinct privilege to sing the roles of Ali in Grétry’s Zémire et Azor, Dr. Blind in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Monostatos in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte . He has been a featured soloist in such concerts as the Romantic Revelries Opera Gala with the world renown Westminster Symphonic Choir. He is also a familiar face at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice having sung in the choruses of such operas as: Carmen, La Boheme, Les Trois Mousquetaires, and Otello.
Mark Skrade was born in Anchorage, grew up in Ireland, and moved home to Alaska in 2010. An interest in singing began while he was attending Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and is now an avocation in Anchorage. In addition to the Alaska Chamber Singers, Mark has performed with the Anchorage Opera Chorus in four productions, with Cyrano’s Theatre Company in one musical, and sang in his first Community Messiah right after the 2018 earthquake. He is grateful for these experiences and for the opportunity to learn in Kate Egan's studio. Mark is a cantor at Holy Family Cathedral and is proud to work for Matson at the Port of Alaska.
Mark S. Bledsoe (*bass section leader) has been a fixture in the Alaska Chamber Singers’ bass section since 1996. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Willamette University College of Music, where he majored in organ performance. Mark performed with many of the musical ensembles there. He has become a familiar face in the Alaska choral music scene, having sung over the years with not only the Alaska Chamber Singers, but also with the New Madrigal Singers, Basically Bach Chorus, the Anchorage Opera Chorus and the Anchorage Concert Chorus. We recently asked Mark what he thought about Bach and the Baroque. He thought for a minute and looked up from his bowl of soup. He stated that he enjoys Bach’s music, and didn’t think it was broke. It just has too many notes, so he usually leaves some out, he said. Then he returned to his soup.
Tim Fosket has been singing all his life and can't seem to stop; he has performed in 46 states and five Canadian Provinces. In Anchorage he has been a member of the Alaska Heritage A Cappella Choir, Batteries Not Included, Anchorage Concert Chorus, the Russian American Colony Singers, Anchorage Opera, Next in Line Productions and now, after a long break, is returning to Alaska Chamber Singers. He moved to Alaska from Seattle where he sang with the Seattle Men's Chorus and Esoterics; prior to that he sang with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Boston. It all started in high school when a music teacher told him to let go of the cello and join the choir. Secretly he still misses that cello.
Andrew Gonzalez is an Alaska transplant from the midwest who has been involved with music nearly his entire life playing the piano, french horn, and singing. He began voice lessons in high school and sang in the Iowa All-State Chorus and Dubuque Julien Chamber Choir. He went to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he sang in the Nordic Choir under Dr. Allen Hightower touring the British Isles. Since college he picked up the ukulele, mandolin, spoons, and a little melodica. He is loving Alaska and is thrilled to be a member of the Alaska Chamber Singers. Andrew is a researcher at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Lyndon Harder has been immersed in choral music since his grade school years. He sang in his high school varsity chorale, college choir in England, and his university's glee club. Numerous church choirs around the country have counted Lyndon as a member. Lyndon has soloed at US government, military, and college events, as well as at weddings and smaller functions. Prior to returning to Alaska in 2004, Lyndon sang with the Augusta Choral Society, Georgia. Lyndon is an analyst with the U.S. government. This follows a U.S. Army career, after which Lyndon and his wife returned to Alaska to make it their permanent home. In addition to singing, Lyndon enjoys photography and high performance computer design and building.
Inkuk Hong was born and raised in South Korea. When he was a boy, he failed many times at audition in the church choir, but when he was 10 years old he finally passed and he began to sing. He loved to sing so he didn't stop singing. He graduated from Kyungwon University, College of Music where he studied vocal music and conducting. In his twenties, he sang at ‘Agape Men's Singers’, ‘His Singers’, ‘Suwon Youth Choir’, and ‘Kyungwon Concert Choir’. He also was a church choir’s conductor for 18 years and led the ‘With-us Man's Choir’. He moved to Anchorage in September 2018 for a new challenge with his wife, a daughter and a niece. Currently he works as a carpenter instead of musician, but he still loves music. His passion for music led him to the Alaska Chamber Singers, and he is very honored to join. He is looking forward to his first concert. His beloved wife, who worked as a mental health social worker for 15 years in Korea, is his greatest supporter. For Inkuk, family is the driving force of life. His hobbies include travel, woodworking, camping, and swimming. He especially enjoys traveling with family. He makes a video of all his trips and records them on YouTube for memories. One day, his dream is to travel all over the world. He started the second act of life in Anchorage, and his challenge will continue.
Teagen Kroon grew up in Wasilla and has always had a love for the arts, especially music. He began playing the saxophone at a young age and focused mainly on instrumental music until college, where he found a passion for singing. He attended the University of Idaho and performed in numerous college music ensembles including jazz choir and concert choir as well as being part of several stage musicals and operas. He is excited to be back in Alaska and part of the Alaska Chamber Singers.
Bob Mitchell began singing in church, school and community choirs in Pennsylvania in the early 1940s. He continued singing through his college and navy years, conducted a barbershop chorus in Montana in the 1960s, and joined the Anchorage Community Chorus when he arrived in 1975. He joined ACS at its beginning in fall of 1986, left town for 10 years, and rejoined in 1998. He also sings in the Anchorage Opera Chorus, and plays hand bells and sings in Anchor Park Methodist Church choir. He is a semi-retired architect and enjoys reading, fishing and skiing. His most memorable musical experiences are singing in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and singing Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem under Helmut Rilling's baton in Carnegie Hall.
Chris Nelson is a new addition to ACS in the bass section. He is a recent transplant from the Washington D.C. area, and before that, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Chris has a minor in music and has been involved in music one way or another most of his life, primarily singing and playing percussion. Most recently, he was the Pirate King in a Capitol Hill Arts Workshop production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance and occasionally sang in the choir at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C. Chris looks forward to being a part of the music community in his new home. Chris is an artist and lives in Anchorage with his husband Tim and their two cats, Truman and Daniel.
Jon Rippe grew up in Northern Virginia and started singing at a very young age. He discovered chamber music in high school, and had the pleasure of touring Europe with The Sound of America Honor Band & Chorus after graduating in 2004. From his late teens into his early 20's, he sang with over a dozen different choirs and musical ensembles ranging from jazz quartets to 100+ voice chorales. After enlisting in the Air Force, Jon took a 6 year hiatus from singing, but is glad to be back on the scene with Alaska Chamber Singers. On his free time, Jon likes to rock climb, mountain bike, and run up mountains. He plans on staying in Alaska indefinitely and is looking forward to experiencing everything the state has to offer.
Guy Schwartz is a transplant from the prairies of North Dakota where he learned to appreciate music under the watchful eye of a very musical family. His mother is an accomplished pianist/choral director who insisted on piano, band and voice lessons for a young "guy" who just wanted to play football or wrestle. He grew up singing in countless church choirs, high school choirs, as well as many weddings and funerals. After graduating with an engineering degree from the University of North Dakota he moved to Alaska over 30 years ago and didn't look back. Guy has been a long-time member of the Anchorage Concert Chorus and Russian American Colony Singers (RACS) and is looking forward to singing with Alaska Chamber Singers after hearing many of their spectacular performances over the years.
Dr. Bruce Wood is the Director of Music and Fine Arts for the Anchorage School District. Before arriving in Alaska, Dr. Wood was Associate Professor of Music Education at Texas Tech University. Dr. Wood received his master's and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his bachelor's degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. At Texas Tech, Dr. Wood received over $80,000 in grants for teaching and research projects, including the Texas Tech String Project, which he directed. Dr. Wood has been published by the American String Teachers' Journal, Strings Magazine, GIA publications, and has written a book entitled, The Yin and Yang of Teaching Music. In addition, Dr. Wood was the founding Music Director of the Youth Orchestras of Lubbock.