- Jonathan Miller
- Matt Greenberg
- John William Trotter
- Paul Langford
- Paul Nicholson
- Benjamin Rivera
- Megan Bell
- Ryan Cox
- Tracie Davis
- Carl Frank
- Ace Gangoso
- Michael Hawes
- Garrett Johannsen
- Kathryn Kamp
- Joe Labozetta
- Katelyn Lee
- Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee
- Kristin Lelm
- Chelsea Lyons
- Trevor Mitchell
- Cari Plachy
- Sarah Ponder
- Emily Price
Founder and Artistic Director | Chicago, Chicago
Jonathan has been the leader of Chicago a cappella’s artistic team since its inception in 1993. He is the group’s original low bass and music director. His work with CAC has been recognized with the Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. A passionate communicator about the power of choral music, Jonathan is also Artistic Director & CEO of Encore Illinois, which provides choral-music education and performance opportunities to older adults age 55 and up. He directs five daytime Encore Chorales and manages the Encore organization, which currently serves more than 300 singers in 7 non-auditioned choirs throughout the city and suburbs. He and his wife Sandy also lead the Good Memories Chorale, a new Encore program for people with early-stage memory loss and their care partners, singing together. Jonathan grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and experienced Rev. Christopher Moore’s unusually potent programming magic during ten years with the Chicago Children’s Choir. After studying mathematics at the University of Chicago, Jonathan earned his doctorate in historical musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. He started composing in 1998; his publishers include Hinshaw, Walton, and Hal Leonard, His choral works have been sung around the world and at major American venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon. His ongoing series of Wacky Christmas Carols continues to mix words and tunes in new combinations. His Shehecheyanu was featured at the 2018 meeting of the American Conference of Cantors. A leader in Jewish choral music, Jonathan manages the Max Janowski catalogue, serves as high-holiday cantor at Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park, and has lectured at the North American Jewish Choral Festival. In 2017 he did original research in Poland for Chicago a cappella’s upcoming Polish Splendor program and served as faculty for the China (Qiandongnan) International Folk Song Choral Festival and IFMC World Voices Conference in Kaili, China. A former board member of Chorus America, Jonathan is an enthusiastic auctioneer for charity events. He enjoys travel, cooking, and learning new languages and is crazy about his wife, family, friends, and dogs.
A founding ensemble member of Chicago a cappella, Matt has led the organization as Executive Director since 1995. Under his leadership, Chicago a cappella has grown from a founder-based startup to a well-recognized and highly-respected arts organization with broad community support, robust educational outreach programs, a loyal audience base, a strategic plan, and a solid infrastructure. He is a champion of consistent branding and a high level of professionalism in all areas of operations, and he has guided Chicago a cappella to be regarded as a leader among organizations in the Chicago choral community. Among his key accomplishments include successful gala fundraisers, the establishment of two cash reserves, a multi-year pledge program, and marketing campaigns which have increased the ensemble’s subscription base and overall audiences. Matt has led workshops for Chorus America and the Arts and Business Council of Chicago and has served as a panelist for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs granting programs. He received his degree in music/business from DePauw University, worked at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and performed with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale prior to launching his career in Chicago. As a professional singer, Matt’s credits include musical theater, solo, and choral work, notably with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Chorus, both of which he performed with for over 20 years.
John William Trotter
Principal Music Director | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Polish Splendor; Youth Choral Festival
Conductor John William Trotter interacts with musicians and audiences to celebrate the gift of music and its powerful place in human identity. He has conducted more than a dozen professional choirs and orchestras on three continents, and studies and teaches widely in the areas of music, leadership, and the role of the arts in society. He is widely active as a guest conductor, composer/arranger, educator, and speaker. In addition, he serves as Principal Music Director of the professional ensemble Chicago a cappella and Associate Professor at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music.Trotter’s performances of concert music have attracted special attention for their freshness and authenticity. Performances with Chicago a cappella (described by the Chicago Tribune as "The city's liveliest, most versatile vocal ensemble"), and the Vancouver Chamber Choir (where his Vivaldi Magnificat was hailed by the Vancouver Sun as "a radiant performance of this work that overstated nothing and brought out all of its freshness and charm.") have been broadcast throughout North America on NPR and CBC.
Trotter’s various ensembles have been honored with invitations to perform live at national, regional, and state conventions of the American Choral Directors’ Association, Chorus America, and the National Association for Music Education. In 2017, Trotter led the Wheaton College Concert Choir on tour throughout South Korea, conducting twenty performances including several broadcasts. Over the past several years, the ensemble has become recognized for their innovative approach to masterworks, such as their semi-staged production of Handel’s Messiah, exploration of interdisciplinary collaborations with dancers, painters, and actors, and direct engagement with audiences in concert halls, homeless shelters, and with hundreds of inmates at a state prison.
Prior to his work with Chicago a cappella, Trotter earned the Doctorate in Conducting from the University of Michigan (the top-ranked conducting program in North America) and undertook further advanced studies with Eric Ericson, Helmuth Rilling, Andrew Parrott, and Jon Washburn. He now trains young conductors and serves as a resource to mid-careers professionals through conference presentations and intensive workshops. His conducting students have distinguished themselves by taking up significant positions, gaining entrance to the top-ranked graduate programs in North America, and earning national recognition at the ACDA Student Conducting Competition.
Trotter is well known for his ability to connect with audiences and for his interest in building bridges between the professional music world, music training institutions, and the wider community. An experienced improviser, he is an advocate for the recovery of this musical skill among amateurs and professionals alike. His activities now range from choral/orchestral masterworks, jazz, new music, and film score recording to work as a consultant, clinician, adjudicator, conducting teacher, composer/arranger, writer, speaker, and leader of improvisation workshops. (www.johnwilliamtrotter.com)
Guest Music Director | 2018-19 Season: Dynamic Duos; 2019 Gala
Chicago singer, composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and keyboard player Paul Langford has been creating a more musical world for over 25 years. His published works (Hal Leonard, Shawnee Press, Oxford University Press, Alfred Music) have been performed by The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicagoland Pops, West Michigan Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Voices of Liberty, GLAD, Willow Creek, multiple Disney parks, and many orchestras around the nation including the San Antonio, Charleston (SC), West Michigan, Ashland (OH), Pensacola, Grand Rapids, La Crosse (WI), Anderson (IN), Dubuque, Las Cruces (NM), Mobile, and Southwest Michigan Symphonies. Paul has been a vocal and piano guest artist in studio and live performance with headline and Grammy Award-winning artists David Foster, Yolanda Adams, Kenny Rogers, Heather Headley, Abraham Laboriel, Michael Bublé, Josh Groban, and Celine Dion, and he’s been honored to perform for Presidents Bush and Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama. As owner and creative director of Paul Langford Studios, a state-of the-art Chicagoland recording facility, Paul produces, engineers, composes, and plays for a variety of leading artists, corporate clients, and television/film projects. On the road, Paul is an in-demand music educator, guest conductor, respected band and vocal ensemble leader, and invited singer with orchestras and a cappella groups across America and around the globe. For more information, visit www.paullangfordmusic.com and www.penningandlangford.com.
Guest Music Director | 2018-19 Season: Holidays
Paul Nicholson is a distinguished Chicago conductor, vocal coach, composer, accompanist and singer. In 2010 he was appointed Director of Music for Saint Clement Parish in Lincoln Park. He served on the faculty of DePaul University as Associate Conductor of the University Singers as well as principal accompanist. Paul served on the staff of the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus and has been accompanist to the faculty of Roosevelt University, Lake Forest College, Concordia University, Columbia College, and the Chicago Studio for Professional Singing. Mr. Nicholson has conducted such prestigious groups as the William Ferris Chorale, His Majesties Clerkes, the Scholars of Cambrai, and the Schola Cantorum of St Peter’s in the Loop. He has sung with the Chicago Symphony and Grant Park choruses under Leonard Slatkin, James Levine, James Conlon, Sir George Solti and Robert Shaw. His vocal and instrumental compositions have been recorded on the Cedille, Imaginary Road, and Polygram labels, and he has appeared both at the keyboard and as a singer on Live from Studio One on WFMT. Mr. Nicholson has appeared as guest keyboard artist with the Grant Park Symphony and Chorus, the Newberry Consort, Haymarket Opera Company, Apollo Chorus, and Baroque Band.
Guest Music Director | 2018-19 Season: Youth Choral Festival; ¡Cantaré! Chicago
Benjamin Rivera has prepared and conducted choruses at all levels—from elementary school through adult, volunteer and professional—in repertoire from sacred polyphony and chant, choral/orchestral masterworks, and contemporary pieces to gospel, pop, and folk. He has served as Chorus Director and regular conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 2013, and has appeared multiple times as Guest Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago and Guest Music Director of Chicago a cappella. Artistic director and conductor of Cantate Chicago since 2000, Rivera also serves as Music Director and Choirmaster of the Church of the Ascension and High Holidays Choir Director at Temple Sholom, both featuring fully professional ensembles. He began his work in our nation’s capital in the fall, taking on the position of Associate Conductor of GRAMMY-winner The Washington Chorus.
A member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus for over twenty seasons—including twelve as bass section leader—Rivera also sings professionally with the Grant Park Chorus. He sang for many years with Chicago a cappella and several other ensembles, appearing as a soloist on numerous programs, and singing on dozens of recordings.
Rivera has been on the faculty of several colleges and universities, directing choirs and teaching conducting, voice, diction, music theory, and history. In addition, he has adjudicated competitions (solo and ensemble), led master classes and in-school residencies, and has presented at the Iowa Choral Directors Association summer conference.
Especially adept with languages, Benjamin Rivera frequently coaches German, Spanish, and Latin, among others. He holds degrees in voice and music theory from North Park University and Roosevelt University, respectively, and a DMA in choral conducting from Northwestern University. His studies have also included the German language in both Germany and Austria, for which he received a Certificate of German as a foreign language in 2001; conducting and African American spirituals with Rollo Dilworth; and workshops, seminars, and performances in early music. In 2011, he researched choral rehearsal and performance practice in Berlin, Germany.
Dr. Rivera is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), Chorus America, and the College Music Society (CMS).
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Polish Splendor; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Megan Bell, soprano, works regularly with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Grant Park Music Festival Chorus, and Chicago a cappella. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University. Ms. Bell is an award winner and member of The Musicians Club of Women. She loves to perform recitals, especially chamber music recitals with her father, Richard Bell, a cellist in Kansas City. She also sings weekly as the soloist for the First Church of Christian Scientists in Barrington. Ms. Bell lives in Elgin, with her husband and two young children. She is the Leader of Fox Valley Attachment Parenting International, and an active member of Traditional Nutrition, and GIFT Homeschool Coop.
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Polish Splendor; Youth Choral Festival; 2019 Gala
Ryan Cox has been a professional member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Choruses since 2003. He was the baritone soloist in William Schuman’s A Free Song for Grant Park Music Festival’s “Pulitzer Project,” recorded by the Cedille label. He sang Schubert lieder on the CSO Chamber Music Series and has been featured on the Music Now series, singing the Chicago premiere of Mason Bates’ Sirens. He made his debut with the Chicago Ensemble singing Fauré’s La bonne chanson. Other solo appearances include Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, the Fauré, Brahms and Mozart Requiems, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and several Bach cantatas. Operatic roles include Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, the Count in La Nozze di Figaro and the title role in Gianni Schicchi. As a boy soprano, Ryan was the soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson-Thomas. A graduate of Millikin University, Ryan is the music director at First Congregational Church in LaGrange, Illinois.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Youth Choral Festival
Tracie Davis is thrilled to be joining Chicago a cappella for the second consecutive season. Originally from Pflugerville, Texas, she has made an impression on audiences, teachers, and colleagues alike with her rich, robust voice and heartfelt emotional performances. She received her B.M. in Vocal Performance at Louisiana State University and her M.M. in Voice Performance at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA). While at CCPA, Davis performed in the Midwest premiere of The Beautiful Bridegroom by Dan Shore, La Bella Dormente nel Bosco by Ottorino Respighi, and Il Viaggo a Reims by Gioachino Rossini. Since graduating, Davis has enjoyed performances with The William Ferris Chorale, the Grant Park Chorus, and Spirito! Singers, among others. In addition to CAC, she keeps busy as a freelance singer, spending time with loved ones, traveling, and enjoying the beautiful city of Chicago
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Dynamic Duos; Cantaré
Carl Frank, baritone, has received praise for his “compelling”, “spirited” and “charming” performances of a wide range of repertoire spanning opera and oratorio. Mr. Frank has appeared with the Florentine Opera Company and Arbor Opera Theater, and been a featured soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony, the Community Chorus of Detroit, and the Lakeview Symphony. Favorite operatic roles include: Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Doncairo (Carmen), Sid (Albert Herring), Guglielmo (Cosí fan tutte), John Brooke (Little Women), and Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi). Also an active ensemble singer, Mr. Frank performs with Chicago a cappella, Music of the Baroque, Bach Collegium-Ft. Wayne, The William Ferris Chorale, Bella Voce, Schola Antiqua of Chicago, and Musik Ekklesia. Mr. Frank received his Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and his Bachelor’s degree from DePauw University. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife, mezzo-soprano, Lindsey Adams and their dog Fiona.
Tenor | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Ace Gangoso, tenor, is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been a Chicagoan since 2010 and currently resides in the Lakeview neighborhood. Ace joined Chicago a cappella in early 2014, and is honored to be a part of the group’s 25th Anniversary season. In 2017, he became the Program Director for the High School Apprenticeship, a unique program within Chicago a cappella’s rich Educational Outreach offerings. Ace also adds his voice to the tenor sections of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Grant Park Chorus. He is the Director of Music Ministry at St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, and serves as the staff pianist for the Chicago Black Catholics Choir. Additionally, Ace is a private voice instructor at Highland Park High School. Ace holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Education and Voice Performance from the University of Central Arkansas, and a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from Northwestern University. He is a proud alumni member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the world’s oldest and largest fraternal society in music.
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Polish Splendor; Youth Choral Festival; 2019 Gala
Michael Hawes is a bass-baritone singer and trumpet player. He received his Bachelor's degree in vocal and trumpet performance, and later a Master's in trumpet performance, from Northwestern University. He is trumpet player in residence at St. Michael's Church, and is a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Music of the Baroque Chorus, the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, and sings frequently with Chicago's Schola Antiqua, the Chicago Opera Theater Chorus, Bella Voce, and is very much looking forward to joining Chicago a cappella this season for several programs. He recently performed with the Grammy Award-winning choir, The Crossing, in Philadelphia, as well as the Clarion Choir of New York in their collaboration with pop star Madonna. As a trumpet player he has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Music of the Baroque Orchestra in Chicago, and the National Symphony of Taiwan. In his free time, you can find him chasing frisbees into Lake Michigan.
Tenor | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Polish Splendor; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Garrett Johannsen is proud to be singing in his eighth season with Chicago a cappella! He is originally from Schiller Park, Illinois and now resides in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. His career performance highlights include multiple international tours with Chamber Opera Chicago performing Jane Austen's Persuasion, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, and being a featured singer in a Nederlander Centennial medley performance for one of Broadway in Chicago's Summer Concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion. He has performed with the Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony and Grant Park Choruses as well as chamber choirs, Bella Voce and The William Ferris Chorale. Most recently, he was featured in Chicago Cabaret Professional's 20th Anniversary Cabaret at the Biograph Theater. Garrett received his training at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. You can follow Garrett at www.garrettjohannsen.com.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
From the stages of Chicago’s Pritzker Pavillion and Chicago Shakespeare Theater to Frank Lloyd Wright’s concert hall at Taliesen and Muddy River Opera Company in Southern Illinois, Kathryn Kamp has created a career spanning oratorio, opera, operetta and music theater. Her performance of John Corigliano’s Fern Hill with the Grant Park Music Festival was described both “meltingly sung” and “beautifully sung.” Her Despina (Cosí fan Tutte) was “… a display of immense charm and humor…she bounced about the stage with a lightness and relish that seemed the incarnation of mischievous delight…a fine soprano voice.” Other credits include: Kathie (The Student Prince), many Gilbert and Sullivan ingenues, and Sondheim’s Anne Egerman (Muddy River Opera) and Mrs. Segstrom (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). Concert performances include a staged version of Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Mabel and Yum-Yum (Pirates of Penzance and Mikado) at the Grant Park Music Festival, and more Messiahs than she can count. However, no experience tops that of being a member of Chicago a cappella.
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Dynamic Duos
Since joining Chicago a cappella’s roster in 2011, baritone Joe Labozetta has taken great pleasure in singing with such esteemed colleagues. A career ensemble musician, he also has an instrumental background. Although perfectly content at a keyboard or holding a guitar or bass, small-ensemble choral music is what Joe most enjoys. Beginning as a boy soprano with the Grammy-recognized Ragazzi Boys' Chorus in northern California, he has continued to pursue every choral niche, no matter how obscure or exotic. Some of his stylistic interests are: vocal jazz, Renaissance polyphony, overtone-singing, vocal percussion, and traditional Georgian folksong. A graduate of DePaul University's School of Music, Joe currently holds the position of Director of Music at St. Josaphat Church in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. When not directing church choirs or ensembles, composing hymnody, or flailing away on the pipe organ, he regularly sings with Chicago-based performing ensembles. He has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Grant Park Chorus, Bella Voce, William Ferris Chorale, Ensemble Alioni, The Rookery, and Schola Antiqua.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Polish Splendor; Cantaré
Recognized for her flexibility and warmth of tone, American soprano Katelyn Lee is making her mark in Chicago and across the United States. Katelyn is a frequent performer at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She recently understudied roles in two Lyric Unlimited productions: Doris Parker in Charlie Parker's Yardbird and the Female Narrator in Jason and the Argonauts. She was also featured in Lyric’s My Fair Lady. Katelyn has performed a variety of opera and musical theatre roles including Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Antonia in Man of La Mancha, Mizzi in the American premiere of The Ball at the Savoy, Cunegonde in Candide, Madame Goldentrill in The Impresario, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Additionally, Katelyn is an accomplished singer of concert repertoire. She has performed various works with venues such as Chicago Symphony, Music of the Baroque, Indianapolis Symphony, and Grant Park Symphony.
Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Polish Splendor; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee is a Korea-born and US-educated bass-baritone. He is a proud resident of Hyde Park, where he is also pursuing a graduate degree in Music History at the University of Chicago. When not enjoying a pint with friends or strolling around Promontory Point with Chloe, he splits his time between writing, teaching, organizing for his graduate employee union (#YesGSU), and singing with various ensembles in the Chicago-area.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Polish Splendor; Dynamic Duos
Kristin Lelm, soprano, received her Masters of Music Degree in Vocal Performance at DePaul University. She currently is a tenured member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and has also performed with the Grant Park Chorus, Ravinia Music Festival, events such Ronald McDonald House Charities, TCW Magazine Foundation, LOFT Recital series, both in Chicago and Minneapolis. She is making her debut with Chicago a cappella. Kristin has been a featured soprano soloist for Peoria’s “Sing-It-Yourself Messiah,” Peoria’s Annual Bach Festival, Peoria Municipal Band, and with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra. She has recently been known to sing as “The Lady in White” for John Phillip Sousa based concerts, which has led her to sing with the Danish military brass band Slesvigske Musikkorps, and the Queen’s Royal Guard Band, Den Kongelige Livgarde, in Denmark.
Mezzo-soprano | 2018-19 Season: Polish Splendor
A skilled and versatile musician, mezzo-soprano Chelsea Lyons has been equally lauded in concert, operatic, and choral performances of works spanning from the early Renaissance to new contemporary music. Her soloist engagements include Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, Handel’s Messiah, as well as the premiere of Samuel Carl Adams’ Light Readings in Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series. On the operatic stage, she has performed the roles of Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Sally (A Hand of Bridge), Hansel (Hansel & Gretel), Nancy (Albert Herring), Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), and Ambrosia in the world premiere of A Wake or a Wedding (Richard Pearson Thomas). As a choral musician, Chelsea is a member of Philadelphia’s Grammy-nominated new music ensemble The Crossing, directed by Donald Nally, and she also performs with the Grant Park Music Festival Chorus, Alice Millar Chapel Choir, and Madison Choral Project. Chelsea is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton and Northwestern University.
Tenor | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Polish Splendor
Trevor Mitchell’s career has taken him across the U.S. as well as to Austria, Italy, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and other destinations in Europe. Recently audiences heard him in Bach's B-Minor Mass, Weihnachts-Oratorium, St. Matthew Passion, cantatas 76, 135, 177 and St. John Passion, Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Vivaldi’s Beatus Vir, Handel's Judas Maccabaeus and Messiah, and in recital. Trevor also sang concert versions of the Handel operas Semele and Ariodante. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described Trevor’s voice as a "large and remarkably sweet sound." And, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote about his “...warm sound and technical ease.” Trevor, who has frequently performed on WFMT (Chicago), has recorded albums with Cedille Records, Gothic Records, and is a featured soloist on a recent Sony Classical release of Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the Choirs and Orchestra of St. John Cantius.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; 2019 Gala
Soprano, Cari Plachy, is a highly respected singer in Chicago. She has been seen throughout the Midwest with Opera for the Young, DuPage Opera Theater, Light Opera Works, and Bowen Park Opera. Favorite roles include Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), Yum-Yum (The Mikado), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), and Rosina (The Barber of Seville.) She is proud to be kicking off her 12th season with Chicago a cappella and 15th season with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. She was a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Beyond the Score Concert, Things Our Fathers Loved and as Ancilla in Bach’s St. John Passion. The Chicago Sun Times described her solo in Bruckner’s Psalm 150 with the CSO as ”sparkling.” Cari received her Bachelor's degree in music education from DePaul University. Since then, she has been working with the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, bringing music to children all over Chicago. In addition to her work in Chicago, Cari runs a home studio teaching Musikgarten classes to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Mezzo-soprano | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Dynamic Duos; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Sarah Ponder, mezzo-soprano enjoys a busy career as a soloist and ensemble singer in Chicago, performing in genres from opera and oratorio to contemporary and a cappella. Hailed as “Deeply expressive” (Chicago Sun Times) and a “first-class soloist” (Chicago Classical Review), some of Sarah’s recent favorite performances include a special concert of love songs with Bella Voce Camerata, starring as Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman opera, Bon Appétit! and a rousing trio rendition of “Row, Row Your Boat” with Yo-Yo Ma at Children’s Memorial Hospital as part of her work with the Citizen Musician Initiative. Through her outreach at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sarah has also “beguilingly” (Chicago Tribune) performed several solo concerts with famed Maestro Riccardo Muti at the piano. A passionate educator, Sarah holds a teaching position at Loyola University and maintains a large private studio. She also recently finished recording a 4th season of works from Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project partnered with the CSO, assisting young mothers to create original lullabies.
Mezzo-soprano | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Polish Splendor; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Mezzo-soprano Emily Price is a graduate of Northwestern University and enjoys performing in opera, choral and musical theater productions. In addition to Chicago a cappella, she sings with the Lyric Opera, Grant Park Music Festival Chorus and Chicago Symphony Chorus. Internationally, she has performed in over 35 countries as a soloist with the Voices of Bahá International Choir in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and the National Theaters of Spain, Catalonia, and India. She has also performed with the Czech National Symphony, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, and the Warsaw Philharmonic. Favorite theater productions include the premiere of RESPECT! A Musical Journey of Women (Cuillo Center/CCPA) and Rona in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Watertower). She can be heard on a number of recordings, including The Voices of Bahá at Carnegie Hall, RESPECT! The Original Cast Album, and a solo album entitled Songs of the Nightingale with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra.