- Jonathan Miller
- John William Trotter
- Paul Langford
- Paul Nicholson
- Benjamin Rivera
- Patrick Sinozich
- Megan Bell
- Ryan Cox
- Matthew Dean
- Ace Gangoso
- Michael Hawes
- Garrett Johannsen
- Kathryn Kamp
- Joe Labozetta
- Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee
- Kristin Lelm
- Chelsea Lyons
- Trevor Mitchell
- John Orduña
- Cari Plachy
- Sarah Ponder
- Emily Price
- Alexia Rivera
- Kyle Sackett
Founder and Artistic Director
Jonathan has been the leader of Chicago a cappella’s artistic team since he founded the group in 1993. He is the group’s original low bass and music director. His work with CAC has been recognized with Chorus America’s Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal. Jonathan’s international program research has resulted in several went to Mexico in 2014 on a MacArthur International Connections exchange grant for program research that has led to several concerts by Chicago a cappella, including next season’s Fiesta Coral Mexicana. In 2017 he did original research in Poland for CAC’s 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 passionate communicator about the power of choral music, Jonathan is also Artistic Director & CEO of the Sounds Good Choir (formerly Encore Illinois), which provides choral-music education and performance opportunities to older adults age 55 and up. He directs five daytime Sounds Good Choirs and manages the organization, which currently serves roughly 400 singers in 7 non-auditioned choirs throughout the city and suburbs. As part of the Sounds Good organization, Jonathan and his wife Sandy also lead the Good Memories Choir, a new program for people with early-stage memory loss and their care partners, singing together. Good Memories has been featured recently in the Washington Post and on NBC Nightly News. Jon got his start in choral music with ten years in the Chicago Children’s Choir in Hyde Park. After studying mathematics at the University of Chicago, he earned his doctorate in historical musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. He started composing choral music in 1998; his works have been sung 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. A leader in Jewish choral music, Jon manages the Max Janowski catalogue, serves as high-holiday cantor at Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Hyde Park, and is part of the davening team at West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest. A former board member of Chorus America, Jon 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.
John William Trotter
Artistic Director Designate
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. Trotter serves as Associate Professor at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, and is widely active as a guest conductor, composer/arranger, educator, and speaker. His 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 APM 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. In 2018, Trotter received the Leland Ryken Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.
Prior to his work with Chicago a cappella, Trotter earned the Doctorate in Conducting from the University of Michigan 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.
During the 2019-20 season, Dr. Trotter is on sabbatical, serving as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge (UK). He will also serve as a visiting teacher at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden; work with ensembles and train conductors in Nairobi, Kenya; and observe leading conductors and ensembles in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and France. When he returns in 2020, he will assume the role of Artistic Director, leading two concert programs for Chicago a cappella each season, as well as managing artistic operations and taking responsibility for overall artistic programming.
Guest Music Director | 2019-20 Season: Swing, Swing, Swing
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 | 2019-20 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 | 2019-20 Season: Fiesta Coral Mexicana; Youth Choral Festival; ¡Cantaré! Chicago
After singing as an ensemble member with Chicago a cappella for 11 seasons, Benjamin Rivera returns for his second series concert as guest music director. He 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, opera, and contemporary pieces to gospel, pop, and folk. He serves as Chorus Director and frequent conductor of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and has appeared multiple times as Guest Chorus Director of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago. Artistic director and conductor of Cantate Chicago—featured at Chorus America’s national conference in 2018—Rivera also serves as Choirmaster of the Church of the Ascension and High Holidays Choir Director at Temple Sholom. After one season as Associate Conductor of The Washington Chorus, he joined the conducting staff of the Chicago Symphony Chorus in 2018. Rivera was recently named Chorus Master, ad interim, of the Florentine Opera Company. A professional singer in the Chicago Symphony Chorus for over twenty seasons—including twelve as bass section leader—Rivera also sings professionally with the Grant Park Chorus. He has been on the faculty of several colleges and universities, directing choirs and teaching conducting, voice, diction, music theory, and history. 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; conducting and African American spirituals with Rollo Dilworth; and workshops, seminars, and performances in early music.
Guest Music Director | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem (music direction); Swing, Swing, Swing (program creation)
An acclaimed choral conductor, pianist, vocal coach, and chamber musician, Patrick Sinozich joined Chicago a cappella's musical staff in 2007 as Music Director and served in that position through the 2011-12 season, when he was named Music Director Emeritus. He retired as Artistic Director of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, after a successful 18 years in that role. Patrick serves as Assistant Director of Music at St. Clement Catholic Church in Lincoln Park and he is on the musical staff of the Grant Park Chorus. He has performed chamber music with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony, and he has also produced four CDs for Chicago a cappella and three for the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus (which feature many of his own arrangements). Patrick’s association with Chicago a cappella goes back to the ensemble’s very first auditions, which he accompanied, and he provided musical support as rehearsal coach from 2005-07 before being named the ensemble's first Music Director.
Soprano | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Fiesta Coral Mexicana; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
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 | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Fiesta Coral Mexicana; Swing
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.
Tenor | 2019-20 Season: Swing
A tenor “setting the tone” (Pittsburgh Music Alliance) with “affecting line” (Boston Classical Review), Matthew Dean anchors Midwest vocal chamber projects and performs nationally as an oratorio soloist. He has served as artist in residence at Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel since 2005, where the Tribune’s John von Rhein praised his “firm vocalism, beautiful timbre, and stirring declaration.” Matt draws on his academic background in medieval art in developing programs with the Schola Antiqua, The Newberry Consort, and Minnesota treasure The Rose Ensemble. He sings regularly with Bella Voce, The Oriana Singers, and King Solomon’s Singers, and can be heard on the Naxos, Discantus, and Permelia labels. A founding member of Golosá Russian Choir, he has chased folksongs and chickens around southern Siberia. An arts management leader, Matt heads the Sounds of Faith initiative for Harran Productions Foundation and co-directs The Rookery men's choir.
Tenor | 2019-20 Season: Holidays; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
Ace Gangoso, tenor, enjoys an eclectic musical career in Chicago as a singer, music director, pianist, and teacher. This is Ace's seventh season with Chicago a cappella, where he has also served as Program Director for the High School Apprenticeship program and has led residencies as part of the organization's Education Outreach offerings. Ace also adds his voice to the tenor sections of the Chicago Symphony and Grant Park Choruses, and this season joins the vocal chamber quartet Fourth Coast Ensemble. Ace is the Director of Music Ministry at St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston, where he conducts several choirs and musical groups and plays up to four masses each weekend. Additionally, he is a pianist for the Chicago Black Catholics Choir and a supplementary staff musician at St. Michael in Old Town. Ace is also a private voice instructor at Highland Park High School. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Ace moved to the Chicago area in 2010 and currently resides in the Lakeview neighborhood. He 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 continues voice study with NU Professor W. Stephen Smith. He is a proud alumni member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the world’s oldest and largest fraternal society in music.
Bass | 2019-20 Season: ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
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 | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Fiesta Coral Mexicana; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
Tenor Garrett Johannsen is proud to be singing in his ninth 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, 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. He continues to be very active in Chicago's music scene and performs as a cabaret artist. Garrett is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists and a board member for Chicago Cabaret Professionals. You may follow Garrett at www.garrettjohannsen.com.
Soprano | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem (program creation); Holidays; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
From the stages of Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion and Chicago Shakespeare Theater to Frank Lloyd Wright’s concert hall at Taliesin 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 | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
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.
Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee
Bass | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Fiesta Coral Mexicana; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee is a Korea-born and U.S.-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 | 2019-20 Season: Fiesta Coral Mexicana
Soprano, Kristin Lelm has been thrilling audiences for more than a decade. A graduate of both Bradley University (undergraduate) and DePaul University (graduate) in voice performance, Mrs. Lelm is a recipient of the Presser Scholar Award and a Concerto-Aria Competition Winner. Lelm is a regular member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chicago a cappella and a former member of the Grant Park Chorus (Chicago), and has made numerous appearances at the famed Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL. Kristin has performed as a recitalist and soloist all over the U.S., and has performed lead opera roles such as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Sister Genevieve in Sour Angelica, as well as scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor, Die Zauberflöte, Gianni Schicchi, La Bohème, Falstaff, Don Pasquale, Anna Bolena, and Der Rosenkavalier. Additionally, she has performed at Carnegie Hall on multiple occasions.
Mrs. Lelm is a frequent soloist for the Peoria Bach Fest, Sing-It-Yourself Messiah, Peoria Municipal Band and has also guested with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra with Broadway sensation Ashley Brown. She made her a debut this past December with the Elmhurst Choral Union as a soloist in Vivaldi Gloria and has been asked back to perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass this coming Spring.
Her charity event appearances include Ronald McDonald House Charities, RL Gala for TCW Magazine Foundation, Northwestern Hospital Fundraiser (Chicago), and St. James Lutheran Church and School Auction Gala.
Internationally, Mrs. Lelm has sung in Italy and has also performed in Denmark with the Danish military brass band: Slesvigske Musikkorps, and the Queen’s Royal Guard Band: Den Kongelige Livgarde.
Mezzo-soprano | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Fiesta Coral Mexicana; Swing; Gala 2020
Mezzo-soprano Chelsea Lyons is thrilled to return for her third season with Chicago a cappella. In addition to her work with CAC, Chelsea sings with the Grant Park Chorus and Music of the Baroque, and is a section leader at Glencoe Union Church. Outside of Chicago, Chelsea sings with the two-time Grammy-winning new music ensemble The Crossing, and can be heard on their albums Sound from the Bench (Hearne), Canticles of the Holy Wind (J. L. Adams), If There Were Water (Minakakis/Brown), and Anonymous Man (Gordon). As a concert soloist, Chelsea has performed with Pacific Chorale in Orange County, CA; Chicago's own Spektral Quartet; the Callipygian Players; and the Green Lake Music Festival. This May, Chelsea will premiere Rosśa Crean's monodrama Werifesteria with Zafa Collective at the Poetry Foundation and will perform with Puerto Rican percussion ensemble Plena Libre. A California native, Chelsea holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from California State University Fullerton ('13) and a Master of Music in Voice & Opera from Northwestern University ('17). She has studied voice with Janet Smith, James Toland, W. Stephen Smith, and Karen Brunssen. In addition to singing, Chelsea loves cooking, playing games, traveling, and exploring the city with her fiancé, Janie - she's looking forward to getting married this December!
Tenor | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Fiesta Coral Mexicana
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.
Bass | 2019-20 Season: Holidays a cappella
Omaha native John Orduña is thrilled to be making is debut with Chicago a cappella. He has been a member of the Grant Park Chorus for five seasons. He has also performed with the choruses of Music of the Baroque, William Ferris Chorale, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony. His solo concert work includes performances of Händel’s Messiah with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Richmond Symphony, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Cincinnati May Festival. His principal opera work includes the role of The Donkey in the world premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me with Washington National Opera, Dancaïro (Carmen) with Opera Omaha, and Schaunard (La Boheme) with North Carolina Opera. He holds degrees and certificates from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Florida State University, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Soprano | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
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 | 2019-20 Season: ¡Cantaré! Chicago
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 | 2019-20 Season: American Anthem; Holidays; Fiesta Coral Mexicana; Swing; ¡Cantaré! Chicago; Gala 2020
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.
Soprano | 2019-20 Season: Fiesta Coral Mexicana
A member of the Grant Park Chorus, the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the Ascension Choir, soprano Alexia Rivera has also been a soloist with such groups as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic (Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Lobgesang, Schubert Mass in G, Mozart’s Coronation Mass), Cantate (Faure Requiem, Corigliano’s Fern Hill), the Chicago Chamber Orchestra (Bach’s Cantata 51), the Valparaiso University Symphony Orchestra (R. Strauss’ Four Last Songs), and the University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble (Stravinsky’s Les Noces). As a recitalist, Alexia has appeared on the PianoForte Salon Series Live on WFMT radio, the Musicians' Club of Women Award Winners in Concert series at the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Fourth Presbyterian Church Friday concert series. Apart from her professional work, you may find Alexia in the garden, reading, organizing (a compulsive, though satisfying, habit), or exploring the beautiful Beverly neighborhood of Chicago where she lives with her husband, son, and dog.
Bass | 2019-20 Season: Fiesta Coral Mexicana
Kyle Sackett, baritone, works extensively both teaching voice and performing in Chicago. He teaches music theatre voice within the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Prior, he taught at Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) from 2015-2018, teaching both classical and music theatre voice. Kyle has performed operatically with Haymarket Opera Company, Chicago Opera Theatre, Opera Atelier, and Opera for the Young, and is a frequent oratorio soloist around Chicagoland. A passionate choral singer, Kyle performs and records regularly with top-tier ensembles including the Grammy-winning new music ensemble The Crossing (Philadelphia), Music of the Baroque (Chicago), Grant Park Symphony Chorus (Chicago), Chicago Symphony Chorus, Bella Voce (Chicago), Vocális Chamber Choir (Buffalo), Berkshire Choral International, and is a founding member of the Chicago-based Constellation Men’s Ensemble. He holds the M.M. in voice and opera performance from Northwestern University and the B.M. in music education from SUNY Fredonia.