- Jonathan Miller
- Matt Greenberg
- John William Trotter
- Paul Langford
- Paul Nicholson
- Megan Bell
- Bethany Clearfield
- Ryan Cox
- Tracie Davis
- Carl Frank
- Ace Gangoso
- Michael Hawes
- Garrett Johannsen
- Kathryn Kamp
- Joe Labozetta
- Katelyn Lee
- Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee
- Kristin Lelm
- Trevor Mitchell
- Cari Plachy
- Sarah Ponder
- Emily Price
Founder and Artistic Director | Chicago, Chicago
Jonathan Miller created Chicago a cappella in 1993 to give accomplished ensemble singers an experience of performing eclectic and exciting repertoire and to share the resulting beauty with the world. A champion of innovative programming, Jonathan has been the group’s driving artistic force through more than 300 performances and nine commercial CD releases, work which was recognized with the 2008 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal from Chorus America. When Jonathan was a teenage bass in the Chicago Children’s Choir, he was bitten hard by the choral bug. He was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of repertoire by a remarkable group of mentors, including Christopher Moore, Lena McLin, Max Janowski, Howard Mayer Brown, Richard Proulx, John Nygro, and Anne Heider. Eager to learn research tools for choral music, Jonathan earned his doctorate in historical musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill. After returning to the Chicago area, Jonathan led the choir at Unity Temple in Oak Park for nine years and began composing new choral music while serving there. He has written more than 75 choral works in a variety of genres and languages, on the poetry of such writers as Mark Jarman, Peter Watson Jenkins, and Leonard Cohen; his music has been sung at venues including St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Pentagon. His mashup "Jingle Bells Hallelujah (Chorus)" is a minor hit, and his series of Wacky Christmas Carols continues to mix words and tunes in new combinations. He also is a leading figure in Jewish choral music, active as composer, cantor, conductor, and producer. He serves as high-holiday cantor at Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He conducted the Janowski Centenary Concert at KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation, also in Hyde Park, in 2012; he received the Perelmuter Award at KAMII in 2013; and he was Scholar-in-Residence at Lakeside Congregation (Highland Park, IL) in 2014. He is the host for the new broadcast, “A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a cappella,” on the WFMT Fine Arts Network. An enthusiastic auctioneer for charity events, Jonathan serves as Director of Choral Catalog (and in-house choral arranger) at Musicnotes.com and is a former board member of Chorus America.
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
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
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.
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.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Dynamic Duos
After earning a master’s degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Bethany Hamilton Clearfield returned home to Chicago and quickly became a fixture on the vibrant choral scene. Specializing in early and new music, she regularly performs as a soloist and is also a member of the Grant Park Chorus, Music of the Baroque, and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Bethany’s true specialty, however, is her mastery of multiple styles. She holds a jazz studies degree from Roosevelt University and remains in demand as a jazz, folk, and session singer, performing her original compositions with the band Outertown.
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.
Mezzo-soprano | 2018-19 Season: Youth Choral Festival
Tracie Davis is thrilled to be making her debut this season with Chicago a cappella. 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, as well as organizing and performing in events put on by an organization she co-founded in 2016, the Musical Activists of Chicago.
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Dynamic Duos
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
Now in his fifth season singing with the ensemble, Ace Gangoso is also active in Chicago a cappella’s outreach programs. He has led workshops at the Youth Choral Festival, In-School Residencies, and is now the Program Director for the 2017-2018 High School Intern Ensemble. Ace also sings with the Chicago Symphony and Grant Park Choruses. He works as a musician for the Archdiocese of Chicago, serving as the full-time Director of Music Ministry at St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston. Additionally, Ace is a private voice instructor at Highland Park High School. Ace holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education 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
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 seventh season with Chicago a cappella! Originally from Schiller Park, Illinois, Garrett graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. His career highlights include multiple summer tours in the UK with Chamber Opera Chicago performing Jane Austen's Persuasion, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, a Nederlander Centennial medley performance at Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion and soloist performances with the Elgin, Elmhurst, and Waukegan Symphonies. He has performed with the Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony and Grant Park Choruses, Bella Voce and The William Ferris Chorale. He has also performed in many operas, recitals, cabarets and city wide events. Garrett is a member of the Actors' Equity Association and the American Guild of Musical Artists. You can follow Garrett at www.garrettjohannsen.com.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Dynamic Duos
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; Cantaré
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
Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee
Bass | 2018-19 Season: Holidays; Polish Splendor; Dynamic Duos; Youth Choral Festival; Cantaré; 2019 Gala
Woo Chan (Chaz) Lee is honored and excited to be singing with Chicago a cappella. Born in Korea and raised part-time in the United States, Chaz currently resides in Hyde Park where he studies musicology at the University of Chicago. His research explores the interplay between Romantic aesthetics and neoliberal political economy in contemporary instrumental soundtracks and easy listening. Parallel to his life as an instructor and student at the University, he has performed with a variety of ensembles as a conductor, pianist, percussionist, and vocalist. As a choral musician, Chaz can be heard singing with other Chicago-area groups such as the Grant Park Chorus, the Rockefeller Chapel Choir and Decani, Bella Voce, Schola Antiqua, and the Rookery Men’s Choir. In between dissertation-writing and rehearsals, Chaz can be heard singing along to Disney movies, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and the Backstreet Boys, which form the solid bedrock of his musical education.
Soprano | 2018-19 Season: Polish Splendor
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.
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, 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 will sing a concert version of the Handel operas Semele and Ariodante in 2017 and 2018 respectively. 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 was recently featured as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Beyond the Score Concert, Things Our Fathers Loved. 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 currently sings with Chicago a cappella and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. In 2008, the Chicago Sun Times said she had a ”sparkling, and aggressively sung solo” as soloist in Bruckner’s Psalm 150 with the CSO. Cari received her Bachelor's degree in music education from DePaul University. Since then, she has been working with the 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: Chicago, Chicago; Holidays; Polish Splendor; 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 Chicago she sings with the Grant Park Chorus, Music of the Baroque and Lyric Opera. Internationally, she has performed in over 35 countries as a soloist with the Voices of Baha 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 Baha at Carnegie Hall, RESPECT! The Original Cast Album, and a solo album to be released entitled Songs of the Nightingale with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra.