Meet the Choir of Saint James
Mary Abbott has been singing with Choir of St. James’ since 1983, the year her eldest daughter started Kindergarten at St. James’ School. She sang with the Adelphian Concert Choir at the University of Puget Sound under the direction of Dr. Bruce Rodgers (a UCLA classmate of Roger Wagner) and has studied voice with Margaret Myles (at UPS) and more recently with Dr. Rich Brunner. Along with her husband, Tom, Mary also currently sings with Cor Cymraeg de California (the Welsh Choir ofSouthern California), Legal Voices, the choral group affiliated with the Los Angeles Lawyers Philharmonic, and various other choral groups as invited from time to time. As a legal assistant, she works for The Wonderful Company in West L.A. She has three daughters – Melah (an 8th grade teacher at New Heights Charter School), Maya (currently working as a nanny, housesitter and dog walker), and Emily (development associate at Pasadena Playhouse) – and two grandchildren, Ani and Jaya. Her husband Tom is an electrical engineer, and is currently in much demand as a tutor. Their home is in the Westchester area of Los Angeles.
A Charleston, South Carolina native, Justin Baker followed the American dream in 2012, making the move to the West to pursue his life-long love for filmmaking after eight years of academic choral directing, high school media education, assistant to Ann Hood, Music Director at Holy Cross on Sullivan’s Island, SC, and organ student of renowned concert organist, Porter Remington.
Mr. Baker earned his Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music Performance and Communications from Horton School of Music at Charleston Southern University touring to places such as Sofia, Bulgaria, Southern England, Edinburgh, Scotland and several choir-in-residence terms at the York Minster with the CSU Concert Singers. Justin later earned a Master of Science degree from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, specializing in Education Media Design and Technology, and most recently earning a Certified Social Media Professional (CSMP) master certification credential.
Before making a home in Los Angeles, Mr. Baker was Organist/Choirmaster at St. John's Chapel in the Carmel/Monterey Bay area. A member of the Choir of St. James' since 2013, Justin continues to perform as a vocalist for several small venues in the LA area. His recent adventures have found him running his own start-up PR and consulting firm, Fuzzy Image Media.
Current projects include envisioning and directing his first feature-length documentary film, “The American Chorister” which reveals the lives and work of choral musicians in America and the church, featuring the members of the Choir of Saint James’. More can be seen at AmericanChorister.com
Baritone Michael Bannett has been singing with the Choir of St. James' since 2009. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he sang with the USC Chamber Singers and USC Opera. Recent operatic roles include Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci with the Celestial Opera Company; Kromow in Lehár 's The Merry Widow, Dancair o in Bizet’s Carmen, and Pish in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado with the Pacific Opera Project; Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival; Sharpless in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera; Betto in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and First Priest in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with USC Opera; and Camero in Conte’s America Tropical with the Definians Project.
Bannett performs frequently with a variety of choral organizations in Southern California, including Los Angeles Master Chorale, Horizon Chamber Singers, de Angelis Vocal Ensemble, the Clarion Singers, LASchola, and the Baroque Music Festival Corona Del Mar.
Hailed as “the model of bel canto clarity and brilliance” by Cleveland Classical, mezzo-soprano Sarah Beaty has a passion for contemporary opera. She sang in the world premiere productions of “Hopscotch” and the Pulitzer Prize finalist opera “Invisible Cities” with LA’s leading avant-garde opera company The Industry, “Prometheus Bound” with the Center for New Performance, and is a founding member of the contemporary chamber ensemble, Blue Streak. She premiered the title role in Clara, a new opera by Victoria Bond about the life of Clara Schumann, on the Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival in NYC’s Symphony Space. Also a specialist in very early music, this season Sarah will be reprising her role as Castitas in Hildegard’s rarely performed “Ordo Virtutum” with Vocatrix, and has been seen as Diana in Cavalli’s “La Calisto.” Other opera roles include Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Maddalena in Rigoletto, Mozart’s Serpetta, Dorabella, Second Lady and Cherubino, Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor, Agnese in Beatrice di Tenda, Flora in La Traviata, Clarina in La cambiale di matrimonio, among others. Sarah has been a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland Orchestra, the Camerata of LA, National Chorale, and has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Disney Concert Hall, Symphony Space, and Avery Fisher Hall. In 2012, she spent 6 months performing in Macao, China, as a featured opera singer at The Venetian. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and regularly sings with Pacific Opera Project, Pacific Chorale, John Alexander Singers, and the de Angelis Ensemble. When she’s not performing, Sarah teaches private voice lessons.
Praised for his "warm, rich voice and impeccable coloratura" (La Marseillaise) Countertenor Scott Belluz brings consummate musicianship and remarkable versatility to his performances of repertoire ranging from 17th century to newly composed works.
Scott has received great acclaim for his "bravura vocal performances" (Now Magazine) in the world premieres of numerous Canadian operatic works as well as his vivid characterizations of principal roles in the standard operatic repertoire of Handel, Monteverdi and Britten with companies such as Chicago Opera Theatre, Pacific Opera Victoria, Tapestry New Opera, Soundstreams and Chants Libres.
A frequent soloist on the oratorio/concert stage, Scott's repertoire runs the gamut from Bach, Handel, Pergolesi and Vivaldi, to more contemporary works by Ades, Cage, Kagel, Schoenberg and PDQ Bach — including recent appearances with the Jacaranda Music Series, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, and the Aradia Baroque Ensemble. Scott performed in 'Salsa Baroque: Music of Latin America and Spain' with Ensemble Caprice, a program which has also been released on CD by the Analekta label.
As a professional chorister, Scott has enjoyed singing with an illustrious array of international ensembles including: La Chapelle de Quebec/Les Violons du Roy, Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal and is thrilled to now be part of the choir at St. James' in the City.
Please visit: www.scottbelluz.com
A native of Puerto Rico, Luisa Cartagena is a freelance flutist and music educator currently based in Los Angeles, CA. Known for her versatility of styles and advocacy for music, Ms. Cartagena runs her own music business called TrioLA providing live music for weddings and private events, performs and tours with flutist Alysa Treber as part of Silver Edges Duo, and performs with and co-manages Sangre Nueva, a salsa band based in Los Angeles. She also runs her private flute studio, and serves as Instrumental Instructor of the St. James Episcopal School. As a mentor and educator, she regularly serves as adjudicator and flute coach for flute competitions and band programs all around the Southern California area. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Music from Berklee College of Music and a Master’s degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
Anna Cave is an American soprano originally from Texas. Her early studies led her to Interlochen Arts Academy and on to a B.M. in Classical Vocal Performance from Mannes College the New School for Music in New York City.
Over the last decade and a half, she has enjoyed a variety of musical opportunities in New York and Los Angeles, recently appearing with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the LA Phil under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel and Grant Gershon for performances of Maher’s Symphony #8 (recorded for Deutsche Grammophon), Beethoven’s Symphony #9, and a world premiere of Yanga by Gabriela Ortiz. During her studies in New York, she was part of a 12-voice professional choir at St. James’ Madison Avenue for a decade, performed as the lead in Orpheus in the Underworld, a workshop by Jonathan Dawe, and can be heard on recordings of Ike Sturm’s Jazz Mass and Alexis Cole’s The Greatest Gift.
Cave is a member of The Choir of St. James in the City and can be heard on their 2018 album, O Beauty Ever Ancient Ever New as well as a recent recording of the music of composer Scott Perkins. She also performs frequently throughout the Los Angeles area with groups such as Ensemble Vocatrix, LA Schola, The Perfect Fifth, the choir of St. John’s Cathedral, and The Clarion Singers - notably during two summer residencies at Canterbury Cathedral. She has also appeared as part of The Golden Bridge since 2016, performing renaissance classics partnered with world premieres by Morten Lauridsen, Dale Trumbore, Julia Adolphe (soloist), Shawn Kirchner, Jasper Randall, Christina Whitten Thomas (soloist), Matthew Brown, Reena Esmail, Ariela Quintana, Melinda Bargreen, Cristian Grases, Nick Strimple, Alex Shapiro and Billy Childs.
In addition to singing at St. James' Episcopal/Anglican Church (Los Angeles), Gerald W. Craft, tenor, is a regular choir "ringer" around LA and Orange County. He is Artistic Director of Hollywood-based LASchola and has sung with the Donald Brinegar Singers, Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble, Chorale Bel Canto, and Cantori Sine Nomine. Gerald has been tenor soloist at the Whittier College Bach Festival, Redondo Beach Baroque Music Festival, and the Hollywood Master Chorale. He is also a founding member of The Clarion Singers. Gerald is a technology director at Occidental College in Los Angeles, from which he earned a Bachelor’s Degree and studied voice with G. G. Prosper.
Tom Croyle was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and started singing in choirs at an early age. After graduating from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, he moved to Los Angeles. He has sung in the Los Angeles Master Chorale with Roger Wagner and Grant Gershon and the Saint Charles Borromeo choir with Paul Salamunovich. He joined the choir of Saint James' in 2010 and is very glad to be a part of the Saint James' family.
Christopher Downard is a baritone from Battle Mountain, Nevada. He received a BM in Music Education and an MM in Choral Conducting from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. While in Utah, Chris sang with many choral ensembles including the BYU Men’s Chorus, the BYU Singers, the Deseret Chamber Singers, and Brevitas. His conducting experience includes time as the assistant conductor of the BYU Women’s Chorus, conductor of the BYU University Chorale, and conductor of the Mapleton Chorale. Currently, Chris teaches Choir, Music Theory, Guitar, and Piano at West Valley High School in Hemet, California. He has been singing at St. James since 2016.
Milena Gligić is a pianist, vocalist and dancer from Belgrade, Serbia. In 2016 she moved to LA as a pianist in the LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Before that, Gligić was active as a recitalist, chamber musician and vocal coach in the Washington D.C. area. She holds a DMA in Collaborative Piano from the University of Maryland. Currently, Gligić is the rehearsal pianist for projects with LA Opera, LA Philharmonic and The Industry. She is studying voice with Renee Sousa. In the summer of 2018 she will join the Oregon Bach Festival professional chorus.
Since 2012, as a core member of Contemporaneous ensemble in NYC, Gligić premiered numerous works in venues such as Roulette, National Sawdust and the Fisher Center for Performing Arts. With the ensemble she did several residencies at universities and performed at the Bang On a Can Marathon.
Ms. Gligić was a Collaborative Piano Fellow at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where she worked intensely with the Vocal Arts Program under the direction of Dawn Upshaw and Kayo Iwama. She was also a Vocal Piano Fellow at Aspen Music Festival and at Music Academy of the West.
Gligić holds a BM in Piano Performance and Specialization in Chamber Music from the University of Arts in Belgrade. She also has one year of MM in Collaborative Piano at Mannes College The New School for Music in NYC. Gligić is the recipient of several major national scholarships in Serbia as well as the winner of numerous prizes in international solo piano and piano duo competitions. Before coming to the United States in 2010, she taught piano and was an accompanist in the music school in Vršac, Serbia. From 2008-2010 she accompanied the Radio and Television of Serbia children’s choir “Kolibri”.
An accomplished singer, Gligić is performing professionally as a soloist and choir member. From 2002 until 2010, she was a member of the prestigious Academic Female Choir Collegium Musicum, led by Darinka Matić-Marović. As their piano soloist and singer she participated in over 400 performances throughout Europe, North and South America and Asia. As a vocal soloist she performed with Contemporaneous, Washington Bach Consort, UMD Wind Ensemble and with the choir of St. James in the City in LA. An experienced Balkan folk dancer, since 2014 she has been performing with the Bulgarian Dance group Zharava in Washington D.C., and now with Horotroptzi in Los Angeles.
Growing up as a chorister in the UK, Andy Griffin has been singing in the Anglican choral tradition for nearly his whole life. Originally studying voice under the tutelage of acclaimed soprano and teacher Elizabeth Cooper, Andy has sung with choirs and ensembles of all sizes and styles including Surrey University Chamber Choir, The Full Monteverdi and Mosaic Chamber Choir and has toured to France on multiple occasions with the London Bach Players.
Andy has competed in music festivals across the South of England and on one occasion landed “Best Male Voice” for a performance of Finzi’s The Phantom. A software engineer by trade, Andy jumped at the opportunity to relocate to the United States and since then has also sung with choirs such as Grace Cathedral Camerata in San Francisco, Lacuna Arts and the Pacific Mozart Ensemble. Andy moved to Southern California in 2015 and considers himself honored and blessed in equal measure to be singing with The Choir of Saint James.
Christina Koh has been singing with Choir of St. James since 1995. She came to Saint James when her husband Aidan joined Saint James Church and School Clergy staff in 1991. She loved singing when she was young and started singing at church choir since her college days.
Christina was born in Korea and moved to the United States in 1986. Recently retired from AT&T where she had worked for 31 years and had a great career, she now enjoys her free time traveling and spending more time with her son. Her husband Aidan is a school chaplain and senior administrator at St. James School. Their son Paul is working at Water Conservation District in Phoenix Arizona.
A member of the Choir since 2007, Megan Malone-Franklin is proud to call St. James’ home. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of Southern California and has performed with several choral ensembles in Orange County and Los Angeles, including Pacific Chorale, the John Alexander Singers, and the Clarion Singers. She has participated in three UK tours as a chorister, singing in many cathedrals and chapels across England.
In addition to singing at St. James’, Megan works for Pacific Symphony's administration team, as well as partnering with her wife, Marlee, to provide doula services and childbirth education to growing families in Orange County (www.herobirthservices.com). Megan and Marlee live with their cocker spaniels in Santa Ana.
A member of the Bass section, George Marks has been involved in music and singing in choirs since an early age. This included singing in children’s choirs in church and elementary school as well as high school. While in college at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, he sang in the College Glee Club and the Trinity College Chapel Choir under the direction of Dr. Clarence Waters. George studied piano from age 9 through high school under Mrs. Jamesetta Jones and daughter, Anna MacDonald (mother of singer and actor, Audra MacDonald). George did take a break from singing to attend medical school at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, but continued his participation in the church attending St. Mary’s Episcopal Church located on the campus of U PENN. When he moved to Los Angeles for Fellowship Training in Cardiology, George was excited and felt privileged to be able to continue singing joining the Choir of St. James’ Church in the fall of 1981. George works for the County of Los Angeles and is a Cardiologist on staff at the Martin Luther King Jr Outpatient Center in South Los Angeles. George feels privileged and blessed to be able to sing with such talented and accomplished singers as we have at St. James’.
Brett McDermid holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. After graduation, Brett spent several years touring in the US and internationally with various choirs. He has performed with The Concordia Choir, Kentucky Opera, Cornerstone Chorale, the Pallas Ensemble and the Cardinal Singers.
Brett currently sings with the Clarion Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LASchola, De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Horizon Chamber Choir, Pacific Bach Ensemble and LA Chamber Singers. He is also a member of the early music ensemble Tesserae, and was recently the solo vocalist in a concert of works for period instruments and basso profundo. In addition, Brett works as a TV and internet voice-over artist.
He is an original member of the male vocal ensemble Chanson who have released four studio albums.
Susie McDermid began singing as a young chorister in her native England, taking part in numerous residencies at the country’s most renowned cathedrals. She studied at the University of London and the Central School of Speech and Drama and graduated with a BA in English and Theatre. She produced and directed several productions both in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before becoming a theatrical agent and eventually moving to Los Angeles.
She joined the Choir of St James in 2009 and took part in the 2010 tour to England. She has sung with several local professional groups including De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Horizon Chamber Choir and LASchola, and also is a guest singer with the choirs of All Saints Beverly Hills and St Wilfrid of York in Huntington Beach. In 2014, Susie worked with renowned British conductor Suzi Digby to create the 16-voice professional ensemble The Golden Bridge. The group, which gives its annual concert series each September in Los Angeles, commissions between four and six new pieces each year from Californian composers and is regularly featured on KUSC.
Susie is a founder member and Artistic Director of The Clarion Singers (www.clarionsingers.com), a Los Angeles-based chamber choir which has completed three UK tours, including two residencies at Canterbury Cathedral.
Susie is currently the Senior Production Manager for the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
He can also be heard as a session vocalist for movies, TV and other media as both a singer and voice-over artist. Michael is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AGMA and is originally from Portland, Oregon.
Max Miller grew up in Phoenix and graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Music an Medieval British History. After ten years of performing early music and musical theater on Broadway in New York City, his love of Disney brought him to LA where he now brings Walt Disney Studios’ films to theaters all around the country. He is grateful to get to still have a fulfilling musical life here at St. James.
From her earliest years, Kara Morgan has been singing and entertaining. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Kara subsequently spent two years in France studying voice at the Conservatoire de Nancy where she was awarded the Médaille d'Or in 2004. In 2005 Kara was selected to join the Maryland Opera Studio where she performed the roles of Sophie in Massenet's Werther, Anne Sexton in Conrad Susa's Transformations and Rose in the World Premiere of John Musto's Later the Same Evening. Her love of both early music and new music has lead her to collaborate with such companies as Washington D.C.'s Opera Lafayette, the Great Noise Ensemble, Chantry, the Aspen Music Festival, the Alliance for New Music-Theater, Ensemble Vocatrix and the Clarion Singers. Beyond the concert hall, Kara is also an actor and comedic performer. In 2012 Kara moved to Los Angeles to perform musical comedy within the heart of the entertainment industry. She currently hosts the Kara Morgan Show and studies comedy improv at the Groundlings Theater and School.
Vickere Murphy has sung at St. James since 2003 and loves participating in the high-quality performances with world-class musicians. When she's not singing, Vickere is a district representative for a member of the California State Legislature. She previously owned a successful freelance copy-editing business that she established while she was at home with her young daughters, and in her early career was an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Vickere grew up in a choral musician family. Her father, James Blackwell, was an organist-choir director in Baltimore, Maryland, and her sister, Kathleen Bird, founded and directs the English Choir Berlin.
Joel has toured nationally and internationally, singing with the The Boston Camerata, The Broken Consort, Bach Collegium San Diego, and The Texas Early Music Project. He has performed at the San Francisco Early Music Society's Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, the Amherst Early Music Festival, and the Boston Early Music Festival.
Outside of early music, Joel sings with other ensembles, including the GRAMMY-nominated ensemble True Concord Voices & Orchestra, and was recently soloist for the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s Oscillations: One Hundred Years and Forever, commissioned by the LA Phil for their centennial season.
Also active in contemporary popular music, Joel has worked with the Artist and DJ Moby as a backup singer, guitarist, and pianist. He is currently completing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Early Music Performance at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music.
Adam Noel has been performing in Southern California for over ten years, and sings in various choral groups throughout Los Angeles. In addition to the choir of St. James, he is currently a member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Clarion Singers, and LASchola. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Hollywood Master Chorale, The Concert Singers, and as a trombonist in Disneyland’s All American College Band. Adam received his BA in music from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with an emphasis in voice and trombone. He currently works for MGM studios in television distribution.
Jae Park is studied Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education at Cal State Long Beach. He has performed in the Chamber Choir, the University Choir, and the Men's Chorus. With the Chamber Choir, he has performed at ACDA Conventions, and won the first prize at the Choir of the World Competition in 2017. He also studied Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California. During his study at the institution, he performed with USC Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers under the direction of Magen Solomon and Jo-Michael Scheibe respectively. Some of the guest conductors he has worked with are Paul Salamunovich and Helmuth Rilling. He also studied voice with Gary Glaze.
Jae currently sings with The Golden Bridge Choir, The Credo Catholic Choir, Choir of St. Therese, The Clarion Singers and the Choir of St. James, for whom he is also the resident cantor.
Jennifer Paz, soprano, is new to St. James, having joined the choir in 2019. Jennifer currently sings with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and teaches piano and voice. Having graduated from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State Long Beach in 2018, Jennifer sang in the top choir for the entirety of her college career and served as soprano section leader for 3 years. During her time as section leader, the Bob Cole Chamber Choir participated in and won the title of Choir of the World in Llangollen, Wales in 2016. Jennifer also sang in Seraphic Fire’s Professional Choral Institute in Aspen, Colorado in 2018.
Recent solos include the soprano solos in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and the Choral Tales Project by Ludwig Tuman: The Happy Man’s Shirt and Lord of the Cranes.
John Peterson has a BA in Oboe Performance and Music Education from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, but his lifelong fascination with the acoustics and mechanics of musical instruments has led him to a career of repairing oboes, rather than playing them.
He has worked at RDG woodwinds in Los Angeles, CA since 1989. Although he has never formally studied musical acoustics, he has actively pursued his interest in the history and physics of the oboe, clarinet, and pipe organ. He has built several instruments, including the oboe he still plays on. Besides repairing, he keeps busy building clarinet barrels and oboe bells, and maintaining his collection of historical oboes.
While John no longer performs much on the oboe, he still maintains an active and rewarding musical life as a choral singer.
Soprano and composer Kathryn Shuman performs regularly as a soloist and an ensemble singer. As an avid explorer of the voice, she is continually finding ways of implementing found techniques in performance – from Baroque and contemporary classical, to opera, experimental, and improvisatory music. Most recently, Kathryn performed her main stage LA Phil solo debut in Meredith Monk’s opera “ATLAS” at Walt Disney Concert Hall, where she was featured in multiple prominent solo roles. Other recent concert solo highlights include Earl Kim’s Where Grief Slumbers, numerous Bach cantatas, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. She has premiered works by John Luther Adams, Henry Mollicone, Rand Steiger, and Carmina Escobar. Shuman has performed with such distinctive organizations as the avant-garde opera company The Industry, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and LA Opera. Shuman’s ecology-inspired original music has been performed at venues and festivals from California to Quebec, Canada.
Kathryn received a MFA degree from California Institute of the Arts, and a Voice Performance BM degree at CSULB. She is also a committed educator on voice faculty at Pasadena City College.
Upcoming notable solo performances include: a leading role in the premiere of Du Yun and Raven Chacon’s opera, Sweetland, with the Industry this coming Spring season (2020); and a soprano solo role in the premier of Juhi Bansal’s opera, We All Look to the Stars, with LA Opera February 2020.
Smith Roethe performs frequently throughout the area with groups such as the Los Angeles Master Chorale, St. James-in-the-City Episcopal Church, Horizon Music Group, Lark Musical Society, Golden Bridge, LA Schola, and has appeared as a soloist with numerous chamber groups in the greater Los Angeles area. Smith Roethe has also sung extensively in Europe, most notably with the Palestrina Ensemble of Munich, appearing frequently at Alterpeterkirche, Heilig Blut Kirche, Damenstiftskirche, and can be heard as the alto soloist for the ensemble’s recording of Palestrina’s Canticum Canticorum (Bayrische Rundfunk, 2012). Other recordings include Verdi's Messa da Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony #8 with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale's Festival of Carols, as well as numerous sacred recordings for Gothic Records. She can be heard in numerous film scores, including Secret Life of Pets 2, Transformers, Jumanji, Wreck-It Ralph 2, Smallfoot, Bumblebee.
She has worked with notable conductors in the U.S. and Europe including Zubin Mehta, Sir András Schiff, Xian Zhang, Lionel Bringuier, Grant Gershon, Bramwell Tovey, Michael Tilson Thomas, Charles Dutoit, and Susanna Mälkki. In 2014, she performed at the American Choral Directors Association regional conference with the Inspiravi Chamber Choir and has also appeared in several opera roles, including Clara in Signor Deluso and Despina in Cosi fan tutte. Smith Roethe appeared as the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and in Fern Hill at the Broad Stage and in Tan Dun's Water Passion at the Ravinia festival. She was featured most recently as the alto soloist in Vaughan Williams' Mass in G.
Amelia Tobiason, soprano, grew up in Washington State and began taking piano and voice lessons at an early age. Amelia moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to attend the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She has performed with the Chamber Opera of USC, Thornton Opera, USC Recital Choir, Horizon Chamber Choir, Sweet Temperament Baroque Ensemble, and on international tours with USC Chamber Singers and the Clarion Singers
Australian composer Joe Twist is a versatile and eclectic musician based in the United States. Straddling both film music and concert music arenas, his music crosses genres ranging ancient vocal music, opera, contemporary orchestral music, jazz, musical theatre and cabaret. Twist has received wide acclaim for his music for film and television, and his concert works are performed frequently by many professional ensembles around the world, including the Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, Victorian Opera, Gondwana Voices, The Song Company, The Australian Voices, Adelaide Chamber Singers, the Southern Cross Soloists, JACK Quartet, Chanticleer, The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge and many others. Credits include original music, arrangements and orchestrations for The Wiggles, (The Wiggles Meet The Orchestra), New York Music Theatre Festival (Clinton: The Musical) and Twist's own album Dancing With Somebody.
Born in Brooklyn, Kristina Valcarce learned about music from her Dad, a guitar player in local rock bands. When she started learning about classical music, she realized that opera singers got the most attention – so she became determined to be one. Her first role was at the age of 21, singing Livio in Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera “Eraclea”. She has since performed with many orchestras and ensembles, including The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pasadena Lyric Opera, Opera of the Foothills, Lyric Opera of Los Angeles, ProVoce, the New Valley Symphony, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church of Glendale’s Cantebury Choir, the Choir of Saint James in the City, and the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company. She recently became a Mom and loves it, despite the face that her school aged daughter is her toughest critic.
Recently Ms. Valcarce sang in Disney Hall; playing the Queen of the Night in the LA Phil Educational Outreach Program’s production of “Mozart’s Birthday Party”.
Ms. Valcarce has also taught and performed with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra’s Educational Outreach Program: TEMPO.
In 2002 Ms. Valcarce helped found Opera of the Foothills. She served on the board of directors, and sang the principal roles of Adela (Adele) in Bat Out of Hell (Die Fledermaus), and Die Königen der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte. She also sang The Queen of the Night with the New Valley Symphony in 2004. In May of 2004 she sang the role of Maguelonne in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon with Lyric Opera of Los Angeles.
Kristina Valcarce began singing with Pasadena Lyric Opera in 1998, first singing in the ensemble and going on to sing principal roles. Her first principal role with the company was Frasquita in Carmen. The following season she sang Die Königen der Nacht in Die Zauberflote, Olympia in The Tales of Hoffman, and the Secretary in a special presentation of Michael Canales’ new opera Color of Vengeance. She also sang Musetta and Zerlina.
Ms. Valcarce has sung in many concerts, recitals and workshops with ProVoce, the highlight being having sung the role of Le Rossignol in their production of L’Enfant et les Sortileges.
In 1997, she received the J. Arthur Myers Sr. and J. Arthur Myers Jr. Award from the Glendale Music Teachers Association. She studies with Dr. Kathleen Roland. She was the soprano section leader and soloist at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church of Glendale for 8 years, where she has sung the soprano solos in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C, Haydn’s Jugendmesse, Haydn’s Stabat Mater, Charpentier’s Petite Messe de Noel, and Pergolesi’s Miserere II. She is enjoying her seventh season as a staff singer at the prestigious choir of Saint James Episcopal Church on Wilshire.
Kristina received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music. Here, she sang the roles of Cathleen in Riders to the Sea, Clara in Signor Deluso and Livio in Eraclea. She won the Irving and Geraldine Schaeffer Award while at Purchase. Immediately afterward she attended the Mannes College of Music, where she received her Masters in Music. Here, she sang the role of Susanna in the first two acts of Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as the Novice and Lay Sister in Suor Angelica.
In past seasons, Ms. Valcarce has sung multiple roles in the Sierra Madre Playhouse’s production of A Christmas Carol Story. She’s also performed with the successful caroling group “The Voices of Christmas.”
Lucy Wegner is a Southern California native and grew up in Topanga Canyon. She has a Master’s degree in voice from CSUN and has sung with a variety of choirs and choruses and conducted church choirs in the Los Angeles area. In 2012, she was thrilled to be part of the choir for Mahler’s ”Symphony of a Thousand” conducted by Gustavo Dudamel with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She joined the choir of St. James in 2013 and is very glad to be a part of the St. James family.
Andrea Zomorodian, a native Seattle soprano, has quickly garnered attention and acclaim regularly singing in Los Angeles, Seattle, Vienna, and London. In 2012, she returned from a year in Vienna, Austria on a Fulbright Fellowship studying voice at Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien. In 2011, she graduated magna cum laude from USC in vocal performance. Her work in L.A. has been focused on oratorio, early, and new music. Apart from the Choir of St. James’, she currently sings with the L.A. Master Chorale, Bach Collegium San Diego, The John Alexander Singers, Golden Bridge Consort, Pacific Chorale, De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, Ensemble Vocatrix, The Clarion Singers, and LA Schola. She has previously sung with The Pacific Bach Project and Horizon Music Group. She has worked with notable conductors in the U.S. and Europe including Sir András Schiff, Lionel Bringuier, Grant Gershon, John Alexander, Juanjo Mena, Christopher Seamen, Bramwell Tovey, Carl St. Clair, Michael Tilson Thomas, Helmuth Rilling, James Conlon, and Gustavo Dudamel.
Recent solo engagements include: Cantata for solo soprano Ich habe genug, BWV 82a with Bach Collegium San Diego, Handel Messiah at The Norris Center for the Performing Arts in Palos Verdes, Brahms Requiem at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, Allegri Miserere Mei, Stanford Magnificat in G at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Haydn Missa in Angustiis (Lord Nelson Mass), Cantata for solo soprano Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, BWV 202 with Bach Collegium San Diego, and Bach Mass in B Minor with Musica Angelica conducted by John Alexander.
Recent highlights include: singing in a post-concert Schubert recital with Sir András Schiff following a performance of Haydn’s Paukenmesse with the LA Philharmonic, performing the lead role, Anima, in a fully staged version of Hildegard von Bingen’s transcendent Ordo Virtutum, premiering the first ever choral opera, The Radio Hour, by Jake Heggie, her soloist debut on Classical KUSC, recording an album of new music with Susan Graham, appeared as a returning soloist to Canterbury Cathedral with the Clarion Singers, and most recently was featured in an upcoming documentary film, The American Chorister, following the lives of professional vocalists and choristers in Los Angeles. Recordings include Verdi Requiem on Deutsche Grammophon as well as The Radio Hour and other Jake Heggie compositions on the Delos label.
Upcoming solo engagements include: Mozart Requiem in Bellingham, Washington in March, a staged concert of Broadway music at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts with the John Alexander Singers, and continued touring performances of Hildegard’s Ordo Virtutum.
For more information, please visit www.andreazomorodian.com