14th Annual

Our Performers for 2010

Performer Archives

Click on any of the links below to learn more about our performers.

Arlene Kole Bel Canto Ringers
Bill Boetticher Channelaire Chorus
Conejo Slides Craig Mathias
Dante Gumucio Edward Francis Piano Studio
Elaine Lister First Take
Gyanne Pogosyan Mary Predmore
Messiah Sing-Along Moorpark College Jazz Combo
Moorpark College Madrigals Once Upon an Opera
Paul Bartlett & John Bowers Royal High Choir
Simi Community Children's Choir Simi Valley Stake Youth Choir
Sinaloa Middle School Concert Band Sinaloa Vocal Ensemble
Tera McGrath The Hummingbirds
The Chordinators Valley View Middle School Concert Strings
Valley View Vocal Ensemble  

Arlene Kole

Arlene Kole      In her relatively short singer songwriter career, Arlene Kole has made a tremendous impact on the singer songwriter scene. In fact, the December 2009 issue of Music Connection Magazine named Arlene in their HOT 100 list of the top live acts in the nation. Art of the Song, the nationally syndicated radio program featured Arlene and her debut album in a one hour show that they say is the most responded to and successful show to date. Viv Nesbitt, co-host, says:

      We simply weren’t prepared for what we received in the mail. Arlene Kole’s debut CD “One Day” stopped us in our tracks. The lyrics, the arrangement and instrumentation are amazing, but it is the voice that grabs your heart with the gentle firmness of an artist, mother, bombshell blonde and says “Listen, I have something to say.” Brilliantly produced by her husband, Bill Kole, supports with elegant production and astounding lyrics. This team is non-stop musicality and heart.”

      One Day chronicles the life of a wife, parent, and the eventual plight of us all; growing older in a society that prizes youth. Most importantly, as the title implies, Arlene sends an inspiring message of hope to those who have given up on their dreams, whatever the reason. The dedication on her record says it all:

      This music is dedicated to women everywhere. To wives, mothers and girls like me...those seeking to redefine themselves while being told that their best years are behind them. To all who have dreamed of “one day...” This is that day This is one day.

      Arlene and Bill have been together for over 30 years and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Relocating to Los Angeles in 1992, Arlene worked 3 jobs and sang sessions, nightclubs and weddings while Bill got their music business up and running. They truly embody the American dream as their hard workh as manifested as a successful production business and commercial studio.

      Arlene Kole graduated the vocal program at the prestigious Grant McEwan College jazz school in Edmonton , Canada . She has sung hundreds of sessions for television, records, and commercials In the late 80’s she had the honor of seeing a composition, penned by herself and husband Bill, performed by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (of Procal Harem fame). Arlene embarked on her solo career in 2006 and her 2008 debut CD has been met with critical acclaim as has her live show. Foundation.

The Bell Canto Ringers, hand bell choir
Directed by, Jodi Ream

Bell Canto Ringers      The Bell Canto Ringers are a handbell choir consisting of eleven musicians from Agoura Hills, Newbury Park, Simi Valley, and Westlake under the direction of Jodi Ream. Following her eight years as a youth vocal and handbell choir director in Santa Monica, Jodi Ream and her sister, Sally Walter, organized The Bell Canto Ringers in 2008 as a tribute to their parents for the support and encouragement of their daughters' musical pursuits. The Bell Canto Ringershave performed throughout Ventura Co. and will be featured performers at the newly remodeled Los Angeles Temple Visitor's Center on December 20th. Handbell music brings a distinctive sound to traditional Christmas carols. Be sure to look and listen for the various techniques used by the ringers to create their unique tone and blend.

Bill Boetticher

Bill Boetticher      Pipe Sergeant Bill Boetticher has been a professional bagpiper for over 23 years and serves the Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles county areas. He is a founding member of the Gold Coast Pipe Band, a competitive pipe and drum band based in Camarillo. His musical credits include performing on stage with the Chieftain's during a recent U.S. tour, the Sandra Bullock & Jesse James wedding, a surprise birthday party for Cheers star John Ratzenberger, the soundtrack for the Academy Award winning "Dead Poet's Society", the London Philharmonic at Abbey Road CD, plus numerous TV and radio appearances and hundreds of public performances throughout central and southern California. Bill is always in demand for weddings, funerals, parties and civic event, please visit his website at www.piperbill.com.

Channelaire Chorus

ChannelAire Chorus

      ChannelAire Chorus is a chapter of Sweet Adelines International, one of the world's largest singing organizations for women. The international membership consists of nearly 25,000 women, all singing in English, and includes choruses in most of the 50 United States as well as Australia, Canada, England, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Sweden, Wales and the Netherlands. Sweet Adelines have performed their unique style of music in a number of popular venues from professional sports stadiums, Olympic ceremonies, with major symphonies, and even on several popular television shows.

ChannelAire Chorus has been sharing its exciting barbershop sound, performing throughout Southern California (Ventura County area) for civic and charitable organizations, private groups, churches, community events, and fundraisers.

Attend a Tuesday night rehearsal, and you'll find 80+ women with energy to burn. Some are true beginners … enthusiastic and hungry for the knowledge and experience that this championship chorus has to offer. Others are seasoned singers … with confidence and lively exuberance that flows down off the risers.

We love to sing for visitors and, of course, are thrilled to meet prospective members! Click here for more specifics on dates/times of our chorus activities.

ChannelAire is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity that was founded on March 20, 1962.

ChannelAire is a registered chapter of Sweet Adelines International, one of the largest singing organizations for women in the world with over 27,000 members.

For more information, visit www.channelaire.org or visit ChannelAire's Facebook page.

Art Kharns and the Conejo Slides

Art Kharns       Art Kharns graduated from Pacific Union College (northern CA, near Napa ) in 1978 with a Music Education degree, with an emphasis in low brass. He taught elementary music for 6 years. Art has also directed a community orchestra and a brass ensemble, has performed with several big bands, with Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, with area community bands, and has played as a featured artist accompanying a dramatic presentation of "God's Trombones" at La Sierra University. He enjoys writing/arranging music and performing on low brass, guitar and like instruments. Art makes his living as a Systems Analyst in the health insurance industry.

      This will be the first performance for The Conejo Slides whose members come from Simi Valley , Camarillo , Agoura, and neighboring communities. We draw from local organizations including the Moorpark Symphony and Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, and the Late Nite Big Band, and numerous community bands, jazz bands, and church organizations.

Craig Mathias, bagpipes

Craig Mathais      Craig Mathias has been playing the highland bagpipes since 2000. He enjoys playing pipes both as a hobby and as in honor of his Scottish heritage. He has played regionally at several Memorial Day, 4th of July and other commemorative gatherings. He convenes two regional Highland Games annually on behalf of Clan Buchanan Society International.

Dante Gamucio

Dante Gamucio      Dante Gumucio, bass-baritone, has recently appeared with Center Stage Opera as Count Monterone in Rigoletto at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles, and with Inland Valley Opera as Peter (Father) in Hansel and Gretel, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Poobah in The Mikado, and Guglielmo in Così Fan Tutte in San Bernardino and Temecula. Mr.Gumucio has also performed with Maestro John DeMain and Opera Pacific in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Under the Stars, Susannah, Die Zauberflöte, La Bohème, Carmen, and Porgy and Bess at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, where he also appeared with Maestro Steven Mercurio in Opera Fusion.

      Mr. Gumucio previously performed with the Saddleback Master Chorale and Concert Singers, including numerous solo appearances. He’s also appeared multiple times as bass soloist for Handel’s Messiah in Orange and Riverside counties, and for Lex de Azevedo's Hosanna with the Anaheim Mormon Chorale. In addition, he has performed leading musical theatre roles, including Joseph in He is Born, Ezra in Journey Home, and Emil de Becque in a concert performance of South Pacific with the Fullerton Symphony Orchestra. He also had the pleasuring of singing with his daughter in Jordan Gumucio and Friends: A Night of Opera and Song for the Orange County Philharmonic Society.

Mr. Gumucio is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists.

Edward Francis Piano Studio

      Edward Francis leads a versatile career in music as a pianist, educator, arts advocate and administrator. He holds degrees in piano performance from California State University, Northridge, and also attended the Aspen Festival & School of Music. He has performed solo recitals and has been a featured guest artist with many symphony orchestras. In addition to his solo work he has performed extensively with two established chamber music groups: the Westlake Chamber Ensemble, and the DeCesare/Francis Piano Duo, on stage, radio and television.

      He maintains a private piano studio of award winning students in Thousand Oaks, California. He currently holds faculty positions at Moorpark College and PepperdineUniversity. A busy clinician and master class teacher, he frequently lectures on a variety of pedagogical subjects, has written and presented several monographs at various conferences, and has given master classes at the Colburn School in LA, UC Riverside, Whittier College, the Art City Music Academy in Utah, for the Sara Compinsky Master Class, the Ventura Music Festival, Pepperdine University and for many MTAC branches. He was named a “Featured Artist-Educator” on the World Wide Web by the Piano Education Page, as well as Piano Forte News.

      His students have performed and won honors in many local, state, national and international competitions. Many have gone on to matriculate and then receive under-graduate and graduate degrees from the most prestigious music schools in the country. The Thousand Oaks Arts Commission presented him with its “Encore Award for Excellence in the Arts,” given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the cultural community of the city. He was presented the 2006 Presidential Scholar in the Arts Teacher Recognition Award by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in June 2006 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington DC.

      He founded and remains executive director of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, a non-profit educational organization, which produces concerts featuring the Philharmonic with exceptional young artists as soloists. He is currently the President of the MTAC Conejo Valley Branch, and served a four-year term as state Vice President for the MTNA-California Assn. of Professional Music Teachers. He is on the artistic committee for the Ventura Music Festival and is also a member of the Education Committee of the New West Symphony. His article on the 2005 International Chopin Competition was published in the professional journal The California Music Teacher.

Elaine Litster, harpist

Elaine Litster      Elaine Litster is an active performer and freelancer. She has played with many orchestras in Southern California, from the Asia American Symphony Orchestra and the American Freedom Orchestra, to the West Coast Symphony and Bakersfield Symphony. Her solo album, The Moonlit Harp, and her harp and flute album, Captured Moments, have been well received. She has appeared on the recording and soundtracks of many projects. Her harp music has brought hundreds of wedding couples down the aisle from secluded affairs (Scott Hamilton-the ice skater and a few friends), to a live wedding performance on "The Bold and the Beautiful, viewed in countries around the world.

      Elaine served on the national board of the American Harp Society (AHS) from 2003-2009. From 2006-2008 she served as 2nd Vice President of the American Harp Society. She is currently on the AHS Foundation Board, serving as secretary. She was president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the AHS from 2000-2002, and 1st vice president 1998-2000. Her chapter was awarded Chapter of the Year at the national convention in 2002.

      For the past 13 years, Elaine has organized and conducted "Harp Extravaganza, "California 's largest "spontaneous" holiday harp ensemble, averaging 25 harpists. From 2000-2008, Elaine taught choir and harp at Centers of Learning (a private junior high/high school). Elaine was invited to present a workshop at the 2005 National ASTA Conference, "Establishing a Harp Program with No Instruments and Little Money." Additionally, in 2005 Elaine presented workshops at the American Harp Society Summer Institute discussing harp ensemble literature and building harp programs in the public schools.

      Formerly from Idaho, Elaine was principal harpist for the Boise Philharmonic and the Idaho Falls Symphony. As Miss Idaho 1983, Elaine received a special award in the Miss America pageant for her harp performance. Elaine has studied harp with DeWayne Fulton, Paul Hurst, Sarah Bullen, and Susie Hussong. She has a Masters degree in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a Bachelors degree in Economics from Brigham Young University . Elaine resides in Simi Valley with her husband Greg and their five children, where she enjoys accompanying for Royal HS choir, and serving as the Justin Elementary PTA president.

First Take, men's do-wap quartet

First Take      Southern California's a-Capella doo wop sensation First Take returns this year to take the stage with seasonal tunes catering to fans of a magical time, an era of tube radio, hoola-hoops and poodle skirts!

      First Take has performed at countless venues, including 2009's Simi Community Christmas, using only their voices to transform audience into a toe-tappin’, finger snappin’ sea of smiles. The group recently emerged from the studio, with their fifties flair evident on their latest release, The Best of the First.

      With first tenor Bruce Gardner, second tenor Brian Gardner, baritone, Dan Burdick, and Mike Gardner in the "basement," First Take’s upbeat presentation and rich harmonies appeal to fans of all ages. The quartet’s vintage microphones and 50's era wardrobe complete the perfect picture.

Look out Santa Claus...after tonight, the kids will be sending their wish lists to First Take!

Gayane Pogosyan, violinist

Gayane Pogosyan      Gayane emigrated from Armenia (former USSR) 41 years ago with her family. She received her music education in Armenia, where she taught violin at a music school. After moving to Los Angeles Gayane did not play violin for 23 years since she was raising her two daughters, working outside the home and learning English.

      29 years ago Ms. Pagosyan lost her sight and decided to pursue a new career and earned BA (summa cum laude) and a Masters in Counseling and Guidance at California Lutheran University. Currently she is working as a Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the blind, helping people in Ventura and LA counties who have visual impairments.

      19 years ago, with her daughter Marina's encouragement, Gayane again picked up the viola and violin and started to perform with Moorpark College/Community Orchestra playing the viola. With the violin she is performing at retirement homes, hospitals and social gatherings.

      Other things Gayane loves to do include ballroom dancing, swimming, listening to books on tape and spending time with her grandchildren, Lauren, Emily and Jake.

Gayane Pogosyan      Marina Pogosyan is a professional musician, educator and composer whose varied musical interests have led to performances in venues ranging from concert halls and houses of worship to major rock venues, recording studios and coffee houses. She is also a much sought-after accompanist for vocalists, choirs and instrumentalists of all genres of music. Ms. Pogosyan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from California State University, Northridge and a Master of Fine Arts degree from California Institute of the Arts.

Mary Predmore

Mary Predmore      Mary Predmore is an active performing musician, teacher, clinician, conductor and advocate for music for everyone. The originator of the recital series, “Flute Salad,” 2009 marks this series’ 17th anniversary. “Flute Salad” was founded to provide performance opportunities for flutists of many ages and abilities and to inspire young flutists. In 2006, Ms. Predmore commissioned two flute choir pieces, one featuring only alto flutes and bass, and one featuring contra and double contrabass flutes with flute choir.

      Ms. Predmore is the principal flute with the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble (www.gcwe.org), she regularly performs with Pipe Dream Flutes (formerly Flauto Badinage), and conducts the NWLA Flute Choir, an advanced reading group in the northern Los Angeles area. She directs two student flute choirs, Flute Loops and Tutti Flutti. Mrs. Predmore has performed at National Flute Association Conventions in Phoenix , Columbus , Atlanta , Las Vegas , San Diego , and Albuquerque ; and at many flute festivals held in Fresno .

      Locally, Ms. Predmore has performed with the Stanley Wind Ensemble, Topanga Symphony, Moorpark Symphony, Royal Oaks Chamber Orchestra, local theater, and with the Los Robles Master Chorale. She performed in the West Coast premiere of Ed Lojeski’s Missa Americana in 2006 and was honored to perform it again Summer 2009 in Vienna , Austria with the Westminister Chamber Orchestra for the International Haydn Festival, including the premiere of Ed Lojeski’s Psalms of the Passover. Pipe Dream Flutes performed a recital concert in Vienna which included the world premiere of Calculated Chaos Phase II composed by George Roumanis, dedicated to Bud Shank.

Messiah Sing-Along

As a treat for all Messiah aficionados, Simi Community Christmas presented a Messiah Sing-Along as the finale to their 4 day event.

Frank Turner      Frank Turner, retired music professor at Santa Monica College, will be the director, and   Peter Ryan, a Masters student at UCLA, will be the organist.  Marilyn Anderson, soprano; Danielle Bond, mezzo soprano; Brian Tanner, tenor; and Matthew Welch, baritone, will be the soloists for the event.

      Frank Turner, acclaimed music educator and conductor, is a professor emeritus at Santa Monica College where he taught for forty-one years. He directed over fifty musical theater and opera productions, including "Once On This Island," which was awarded two performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by the American College Theatre Festival. Frank was a member of the Southern California Mormon Choir, serving as its associate conductor and conductor. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji with study tours from Santa Monica College and with various choirs, bands and orchestras, including the United States Honor Band and Choir, which he founded in l972. He and his wife Karma recently returned from serving a mission in Ghana, West Africa.

Carole Cole      Carol Cole, M.A. holds a Bachelor of Arts in Piano and a Master of Arts in Piano Accompanying, having studied with Gwendolyn Koldofsky through the University of Southern California.    She was the accompanist for the Southern California Mormon Choir from April of 1996 through April of 2008, performing in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany in the summer of 2007, Hollywood Bowl Easter Sunrise Services in 2001 and 2002, a concert tour in England and Wales in the summer of 2001, and performed Handel’s “Messiah” in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in December of 1999.   She has been performing with the Orange County Mormon Choral Organization in Orange County Performing Arts, since it’s beginning in 2006.

      She has recorded four albums of her own compositions and arrangements, with a fifth album in process. Available now are “Footsteps in the Sand,” Keys to the Kingdom,” and “Discovery,” all having received domestic and international exposure through television, radio, and airline in-flight programs. Her Christmas album, “One Magical Christmas” was released in December of 2004 and is accompanied by a book containing these original arrangements and compositions for piano and four-part choir.

      Carol’s history includes having taught music in the public schools, directing several choruses in both Elementary and Junior High School, along with Guitar, General Music, and Music History between the years of 1971 – 1981.

      In addition to accompanying, Carol plays for her Church, wedding receptions and other social, Holiday, and special occasions.   One well-known performance was the annual “Christmas on Temple Hill” concert series that was held each year at the Visitor’s Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Los Angeles, California.

      Carol earned her Doctor of Psychology through sales of her albums, and has her own private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Fountain Valley, California.   She is the former Clinical Director for the New Beginnings Fellowship Center, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Fountain Valley.    

Carole Cole      Marilyn Anderson has long been an active force in the musical environment of Ventura County as a versatile performer, director and educator.

      A member of Moorpark College’s music faculty since 1975, Anderson is the founding director of its long successful Music Theater, having directed over 50 different works from opera, operetta, and musical theater. Students from this program have gone on to scholarships at prestigious universities and conservatories, in addition to contracts with professional companies. She has received the Academic Senate President’s Award and the Outstanding Faculty Award. She has also been a member of the music faculty at California Lutheran University since 1992.

      In community theater, her directing credits include The Desert Song at the Moorpark Melodrama, and music direction at The Theater on High Street (The Man of La Mancha,) and Camarillo Community Theatre (Nunsense, The Wizard of Oz, and Pippin.) She was recently named Champion of the Arts for 2008 by the Theatre on High Street Foundation.

      As a performer, she has created numerous roles in opera and musical theater such as The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Fiona in Brigadoon, and Marian in The Music Man among others. She has numerous appearances in concert both locally and in Europe, and has performance credits in film, television, and recordings.

Carole Cole      Danielle Marcelle Bond is a classically trained mezzo soprano, based in Los Angeles. Her background includes opera, concert work, music theater, stage, film, commercials and session recording. Ms. Bond was recently seen as Carmen in Repertory Opera Company’s Carmen and Flora in Center Stage Opera’s La Traviata. She has had the pleasure this year of singing frequently with CSO, beginning with Siebel in Faust, then Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor and concerts throughout the season. Other recent performances include the world premiere of Stephen Schwartz’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon  (Opera Santa Barbara), concert work with the Bakersfield Symphony and her regular engagements with the Founders Cathedral Choir. Ms. Bond trained at Indiana University and Arizona State University in vocal performance, with a focus on classical and choral performance. She also received a certificate in theatrical performance from National Theater Institute, under the direction of Richard Digby-Day. She now studies with Victoria Hart. For information on future engagements, please visit www.DanielleMarcelleBond.com

Carole Cole      Matthew Welch After a failed audition for the Pomona College Glee Club, Matthew Welch began studying voice at the age of 18 with Los Angeles Opera’s Gregory Geiger. Since graduating in 2009 with a B.A. in History, Matthew has continued to study with Dr. Geiger as well as other prominent musicians such as Niké St. Clair, Paul Floyd, Victoria Kirsch, and Judith Natalucci.

      In addition to his solo work, Matthew has sung in a variety of choirs and smaller ensembles, and can be seen performing in quartets this holiday season with the Charles Dickens Carolers. Matthew currently serves as the Bass section leader and Baritone soloist for La Cañada Congregational Church and can be found performing regularly throughout the greater Los Angeles area.


Carole Cole       Sri Silva is a second generation Sri Lankan and resident of Los Angeles .  He received his BM in vocal arts and conducting at CSUN and was awarded the Margaret West Memorial Scholarship.  Silva received his MM degree in conducting from CSULA under Mr. Don Brinegar and has received Special Recognition in Graduate Studies from the music faculty.  Prior to completing this degree, he had been Director of Sacred Music at St. Rose of Lima Church in Simi Valley from 1999-2009.  Frequently he studies Gregorian Chant with the monks of Solesmes in France , keeping up with the latest developments in chant research, and is an expert in regional Latin pronunciations in the choral repertoire.

Moorpark College Jazz Combo

      Brendan McMullin is an accomplished composer, trombonist, vocalist, conductor, and professor in the Los Angeles area. He was born on December 6th, 1977 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, however he has lived in the Los Angeles area for most of his life. He graduated from Simi Valley High School in 1995 and earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Composition at CSUN and his Master of Arts Degree in Composition at UCLA.

      Recently his composition "Why You Gotta Be Like That (Jazz Overture for Full Orchestra)" was recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic and featured in the album "Masterworks of the New Era, Vol. 12" under the ERM Media label. Recording has begun on an album featuring only his compositions performed by the Kiev Philharmonic, Prague Radio Symphony, and Millennium Symphony also under the ERM Media label. It is scheduled to be released in 2010. He recently arranged for and played trombone on the latin jazz album "Hector Contreras & His Latin Jazz Ensemble" which has received many rave reviews and a great deal of radio play abroad.

      As a performer he has shared the stage with Barry Manilow, Barbara Streisand, and Duffy Jackson to name a few. He has performed onstage at the Academy Awards, at the Hollywood Bowl with the Paul Smith Singers, with the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, and with the San Fernando Valley Symphony amongst many others. He has worked as a secondary school music teacher in the Los Angeles area for over ten years and is currently professor of Jazz Studies, Wind Ensemble, and Trombone at Moorpark College.

The Moorpark College Madrigals

      A native of California , Professor Vail Keck is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities at Moorpark College where she directs the Concert Choir, Vocal Ensemble, Masterworks Chorale, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and the newly formed Moorpark College Madrigals. Most recently, she directed the University Chorus, Chamber Singers, and Opera Chorus at the University of Oklahoma as a choral conducting doctoral student and various similar ensembles at UC Santa Cruz during her time there as a master's student. While pursuing her advanced degrees, Ms. Keck was also chosen to conduct at the Oregon Back Festival, the International Cabrillo Music Festival, as well as direct the renowned Eric Ericson Chamber Choir at the Lund International Choral Festival. In addition to her work with vocal ensembles, Ms. Keck is an accomplished orchestral director as well. Ms. Keck has studied with distinguished conductors such as Helmuth Rilling, Andrew Parrot, Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier and Eric Ericson. Her principal conducting teachers include Dennis Shrock and Nicole Paiment. Along with work at educational institutions, Ms. Keck has held directing positions with several opera and musical theater companies, two large Bay Area churches, and assisted the vocal music program at Gilroy High School .

      The Moorpark College Madrigals is the newest vocal ensemble in the large choral program at Moorpark College. Created this September, at the request of several of its singers, the ensemble was formed by members of the elite, auditioned choir, Vocal Ensemble. The Moorpark College Madrigals meets once-a-week, outside of regular class time, in pursuit of rehearsing and learning more about early music and works for the small choir. Many of their repertoire choices come from themembers themselves. They are pleased to perform for this event this evening.

Once Upon an Opera

Virginia Landis Stewart      Virginia Landis Stewart founded ONCE UPON AN OPERA in 2008 with the mission to ignite a passion in children for classical music and to promote their intellectual development through the literary arts.

      A long-time resident of Los Angeles, Virginia is originally from Adrian, Michigan and attended Interlochen Arts Academy and the University of Michigan School of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance (opera). She has toured Europe playing the cello and performed in a series of concerts throughout Europe as a vocal soloist alongside world-reknown organist Marilyn Mason. In New York City, Virginia premiered several leading roles in several Off-Broadway musicals and in Los Angeles she has sung lead operatic roles with Lyric Opera of Los Angeles Casa Italiana Opera Company, Repertory Opera of LA, and El Dorado Opera.

      From January 1995-2006 she worked in the Hollywood film industry in post production for Universal Studios. During this time she developed a series of educational theatrical presentations for the Los Angeles County and Tampa, Florida schools with her sister, Elizabeth Stewart. Education, music and autism-related causes have always been close to her heart as evidenced by her lifelong history of volunteering at hospitals, churches and organizations serving children and adults with special needs. Autism was an ever present reality of her childhood as she helped care for her sister afflicted with the disorder. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors of Rockwood Farm, a non-profit rural enrichment and living option for adults with autism.

      Virginia is the proud mother of five daughters and amidst the chaos, she continues her work with non-profit and special needs service organizations while working to help children gain exposure to and develop interest in the Arts.

Paul Bartlett and John Bowers

      Paul Bartlett is a local actor and musician who loves the stage. His recent credits include the broadway shows; Grapes of Wrath, Jekyl and Hyde, Ragtime, The Mystery of Edmond Drood, Bye Bye Birdie, Christmas Carol, and Songs from the Tall Grass. He is currently performing in Annie at the Simi Cultural Arts Center. When he is not performing, He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, camping and trout fishing. Paul would like to thank Linda Smith for giving him the opportunity to share his gift with the community, and Cindy Wight for unselfishly providing her talent on the piano. He would like to wish everyone in the world a Merry Christmas.

      John McCool Bowers is currently starring as Daddy Warbucks in Annie at the SVCAC. He recently played Aaron Fox in Curtains, and prior to that, Pellinore in Camelot. The high point of John’s theatrical career was touring the country from 1982-84 with National Broadway Touring Company of Evita. After a short break (about 25 years) John returned to the stage in 2009 in the SVCAC production of The Producers, in which he portrayed Franz Liebkin, and then took on the role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. He followed that with the role of Father in Children of Eden and then was named Governor for the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. John also appeared in the Ventura County Gilbert & Sullivan Repertory Company’s production of Princess Ida as King Hildebrand. During the break from his theatrical career, John settled down, married his beautiful wife Barbara and graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine School of Law in 1991. John currently practices law in Westlake Village with Manfredi Levine. John was honored last season with the Artist of the year from Simi Valley Cultural Arts Foundation.

Royal High School Choir

Bonnie Graeve      Bonnie Graeve has been teaching choral music for the past 34 years. She is currently teaching at Royal High School in Simi Valley, CA where she directs five choirs and teaches piano. Her teaching career includes experience at the Elementary, Junior High, Secondary, Church and Community College settings. Her choral groups and jazz ensembles have received numerous awards and honors having performed at festivals throughout California, the United States and Canada. In 2006, Royal High School received the "Downbeat" award for outstanding high school vocal jazz ensemble in the United States.

      Mrs. Graeve is a graduate of Northern State University with degrees in instrumental and vocal music education. She received an MA from Azusa Pacific University in Educational Administration.

      Mrs. Graeve's choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Orchestral Hall, The National Cathedral, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Walt Disney Concert Hall as well as Disneyland and SCVA choral workshops. Bonnie is a past board member of the Southern California Vocal Association and the California American Choral Directors Association; having served as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Jazz and Show Choirs for each organization. During this tenure, Bonnie started the SCVA Vocal Jazz Workshop and the SCVA Show Choir Festival. Bonnie has also taught on staff at the Idyllwild Arts Summer Music Camp as well as presented interest sessions at ECCO summer music workshop, MENC, SCVA and reading sessions for ACDA. Bonnie received the "Outstanding Educator . Award" at the 2008 Annual Spotlight Awards. Mrs. Graeve is a member of The International Association of Jazz Educators, Technology Institute for Music Educators, American Choral Directors Association and Southern California Vocal Association. She lives with her husband Joe, and her daughter, Lauren, in Simi Valley.

Simi Valley Community Children's Choir

Catherine Cheney      Catherine Cheney has served as a Choir Director for her Church many times in many places (Southern and Northern California, Utah, Oklahoma, Germany) over the past 39 years, and has served as Children's Music Director similarly. Having sung in school, church and community choirs since age 7, Mrs. Cheney has a special love for choral music whether singing or directing. Another favorite musical pastime of hers has been teaching and performing with the children of Township Elementary School where she has been the Music Specialist since 1994. Now she has limited her teaching to the Third grade, but loves going each week to teach songs about Native Americans, Cowboys, and Pioneers culminating with a wonderful program in the spring to include 18 songs and a square dance which she teaches as well.

      Mrs. Cheney is currently serving as the Music Chairwoman for the Simi Valley Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she is preparing an adult choir of 50+ voices for their annual Choir Christmas Concert to be performed on Dec. 6 at 7:00pm. She is also busily preparing a group of 30+ talented children between the ages of 6 and 12 years old for their first annual Children's Choir Concert to be presented Dec. 5 and 9.

      "Music has always touched my soul, and I can tell by the faces of the singers in both choirs I am privileged to conduct, that music fills their souls as well."

Plato put it very well when he coined the following:

      "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

Sandra Nielson

      Sandra has loved music from her earliest years. Her mother, an accomplished accompanist, imbued her daughter with that love; and when Sandra was ready to learn to play the piano, her mother became her first teacher. Sandra was raised in Utah and attended Utah State University. After living on the East Coast and in the Mid-west, she and her husband made their home in Simi Valley, where they reared their five children.

      Deriving deep satisfaction from helping children develop musically, Sandra has played for elementary, middle, and high school choirs and soloists at music festivals and concerts. She also enjoys accompanying community choral groups and soloists. Additionally, Sandra plays for her Church choir and presently serves as the Children's Choir accompanist. She is particularly grateful for this opportunity. "Hearing the sweet, angelic voices of the children singing about the Savior has a profound effect on me. I doubt any form of music could be more pure or more beautiful," says Sandra. 

Cindy WightCindy Wight, accompanist

Cindy started piano lessons at age 6 and began accompanying when she was 12.

      Cindy grew up in Sun River, Montana and has attended both Ricks College and BYU-Provo.  She and husband Darrell have lived in Simi Valley for 23 y ears and are parents to 8 children.  Cindy is happy to be an accompanist, as well as a friend and fan of Paul Bartlett.  She is also grateful for the chance to work with and learn from Cathy Cheney and all the other great friends in the Simi Valley Stake Choir.

Simi Valley Stake Youth Choir
Robert Erickson, director and Kaleb Erickson, accompanist

      In August of 2008 Linda Smith asked Robert Erickson to organize a youth choir to perform during the Simi Community Christmas Celebration. This will now be their third season to perform for this annual event.  The   choir of youth – ages 12 to 18 years old - has been practicing since August in preparation for this performance. Conductor Robert Erickson comes from a rich musical background and has led various youth choirs over the last decade. This choir is made up of youth from many different Simi Valley Schools. 

Our accompanist is Kaleb Erickson, who  has been studying piano for 10 years.  

These youth have spent many hours preparing for this program. Our music celebrates the sacred story of Christ’s birth and in addition we sing a few fun songs to share the joy of the season.

Sinaloa Middle School Concert Band

      Corey Nordal has been a middle school music teacher in the Simi Valley Unified School District for the past 32 years. He taught at Sequoia Junior High School for 17 years and is now in his 15th year at Sinaloa Middle School. He has directed Concert Band, Intermediate Band, Beginning Band, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestra, Choir and Drum Line during his career. 

      Mr. Nordal is originally from Hemet, California and was a product of their fine music program. He was selected the Outstanding Jazz Ensemble Musician in 1972. His undergraduate work was done at the University of Redlands where he was awarded the Outstanding Performance Graduate in 1977. Mr. Nordal’s Teaching Credential was earned at C.S.U.N. in 1979. The same year, he began teaching music in Simi Valley.

      Mr. Nordal has been fortunate to work with many talented and wonderful students, parents and teachers during his career. With their tremendous support, the Sequoia and Sinaloa performing ensembles have garnered over 100 Superior performance awards at a variety of music festivals. In 1996, the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association selected Mr. Nordal as the Ventura County Music Teacher of the Year. In 2001, the Sinaloa Middle School Concert Band was selected to perform at the 2002 California Band Director’s Association State conference. Mr. Nordal currently is a festival judge for SCSBOA and an active clinician and honor group conductor. He has taught Woodwinds Methodology at CSUN, directed the Camarillo Community Band, and performed for 12 years with the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble. His wife, Hilary teaches vocal music at Valley View Middle School. They have two sons, Colin(22) and Christian(18) who attend college at San Diego State University and UC Davis respectively.  

Sinaloa Vocal Ensemble

      Virginia Starling received her B.A. in Music from CSUN and her Teaching Credential at CLU. She is enjoying her third year of teaching Choir at Sinaloa Middle School. Mrs. Starling is an accomplished violinist and guitarist. She has received many awards for her vocal performances as well songwriting. Mrs. Starling was a member of High Hills, an all female bluegrass band,  the groups albums can be heard on iTunes. 

Tara McGrath

      Tara McGrath is a graduate of the Hartt College of Music where she received dual Bachelors of Music degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Management. A recipient of the Hartt Vocal Talent Scholarship and a Vocal Honors award winner, Tara has performed with The West Hartford Men’s Chorale, The Simbsury Light Opera Company, The Ventura County Gilbert and Sullivan Repertory Company, The Nevada State Opera Company, The Los Angeles Doctor’s Symphony and The Cypreco Greek Theatrical Society. She has worked in children’s theater as a Stage Manager and the go-to “bad guy” with Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, NY.  Cabaret appearances include shows with The SpotLight Cabaret in Los Angeles and in New York at Don’t Tell Mama and Upstairs at Rose’s Turn for which she co-produced and sang in the cabaret show One For The Road. She had the privilege of the sharing the stage with Dick Van Dyke and Ed Begley, Jr. when she performed for the Los Angeles Midnight Mission Golden Hearts Award Ceremony in 2008.  

      Tara is a 2009 Geoffrey Award nominee for her work as Lily Craven in the Morgan-Wixson Theatre’s production of The Secret Garden.  Other favorite roles include Frasquita in Carmen, Madamemoiselle Silberklang in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, Mary Turner in Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing, Miss Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls and the title role of Princess Ida in the Gilbert and Sullivan opera.  In 2008, Tara made her film debut singing very well-blended back-up behind Zach Galifianakis in the hit comedy, The Hangover.  Tara is a voice student of Thomas Shepard and hopes to continue her vocal studies at the graduate level in the Fall of 2011.

The Hummingbirds, women's quartet

      Beginning last year as four women who enjoyed singing for church, this vocal group continues to make music together. This year's members include Jill Hodges, Rachel Marler, Becky Garrett, Courtney Troxel, and Marianne Woolf. Each member has either studied, performed, or taught singing. While everyday life of kids, jobs, family, and callings keep them busy, they sure love having a reason to come together and make music.

The Chor'd'inators, men's quartet

Chor'd'inators      The former tenor section of the Simi Valley California Stake Choir. During the Christmas Concert of 2009 they found that their voices could blend beautifully. Singing for the fun and enjoyment of it is the sole motivation for this group. This Barbershop-style quartet is steeped in musical talent and each member brings his own uniqueness to the group.The Chor'd'inators consist of Ken Carbine belting out as the Lead, Steve Ganowsky stretching for the high notes as the Tenor, Del Steele harmonizing as the Baritone, and Ryan Page booming out as the Bass of the group. We hope you enjoy our interpretation of some Christmas classics.

Valley View Middle School Concert Strings
Mitch Schuster, Instrumental Music Director

      Mitch Schuster is the Instrumental Music Director at Valley View Middle School in Simi Valley, California. Valley View has enjoyed a long tradition for outstanding music programs and Mr. Schuster’s String and Band ensembles have been receiving “Unanimous Superior” festival ratings for the past 24 years. Mr. Schuster comes from a musical family. His father John Schuster and his mother Hazel Schuster were respected music educators in the Bay Area where Mr. Schuster grew up. His primary instrument is trumpet but he also plays piano to accompany his students in class. Graduated from Petaluma High School in 1975, received his A.A. from Santa Rosa JC in 1977 and after a time of professional “gigging” he completed his Bachelor’s in Music with honors from CSUN in 1983. Mr. Schuster is now a well known and respected music educator in Southern California. He is a long time member of SCSBOA (Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association) where he has been a festival adjudicator for the past 15 years. He was voted “Best Music Teacher in Simi Valley” in the Ventura County Star’s People’s Choice Awards in 1995. He was the recipient of the Lew Roth “Teacher of the Year” for the Simi Valley Unified School District in 2008.

      Mr. Schuster has been married to his wife, Vicki for the past 23 years and they make their home in Simi Valley. They have four children, David 21, currently serving as a US Marine in Afghanistan, Amy 19 a college student at Moorpark College, Anna 17 a high school senior and violist at Simi High and Joshua 15 a freshman at Simi High who plays quarterback in the football program.

Valley View Vocal Ensemble

      Hilary Nordal is currently in her 29th year of teaching choral music in the Simi Valley Unified School District. Mrs. Nordal started her musical career at age 4 when she started playing the piano. Having won numerous piano competitions by the age of 6, music was a natural choice as career. Mrs. Nordal received her Bachelor Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Redlands, her Masters in Piano Performance at CSUN and her teaching credential from CLU .

Mrs. Nordal’s vocal groups at Sequioa Jr. High and Valley Middle School have been awarded numerous Superior Performance awards at variety of Chora l Festivals and Competitions. Her top group, the Vocal Ensemble is a yearly recipient of the Choral Musical Excellence Award at the Central Coast Choir Festival held at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. With over 100 participating choirs, less than 5% of the groups garner this accolade.

Mrs. Nordal enjoys a full and varied palette of activities and hobbies including cooking, exercising, reading, knitting and taking care of her 3 boys (Colin, Christian and husband Corey.) She has also played the organ in churches since the age of 12.

Kathy Crose will be accompanying the Vocal Ensemble ensemble.

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