14th Annual

Our Performers for 2011

Performer Archives

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

Amadeus Choir from Los Robles Children's Choir The Bell Canto Ringers, hand bell choir
The Gold Coast Pipe Band ChannelAire Chorus
The Chordinators, men’s quartet The Conejo Slides, a trombone choir
Craig Mathias, bagpipes Elaine Litster, harpist
First Take, men’s do-wap quartet Gayane Pogosyan, violinist
Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir The Hummingbirds, women’s quartet
John Huntington, baritone Mark & Jennifer Sherwood, vocalists
Michelle Wies, singer Moorpark College Studio Jazz Ensemble
Royal High School Choir The Seraphim Ensemble
Simi Valley Community Children’s Choir Simi Valley Community Choir
Simi Valley Community Youth Choir Simi Valley High School Jazz Choir
Simi Valley High School Vocal Ensemble Sinaloa Middle School Concert Band
Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists Valley View Middle School Vocal Ensemble
Valley View Middle School Concert Strings  

Amadeus Choir from Los Robles Children's Choir

      Los Robles Children's Choir is a music performance and education program serving Ventura and western Los Angeles counties in Southern California. Now in its fifteenth season under the direction Donna Young, there are 125 children singing in one of four choirs (Apprentice, Bel Canto, Amadeus, and Camerata). The singers are ages 6–19. Membership is by audition except for Apprentice Choir which is open to all 6-9 year olds.

Los Robles Childeren's Choir

      Besides presenting their own concerts locally, the various choirs have sung under several well known conductors, including Sir David Willcocks, Vance George, Paul Salamunovich, Henry Leck, David Flood, Z. Randall Stroope, Dr. Hank Dahlman, Darren Dailey, and Janos Czifra. Members of Amadeus Choir appeared on an episode of the popular television series, 7th Heaven. The Choir has sung often with Los Robles Master Chorale. They have performed St. Matthew Passion of J.S. Bach several times with Cantori Domino in Los Angeles. The various choirs have sung in children's choir festivals throughout Southern California and have made numerous appearances at Disneyland. Last May, they once again sang Carmina Burana with the New West Symphony.

      Los Robles Children's Choir has hosted two international choirs: the Mainzer Domchor, a men and boys choir from Mainz, Germany and the Australian Girls Choir. On both occasions, the choirs have given a joint concert and experienced a wonderful cultural exchange between the two groups.

      The choirs have traveled internationally to sing in London, Canterbury, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Mainz. The Amadeus and Camerata Choirs went to New York City in June 2008 to sing in a special invitational concert in Carnegie Hall. Last summer, the choir participated in Sing-A-Mile-High Children's Choir Festival in Denver, Colorado where they had the opportunity to sing under the direction of Sean Ivory and Paul Caldwell. This coming summer, they will travel to Nashville to sing in the Crossroads Children's Choir Festival.

      Los Robles Children's Choir emphasizes the development of musical skills and understanding. Singing is the major focus of the musical experience. We hope this experience will form the foundation of a life-long relationship with music for the singers and their families. No prior musical training is required to begin in this 4-tiered program. The children receive vocal instruction and music theory lessons as a part of their weekly rehearsals.

      Repertoire is selected according to each choir's level of skill and encompasses a wide range of musical styles. While singing everything from classical works to folk song arrangements, the children learn various styles of music as well as many languages.

      The mission of Los Robles Children's Choir is to strive for excellence in choral singing by discovering and developing the artistry in each child.

Donna YoungDonna Young, Artistic Director

      This is Donna's 15th year with the Los Robles Children's Choir. Her professional musical experiences include a decade of touring world-wide in the Roger Wagner Chorale. Besides her role as a vocalist, she was the Assistant to Roger Wagner and Manager of the Chorale. Mrs. Young is the proud recipient of the Encore Award for Excellence in the Arts presented by the City of Thousand Oaks. She is a retired voice teacher and long-time resident of Ventura County.

      Mrs. Young has directed children's choirs in many churches and schools throughout Ventura County and in Colorado. She is a member of the American Choral Directors' Association, Chorus America, the Southern California Vocal Association, and BMI. She has served as a clinician for various children's choir festivals. Mrs. Young is a past member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. She was a Music Education Major at the University of Maryland and has a B.A. in Vocal Music from Pepperdine University where she studied under the University's Distinguished Professor of Choral Music, Dr. Roger Wagner.

      Mrs. Young brings more than her musical talents to the Choir. She has a deep respect and love for children and works diligently to help her singers discover their own inner artistry. She considers her work to be a great blessing that brings much joy to her life.


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

Donna Young      The Bell Canto Ringers are thrilled to return for a fourth season at Simi Community Christmas following their debut performance here in 2008. 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.

The Gold Coast Pipe Band

The Gold Coast Pipe Band      The Camarillo-based Gold Coast Pipe Band is a competitive Grade 4 band that was formed in 1999 by a group of award winning pipers for the purpose of becoming a premier performance band in the Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles areas.

      The band has appeared at numerous events - most notably playing on stage with the Chieftain's during a recent US tour, the wedding of Sandra Bullock and Jesse James in Santa Barbara, on the set of the most recent Ewan McGregor movie 'Beginners' - commencements, St. Patrick's Day celebrations, birthday and anniversary parties, golf tournaments, military, fire and police department functions as well as funerals, parades, fundraisers, car shows and civic affairs. The band recently surprised "Cheers" star John Ratzenberger on his 60th birthday.

      Its members have appeared on TV, radio and movie soundtracks. The Gold Coast Pipe Band proudly wears the Wallace tartan to all of its events! Music selections the band has played over the years incorporate many old-time favorites such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'Scotland the Brave' as well as new tunes that create memorable performances.

The Band is lead by Jack Daly, Pipe Major, Norm Riley, Drum Sergeant and Bill Boetticher, Pipe Sergeant.

Channelaire Chorus

ChannelAire Chorus      For nearly 50 years, the ChannelAire Chorus has been sharing its exciting barbershop sound, performing throughout Ventura County for civic and charitable organizations, private groups, churches, community events and fundraisers.

      ChannelAire Chorus is a group of 50+ women who love to sing and share their passion for music. The chorus encourages women to pursue musical excellence while advancing the uniquely American art form of 4-part a cappella barbershop harmony.

      Members of ChannelAire come from throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas, ages have ranged from 18 to over 80! The group practices on Tuesday nights in Camarillo. The group has traveled and performed around the world, including Carnegie Hall, U.K., Japan and countless other locations.

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.

The Chor'd'inators, men's quartet

Chor'd'inators      The Chor'd'inators - During the Simi Community Christmas Concert of 2009, four members of the Simi Valley Community Choir found that their voices blended 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.

The Conejo Slides, a trombone choir

Art KharnsA trombone choir directed by Art Kharns

      The Conejo Slides return to perform for a second season with the Simi Valley Community Christmas. Their 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.

      Art Kharns graduated from Pacific Union College near the Napa valley 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.

Jim McClintock    Narrator: Jim McClintock

    Jim is known to many from his involvement with the King’s Heralds Quartet, of the Voice of Prophecy international radio broadcast. He sang bass in that organization from 1962 to 1977, performing in over 20 languages and dialects, recording over 25 albums, and traveling and performing worldwide.

    Jim presently directs Ministry of the Cross, a full-time faith ministry featuring musical performances by Jim and his wife Ann. They have provided concerts, revivals, television and radio appearances throughout the United States, Canada , and Latin America, and have produced over 20 albums/CDs in two languages.

    Jim resides in Thousand Oaks, California.

Craig Mathias, bagpipes

Craig Mathais      Craig Mathias of Clan Buchanan has been playing the highland bagpipes since 1999. He performs throughout the year at community events throughout Southern California including Memorial Day observances, dedications and flag raisings. He has closed every evening of the Simi Community Christmas celebration since its inception.

      During the nights of Simi Community Christmas, several pipe tunes will close each evening including Amazing Grace, Going Home and an assortment of traditional Christmas songs. "Piper Craig" will also accompany the choir Saturday night playing "The Water is Wide" (a traditional Welsh tune) as an introduction to "Thou Gracious God."

      Piper Craig will wear traditional 19th century attire including kilts of Clan Buchanan in both modern (reds and yellows) and hunting (greens and blacks) tartans. His clan medallion shows an arm holding the crown of Scotland, signifying the role of Clan Buchanan in saving the Scottish crown in several battles of the 15th through 17th centuries.

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      Since we saw them last, First Take's lead tenor Bruce Gardner has been halfway to the North Pole and back, returning for an encore performance at the 2011 Simi Community Christmas, along with second tenor Brian Gardner, baritone Dan Burdick, and be-boppin' bass Mike Gardner. The quartet enchants audiences young and old with a variety of tunes hearkening back to a magical era of fuzzy dice, soda fountains and hula hoops!

      Last year, First Take delighted Christmas audiences with the debut of The Lion Sleeps at Christmas, a variation of a classic favorite, re-designed by the group especially for the Community Christmas crowd. This year's lineup will include a number of seasonal favorites, presented in the now familiar First Take family-friendly style.

      The group has performed at countless venues, ranging from university concert halls to tiny hospital rooms, all with the goal of leaving a room with more smiles than it started out with.

      Forget the sugar plumbs, kids. Tonight you'll have visions of First Take dancing in your head!

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.

Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir
Directed by Toriann Garner

      Toriann grew up in Agoura Hills. She graduated from the University of Redlands with a Bachelor's of Music degree in Music Education with a Vocal Emphasis as well as a Master's of Arts degree in Education from Pepperdine University. She has been teaching music in grades K-12 since 1997. Ms. Garner started teaching general music in Simi Valley Unified School District in November 2003 at the elementary level, and then added a choral position at the high school level in the same district in February 2004. She was recently re-assigned to Hillside Middle School starting in the fall of 2010, and is thrilled to be there and working with the middle school students.

      There are three choirs at Hillside Middle School and they are the Mixed Choir (beginning), Concert Choir(intermediate), and Choral Ensemble (advanced). All of these groups are outstanding choirs and will be sharing their songs this holiday season throughout the community. The group performing for the this year's Simi Community Christmas will be the Hillside Middle School Mixed Choir.

      The Hillside Middle School Winter Choral and Band Concerts will be held at Hillside Middle School on Tuesday, December 13th (choir), Wednesday, December 14th, and Thursday, December 15th (both band). The concerts are all free! Happy Holidays from the Hillside Middle School Choral Department!

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.

John Huntington, baritone

John Huntington      John Huntington's lifelong study of the human voice is reflected in an enduring career as a singer and actor, as well as more than thirty years of teaching and coaching.

      As one of California's premier musical theatre artists, Mr. Huntington has won acclaim in roles as widely diverse as Bud Frump and Cyrano de Bergerac. His vocal gifts are similarly varied and embrace the operatic, oratorio and concert repertoires, as well as folk, jazz and church music. His singing career began as a highly regarded boy soprano in Gian-Carlo Menotti's Amahl And The Night Visitors, and continues to the present as a respected baritone. A popular recitalist and concert soloist, he has frequented the stage with symphonies, opera companies and choral organizations. He has championed new works by living composers such as Robert Stoddard (visit http://stoddardgladsong.wordpress.com) and revitalized old works by dead ones.

      Mr. Huntington's long list of stage credits includes the National Company of Phantom Of The Opera in San Francisco, the Dons Giovanni, Pasquale, Magnifico (La Cenerentola) and Quixote (Man Of La Mancha). He played the role of Neville Craven in the west coast premier of The Secret Garden, which garnered him a coveted Dramalogue Award. Other roles include Fagin (Oliver), Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Mr. Antrobus (The Skin Of Our Teeth), the Phantom (Phantom) and Starbuck (110 In The Shade). He has played demons in such plays as Peer Gynt, gods in the Greek Tragedies, and even "God" himself in four productions (including the west coast premier) of Stephen Schwartz's hit musical, Children Of Eden and young audiences will recognize him as "Hans" in the popular children's video, Rigoletto.

      A native of Tacoma, Washington, and graduate of Brigham Young University, Mr. Huntington's advanced training continued in New York under the tutelage of noted director and teacher, Tad Danielewski. He has taught singing and acting in New York, Washington, Utah and California, and is currently on the faculty at Saddleback College. He is an award-winning stage and musical director and choral conductor. For several years, he has participated as a director for the largest outdoor historical pageant in the country, The Hill Cumorah Pagent in upstate New York.

      In addition to his work as actor, director, costumer and singer, he operates the John Huntington Studio, for private voice instruction. His students thrive in an environment of enthusiastic exploration of bel canto technique and expressive musicality that embraces every style and branch of singing art. The studio is located in Mission Viejo, California, where he resides with his wife of nearly 35 years.


Mark & Jennifer Sherwood, vocalists

Mark & Jennifer Sherwood      Mark was winning singing competitions as a boy soprano at age 9 throughout Canada. Jennifer grew up competing and performing as a vocalist in numerous bands and vocal groups. It should come as no surprise that it was music that would bring them together. Mark and Jennifer met while performing at the 1984 Worlds Fair in New Orleans. They continued their musical journey together touring and performing Broadway musical reviews all over the world to over 26 countries. Queen Noor at the Jerash Festival in Amman Jordan, as well as Premier Li Peng of the People's Republic of China were just a few of the dignitaries they were privileged to entertain. Featured in the international documentary: "Jerash, A Bridge to Understanding", they also toured the South Pacific and Europe participating in both television and radio broadcasts. After earning her degree in Music, Jennifer and Mark settled in the greater Los Angeles area to raise their family. While in Southern California, they have recorded numerous CD projects for Columbia Records, releasing music in both Japan and Europe. They continue to perform and do studio work throughout the LA area, recently releasing a CD project, entitled "A Spiritual Note."

Michele Wies, singer

Michele Wies      Wies is one of the most pursued and requested vocalists in the So Cal area.

      Wies sings with a passion from the inner soul. She reaches all genres of music, with a sound comparable to Karen Carpenter, with a power equal to Shirley Bassey and tenderness similar to that of Rosemary Clooney. Bob Engemann, formerly of The Lettermen, and Jim Pike, lead vocalist of Reunion, have called her their favorite singer. Marvin Payne, actor, author, songwriter, recording artist and maker of children's media has asked her to record for his music.

      Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Wies has a life long association with vocal music. She has sung for a number of notable civic and musical stage productions and for seven years with the Southern California Mormon Choir and. She writes and has recorded jingles for radio and has appeared with various bands.

She will be a highlight to the Simi Community Christmas.

Moorpark College Studio Jazz Ensemble

Moorpark College Jazz Program      The Moorpark College Jazz Program, under the direction of Brendan McMullin, has established itself as one of the premiere college jazz programs in theVentura and Los Angeles County areas. Their award winning jazz ensembles regularly perform around town for community events, college functions, and school outreach. They also travel abroad every year performing at events such as the Reno Jazz Festival. Jazz greats are regularly invited to give clinics to the students and perform as featured artists with the jazz ensembles. Some of these artists include Bill Watrous, Ed Shaughnessy, and Josh Nelson. This program prepares students, ranging from high school students to college music majors, for the rigors of a university jazz education. Many of these students have successfully transferred to universities such as CSUN, USC, and the Berklee School of Music to further their music studies.

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.

The Seraphim Ensemble
Singers of old and sacred music

Sri SilvaSri Silva, Music Director

      The Seraphim Ensemble is a mixed choral group dedicated to preserving the ancient, sacred music of the Church through historically-informed performances. Comprised of singers of various faith, musical, professional, and educational backgrounds, we seek to enrich our lives by the experience of quality choral repertoire spanning medieval to contemporary eras, hoping to bring this enlivening and contemplative experience to our audiences.

      Sri Silva is a second generation Sri Lankan-American and resident of Los Angeles. He received his Bachelor of Music in vocal arts and conducting at California State University, Northridge and earned his Master of Music in conducting from California State University, Los Angeles where he received a Special Recognition in Graduate Studies award from the music faculty there. Silva has been an early music solo singer as well as a church cantor and choral director for over 15 years. He has studied Gregorian chant with the monks of Solesmes, France, and in Genoa, Italy. Silva continues to keep up with the latest developments in chant research and is also an expert on regional pronunciations of Latin in the choral repertoire.


Simi Valley Community Children's Choir

Sri Silva      Cathy Cheney has long been associated with choirs, having sung in them (school, church and concert choirs) since she was 7 years old. Her choral directing experiences began at age 20 when she was asked to direct the choir at Church. Not an easy task for one who had never directed before. Continuing to accept similar opportunities over the years and taking choral directing courses in colleges, she found her love for choral music grow until realizing it had become her passion…next to her family, of course.

      Cathy also loved being the Music Specialist at Township Elementary School for 15 years and dearly misses working with the children there.

      Married at age 19, Cathy and her sweetheart Don are the parents of 5 children and grandparents of 22. In all the places where they have lived over the past 41 years (Provo, Utah; Vista, Seaside, and Simi Valley, Calif., Oklahoma, and Germany) Cathy has gladly served as Choir Director.

      Directing both the Simi Community Children's and Adult choirs in this event has been a joy to her these last few years; truly experiences for which she is very grateful.

Simi Valley Community Choir

Sri Silva      Cathy Cheney has long been associated with choirs, having sung in them (school, church and concert choirs) since she was 7 years old. Her choral directing experiences began at age 20 when she was asked to direct the choir at Church. Not an easy task for one who had never directed before. Continuing to accept similar opportunities over the years and taking choral directing courses in colleges, she found her love for choral music grow until realizing it had become her passion…next to her family, of course.

      Cathy also loved being the Music Specialist at Township Elementary School for 15 years and dearly misses working with the children there.

      Married at age 19, Cathy and her sweetheart Don are the parents of 5 children and grandparents of 22. In all the places where they have lived over the past 41 years (Provo, Utah; Vista, Seaside, and Simi Valley, Calif., Oklahoma, and Germany) Cathy has gladly served as Choir Director.

      Directing both the Simi Community Children's and Simi Valley Community Choir (Adult) in this event has been a joy to her these last few years; truly experiences for which she is very grateful.

Simi Valley Community Youth Choir

Simi Valley Community Youth Choir       Robert Erickson, director, has a musical background and has organized a Simi Valley Community Youth Choir for the past 4 years. Cory Moberly, accompanist, has been taking piano for 11 years and is currently a senior at Royal High School.

Simi Valley High School Jazz Choir
Directed by Kathi Copans

Simi Valley Community Youth Choir      Simi Valley High School 's Vocal Ensemble is comprised of eighteen women members. The Jazz Choir is slightly larger, and blends both men's and women's voices. Both groups, along with an additional choir are led by director, Kathi Copans. This is Ms. Copans' second year at Simi Valley High School. She previously taught and directed the choir program at Hillside Middle School. Ms. Copans has an extensive musical background, and is schooled in both voice and instrumentals (piano, flute, and clarinet). SVHS choir auditions are held annually in May. Those interested in participating may email Ms. Copans at kcopans@simi.k12.ca.us

Simi Valley High School Vocal Ensemble
Directed by Kathi Copans

Simi Valley Community Youth Choir      Simi Valley High School 's Vocal Ensemble is comprised of eighteen women members. The Jazz Ensemble is slightly larger, and blends both men's and women's voices. Both groups, along with an additional choir are led by director, Kathi Copans. This is Ms. Copans' second year at Simi Valley High School. She previously taught and directed the choir program at Hillside Middle School. Ms. Copans has an extensive musical background, and is schooled in both voice and instrumentals (piano, flute, and clarinet). SVHS choir auditions are held annually in May. Those interested in participating may email Ms. Copans at kcopans@simi.k12.ca.us

Sinaloa Middle School Concert Band

      Corey Nordal has been a middle school music teacher in the Simi Valley Unified School District for the past 33 years. He taught at Sequoia Junior High School for 17 years and is now in his 16th 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 (23) and Christian(19) who attend college at San Diego State University and UC Davis respectively.

Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists

      The Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, formerly known as Concertos with Orchestra Thousand Oaks (CWOTO), was founded in December of 2000 as a California registered non-profit educational organization, with its foremost purpose being to provide exceptional music students in the area with an opportunity to be featured as soloists with a professional orchestra. Because of the resounding success of the first concert, the community interest, and a desire to give as many students as possible this remarkable opportunity, many students, were invited to solo in subsequent concerts, and eventually an audition process was developed to identify potential soloists.

Thousand Oaks Philiharmonic

      When formed by Edward Francis, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic was an idea and a dream which would bring opportunities to exceptional students and other members of the local community. In order to do this, a performing group had to be available, so the orchestra was developed. The accompanying orchestra is made up of professional musicians from around the Southland and its music director and conductor is John Roscigno, head of Orchestral Studies and conductor at California State University, Northridge. The orchestra was formerly conducted by the late Dr. Thomas Osborn, its inaugural music director.

      The Ventura County area is rich in talent, with an unusually high concentration of young artist-level musicians living in our midst. Perhaps it is no coincidence that our schools graduate some of the highest-ranking and well-prepared students in the state, and their level of achievement in other fields naturally mirrors those results.

      There is no secret to the success of a performing artist. Of course, raw talent and natural ability play an important role. However, nothing substitutes for the discipline of practice, professional study, and parental support. If chance allows the combination all these essential elements, in the right doses, the product can be quite stunning. In addition to providing students with this wonderful opportunity, the community also benefits by attending thrilling performances, which can be quite memorable and especially influential to the younger members of the audience.

      In music study, there can be fewer wonderful experiences than being the featured soloist with an orchestra. While there are some possible current opportunities to do this, and the ones that exist are important and quite exciting, the number of opportunities is limited. It is the expressed hope of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic to enhance these opportunities for our students in the greater Ventura County area, considerably.

      Alumni performers and current students in the pre-college conservatory training program called APPASSIONATA, will be selected as soloists for the Simi Community Christmas Showcase.

Valley View Middle School Vocal Ensemble

      Hilary Nordal is currently in her 30th 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 Choral 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.

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

Thousand Oaks Philiharmonic

      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 26 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.

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