12th Annual

Our Performers for 2013

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

Bel Canto Choir from Los Robles Children's Choir Bell Canto Ringers, Handbell Choir
ChannelAire Women's Choir Craig Mathias, Bagpipes
Elaine Litster & Teri Parker, Harp & Violin Flute & Piano, Mary Predmore and Joan Luke
Flute Loops Flute Ensemble, Students of Mary Predmore Friday String Quartet
Gerald Michaelson M.D., Baritone Soloist Gold Coast Pipe Band, Bagpipes
Hillside Middle School Choir Kathe Arnone, soulful folk vocalist
Leslie Frank, Organist Moorpark College Jazz Band
Royal High School Choir Santa Susana Elementary School Chorus
Santa Susana High School Choir Santa Susana High School Orchestra
Serendipity Dance Group Simi Valley Community Choir
Simi Valley High School Jazz Combo Soloists from the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory
St. Rose of Lima, Choir St. Rose of Lima, Jr. Choir
Susanne Shisley, Pianist Tamali'is, Polynesian Dancers
Valley View Middle School Concert Strings Young Ringers Quartet, Handbell Choir


 
Bel Canto Choir, from Los Robles Children's Choir

Bel Canto Choir

      LRCC’s roster includes more than 115 children ages 6-18 from over 45 schools across Ventura County in four choirs. All four of our ensembles assist children in developing their vocal, aural, musical and choral skills. LRCC’s rigorous training program includes weekly rehearsals where vocal technique, stage presence, musicianship skills, and teamwork are regularly taught. Now celebrating its 17th season, LRCC, under Artistic Director Edward Rouse, is recognized for its choral artistry and excellent musicianship. Bel Canto, the beginning treble choir of Los Robles Children's Choir, is comprised of approximately 40 children ages 8-14. These singers are chosen from auditions held in August and December each year. This beginning-level choir, under the direction of Dana Rouse, is a program in which the basics of vocal production and musicianship are presented in an age-appropriate fashion. The emphasis is on mastery of basic theory and vocal/choral technique. The repertoire covers a variety of traditional literature that is unison or two-part. Our choir is accompanied by Amy Komie


 
Bell Canto Ringers, Handbell Choir

Bell Canto Ringers      The Bell Canto Ringers are thrilled to return for a sixth season at Simi Community Christmas. The Bell Canto Ringers are a handbell choir consisting of 11 musicians from Agoura Hills, Newbury Park, Simi Valley, and Westlake under the direction of Jodi Ream. Following her eight years as a youth 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 Ringers have performed throughout Ventura County and will be featured performers at the Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center on December 16th. 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.


 
ChannelAire Chorus

ChannelAire

      The International award winning ChannelAire Chorus, shares it's exciting barbershop sound with a show of holiday music for the whole family. For more than 50 years the chorus has been performing though out the Ventura Coast area for civic and charitable organizations, churches, private groups, community events and fund raisers. ChannelAire loves to sing a capella barbershop and welcomes all women who love to sing. Rehearsals are every Tuesday - 7:00-10:00p, 340 Mobile Avenue, Camarillo, CA 93010.

For further informsation: www.channelaire.org, 805-247-1990 or email: contact@ChannelAire.org


 
Craig Mathias, Bagpipes

Craig Mathias      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 & Teri Parker
Harp & Violin

      Elaine and Terri have played together for many years. They have played for numerous weddings and events throughout Southern California, including concerts on Temple Hill. The past month has found them making beautiful music together in Palm Springs and Orange County. You can find their music on several recordings with the Elegant Music Label.

Teri Parker      Terri started violin lessons at the age of 5. She played in a act with her mother from the age of 10-20. She has played in several area orchestras including- Burbank Symphony, Debut Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Pasadena Pops and California Philharmonic. Terri has played many weddings over the years. She played for Ronald Reagen at a private party, and has played concerts with Dianna Warwick, Tony Bennett, Burt Bacherach, Rita Morena and others. However, her favorite place to play is at her home church in Burbank.


Elane Litster      Elaine Litster performs and freelances throughout Southern California. She has played with many orchestras, including the Asia American Symphony Orchestra, the American Freedom Orchestra, the West Coast Symphony, the New Valley Symphony, and the Boise Philharmonic. For the past 16 years Elaine has organized and conducted “Harp Extravaganza,” California’s largest “spontaneous” holiday harp ensemble, averaging 25 harpists. Television appearances have included Mad Men, the Bold and the Beautiful, and the Supreme Master telethon. Elaine's solo album, has been well received. As Miss Idaho, Elaine received a special award in the Miss America pageant for her harp performance. She holds a Bachelors degrees from BYU and UCLA. Elaine resides in Simi Valley with her husband Greg and their five children.


 
Flute & Piano
Mary Predmore and Joan Luke

Mary Predmore      Mary Predmore is an active performing musician, teacher, clinician, conductor and advocate for music for everyone.  She is the founder of the recital series, “Flute Salad,” which began in 1992 to provide performance opportunities for flutists of many ages.  Mary is also a Certified Music Practitioner, having completed the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP).   As a CMP, Mary plays therapeutic music one-on-one at the bedside.  Mary believes in the power of music to soothe the soul and as a vehicle to teach life skills to our children.  Mary is principal flute with the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, performs in Pipe Dream Flutes and with many local symphony orchestras.  Mary performed with the Haydn Festival Orchestra in Vienna, Austria; with the Global Community Orchestra for Salute to Valor on the USS Missouri for our military in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and with Pipe Dream Flutes at the 2013 National Flute Convention in New Orleans.  She coordinated her 4th annual Alzheimer’s Benefit Concert this fall.  Mary teaches privately in Ventura County.

      Joan Luke was born in Iowa, but grew up in California. She lived in San Diego for 50 years and taught school there. Her love of music began at age 7 with the gift of Piano lessons from her parents, two years later she went on to tackle the organ. While in High School Joan took up the Viola and played this instrument through College. She has accompanied endless soloists throughout the years, adding her style of music to their voices.


 
Flute Loops Flute Ensemble
Students of Mary Predmore

Flute Loops

      This outstanding Flute Ensemble, Directed by Mary Predmore, has High School students from all over the Ventura County Area. These young students are some of the best woodwind performers to be found and must audition privately for this privilege. These High School age participants in the Flute Loops Flute Ensemble are: Marcus & Matthew Martin, Giuliana Petrocelli, Justin Thai, and Brenda Zhao. This group will be expanding to a full flute choir in 2014.


 
Friday String Quartet

Friday String Quartet      The Friday String Quartet was formed almost three years ago as a group of musicians who enjoyed the dynamics of a string quartet and each other’s company.

      Mary Ann Marx, first violin, played for the California Lutheran University Symphony for 30 years. She is currently playing with the Sedalia Ragtime Orchestra of Thousand Oaks and the Interlude Quartet.

      George Fraser, second violin, plays with the Happiness Strings Quartet of Camarillo, and the Simi Valley Senior Strings.  Additionally, he plays cello in the Silver Strings of Thousand Oaks and, in the past, he played cello in the Pacific Pearl Symphony Orchestra and the Moorpark Symphony and Community Orchestras.

      Stuart Thomson, viola, returned to the instrument after retiring. He has played with the Silver Strings of Thousand Oaks, the Moorpark Community Orchestra, the Center String Quartet, and the Simi Valley Senior Strings.

      Carolyn Linhart, cello, has served the community for many years as church organist, piano accompanist, and violinist with the former Conejo Symphony.  A new-found love affair with the cello has found her playing with several local string ensembles, and she especially enjoys collaboration with The Friday String Quartet.


 
Gerald Michaelson M.D.
Baritone Soloist

Gerald Michaelson M.D.      Dr. Gerald Michaelson is a baritone soloist from Simi Valley. He sang in the title role for the Reno, Nevada stake production of "Moroni" in the 1970's. More recently he was featured in a major supporting role in the Simi Valley production "Promised Valley" . He is a member of the Stake Choir and local Simi Third Ward choir in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He has also performed solos by request locally. He is a physician who works at MPTF (the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital and Clinic) in Woodland Hills where he is known as the "singing doctor". He is happily married for 44 years. He and his wife, Linda, are the proud grandparents of 23 grandchildren.

Cindy Wight
Pianist Accompanist

A native of Montana, Cindy has lived in Simi Valley since 1988. She has enjoyed many opportunities to work with soloists and choirs, and this year will be accompanying baritone Gerald Michaelson as well as the Simi Community Choir and Simi Community Children's Choir. She and husband Darrell have eight children and two grandchildren.


 
Gold Coast Pipe Band
Bagpipes

Gold Coast Pipe Band      The Camarillo-based Gold Coast Pipe Band is a competitive pipe band that was formed by a group of award winning pipers to encourage and educate band members and the public in the finest tradition of Scottish Highland music in the Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles areas.

      The band performs throughout Southern California at many events from St. Patrick's Day, commencements, birthday and anniversary parties and golf tournaments to fire and police functions. They regularly perform on stage with the world famous Chieftains during their US tours. Some of their more notable appearances include the wedding of Sandra Bullock and Jesse James and the soundtrack of Robin Williams’ movie “The Dead Poet’s Society’. The band recently surprised "Cheers" star John Ratzenberger on his 60th birthday and have appeared on numerous TV, radio and CD recordings. Pipe Major Jack Daly and Drum Sergeant Norm Riley lead the Gold Coast Pipe Band who proudly wear the Wallace tartan.

      Contact the Gold Coast Pipe band on their website: www.goldcoastpipeband.com or call 805-484-7570 for information or bookings. New members are always welcome.

Gold Coast Pipe Band


 
Hillside Middle School Choir

      Toriann Garner has been a choir director for the Simi Valley Unified School District since February 2004. This is her third year at Hillside Middle School and is having a great time with the middle school students. There are three choirs, including a Glee Club, at Hillside Middle School, and all three choirs are award-winning choirs. The beginning choir, Mixed Choir, is comprised of 6th and 7th grade students. This is the choir that will be performing for the Simi Community Christmas.


 
Kathe Arnone
Soulful folk vocalist

Kathe Arnone      Kathe Arnone has been singing most of her life. As a singer, songwriter and performer, Kathe's soulful voice reaches her audience as if having a one-on-one conversation with each listener. "I've loved to sing for as long as I can remember". I feel music is such a healer; so powerful and magical... For me, there is nothing else like it"....


 
Leslie Frank
Organist

Leslie Frank      Leslie serves as the organist and choir accompanist for the Simi Valley United Methodist Church. She began studying piano at age 6 and enjoys all (well.. just about all) genres of music. Her passion for the education of young people led to a career in public education spanning over 30 years.  Here in Simi Valley, she was the Principal of Simi Elementary School, Hollow Hills Fundamental School and Sinaloa Middle School before retiring in 2011.


 
Moorpark College Jazz Band

Moorpark College Jazz Band

Brendan McMullin      The Moorpark College Jazz Program, under the direction of Brendan McMullin, has established itself as one of the premiere college jazz programs in the Ventura 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, Josh Nelson, Bob McChesney, Bijon Watson, Ira Nepus, Karl Hunter (from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy), and Jennifer York. 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, UCLA, USC, and the Berklee School of Music to further their music studies.


 
Royal High School Choir

Moorpark College Jazz Band

      The RHS Choirs have a long history of excellence and success. The students and director take great pride in creating an inspiring performance; whether it be classical, jazz or popular music. Students at RHS have excelled in all three areas of singing. Classically, the choirs have twice performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, (we opened a concert performance in 2007) Orchestral Hall in Chicago, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D. C. and Disney Hall and Dorothy Chandler Hall in Los Angeles. The Vocal Jazz Ensemble was chosen as the top high school vocal jazz ensemble in the nation for the year 2005 (Downbeat Award) and as the 1st runner-up in in the nation in 2010 (Downbeat Award). This ensemble placed first at the Fullerton Jazz Festival (the largest jazz festival in the western U.S.) in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The very popular Finalé show (all student produced) performs three nights of fun and contemporary music to enthusiastic crowds.

      Vocal ensembles from RHS have traveled to New York (twice), Vancouver, Canada, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego to attend national festivals. All groups (Concert Choir, Vocal Ensemble, Vocal Jazz, Chamber Singers) have consistently earned Superior ratings, Adjudicator's Awards, (96 out of 100 pts or higher) Top Choral Program and Sweepstakes for 14+ years. Local performances include Disneyland, (Disneyland Candlelight Ceremony-several years), T.O. Civic Arts Center with Dick Van Dyck (several years) area invitational university festivals in Southern California, (USC, LMU, CSUN, CSUF, Westmont, APU, Biola) high school/college exchanges as well as community events and concerts. Whether local or national level, the students gain valuable performance experience, receive feedback/evaluation from regarded adjudicators and gain cultural experiences as they interact with other singers and musicians.


 
Santa Susana Elementary School Chorus

Santa Susana Elementary School Chorus

      The Santa Susana Elementary School chorus is currently enjoying its fourth season under the direction of teachers Patti Jernigan and Peggy Johnson, and with the accompaniment of Bob Erickson. The 40-member group is made up of 4th, 5th and 6th graders. In addition to school performances, the chorus has provided entertainment for the Sunshine Rotary Club and the Simi Valley Education Foundation, at the 2012 Lew Roth Awards dinner.


 
Santa Susana High School Choir

Brendan McMullin      The Santa Susana High School Vocal Music program is passionate about the musical growth of students. Through focused learning, practice and performance the SSHS choirs excel in their musicality and vitality. Working with expert accompanists, choreographers, and costumers, the experiences students gain are at a professional level. With opportunities throughout the year to collaborate with theatre, film and stagecraft students, vocal music majors will gain an understanding of all of the options within the music profession.

Santa Susana High School Jazz Choir- "Abbe Road Jazz" This advanced performance ensemble focuses on a variety of complex and diverse music. Throughout the year they perform music with an emphasis on Swing, Latin, Ballad, A Cappella, and Improvisation. This group attends multiple Jazz and Choral festivals and performs at private concerts.


 
Santa Susana High School Orchestra
Directed by Dr. Kathryn Kuby

The Santa Susana High School Symphony Orchestra is comprised of students from grades nine through twelve. The musicians exhibit a high level of musicianship in rehearsal and performance. The ensemble's repertoire includes all styles of orchestral music, including classical, Baroque, modern and pop. The group performs at local and regional festivals, including their own festival, which is held every March in the Performing Arts Center on the Santa Susana High School Campus. The Symphony Orchestra looks forward to entertaining you this holiday season.

Santa Susana High School Orchestra

 
Serendipity Dance Group

Serendipity Dance Group

      Serendipity Dance Co is a full service dance studio located here in Simi Valley. We opened in January 2011 and offer classes in contemporary, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and combo classes for dancers ages 3+. Our talented, loving teachers help create classes and an environment where dancers cannot help but grow as dancers and as young people. Learning dance helps boost confidence and gives children a greater sense of self...come dance with us!


 
Simi Valley Community Adult & Children's Choir
Directed by Cathy Cheney with Megan Hanks

Simi Valley Community Adult and Children's Choir

Cathy Cheney      Cathy Cheney’s love of choirs began when she joined her first chorus in the 3rd grade and continued throughout her school years as she sang in Girl’s Glee Clubs and Mixed Chorus’ through her senior year of high school. Later this love blossomed into performances with Church and Community Choirs in Oklahoma and Southern California to the present day.

      Cathy has been a Choir Director for 40+ years for her Church in each place she has lived (California, Oklahoma, Utah, and in Augsburg, Germany).  Cathy worked as the Music Specialist for Township Elementary School for 16 years teaching songs and producing music programs that she wrote for the different age groups. She cherishes those experiences. In addition to choral directing, Cathy has dabbled in music composition, six of which have been performed by choirs or soloists. Directing adult and children’s choirs has been a joyful challenge to her throughout the years. Working with both in association with the Simi Community Christmas has truly filled her heart with joy.

      Cathy Cheney has been married to her Sweetheart, Don, for 43 years and is the mother of 5 children. Their ‘prolific’ children have made them the very proud Grandparents of 23 exceptionally adorable grandchildren.

Cathy Cheney      Megan Croshaw Hanks has been involved with music since a young age. Being part of an extended family that plays instruments, sings and enjoys all types of musical experiences she has spent much of her life surrounded by the joys and blessings of music. She has played the violin in numerous orchestras and has been a private violin teacher and assistant teacher in orchestra programs in Northern Utah. She has enjoyed singing with many choirs throughout her life and has been directing various church choirs since 2001.

She is very grateful for her patient husband, Sam and 3 spunky kids Eli, Naomi and Libby.


 
Simi Valley High School Jazz Combo
Directed by Daniel Pracher & Ryan Gooch

The Simi Valley High School Jazz Ensemble is a year round class that teaches the Jazz Idiom to students of all levels.  It includes members who have been playing their instrument for many years and some who are outstanding beginners.  This class focuses on improvisation, transcription, ensemble techniques, and the rich history and diversity of one of America's own true art forms.   


 
Soloists from the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory

      The Thousand Oaks Philharmonic was founded in December of 2000 as a California registered non-profit educational organization, with its foremost purpose being to provide exceptional music students an opportunity to be featured as soloists with a professional orchestra.  

Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Conservatory Soloists

      When Edward Francis (the current board chairman), started the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, it was an idea and a dream which would bring opportunities to these area students as well as other members of the local community. In order to do this, a performing group had to be available, so a professional orchestra was formed.  The music director and conductor is Dr. John Roscigno.  All board members serve as volunteers. 

      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 mirrors those results.  Three years ago a pre-college conservatory training program was started.  This program, called “Appassionata!” provides outstanding collaborative opportunities of higher-level learning to enrolled students, including: Master classes by the finest artists from around the world, lectures and seminars on many related subjects, a recital series that brings talented youth into many areas as a community service, and of course the ultimate opportunity to be featured as a soloist with the orchestra.   Learn more by visiting: www.tophil.org 


 
St. Rose of Lima
Master Chorale

St Rose of Lima Choir

      The St. Rose of Lima Master Chorale is composed of talented parishioners from our church. All the members of the group are very dedicated and devote their time and talent in the music ministry at St. Rose. This past October this group gave a stunning performance dedicated to the Wounded Warrior Project at the Simi Valley Dream Cuisine. Our main ministry and joy is leading the congregation in song and prayer every Sunday at the 9:00 Mass. This enthusiastic group is directed by Clare Delto and accompanied by Rachel Yoon.

      The director, Clare Delto is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston where she received her Bachelor degree in Music Education. She also earned her Master of Music degree in Conducting from San Diego State University. Clare has been featured as a solo vocalist and conductor at prestigious venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Chartres Cathedral, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the King’s Chapel in Versailles, St. Chapelle, Melbourne Scots’ Church, Sydney Town Hall, and the Sydney Opera House.

      The St. Rose of Lima Master Chorale would like to thank the Simi Community Christmas organizers for inviting us to sing again this year. If you would like to hear more from our group, our Christmas Celebration begins with a Chorale Prelude at 8:30pm on December 24th.


 
St. Rose of Lima
Jr. Choir

St Rose of Lima Choir

      The St. Rose of Lima School Junior High Choir is made up of talented 6, 7, and 8th graders. This group meets for only a half an hour once a week before the school Mass. This is a newly formed group this year and is looking forward to performing at events around Simi Valley. The Junior High Choir is directed by Mrs. Clare Delto and accompanied by May Schuberg.


 
Susanne Shisley
Pianist

Leslie Frank      Suzanne Shisley has been playing piano since the age of 6. Following her passion for music has led her to a career as an accompanist/composer/arranger at Viewpoint School, a private K-12 school in Calabasas, for the past 14 years. She strives to instill all children with the love of music. Another of her other passions is to compose and arrange pieces for soloists and church choirs. Suzanne enjoys playing gentle music that helps people quietly reflect, because she believes that music opens a window to the soul. “Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.”


 
Tamali'is
Polynesian Dancers

Tamali'is Polynesian Dancers

      Tamali’is was established in 1977 by Dorothy Ae, a resident of Simi Valley for 38 years, along with her husband Tinou and children Stuart, Fa’atamali’i, Nafanua and Vincent. She taught her children, her extended family, friends and neighborhood children the art of Polynesian dance. Today, the Polynesian culture is shared by the Tamali’is throughout Southern California. (Tamali’is means “to be humble”.)


 
Valley View Middle School Concert Strings

Valley View Middle School

      Mr. Schuster is the award winning music director at Valley View Middle School in Simi Valley. This year marks the 30th year that Mr. Schuster has taught at Valley View and has build one of the finest school instrumental programs in Southern California. His bands and orchestra annually earn “ unanimous superior” ratings and he, himself, is often sought ought as a Festival Adjudicator. It is estimated that he has started and cultivated over 7,000 musicians to date.

      Mr. Schuster comes from a very musical family where both his parents were music directors in Northern California and all his siblings played instruments. He studied trumpet first with his father, John Schuster and also with Joe Alessi, Peter Welker and Marvin Nelson. He received his music degree with honors from California State, Northridge. He was recognized as the Outstanding Music Education student in 1983. He was voted as Best Music Teacher in a Ventura Country Star Peoples Choice Poll in 1994. Mr. Schuster was awarded the Simi Valley Unified District Teacher of the Year ( Lew Roth Award) in 2009. He is the founder and director of the Simi Valley Summer Music Academy. He and his wife, Vicki are the parents of four children.


 
Young Ringers Quartet
Handbell Choir

Young Ringers Quartet

      The Young Ringers Handbell Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 by Melissa Allison, Nancy Calderone, Emma Horowitz, and Lauren Witman, a group of high school and young adult aged women from the Simi Valley United Methodist Church. The group has no single director, but is guided by the input of all four members, as it was created out of a mutual enjoyment for ringing and a desire to start something new and challenging. They are excited to be ringing in a few new places this Christmas and are thankful for the outpouring of support they have received from their congregation!


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