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performer bios

JULY 20, 2017

ANNE MORSE-HAMBROCK is well known throughout the Kenosha and Racine area as a performer of classical, jazz, and Celtic repertoire. She is also a composer and the harp instructor at Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She has held the position of principal harp with the Kenosha Symphony since 1990 and the Racine Symphony from 1994-2000. Other orchestral credits have included principal harp with the South Bend, Oshkosh, and Green Bay symphonies. As a soloist, Anne has explored avant guarde and jazz music for over 20 years and has performed her own compositions at the International World Harp Congress in Maastricht, Holland, and the International Pop and Jazz Festival in Tucson, Arizona. In 2005, Anne expanded her teaching studio to offer lessons to adult beginners (age 45-86ish) who decided their dream of exploring the harp could no longer wait. She also began working with those interested in pursuing harp for use in meditation and healing, both for themselves and for others. In 2016, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Anne began giving workshops for harp enthusiasts of all ages, regardless of musical background. The UWP Harpfest includes sessions especially designed for folks who have never touched a harp and just want to get closer to the instrument and explore it. Harpfest 2017 and the Harp Mini-Camp for kids will run the first weekend in August. For more information contact annesharp@tds.net

JEFF WARD’s interest in music began at an early age. Trained on classical violin, then switching to guitar in his early teens, he learned to sing and play traditional songs of Ireland and Scotland. He founded the Carlisle Folk Music Club on the northern fringe of the English Lake District and the Scottish borders. Many of the top touring Celtic performers of the day sang and played there. Jeff pitched in as a support artist to these great talents and soon built a repertoire and a reputation as a fine Celtic performer in his own right. He was soon on the road singing and playing in folk clubs and concerts, TV, and radio, all over England and Scotland. After Jeff relocated to the USA, he put down roots in Racine, WI, where he settled into his music again and was soon performing all over the region, in pubs, clubs, concerts and festivals, including TV and radio. He has performed at some of the most prestigious Irish Festivals throughout the Midwest and beyond. This August will be his 18th consecutive appearance on the main stages at the largest Irish Festival in the world, in Milwaukee, WI. Jeff is also delighted to be invited back to Dallas TX. in 2017 to perform at NTIF (North Texas Irish Festival) for his third consecutive appearance. A seasoned performer with 8 CDs to his credit, (with a new one in the works), Jeff’s music includes a mix of traditional Irish and Scottish ballads and pub songs, and classic acoustic American folk songs that suit a broad palette of people’s musical tastes. Jeff recently collaborated with his local singer/songwriter friends, Mark Paffrath and Zach Scott Johnson, to sing with The Choral Arts Society in “An American Pastiche.”

NANCY MAIO: Versatile is the word that best describes Nancy Maio. Her love for all types of music, coupled with years of experience in the field of entertainment music has honed her skills as a freelance musician and teacher. Ms. Maio, a Milwaukee native, has a B.M. in violin performance from UW Madison and a M.M. in violin performance from Boston University. She has been contracting music since 1992, first with Syrinx Inc., and currently with Elegant Music Services, which provides ensembles in classical, jazz, Celtic, and strolling styles. She is active as a violin teacher, and she maintains a studio at the Center for Strings in Wauwatosa and her home in Racine. She performs with several local orchestras including the Racine Symphony. Ms. Maio plays with the Wise Maids, the Jeff Ward Band, Yole’, and the Encounter Jesus Band and is sought after as an Irish step dance competition musician.

July 13, 2017

ARCHIE MOLINA has been a member of the Penguin Players for 18 years and has performed at Pancake Day for the last 3 years. He also does volunteer singing at various senior homes.

MATTHEW UDRY, age 17, has played cello for 7 years, and currently studies with Mr. Sott Cook at the Cello Institute of Milwaukee. Matthew is the winner of the 2017 Racine Symphony Young Artists' Competition, the 2015 Kenosha Symphony Young Artisits' Competition, and was a semifinalist at the Milwaukee Symphony's 2017 Young Artist Auditions. In addition, he is the cellist of Piano Trio Fiammata, who were semifinalists at the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and were featured on 98.7 WFMT's Introductions. An incoming senior at Tremper High Shool, Matthew serves as President of Tremper's Student Government and also is involved in National Honors Society, knitting club, Tremper Astronomical Society, and Model United Nations. In his spare time, he enjoys taking naps.

SCOTT COOK: Nebraska native Scott Cook is well known as a teacher, chamber and orchestral musician. His was described in the Greenville News as “a cellist who plays with the depth and intensity of Pablo Casals.” As soloist, recitalist and chamber and orchestral musician, he has performed around the world as principal cellist of many orchestras in the Southeast and Wisconsin, as member of the AIMS Orchestra in Graz, Austria and the Grand Teton Festival. He was cellist with the Belle Terre Piano Quartet and the Cezanne String Quartet and has appeared on major recital series in Toronto, Chicago and Milwaukee. He is the artistic director of the Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival Workshop and the director of the international teaching workshop, Teaching Cello to Children at the String Academy of Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Scott has taught at virtually every level and in every possible teaching environment: At the college level with positions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Carthage College, Converse College, Carroll University, Alverno College and Limestone College; at the pre-college level at the String Academy of Wisconsin at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Converse College and the Greenville County Schools in South Carolina.

CAROLYN WEHNER is a Milwaukee-based pianist and vocalist performing regularly for a variety of audiences throughout Wisconsin and greater Chicagoland. Current Wisconsin appearances include an ongoing Friday night engagement at The Baker House in Lake Geneva, and she also performs weekly October-May with her jazz duo at The Wisconsin Club in downtown Milwaukee along with occasional dates in the Lobby Lounge at The Pfister Hotel. Recent Chicago appearances: Chicago Cabaret Professionals’ “Musical Mondays” Series at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, Skokie Theatre, Park West Theatre, Davenport’s and The Crystal Lounge at The Merion Hotel. In September she will return to the Skokie Theatre in “More of Loesser,” performing famous duets by composer and lyricist Frank Loesser (“Guys and Dolls”). Visit her website www.pianistvocalist.com for more info and a calendar of upcoming performances.

JULY 6, 2017

RACINE MUSIC TEACHERS ASSOCIATION held its biennial piano competition this past January at Carthage College, featuring music by composers of the Classical Period. Piano students from Racine and Kenosha counties performed compositions by memory, competing in either the Junior Division (grades 6-8) or Senior Division (grades 9-12). Featured in today’s program are some of the local winners from this event.

Nathan Engstrom just finished his senior year of high school at The Prairie School and plans to attend Davidson College in North Carolina this fall. At Davidson, Nathan plans to pursue a degree in some form of neuroscience, possibly neuropsychology. Nathan has been learning classical piano for ten years and has been studying with Terri Seitz for five years. Over the years, Nathan has participated in multiple WSMA, RMTA, and Solo & Ensemble competitions where he most recently won third place in the 2017 RMTA Piano Competition. Nathan also moved on to WSMA State for his piano, vocal, and jazz ensemble events earning great scores in all of them. In addition to the piano, Nathan enjoys playing guitar, jazz vibraphone, singing, and acting. Nathan plans to join the Davidson Chorale, an a capella group, and a jazz ensemble while at Davidson College.

Nicole Mills, 14 yrs old, just finished 8th grade at Starbuck Middle School where she was involved with Orchestra, Jazz Band, & enjoyed Science. Her extracurricular activities included gymnastics & volleyball. She received a "I" rating in the WSMA Solo & Ensemble Event at Case High School in March then performed in the WMTA Kenosha District Auditions qualifying for the WMTA Badger (State) Competition in May in Milwaukee where she received an Honorable Mention. She is the 2nd place winner in the Jr. Division. Nicole is a piano student of Dorie Petersen.

Benjamin Nelson has been playing the piano for 10 years. He will be a junior at The Prairie School and takes lessons there from Terri Seitz. He has also been in Prairie's orchestra and jazz band. Benjamin has won the RMTA, KMTA, as well as the WMTA Badger State Competition and WFMC State Competitions. He has received superior ratings in the district and state WMSA music festivals and recently was awarded the Exemplary Soloist award. He likes to play all different types of music, and some of his favorite composers are Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt, and Joplin.

ZACHARY SCOT JOHNSON is a well-traveled singer/songwriter who has shared the stage with many artists including Shawn Colvin, Noel Paul Stookey from Peter, Paul and Mary, Jane Siberry, The Be Good Tanyas, The Greencards, Peter Mulvey, Willy Porter, Maria Muldaur, Rita Wilson, Kevin Costner and Modern West, Vonda Shepard, James McCartney, Natalia Zukerman and others. His music has brought him to stages of all sizes across the country and onto multiple NBC, ABC, FOX and CBS morning and evening shows. Zach also has a strong internet presence, including a YouTube channel with well over 30 million views, and strong Facebook and Twitter fan-bases. Zach has released four CDs, including 2004’s “Moment of Clarity,” 2008’s “To Whom It May Concern,” 2011’s “Live at the Guild” with longtime collaborators, Mark Paffrath and Jeff Ward, and his newest release, “Sad Songs.” Zach also has recorded a stunning 6 disc, 125 song tribute to the music of Tom Waits. Born and raised in Racine, Zach now resides in Minnesota, with plenty of time spent in his hometown. He graduated in 2006 from Lawrence University in Appleton with a triple major in music performance, theatre arts and psychology. As an actor, he has over 50 regional credits, including national tours and is proud to have founded and run an improvisational comedy group for four years at Lawrence University. Zach’s mastery of many instruments leads to exciting live shows, where he performs on piano, 6 and 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, baritone guitar, dobro, banjo, mandolin, violin, lap steel, harmonicas, octave mandolin, viola, bass, drums, percussion, banjolin, dulcimer, ukulele, pedal steel and more. His repertoire covers a wide range of styles and genres, from folk to jazz, rock to spoken word, blues to pop, country to a cappella, gospel to instrumental and more. He is a member of the Grammy Recording Foundation. His hit YouTube channel, thesongadayproject has Zach bringing a song--either original or cover--from wherever he is and has run for over 1,750 consecutive days (4 1/2 years) and garnered an astonishing number of loyal viewers. Please be sure to visit him on Facebook as well as at his website www.zacharyscotjohnson.com

MARK PAFFRATH Award winning singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Mark Paffrath is one of southeast Wisconsin’s premier, enduring, and energetic talents. He is long known to please audiences galore with his endearing manner, self-deprecating humor, as well as with his excellent songwriting and song choices. He’s been performing as a solo act and in groups for more than 25 years. His thoughtfully chosen interpretations and well-crafted original music reflects his history and his aspirations — as much about how the world is, as the way he’d like to see it. Mark has won awards as “Best Folk Artist,” “Best String Player,” “Best Songwriter,” and “Best Male Vocalist” in polls. His 1999 CD “Rainbeat” was named best by Journal Times readers. In 2003, they named him “Best Musician.” He has played in groups like Paffrath & Dykhuis, Marvin & the Dogs, Moulin Rouge, Paffrath & Holly, Big Nick & The Cydecos, and as a trio with Jeff Ward and Zachary Scot Johnson. His CD, “I Like It When Everything’s O.K.” is representative of his live performances and contains many of his original compositions. His CDs are available at his wife’s store in downtown Racine, Funky Hannah’s, or at his website: www.markpaffrath.com

June 29, 2017

ANNLI NAKAYAMA is a high school senior attending The Prairie School. She has been playing the violin since she was four years old and began voice lessons at age 10, though she has been singing for as long as she can remember. She currently studies violin with Ann Heide, and voice with Christine Flasch. Annli participates in her school’s orchestra, choir, and theatre programs, and most recently appeared as the title role in Prairie's production of Aida. When she’s not singing or playing the violin, piano, drums, or guitar, she loves spending time in the outdoors, and especially enjoys hiking and nature photography.

FUMI NISHIKIORI NAKAYAMA earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano and Harpsichord degree from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, and Master of Music in Piano and Early Music/Harpsichord from Indiana University, where she was the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Rudolph Ganz Memorial Award, and Willi Apel Scholarship. She has studied piano with Ludmila Lazar, Shigeo Neriki, harpsichord with David Schrader, Elisabeth Wright, fortepiano with Elizabeth Wright and Kenneth Drake, chamber music with Rostislav Dubinsky, early chamber music with Stanley Ritchie, and conducting with Thomas Baldner and Imre Pallo. Currently Ms. Nishikiori is an adjunct faculty member of the Carthage Music Department and teaches for the Carthage Arts Academy. She is a Juilliard School Dalcroze Institute certified instructor of Dalcroze Eurhythmics and often gives demonstrations and lectures to music teachers and students in the Midwest. She frequently performs as a member of Cecilia Trio, and also collaborates with greater Milwaukee and Chicago area artists.

BRETT LIPSHUTZ began his love affair with the flute at the age of 7. After reading an article in Flute Talk Magazine at the tender age of 10, he saw his first Baroque flute in a photo of Robert Willoughby. From that day in 1984, he was destined to play it. In 1992, as a bassoon performance major at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he met Jane Bowers and began learning about the rich repertoire and style of the French Baroque. Since then he has given many concerts and has played with the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble and the Madison Bach Musicians. He is passionate about education, and currently participates Milwaukee Symphony ACE and has recently created a baroque music collective in Milwaukee. Brett also enjoys playing contemporary music and transforming works for modern flute into playable pieces for the one-key flute. He is a huge fan of playing in art galleries and museums as well as mixing the visual, the kinesthetic and the sonic. In the summer of 2013, he inaugurated the musician-in residence program at the Haggerty Museum of Art, in an effort to increase the interaction between visual and sonic arts, as well as to increase awareness of the baroque flute.

CORPORATE DOWNSIZING QUARTET: Titus, Rench & Wheary, sometimes known as the Corporate Downsizing Quartet™, is known for its lively mixture of old and new folk, pop, blues, and country music. Quin Rench (6 &12 String Guitars, Vocals) and Fred Wheary (Acoustic & Resonator Guitars, Banjo, Vocals) have been making music together for over 50 years. Each has unique musical experience performing with a variety of groups from the East Coast through the Southwest. Dave Titus (Acoustic & Electric Bass, Vocals) has carried his virtuosity on the bass to a wide spectrum of musical genres. From blues bands to church choirs, he has been making music from West Virginia to the Midwest for over forty years. During many years of appearances, the group has performed on the stages of Thoughts For Food™, Music & More, Racine’s Party On the Pavement, the Cedarburg Cultural Center, the Milwaukee Ale House and many others. Noted for close vocals and high energy, Titus, Rench & Wheary combine to bring goodtime foot-thumpin’ music wherever the music takes them.

JUNE 22, 2017

SHARON ADEL began studying piano at age eight. She continued her studies with Alan Biehn and later began studying the pipe organ with Dr. Marilyn Stulken privately, focusing on music theory as well as pipe organ study. She continued studying the pipe organ with the late Mr. Gerald Buck. As an accomplished pianist and organist, she has held full-time organist and choir director positions at First United Methodist Church in Racine, as well as St. Paul’s Lutheran Church also in Racine. She currently holds a role of substitute organist. She plays for weddings and funerals throughout the Southeast Wisconsin area. Her goal is to continue her music ministry through the pipe organ and piano as it relates to the enhancement of each worship service. She has taught private piano lessons for over 25 years.

KRISTINA BEIER has been around music her entire life. She began her journey with music when she took piano lessons from her grandmother, Arliss Albrecht. Those lessons sparked her love of music early on and gave her a great foundation to continue to build on. When Kristina was 10, she picked up a flute for the first time, and has never looked back! Every spring from 6th grade through her senior year of high school, Kristina participated in WSMA Solo & Ensemble. At every single one of those festivals, Kristina was so very blessed to have her mother by her side as her accompanist.

MICHAEL MUELLER received his B.A. in Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he sang with the U of I Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers. In recent years, he has been tenor soloist on several occasions with the Choral Arts Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. He has performed in productions of Southeast Wisconsin Performing Arts and with the Florentine Opera Chorus. He has also sung for the past two seasons with the Belle Ensemble. Michael is a vocal student of Dr. Richard Sjoerdsma.

NICHOLAS BAROOTIAN a Racine native, has studied voice with Gregory Berg, former King’s Singers Anthony Holt, and Richard Sjoerdsma. He sang with the Ensemble Singers of VocalEssence under Philip Brunnelle during their 40th Anniversary tour of England, and more recently with the Florentine Opera Chorus, for which he has also been engaged as a soloist in summer outreach programs. His stage credits include Giuseppe in The Gondoliers, Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Nick is also a burgeoning conductor and composer. He has appeared as conductor and soloist with Southeast Wisconsin Performing Arts, music-directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside, and composed music for the Case High School original production he also music-directed, #DarkSideoftheRainbow, with Nancy Gibson. Since 2015, Nick has served as Director of Liturgy and Music for St. Francis Xavier and St. John the Baptist Catholic Parishes in Brighton and Paris, Wisconsin. In 2015, Nick founded the Belle Ensemble, a vocal chamber music group aimed at bringing first class vocal performance to Racine and its neighbors, and at developing collaborations among talented vocal musicians and other artists in the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor. We hope all of you will enjoy our 2017-2018 concert season. Find out more at facebook.com/BelleEnsemble, or write to belleensembleracine@gmail.com.

GREGORY BERG joined the Carthage College faculty in 1991. He teaches private voice , vocal diction & literature and opera history. Greg also helps to direct the opera program and hosts a daily interview program on WGTD FM 91.1, the local NPR affiliate. He enjoys serving as principal accompanist for the Carthage Choir as well as for students in many of their recitals, juries, and departmental performances. He received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) in 1982 and was named by the faculty as outstanding music major of his class. He went on to earn a master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From there he was privileged to be singer with the prestigious Lyric Opera Center for American Artists in 1985-86. His awards as a singer include four first-place finishes in state and/or regional NATS competitions, and he was a district winner of the 1984 Metropolitan Opera Audition.

JUNE 15, 2017

CHRIS GHILANI & MARIA SHARPE: Recently retired elementary music teachers, Chris Ghilani and Maria Sharpe, have connected to make and share music with each other and the community. Singing a wide variety of songs while accompanying themselves on folk instruments such as Autoharp and Ukulele, Chris and Maria present a program of songs for listening and singing along. Join us as we play and sing a wide variety of songs from Stephen Foster to John Denver to the Simon and Garfunkel and beyond.

CORELLI ENSEMBLE is a violin ensemble made up of Ann Heide’s violin students. Each year the studio focuses on a theme, a composer, or time period. This year the focus was on the Italian Violin School which began in the Baroque period with Corelli and ended with Paganini at the beginning of the Romantic period. The students learned about the back-story of the pieces they were learning, and went back to the beginnings of the violin in Cremona.

The story of the Italian Violin School: The first violins were constructed in Cremona, a small town in northern Italy outside of Milan. Here the Amati, Guarnari and Stradivari families dominated violin making in Italy and eventually Europe as their violin construction methods spread to France and Germany. With the rise in the popularity of the violin, so did the need for composers to write specifically for the violin.

There were many composers in the early Baroque writing music for the violin, but two stand out. The first is Arcangelo Corelli from Bologna, but he spent most of his working life in Rome. Here he worked in the influential courts of European royalty and powerful church officials. He was known for his detailed and carefully crafted works that set the standard for violin writing and playing. As a teacher, he passed down his ideas of how to use the bow and the proper way to play to perform his works to the next generation of violinists. The second composer to build on the traditions set by Corelli, was Antonio Vivaldi of Venice. Vivaldi’s first teacher was his father and together they were well-known performers in Venice where they regularly performed at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Vivaldi took his vows to become a priest, and was known as the Red Priest because of his red hair. Due to asthma he was given a less strenuous job as composer and teacher at a girls’ orphanage where he composed many concertos for his students and for himself to perform. During his lifetime he composed approximately 500 works, many of them concertos. The final composer the students explored was Nicolo Paganini, who made his mark on music history as the first superstar. Previous to Paganini, composer/musicians worked in a royal court as an employee, doing the bidding of others. Paganini broke with this tradition deciding to be his own boss, write music that he only could perform because it was deemed too difficult to play. Paganini was not a teacher so he did not pass down a tradition, but he did pass down the idea of breaking barriers and inspired many composers in the Romantic era.

ANNA NUZZO is an International Christian Singer/Songwriter and Shalom World TV Host. She sings for conferences, retreats, missions, and concerts. She has been blessed to sing in the Holy Land, Rome Italy, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and all around the US. She is also hosting two television programs for Shalom World TV, filming in their Chicago Studio. She has 3 CDs available online or at many bookstores across the country. She lives in Kenosha WI with her husband, two teenage sons and their pooch, Lincoln. See annanuzzo.com for upcoming events and more info on her music ministry.

TOM KNEESEL started playing guitar about the age of 11. Self-taught, he played throughout Junior High and High School, back in the days when the “Battle of the Bands” concept was developed. During his college years, Tom picked up a love for the Pedal Steel Guitar. After college, Tom devoted his time to raising and supporting a family. He continued to play as an acoustic duo with his wife, Beth, performing at small clubs and local venues. Tom is a regular performer in the Chicago area and has shared billings with Jason Isbell, James McMurtry, Yarn, Leon Russell, Marcia Ball, The Black Lilies, Hayes Caryll, Switchback, Amanda Shires, Trigger Gospel, Michael McDermott, Jimmy LaFave, Heartsfield , Pat Mc Glaughlin, HBO Comedy Festival, and many more.

JUNE 8, 2017

NAEIM RAHMANI was born in Isfahan, Iran and lived there until his teens when he immigrated to the United States as a refugee. Bringing with him only his passion for the guitar, he began his formal study at the University of Washington and then continued to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where he completed his Master’s degree under renowned Cuban guitarist Rene Izquierdo. Naeim performs regularly in the Midwest and around the country. Naeim's international appearances include a December 2015 concert in Oaxaca, Mexico, and, in the summer of 2014, he participated in an artist’s residency in northern Spain, along the route of the Camino Santiago. In his professional career, Naeim performs and competes regularly. In 2015 he was a prizewinner at competitions in the Northwest Guitar Festival and Competition, the San Francisco Bay Guitar Competition and the University of Louisville Guitar Festival and Competition. Naeim is currently part of the guitar faculty at the Latino Arts Strings Program in Milwaukee, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging the artistic development of youth in the community. Naeim became a US citizen in 2008. He is eternally grateful for all that this country has offered him, and stands in solidarity with others who are fleeing repressive regimes around the world.

BELLE ENSEMBLE: AMI BOUTERSE, KAREN ARCHBOLD, NICHOLAS BAROOTIAN, MICHAEL MUELLER, & FUMI NAKAYAMA

AMI BOUTERSE has recently performed with Belle Ensemble, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Racine Symphony Orchestra, and the Racine Concert Band. At the University of Wisconsin- Parkside, Ami is an Associate Professor of Music where she teaches private voice, Opera Workshop, and the latest contemporary a cappella ensemble, Parkside Range. She received voice and opera theater performance degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Carnegie Mellon University, respectively. In addition, Ami earned Level III Certification in Jeanne LoVetri’s Somatic Voicework™, which featured contemporary commercial music vocal pedagogical technique at Shenandoah University. Ami also maintains the AB Voice Studio for children and adults at all levels. Visit www.abvoicestudio.com.

KAREN ARCHBOLD received first place in the 2016 Sinfonietta Bel Canto Voice Competition. She was a 2014 and 2015 finalist in the American Prize Competition Vocal Division and runner-up in the American Prize Chicago Music Theatre Award. She studied classical voice at the Hochschule fur Kunste in Bremen, Germany. She has appeared as Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Buttercup in HMS Pinafore, Abuela in La Vida Breve and Berthe in Barber of Seville. Karen’s solo appearances include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, John Rutter’s Magnificat, Lili Boulanger’s Psalm Profundis, the Verdi Requiem, and the Mahler Kindertotenlieder. She currently performs with the Belle Ensemble and with Duo Striata. She also gives weekly concerts as a part of Music for the Mind, a music therapy program for people with Alzheimer's.

NICHOLAS BAROOTIAN a Racine native, has studied voice with Gregory Berg, former King’s Singers Anthony Holt, and Richard Sjoerdsma. He sang with the Ensemble Singers of VocalEssence under Philip Brunnelle during their 40th Anniversary tour of England, and more recently with the Florentine Opera Chorus, for which he has also been engaged as a soloist in summer outreach programs. His stage credits include Giuseppe in The Gondoliers, Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief, and Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. Nick is also a burgeoning conductor and composer. He has appeared as conductor and soloist with Southeast Wisconsin Performing Arts, music-directed The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside, and composed music for the Case High School original production he also music-directed, #DarkSideoftheRainbow, with Nancy Gibson. Since 2015, Nick has served as Director of Liturgy and Music for St. Francis Xavier and St. John the Baptist Catholic Parishes in Brighton and Paris, Wisconsin. In 2015, Nick founded the Belle Ensemble, a vocal chamber music group aimed at bringing first class vocal performance to Racine and its neighbors, and at developing collaborations among talented vocal musicians and other artists in the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor. We hope all of you will enjoy our 2017-2018 concert season. Find out more at facebook.com/BelleEnsemble, or write to belleensembleracine@gmail.com.

MICHAEL MUELLER received his B.A. in Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he sang with the U of I Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers. In recent years, he has been tenor soloist on several occasions with the Choral Arts Society of Southeastern Wisconsin. He has performed in productions of Southeast Wisconsin Performing Arts and with the Florentine Opera Chorus. He has also sung for the past two seasons with the Belle Ensemble. Michael is a vocal student of Dr. Richard Sjoerdsma.

FUMI NAKAYAMA earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano and Harpsichord from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University and Master of Music in Piano and Early Music/Harpsichord from Indiana University where she was the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Rudolph Ganz Memorial Award, and the Willi Aple Scholarship Award. Currently, Fumi is an adjunct faculty member of the Carthage Music Department as well as Associate Lecturer at UW-Parkside. She is a Julliard School Dalcroze Institute certified instructor of Dalcroze Eurhythmics and often gives demonstrations and lectures to music teachers and students in the Midwest. She frequently performs as a member of Cecilia Trio, and also collaborates with greater Milwaukee and Chicago area artists.

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