The Choral Music Intensive (CMI) program at Drew offers a one-weekend, immersive choral experience in which professional and student vocalists collaborate in the preparation and performance of a rigorous program of choral repertoire. Previous CMI programs are archived here.
The next installment of the CMI at Drew will take place September 25-27, 2015, with a culminating performance on Sunday, September 27 at 5:00p.m in the Concert Hall at Drew. The program will feature Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem in the composer’s version for 4-hand piano accompaniment, with pianists Krista Sweer and Lisa Wichman.
The ensemble is under the direction of D. Jason Bishop, Director of Choral & Vocal Studies at Drew University.
CMI Participants: January-February 2015
As a member and alumna of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, soprano Lindsay Bogaty has performed in major U.S. music venues and in choral concerts and competitions in Spain, Germany, England, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, China and Japan. She has also performed as both a chorus member and featured soloist in over 50 world premieres, including a performance and CD recording of Michael Harrison’s Hijaz at the 92nd Street Y, 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon, and on the radio with WWFM. In addition, she was a soloist in Tarik O’Regan’s Taxi in the first SONiC Extended Play Marathon. Ms. Bogaty made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2012 and her Carnegie Hall debut last year as a soloist in “Dôme Épais” from Delibes’ Lakmé. Since 2010 Ms. Bogaty has been an events coordinator, vocal instructor, and mentor with YPC. She holds a BA in Vocal Performance from Emory University, where she sang with the Emory University Concert Choir, Mastersingers and University Chorus and was the president and musical director of The Gathering A Cappella.
Caitlin Henning is the newest conducting fellow of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. She conducts the Prelude and Amani divisions and is also a member of the administrative staff. Ms. Henning previously worked with the Young People’s Chorus of Erie, where she was the director of education, and as assistant conductor, she led the training ensemble of beginning and intermediate singers, ranging in age from 7 to 18, as well as YPC Erie’s four satellite choirs. She holds a BM in music education from Ithaca College and is currently completing an MA in music education at Teachers College, Columbia University. In Ithaca, Ms. Henning worked with all five divisions of the Ithaca Children’s Choir under the mentorship of Dr. Janet Galván, completed studies for teaching middle school boys with autism, and taught early childhood music as a teacher at the Community School of Music and Arts. She has held a variety of leadership positions in music organizations, including the Northwest Chair of the Pennsylvania American Choral Directors Association.
Catherine Hudman’s passion for music started with piano lessons when she was ten years old. Shortly after, she started playing the clarinet; at the age of 12, Catherine first picked up a French horn and found a new love. By the time she entered high school, Catherine sought out many opportunities in music, including regional wind ensembles and orchestras, woodwind quintets at the Settlement School of Music, and Rowan University’s orchestra, and her high school’s wind ensemble and vocal ensemble. With most of Catherine’s experience in music being instrumental, joining a choir opened up a whole new world of music for her. She experienced masterworks such as Carmina Burana and the Mozart Requiem, and performed in great venues such as Lincoln Center. Presently, Catherine is a junior at Drew University majoring in Biology and minoring in Music. She plays the French horn in the Drew University Chamber Orchestra, sings in the Drew University Chorale and Choral Union, and is President of the Chorale.
The Irish soprano, Aedín Larkin, is a recent Honors Masters graduate from the Cork School of Music, CIT in Ireland where she studied under Paulo Faustini. Aedín also received her Bachelor of Music from the Cork School of Music under Mary MacSweeney and was awarded the Pro Musica Trophy for receiving the highest mark given to a vocal student. Since moving to the United States, Aedín’s opera roles have included Zaïre in Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes and Chinese woman/First lady in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Aedín has performed as a soloist with the Greater South Jersey Chorus and with the Baroque Academy at Amherst Early Music Festival. Aedín has also performed locally with the Greater South Jersey Chorus, the Philadelphia Singers, and the Curtis Opera Theater in Philadelphia. Aedín’s solo recitals that have included works such as Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No.5, Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsenand Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate, KV 165 (158a).
Jennifer Pomeroy, soprano, has performed as a soloist at Radio City Music Hall for Ennio Morricone’s American debut featuring his celebrated film music from ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,’ ‘Fistful of Dollars,’ and ‘Burn!’ She has also appeared as a soloist at the United Nations for the inauguration of Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the Boston Early Music Festival fringe concerts with the New York Continuo Collective as well as the NYC Midtown Concerts presented by Gotham Early Music Scene. She has long held a deep fascination for American roots music, embracing the ballad traditions of the British Isles and Appalachia, and has performed as a singer and tenor-guitarist live on WUSB Stonybrook College Radio, and WKCR Columbia University Radio. Jennifer has worked with musical masters including Pat O’Brien, Ellen Hargis, and Julianne Baird, who have inspired and guided her in the performance practice of early music. She currently teaches voice at Drew University, where she maintains a studio of vibrant young singers.
From a very young age, Rachel always had trouble keeping her mouth shut and her voice down. Luckily, this eventually developed into a love for vocal performance. Starting with singing lessons at the age of 13, she entered high school with a thriving passion for music. Her participation in Regional and All-State Choirs only fueled the fire, and she has been pursuing choral music ever since. In college, she studies Music, Business, and Writing. In her free time, she writes songs and plays guitar and ukulele. When she’s not obsessing over music, you can find her painting, eating sushi, or begging strangers to pet their dog.
Rachel Marie Schachter is a 2014 graduate of Drew University currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Early Music Voice from Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her work as Assistant to the Manager in Drew’s spectacular Concert Hall and her participation in Drew’s Madrigal Singers program cultivated her love of early chamber music; the coercion of an ever-supportive faculty landed her in graduate school. Rachel graduated from Drew with Specialized Honors in Comparative Religion, a major in Music, and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. While at Drew, Rachel lived in WoCo: A Feminist House; performed in Drew’s Choral Union (appearing as Purcell’s Dido in 2013), Chorale, Madrigal Singers, and co-ed a cappella group All of the Above; was actively involved in the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance; and did some moonlighting as a folksinger. She recently performed alongside Longy colleagues in The Boston Camerata’s November production of the 13th-century Play of Daniel at Trinity Church in Boston.
has performed as a featured artist and leading soprano with opera companies and orchestras throughout the country. Her stage credits include Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Hanah Glawari in Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow, Anne Truelove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff, Rosalinde in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Sophia in Edward German’s Tom Jones, and Fiorella in Offenbach’s The Brigands. She has performed leading roles with Birmingham Opera, the Ohio Light Opera, Cleveland Opera and the Indiana University Opera Theatre. In concert, she has been the featured soprano soloist in various orchestral works including Mahler’s 4th Symphony, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Honegger’s Le Roi David, and the Schubert Mass in G Major. She has been a featured artist with the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, Kingsport Symphony, and the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra. After graduating from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, she attended the Indiana University School of Music where she studied voice with Lynn Luciano and received her Master’s degree in vocal performance. While there, she performed many leading roles with the acclaimed Indiana University Opera Theatre and taught voice as an associate instructor and adjunct faculty member. Renée is University Director of Financial Assistance at Drew University where she is also a member of the Drew Choral Union. She is a resident of Madison, NJ, where she lives with her husband Charles Davidson, and her sons, Nicholas and Jack.
Catherine Doyle is a sophomore Music Major at Drew University. While participating in the Choral Union and Chorale she also sings in the co-ed A cappella group on campus, All of the Above. In third grade she started singing with her church choir and grew to love the activity of singing in a group. A year later she joined the Handel and Haydn Youth Chorus of Boston where she studied and sang for six years. In High School she started taking voice lessons and pursued her passion for music even further as a soloist. Now Catherine is so excited to be a part of the Choral Music Intensive at Drew University and is thrilled to be working with such an amazing conductor and group of vocalists.
Praised as being “the most direct and intimate in her interpretations” (The Boston Musical Intelligencer), Elise Figa has made appearances with the Magnificat Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, ¡Sacabuche! Ensemble, The Choir of St. Ignatious Loyola, Carnegie Hall Festival Chorus and The Thirteen Chamber Choir. She made her European debut in Germany at the Festival Europäische Kirchenmusik in 2009. Ms. Figa performed in the first ever Baroque Master Class at Carnegie Hall, at the Amherst Early Music Festival Workshop, Vancouver Early Music Baroque Programme, the Lute Society of America, Accademia d’amore in Seattle, and the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco. Elise Figa has degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. She currently serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Drew University and has recorded on the Pro Organo label.
is a junior at Drew University majoring in Anthropology. She is a member of the Drew University Chorale and Choral Union, and performed the role of Witch in Drew University’s spring 2013 production of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. At The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ, Ariana was a member of the Women’s Glee Club and president of the select women’s ensemble, the Balladeers. As a student of Manhattan School of Music’s precollege program, Ariana was a member of chorus and studied piano and cello. She is a former member of the Cornell University Chorus and resides in Mendham Township, New Jersey.
Lisa Juzwak is a mezzo-soprano from Bucks County, PA. She began her training at Temple University in Philadelphia and continued with a master’s degree from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. She has performed various roles in opera and scenes include Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Un Patre (L’enfant et le sortileges), Mistress Quickly (Falstaff) and others. Recently, Miss Juzwak has performed throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York singing as alto soloist for several oratorio works including The St. Matthew Passion, Mozart Requiem, and Messiah. Miss Juzwak also performs with a number of choral ensembles throughout the Philadelphia and Princeton areas. In addition to performing, Miss Juzwak teaches elementary school music, as well as private piano and voice lessons.
Christina Paulin is a 2010 graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania with B.M. in Music Education. She is in her fourth year of teaching in Clifton Public Schools, where she is the choral director at Clifton High School. She is also a founding member of the Young New Yorker’s Chorus: Women’s Ensemble and has been singing with the group for three years. Christina currently lives in Nutley, NJ with her fiancé, Mark, who teaches elementary music in Clifton Public Schools.
Sarah Silvestri is a junior at Drew University double majoring in biology and music and minoring in anthropology. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a career in scientific research and development, pharmaceuticals, or medicine. Although science enraptures her, she also has a dying passion for music. From a very young age, music has played an integral role in Sarah’s life; she began taking private piano lessons in kindergarten and has continued to do so through college. Piano has provided Sarah with many performance opportunities – she auditioned and was selected to be the pianist for the NJ Area Band her junior year of high school, she has been hired to be the piano entertainment for company parties in NYC, and has played at several restaurants as a guest musician. In addition to being an accomplished pianist, Sarah was an active participant in numerous band and choral ensembles throughout the years of her primary and secondary education. Now, an undergraduate student, she sings in the Pan-African (Ubuntu) Choir, Choral Union, Chorale, and Choral Music Intensive. Also a varsity fencer and tennis player for Drew, Sarah enjoys composing for solo piano and playing the guitar in her spare time.
is Associate Professor of Music at Drew University. She is the author of The Musical Legacy of Wartime France (University of California Press, 2013), which was named a Notable Music Book of 2013 by The New Yorker music critic Alex Ross. Her research has been published in The Musical Quarterly, repercussions, and the Journal of Musicology. Leslie also sings in the Drew University Choral Union.
Ellen Zemlin discovered a love of choral music as part of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and hasn’t really stopped singing since; her eight-year career with this ensemble included performances at Avery Fisher Hall, two papal basilicas (St. Peter’s and St. John the Lateran), San Marco in Venice, and a live solo on international television. Before coming to Drew to study in the History and Culture program (and, of course, sing in the Choral Union and Chorale), she earned a BA in History and Sociology from Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana. Ellen now works as a Research Associate in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at Pace University in Manhattan. If not at work, Ellen is probably spending irresponsible amounts of money on theatre tickets, listening to podcasts, reading, or wishing her lease let her have a cat. She lives in Forest Hill, Newark, NJ with her partner, a doctoral student in Drew’s Theological and Philosophical Studies in Religion program.
Adam Aguanno teaches 6th-8th grade chorus at Central Middle School in Parsippany, is a tenor and board member of Harmonium Choral Society, and is the tenor section leader at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in Glen Rock. After receiving his music education degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he completed his Masters of Educational Technology at Boise State University. Adam has appeared as a tenor soloist with Drew University’s Mark Miller. An ardent traveler, Adam has traveled to over 25 countries including touring in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey and Greece with Harmonium Choral Society. Adam also enjoys selling homes as a licensed Realtor with Century 21 Christel Realty.
A native of Rockaway, NJ, Ignacio Angulo-Pizarro completed his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Delaware. During his time there, he collaborated with Dr. Paul Head, Dr. Duane Cottrell, Dr. Blake Smith, and Dr. Charlene Archibeque. While he was a member of the distinguished University of Delaware Chorale and UD-16, these elite ensembles placed in the 42nd annual Tolosa Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain. As a soloist, Ignacio performed as Tinca in Giocomo Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Lara in David Conte’s America Tropical as part of UD’s Opera Theatre Company. Currently, Ignacio is a professional chorister at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, conducted by Keith Tóth, and has sung with the world-renowned Gentleman and Boys of Saint Thomas Church of New York City, conducted by Dr. John Scott. Additionally, he has sung with Voices of Ascension, Trinity Wall Street Church, and at Cathedral of St. John the Divine as a visiting chorister of Christ’s Church Choir of Rye, NY. As a committed researcher of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Program, his research on Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles was published on the official website of the American Choral Directors Association, ChoralNet.org.
is a violist and is a graduate of Mansfield University with a B.M. in Music Performance. He has held permanent positions with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and Southern Tier Symphony. He has also performed as a freelance violinist and violist in NY, NJ, PA, and GA. Rich lives in West Orange with his partner (conductor Jason Bishop) and three cats. He is Director of Advancement Services for Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ.
Joseph Grosso is a senior at Drew University majoring in Art with a minor in Music. Aside from being a part of Chorale and Choral Union, he is the president of the all-male a cappella group, 36 Madison Avenue. In the past, Joe has been involved in several different musical theatre productions as well as a select choir. When he isn’t singing, he is in the Art studio creating animation story lines. This is the first time that Joe is going to be involved in the Choral Music Intensive, and he is very excited to get the opportunity before he graduates.
is a singer, instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and audio engineer. He recently graduated from SAE Institute of Technology, where he received his Diploma in Audio Engineering. He is an intern at Engine Room Audio, a recording studio in NYC, and a freelance mixing and mastering engineer. When he was a student at Drew University, Jake was a member of the Drew Chorale, Drew Madrigal Singers, and 36 Madison Avenue, Drew’s all-male a cappella group. He is also the primary arranger for 36 Madison Avenue. In Spring 2013, Jake performed the role of Sailor in Drew’s production of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Jake was a member of the Drew Choral Union from Spring 2013 to Spring 2014. He currently sings tenor (and sometimes alto) as a member of Harmonium Choral Society and the Harmonium Chamber Singers, both of which he joined in September 2013.
As a member of Drew University’s Chorale and Choral Union ensembles, Will has developed a true passion for choral music. Though always an enthusiastic shower singer, Will did not become involved in choral singing until he arrived at college, and even then, it took him a couple years to muster up the courage to audition. Will is a senior at Drew University, where he majors in philosophy and minors in classics. Aside from singing in ensembles, Will enjoys telling jokes, impersonating celebrities, and eating fancy cheese. He is extremely humbled to be part of an ensemble that boasts such extraordinary talent, and looks forward to making great music together.
David Stoverschlegel is an Elementary General Music and Chorus teacher in the Neshaminy School District. He is also a regular member of the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church choir in Philadelphia and conducting intern with the Greater South Jersey Chorus. Mr. Stoverschlegel is currently pursuing the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
John Vovak graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education and is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting. While an undergraduate student, John served as the University of Michigan’s University Choir Manager and also as an executive board member of the University’s chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. Since graduation, John has had the opportunity to participate in conducting masterclasses with Francisco Núñez and Dr. Paul Rardin. Most recently, John has worked as an intern conductor with the Greater South Jersey Chorus and the South Jersey Philharmonic. Since 2010 John has also had the opportunity to work with choirs and orchestras of the New Apostolic Church – North America. His responsibilities have included managing, auditioning and preparing volunteer choirs and orchestras from across the United States for the denomination’s yearly national convention. Prior to his appointment to this position, John had served as the Artistic Director for the New Apostolic Church Diocese of Metro Detroit. Here he was responsible for conducting the dioceses’ chamber choir, concert choir, and orchestra.
has performed with critically acclaimed opera companies and orchestras throughout the country. His professional stage credits in leading roles include Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Kentucky Opera), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Minnesota Opera), the title role in Britten’s Albert Herring (Kentucky Opera), Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata (Birmingham Opera Theatre), Nanki-Poo in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (Kentucky Opera), Herzog Guido von Urbino in Johann Strauss’ Eine Nacht in Venedig and Prinz Niki in Oscar Straus’ Ein Waltzertraum (Ohio Light Opera). In concert, he has performed as guest soloist in a variety of traditional works ranging from Mozart’s Missa Solemnis (Richmond Symphony) to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Arkansas Symphony Orchestra) to world premier works by microtonal composer John Eaton, including the title role in El Divino Narciso (Chicago Chamber Orchestra). Charles is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music where he also served as an Associate Instructor of Voice. While there, highlights include performances in leading roles in several Indiana University Opera Theatre productions, selection as a featured artist in a cultural exchange program with the Moscow Conservatory of Music, and being awarded the Indiana University School of Music Adler prize for Continuing Vocal Studies. Beyond the music world, he serves as Vice President with TRAUB Consumer Food and Beverage, a global business development and strategy consulting firm based in London and New York. Charles is a resident of Madison, NJ, where he lives with his wife (the soprano Renée Volak), and his sons, Nicholas and Jack.
teaches Mathematics and Computer Science at Drew and is a member of the Drew Chorale. A Pomona College graduate, he earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where he sang in the UW Choral Union under Robert Fountain. Before joining the Drew faculty in 1988, he held a research appointment at the University of Montréal, and he sang in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra chorus. Since 1996, Steve has been a member of New York City’s Dessoff Choirs. In addition to its own concerts, Dessoff’s recent guest appearances include Lorin Maazel’s final concerts with the New York Philharmonic; Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, live-to-projection at Radio City Music Hall; an East Coast tour with rock legend Ray Davies; concerts under conductors Iván Fischer, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Patrick Dupré Quigley; and a concert of music performed at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, given for her 2013 Jubilee year, at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
makes up half of the Classics Department at Drew. He is a native of Brooklyn, NY, currently living in Maplewood, New Jersey with his wife and two teen-aged children. John studied voice and sang with the Amherst College Glee Club in earlier days. After a long hiatus from organized singing, he joined the Drew Choral Union two years ago and enjoys the challenge and the small-group experience of CMI.
Nick Murphy is a sophomore at Drew University, expected to graduate in 2017 with a double major in Music and Computer Science. Nick currently participates in the Drew Chorale, Choral Union, and the local Methodist Church choir. He is also a previous member of the Madrigal Singers and Drew’s co-ed a cappella group, AOTA. As a member of the Oakcrest High School Center Stage Follies, Nick participated in no fewer than seven musical theatre productions, playing leading roles in Annie, Curtains!, and Brigadoon. He is a five-year member of the South Jersey Regional Chorus as well as a one-year member of the New Jersey State Chorus. He also enjoys reading, video games, and attempting to play the piano. When he’s not spending time on campus, Nick resides in Mays Landing with his mother Kim, his brother Chris, and their pets Charlie and Coco.
Michael Semancik earned a M.M. in Choral Conducting at the University of Delaware studying with Dr. Paul D. Head and a B.S. in Music Education from Slippery Rock University. He is the Director of Choral Activities at Morris Knolls High School in Rockaway, New Jersey. Michael has been the guest conductor of the Sussex County Honors Choir (2011) and the North New Jersey Region 1 Mixed Chorus (2014) and has been an adjudicator in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Morris Knolls Chorale, one of six choirs featuring over 275 choral students, has received extensive awards over the past few years under Mr. Semancik. The Choir has recently performed at the New Jersey Music Educator’s State Convention (2014) and the National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Convention (2013), and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center (2012). In the past three years the choir has taken two European tours and performed concerts at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, St. Peter’s Church in Riga, Lativa, the Czech Museum of Music in Prague, Czech Republic and Jaani Church in Tallinn, Estonia.
Pete Tamburro, a Morristown, New Jersey resident, is a regular choral and solo singer throughout the state. He currently performs with the Choir at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Montclair as a soloist and bass section leader, and is a member of the Princeton-based Kinnara Ensemble. Recently, he has performed as a soloist and member of the Masterwork Chorus, Masterwork Camerata, and the Peapack Reformed Church Choir. Mr. Tamburro is a graduate of Millersville University and currently teaches middle school general music and chorus.
Bruce Van Hoven
is the choral director at the Morristown-Beard School, where he has been teaching for the past seven years. Before that he worked in public schools, teaching music from grades K-12. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Rider University and a master’s from Montclair State University, where he studied voice with Jeffrey Gall, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Letters in Irish Studies at Drew. In addition to directing the Middle and Upper School choruses at Morristown-Beard, he also runs an extra-curricular a cappella group, Crimsingers. His students have been accepted into honor choirs at the county, region, and all-state level as well as a summer touring a cappella group, The Rock N Roll Chorus. Bruce lives in Boonton, NJ with his wonderful and supportive wife Anne Marie and their five children.
Classical guitarist and early plucked instrumentalist Carlos Cuestas is an active performer throughout the United States. His musical versatility has allowed him to perform as a soloist, chamber and orchestral player on different plucked instruments throughout the country. As a guitarist, Mr. Cuestas has done in-depth studies of early nineteenth century guitar repertoire, particularly music for keyboard and guitar, and the art of improvisation in the style of the early Romantic period. As a continuo player, Mr. Cuestas has participated in numerous projects including opera and oratorio productions in NYC, New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and San Francisco. Carlos has assisted and codirected Nyack College’s Collegium Musicum along with renowned violinist Byung Kwak. In the fall of 2015 the Cline/Cuestas flute and guitar duo will release their debut album and future engagements will involve Mr. Cuestas performing with chamber ensembles in Washington D.C., Boston, San Francisco, and as a soloist with the Summit Symphony Orchestra in the 2015-2016 season. Carlos is currently a candidate for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the CUNY Graduate Center, a member of the Brooklyn Guitar Quartet, as well as CUNY baroque, and classical guitar faculty at the Nyack College School of Music in New York City.
Praised for her beautiful tone and musicianship, cellist Gerall Hieser began her musical education in Newport News, Virginia, studying piano and singing harmony with her mother, also a cellist. After moving to Pennsylvania she fell in love with the cello and studied with Metta Watts and Orlando Cole at the New School of Music in Philadelphia. Gerall continued studies with Mr. Cole earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Temple University. She received her Master of Music degree from the Mason Gross School for the Arts at Rutgers University as a student of Paul Tobias. In the 1980s she began playing Southern Appalachian style fiddle and traveled to North Carolina and Virginia to study with some legendary old fiddlers including Tommy Jarrell. Gerall has played for square dances and has won a few fiddle competitions! Ms. Hieser is a passionate and devoted cello teacher and maintains an active studio at her home in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and at Drew University. She is a founding member of the Madison String Quartet, and performs with the Gabriel Chamber ensemble as well. Gerall is the Assistant Principal cellist of the Westfield Symphony (NJ), and is Music Director of the Vermont Music and Arts Center, a summer program for adult amateur musicians. Gerall is married to French Hornist Tony Cecere and they perform as a Duo inventing new sonorities for cello and horn.
Krista Sweer is an emerging collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and teacher based out of central New Jersey. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education from Messiah College where she graduated with honors and was a recipient of the Daniel Vollmer Music Scholarship. While there, Krista studied piano with Ya-Ting Chang and earned the prestigious Presser Foundation Undergraduate Scholar Award. She then went on to earn her Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano as a graduate assistant at Florida State University where she studied with Dr. Timothy Hoekman. When studying at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, she was awarded the Harold Heiberg Award for Excellence in Collaborative Piano. Krista has played in master classes for artists such as Barbara Bonney and Ricky Ian Gordon, and has been a staff pianist at numerous festivals and competitions such as the National Trumpet Competition as well as the International Trumpet Guild’s Annual Conference Competition. She is a staff accompanist at Drew University, where she accompanies the Drew University Choral Union.
Lisa Wichman, staff accompanist at Drew, is a graduate of Wittenberg University, where she received her B.M.E. with an organ concentration. She received her Kodály Certification from Westminster Choir College and a Dodge Foundation Grant to further study the Kodály Methodology. Lisa teaches primary vocal music in the Kinnelon district, which is a NAMM recipient for “A Best Community for Music Education.” A recipient of the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award, Lisa has been a workshop presenter at local, state and eastern division conferences and served as chairperson of the NJSMA Elementary Division. She is staff accompanist at Drew University where she accompanies the Drew University Chorale. She also accompanies for multiple districts in northern New Jersey, as well as NJ Honor Choirs. Lisa serves as organist, accompanist, children’s choir and youth handbell director at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Mountain Lakes, NJ.