Coloratura Soprano Mindy Love Barney was born in Everett Washington. She spent most of her life in Puyallup Washington. As a child she performed frequently in her church. She attended Rodgers High School where she was heavily involved in the choirs and orchestras there. She went on to Brigham Young University Idaho on the top vocal scholarship where she performed on stage and in the top choirs there. She earned her associate degree in vocal performance, and then transferred to Utah State University on a full vocal scholarship. While at Utah State she studied with accomplished musicians such as Cindy Dewey and Michael Ballam. While at Utah State she won first place in her division in the NATS competition. After completing her senior recital, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. Mindy has performed in such works as "Carmina Burana," Handel's "Messiah," and Merrill Jensen's oratorio, "Come unto Christ." She has performed many works of Strauss, Debussy, Mozart, Argento, and Verdi. She has also participated behind the opera scenes in costuming and set design as well as playing chorus roles in short operas such as Kurt Weil's “Down in the Valley," "Lizbeth," by Thomas Albert and Linde Herman, John Morton's "Cox and Box," and Seymour Barab's "Game of chance." Mindy has performed in operatic roles such as Susanna in scenes from "The Marriage of Figaro," Gretel in Engelbert Humperdink's "Hansel und Gretel," Gianetta in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Gondoliers," and Miss Titmouse the coloratura soprano in Edwin Penhorwood's "Too Many Sopranos."
Baritone Ryan Christopher Bede, a native of Tacoma, Washington, has appeared with numerous Northwest opera organizations and is quickly establishing himself as an exciting young artist. He performs this season as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with Puget Sound Concert Opera and returns to Seattle Opera Guild as Zurga in previews of The Pearl Fishers. Performances in the 2007-2008 season included Kitsap Opera (Schaunard in La Boheme) and Lyric Opera Northwest (Baron Douphol in La Traviata), and Puget Sound Concert Opera (Wagner in Faust). Other recent appearances include Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Kurt Weill's Seven Deadly Sins, Damis in Tartuffe, and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, all with the University of Washington Opera Theater. Mr. Bede is a past participant of the Next Generation Artist Program with Tacoma Opera, where his roles included Ben in The Telephone and Commendatoreador in The Stoned Guest. He was also honored to be asked to sing excerpts from Joel Feigin's Twelfth Night (as Feste) during the Opera America annual conference in Seattle in the Spring of 2006. During the 2005-2006 season, Mr. Bede began his affiliation with the Seattle Opera Guild, and has since sung preview concerts as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, the title role in Verdi's Macbeth, Marcello in La Boheme, and Oreste in Iphigenie en Tauride. Mr. Bede spent two summers with the Aspen Opera Theater Center, where performances have included Lucia di Lammermoor and the Western U.S. premiere of Ned Rorem's Our Town and appearances in various opera scenes, including Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni, and Lockit in Britten's adaptation of The Beggar's Opera.
Mr. Bede holds a Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance from the University of Puget Sound, where he studied with Michael Delos and sang Falke in Die Fledermaus, Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, and Colonel Calverley in Patience. In June of 2007, he completed his Master's degree in Voice/Opera Performance from the University of Washington, where he studied with Vinson Cole and Jane Eaglen. Mr. Bede is a current recipient of the Singers' Training Fund grant from the Seattle Opera Guild.
Gwynne Kuhner Brown is assistant professor of music history and theory at the University of Puget Sound. Trained as a classical pianist, her scholarly interests center around opera and sacred vocal music. Her doctoral dissertation, completed at the University of Washington, studied the racial and aesthetic controversies provoked by George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Her current project is a book on African American spirituals and their interpretation by four important black choral directors.
Praised for his “generous tenor” by Early Music America, tenor, stage director, and voice teacher James L. Brown is an active proponent of both early and new music. James is the Chair of Vocal Studies at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA where he oversees a large and diverse vocal program. As the director of PLU’s Opera Workshop, he has been the recipient of several grants including a Regency Scholarship Grant and a Production Grant from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music in New York, NY. Brown will join the faculty of Lutheran Summer Music in Minnesota this year.
In praise of his operatic singing, Opera News wrote that “His lyricism is most appealing.” Brown has sung with such opera companies and presenters as New York City Opera, New Orleans Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Bronx Opera, Rogue Opera (Oregon), Chautauqua Opera, Seattle Early Music Guild, Skylight Opera Theatre (Milwaukee), Aspen Opera Theater and The Spoleto Festival in Spoleto, Italy. The tenor has sung roles under the baton of such well-known conductors as James Conlon, John DeMain, Richard Hickox, Julius Rudel and Robert Spano and early music directors Rinaldo Alessandrini, Arthur Haas, Andrew Lawrence King and Stephen Stubbs.
Mr. Brown has introduced many world premieres in the last several years, among which are: Russian composer, Vladimir Ryabav’s The Border Between Light and Darkness, Sheila Silver's The Thief of Love (recently released on DVD), Jack Beeson's The Equilibrists and Mexican-American composer Riccardo Zohn-Muldoon's Comala at the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. As a concert soloist, James has appeared at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Seattle’s Town Hall, Harris Concert Hall at the Aspen Festival, The Ravinia Festival in Chicago and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. James sang the title roles in New York State Baroque’s productions of Rameau’s Pygmalion, Handel’s Jephtha, and Bach’s St. John Passion (Evangelist).
Recent performances have taken Brown to Berkeley, CA for the 2008 Early Music Festival, back to New York for the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo (Stony Brook), Boston for three Fringe Concerts at the 2007 Boston Early Music Festival, Seattle for Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo with the Seattle Academy of Baroque Opera, and Britten’s Serenade and Cantata Misericordium with Choral Union in Tacoma, WA.
Brown holds a Bachelor’s Degree in voice performance from Loyola University New Orleans, a Master of Music degree in voice from the Juilliard School and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Grant Drees, a Lyric Tenor, is a three-time winner of the Charles P. Lund Music Scholarship while attending Eastern Washington University (B.S. Biology). Grant was Tenor Section Leader in EWU’s top "Chamber Choir" and won the hearts of opera lovers as, Monastatos, in EWU’s presentation of Mozart’s, The Magic Flute. In addition, he spent two years in the Northwest Bach Festival’s Professional Choir under the direction of World-Renowned Conductor, Gunther Schuller; performing such works as Beethoven’s, Missa Solemnis, and Bach’s, Magnificat.
Prior to his time at Eastern, Grant attended Brigham Young University Idaho where he sang with the Collegiate Singers, Concert Chorale, Men’s Choir, and College Choir. While at BYUI, Grant had the opportunity to sing at the competitive ACDA national convention in Chicago, IL.; and also to perform with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Music and the Spoken Word) and the highly-regarded BYU Singers. It was at Ricks that he wore his first pair of tights singing the Tenor lead, Tamino, in Rick’s Opera workshop of Mozart’s, The Magic Flute, and also played the unruly Eisenstein in Strauss’, Die Fledermaus.
In addition to his years of performing in diverse choral venues, Grant also found success directing a congregational Choir for nearly four years. Grant has performed with Kitsap Opera in Bremerton, WA., where he performed a succinct principal role in Verdi’s, La Traviata. Additionally, he has been a featured soloist for two local 6-Stake LDS Easter presentations and a moving Memorial Day Celebration. In a role befitting Grant’s humorous disposition, he entertained in the role of the elderly, yet playful, Kaspar, in Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Grant is a native of Bremerton, WA and currently resides, with his beautiful wife and their five daughters, in Lacey, WA.
Soprano Erin Guinup has been teaching and performing in the Tacoma area for 10 years. Originally from Southern California, she graduated from the University of Puget Sound with degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education. She is the President of the Tahoma Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and a founding member of Rainier Family Opera.As a performer, she has sung a wide range of operatic and musical theatre roles including Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Sandrina/Violetta in La Finta Giardiniera, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, First Harlot in Handel’s Solomon, Mary in Savior of the World, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and Christine in a concert performance of The Phantom of the Opera. She appeared as Gretel in scenes from Hansel and Gretel as part of RFO’s Inaugural Concert in May. Other productions include scenes from Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, H.M.S. Pinafore, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and The Music Man.
Awards include 1st place in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition and winner of the UPS Concerto/Aria Contest with a performance of Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915" with the University Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with many area organizations including Tacoma Opera, Northwest Repertory Singers, and the Tacoma Symphony Chorale and is a frequent soloist for Handel’s Messiah. She enjoys championing composers of American song and works freelance as a musical director, soloist and private voice teacher in the Tacoma area.
Amilyn Hill is a Sophomore at Pacific Lutheran University, pursuing a vocal performance degree. In 2007, she graduated from the Tacoma School of the Arts with a concentration in music, performing the part of Christina in a preview of the original musical Our Lives composed by Maya Fein. Recent performances include chorus work in “Chess: The Musical” at the Tacoma Little Theatre, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and participation in The Bach Aria Project at PLU. She was also the director of The Singing Saints choir at Life Manor Assisted Living. Amilyn can be seen in the chorus in PLU’s upcoming performance of Die Fledermaus, starting November 6th.
Marci Morrell has a passion for sharing her vocal talent, and although she has spent the last 6 years dedicated to raising her beautiful children and supporting the family business, she has continued to sing for her church and other churches special holiday performances.As a soprano and mezzo soprano, Marci has performed in many operatic roles such as Mme. Lindoine in Les Dialogues des Carmelites, Countess Maritza in Countess Maritza, Rosalinda and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mimi in La Boheme, The Mother in Hansel and Gretel, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, and in opera scenes as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Sesto in Clemenza di Tito, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, Charlotte in Werther, Orpheo in Orpheo et Euridice, Marguerite in Faust, and Regina in Regina. Her concert and oratorio works include Handel’s Messiah, Ramirez’s Misa Criolla, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Spatzen Messe and Litaniae Lauretanae, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Faure’s Requiem, to name a few, not to mention extensive concerts and collaborations here and throughout Spain.She has won many awards including a 3 year full tuition and monthly stipend as a teacher’s assistant in The Vocal Department at the University of Washington Seattle. While there, she taught class voice to a broad student base and private voice to graduate and undergraduate students training in the area of vocal performance and choral conducting. Other awards include Woman of the Year, Performing Arts Division at BYU-Idaho; Matriculates Honor, highest honor, at the Conservatorio de Zaragoza, Spain; Sara B. Jenkins Scholarship, Seattle Opera; Luis Mariano International Competition, Spain; Performing Arts Festival of the Eastside, Seattle Civic Opera Association; and Idaho Civic Opera.Marci graduated with a Master in Music from the University of Washington, a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Washington. She holds a Singers Certificate from the Conservatorio de Zaragoza in Spain and an Associate’s degree from BYU-Idaho.
Angela Owen delivers heartfelt performances and is known for her rich and resonant voice. Having grown up in a musical family, Angela has been singing and performing all of her life. She has performed extensively as a soloist in Arizona, Utah, and Washington. Her vocal flexibility has allowed her to sing both in choral ensembles and as a fantastic soloist of classical, opera, jazz and show tunes. Currently, she is one of the founding members of Rainier Family Opera. For their inaugural concert in May she played Hansel in selections from Hansel and Gretel. Other recent performances include soloist in the Messiah and the role of Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ in The Savior of the World. She has also been part of the productions The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, and Little Mary Sunshine.
She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Music. During her musical studies, Angela was accepted into the most elite and demanding choir, BYU Singers, at an unusually young age. During her three years with the choir they toured Italy, Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Hawaii. They also recorded 4 CD’s, one of which was nominated for a Grammy award: Eric Whitacre: The Complete A Cappella Works. Since graduating, she has performed as a soloist at the Marcato Singing Guild, with the Sonoran Desert Chorale, and for the Western ACDA Convention in Salt Lake City.
Angela now dedicates her time to her husband Ken Owen, music instructor at Pierce College, and children Thomas and Suzette. She also enjoys singing with the Pierce College Evening Choir, her church choir, and teaching a few students on the side.
Kenneth L. Owen, DMA has performed as a singer, pianist, accompanist, and conductor of choirs and orchestras in Arizona, Utah, and Washington. Ken received the Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Utah, where he studied with Frank Weinstock and Dr. Barlow Bradford. He went on to study conducting with Dr. Ronald Staheli and to work and sing with the renowned choirs at Brigham Young University. There he received the Master of Music degree in Choral music and also studied orchestral conducting. At Arizona State University Ken completed the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in conducting where he studied choral music with Dr. David Schildkret, and orchestra conducting with Dr. Timothy Russell. He has also studied and worked with such conductors as Paul Salomunovich, Dale Warland, Craig Jessop, Simon Carrington, and Jerry McCoy.
A native of Utah, Ken has performed with the Utah Chamber Artists, the Orchestra at Temple Square, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He has also worked with numerous academic ensembles in several states. Ken currently serves on the music faculty at Pierce College where he conducts the choirs and teaches voice and music classes.
As a conductor and pianist of both instrumental and choral ensembles, Ken has a wide range of experience and flexibility. He has directed ensembles of all skill levels effectively due to his pedagogical sensitivity and flexible teaching and rehearsal styles.
Soprano Dawnette Palmer was raised in Arizona and currently resides in Puyallup with her husband Scott and three children. She started performing at a young age and was involved with choir, orchestra, band, theatre, and a family performing group called the Bigler Sound. She spent several years traveling across the United States and Canada, performing and recording several albums. She studied vocal performance at Middle Tennessee State University and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Utah. She has spent the last 11 years teaching piano and voice in her studio. Dawnette has participated in such productions as The Savior of the World, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Messiah, Freedom Festival, Suor Angelica, The Music Man, Carousel, Stars R Us, and Life of Christ. She has also performed as a vocalist and instrumentalist in various recordings. She has a love for songwriting and is excited about her latest CD, Re-Unite that will release later this year with several original songs.
Elizabeth Scott, soprano, has appeared in the University of Washington productions of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera (Serpetta), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (Infermiera) and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury (Edwin) as well as productions at Pacific Lutheran University, including, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (Second Lady), Ravel’s L’Enfant Et Les Sortileges (La Bergère and Le Rossignol) and Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon. She has been in scenes from Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Gounod’s Faust and Delibes’ Lakmé. Elizabeth has also been featured in performances of Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, Rutter’s Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Respighi’s Lauda per la Navitá and Bach’s Cantata 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme.
Elizabeth is currently teaching voice in Enumclaw. She has recently completed her Masters of Music in vocal performance and is studying voice with Tom Harper.
Marjorie Skreen-Dickerson, accompanist, received a BM from the University of Puget Sound and an MM from the University of Washington. She is a member of the Tacoma Chapter of the Music Teachers Association, where her students have been chosen as convention representatives. Ms. Skreen served on the music faculty of Pierce College. She currently accompanies the Northwest Repertory Singers and serves as organist at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor. She has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, appeared a vocal soloist with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, and is a featured artist with the Orpheus Chorus. She has accompanied NWRS since their founding in 2001.
Nancy Failor Vancil holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Washington. She spent one year studying German Lieder at the Akademie Mozarteum, in Salzburg. Ms. Vancil has served as Music Director of the Los Angeles Music Theater Company and she has taught at San Antonio College, Texas, St. Martin’s College, Olympia, and the Annie Wright School in Tacoma.
She currently is Instructor of Voice at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, and is a Music Director of Tahoma Choirs, a choral program serving youth in the Tacoma region. She also serves as accompanist for the Seattle Bach Choir. Ms. Vancil is an active performer, adjudicator and clinician in the Northwest.
Soprano Valerie White Williams has been acclaimed by reviewers as "dazzling" and a singer of "great skill" for her performance of The Queen of the Night from Mozart's The Magic Flute. She has performed the Queen for several companies including Kitsap Opera, Central Washington University Opera and Seattle Opera Previews, among others. Upcoming roles for 2009 include another Queen of the Night and her first Marie in The Daughter of the Regiment with Kitsap Opera.
Ms. William’s concert background is as varied as it is deep. Her oratorio repertoire includes Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate, Händel's Messiah, Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Equally at home in the recording studio, Valerie was heard on KING FM's "Live with George" singing selections from Händel's Messiah. She has recorded numerous demos and commercials and has also performed as a jazz vocalist in such venues as Benaroya Hall and Tula's Nightclub in Seattle.
Valerie first gained national attention while singing lead soprano for the female, vocal jazz quartet, Sudden Touch. The vocal group was featured on the cover of the Jazz Educator's Journal after being selected as one of six groups nationwide to perform at the First Collegiate Jazz Festival at Epcot Center in Florida.
While earning a Bachelor of Music degree cum laude from Central Washington
University, Valerie worked and coached with pioneering jazz educator, John
Moawad. She sang lead soprano for his Vocal Jazz Ensemble when the choir won 1st Place in the West Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival in Berkeley, CA, recorded the album, In a Mellow Tone and performed with jazz great, Dizzy Gillespie.
A published writer, Valerie recently was invited to present two workshops at the 2005 Classical Singer Convention in New York City along with other nationally known clinicians after the publication of her articles in Classical Singer Magazine. Also in 2005, she contributed to the acclaimed book, This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America.
In addition to singing and teaching, Valerie also enjoys reading, the internet and web design. She makes a home with her husband, drummer Garey Williams and their children in the beautiful Puget Sound area of Washington State.