Mark S. Bledsoe has been a fixture in the Alaska Chamber Singers’ bass section since 1996. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Willamette University College of Music, where he majored in organ performance. Mark performed with many of the musical ensembles there. He has become a familiar face in the Alaska choral music scene, having sung over the years with not only the Alaska Chamber Singers, but also with the New Madrigal Singers, Basically Bach Chorus, the Anchorage Opera Chorus and the Anchorage Concert Chorus. We recently asked Mark what he thought about Bach and the Baroque. He thought for a minute and looked up from his bowl of soup. He stated that he enjoys Bach’s music, and didn’t think it was broke. It just has too many notes, so he usually leaves some out, he said. Then he returned to his soup. Sponsored by Ray Callaway, Melissa "Jazzmom" Fischer.
Summer Kuhns is a very involved senior at West Anchorage High School, performing with the nationally acclaimed West High School Chorus as well as the West High Theatre Department and Midnight Sun Performing Arts Company. During her breaks from school, she also enjoys her job working as a teacher for the Mini-Music Machine's summer music and dance program. Growing up in a family that has always loved music, Summer's love for singing started at home and was then furthered through her involvement in church choir, and later in School choirs. She has received an Alaska All State First Chair award for two consecutive years in addition to her multiple ASAA Solo and Ensemble Command Performance awards. Summer is extremely excited to further her love of music by performing with Alaska Chamber Singers! Sponsored by Karen Biggs and Family
Katy Green has just returned home to Anchorage after taking a two-year leave of absence from the Anchorage School District to obtain her Master of Music Education in Choral Conducting Degree from Murray State University. She is thrilled to be the new Choral Director at Bartlett High School. An outdoor enthusiast, Katy enjoys mountain biking, hiking, skiing, and snowmachining with her husband, Corey, and their golden retriever, Madison.
Bob Mitchell began singing in church, school and community choirs in Pennsylvania in the early 1940s. He continued singing through his college and navy years, conducted a barbershop chorus in Montana in the 1960s, and joined the Anchorage Community Chorus when he arrived in 1975. He joined ACS at its beginning in fall of 1986, left town for 10 years, and rejoined in 1998. He also sings in the Anchorage Opera Chorus, and plays hand bells and sings in Anchor Park Methodist Church choir. He is a semi-retired architect and enjoys reading, fishing and skiing. His most memorable musical experiences are singing in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and singing Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem under Helmut Rilling's baton in Carnegie Hall. Sponsored by Owen and Pam Bell, Tom and Victoria Packer, Bob and Sue shaffer, Mike Todd and Debbi Warner.
Mark Iverson is a charter member of the Alaska Chamber Singers. His 52 years of choral singing began in his mother's church choir and includes the USAF Academy Cadet Chorale, which he joined so he could stand at ease for a few hours each week. He has also performed with the Anchorage Opera, the basically Bach Festivals, Anchorage Summer Music Festivals and the 25th Statehood Anniversary Russian Choir. He recently retired as an IT project manager after having been employed within the Alaska oil industry for 39 years. He is sponsored by
Bill and Susan Bowers and Rose Marie Lauser.
Rebecca Nelson is a music educator who grew up in Anchorage singing with her family, school, and church. She received her Bachelor's degree in music education from Baylor University and a Master's degree in education from the University of Alaska Anchorage, with an emphasis in secondary choral curriculum. She has been teaching in ASD since 2000 and currently is the choir director at South Anchorage High School. Rebecca also enjoys producing musicals, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.
Tiger Amornkiat is a senior at West Anchorage High School and performs with the outstanding West Choir. He originally joined Romig Middle School Choir hoping to be a student accompanist but soon found his love for singing working with the inspiring Ms. Katy Green. Prior to discovering the joys of choir, Tiger was only interested in instrumental music and piano - he has now embraced vocal music too! He has played in pit orchestras for numerous musicals and has been featured at school concerts and the ASD and State Solo and Ensemble Festivals. He received the Maestro Award (2015) and played with Anchorage Symphony pianist Susan Wingrove-Reed in the 2015 and 2016 Worldstrides Heritage Festivals in Orlando and San Francisco. Tiger had a wonderful time assisting the ASO as their student intern last summer. He intends to pursue a career in piano and vocal performance. Sponsored by Susan and Richard Reed
Rachel Richardson is excited to share her joy of music by continuing to sing with Alaska Chamber Singers for her second year. As a graduate of the West High choral program, Rachel received Alto I and Alto II principal chair in the Alaska All-State Music Festivals of 2014 and 2015, respectively. While she has loved to travel the country singing with various choirs, she still finds her "home sweet home" to be Alaska, where she has participated in performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the Atwood Concert Hall, and also joins with the Anchorage Concert Chorus in the winter to perform their annual Handel's Messiah concert. Rachel is currently studying to be a pilot at UAA, where her end goal is to serve the people and villages of bush Alaska. Sponsored by Brady Byers
Musically, Jack Britton considers himself primarily a cellist with vocalist inclinations. He has played cello in the Columbus, Mississippi Symphony and the Indiana University Southeast Orchestra, holding the principle position for 8 years. Vocally, he was privileged to participate with the Columbus, MS Madrigal Singers as well as the Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus Barbershop chorus, being a participant for 3 medals in International competition. His professional work includes 20 years as an AF pilot having flown the RF-4 and C-130 and 24 years of international flying with UPS. Jack and his wife, Mary, moved to Anchorage in 2013 after 30+ years in Louisville, KY.
Shawn Campbell discovered the joys of singing in a small church in Killeen, Texas. After graduating from North Texas State University, he taught public school band students for 10 years in Temple, Texas. At the same time he sang with the Central Texas Chorus and the University of Texas Austin Choral Union learning many large-scale choral works. As a trombonist he has performed with several regional symphony orchestras and opera companies in Texas, Virginia and Anchorage. His love of the trombone led him to organize and conduct the Anchorage Trombone Choir in 2000. After retiring from the military in 2006, he returned to teaching band music, this time to Alaska's children. Shawn is the bass section leader.
Megan Sandone grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and received her early musical education from Janet Stotts while singing with the Alaska Children's Choir for thirteen years. She received a degree in vocal performance from the University of Puget Sound, and sang as a member of the Anchorage Opera chorus for several years after graduating from UPS. She has been singing with the Anchorage Concert Chorus since 1996. Megan is an attorney and lives in Anchorage with her husband and daughter.
Wendell Bruckner was born in Fairbanks and has lived in Eagle River most of his life. During college he sang in two university groups including the Memorial Church Choir and the Stanford Chamber Singers. Following college he lived in San Francisco and sang in a local a cappella group known as "Flying Without Instruments" whose repertoire ranged from Bach to the B-52s. Wendell also sang in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus for six years.
Jon Rippe grew up in Northern Virginia and started singing at a very young age. He discovered chamber music in high school, and had the pleasure of touring Europe with The Sound of America Honor Band & Chorus after graduating in 2004. From his late teens into his early 20's, he sang with over a dozen different choirs and musical ensembles ranging from jazz quartets to 100+ voice chorales. After enlisting in the Air Force, Jon took a 6 year hiatus from singing, but is glad to be back on the scene with Alaska Chamber Singers. On his free time, Jon likes to rock climb, mountain bike, and run up mountains. He plans on staying in Alaska indefinitely and is looking forward to experiencing everything the state has to offer. Sponsored by Albert and Sally Alvarez
Tim Fosket has been singing all his life and can't seem to stop; he has performed in 46 states and five Canadian Provinces. In Anchorage he has been a member of the Alaska Heritage A Cappella Choir, Batteries Not Included, Anchorage Concert Chorus, the Russian American Colony Singers, Anchorage Opera, Next in Line Productions and now, after a long break, is returning to Alaska Chamber Singers. He moved to Alaska from Seattle where he sang with the Seattle Men's Chorus and Esoterics; prior to that he sang with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Boston. It all started in high school when a music teacher told him to let go of the cello and join the choir. Secretly he still misses that cello.
Carolyn Gordon has been a member of ACS since 1998, after attending a concert led by guest conductor Moses Hogan. She's been a choral singer since elementary school and her experience now extends over 40 years. Singing has seen her through breast cancer and knee replacement surgery and keeps her heart fulfilled. Born and raised in San Diego, California, Carolyn flew into Anchorage in 1990 and plans to stay awhile longer.
Teagen Kroon grew up in Wasilla and has always had a love for the arts, especially music. He began playing the saxophone at a young age and focused mainly on instrumental music until college, where he found a passion for singing. He attended the University of Idaho and performed in numerous college music ensembles including jazz choir and concert choir as well as being part of several stage musicals and operas. He is excited to be back in Alaska and part of the Alaska Chamber Singers.
Meredith Rude was born and raised in Anchorage and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor's degree in music education. She teaches choir and beginning band at Begich Middle School, gives private music instruction and serves as accompanist and youth director at her church. Meredith is an accomplished trumpeter and pianist, and has a knack for learning how to play new instruments. When she's not singing, strumming or blowing her horn she enjoys hiking, running, skiing, and playing with power tools.
Guy Schwartz is a transplant from the prairies of North Dakota where he learned to appreciate music under the watchful eye of a very musical family. His mother is an accomplished pianist/choral director who insisted on piano, band and voice lessons for a young "guy" who just wanted to play football or wrestle. He grew up singing in countless church choirs, high school choirs, as well as many weddings and funerals. After graduating with an engineering degree from the University of North Dakota he moved to Alaska over 30 years ago and didn't look back. Guy has been a long-time member of the Anchorage Concert Chorus and Russian American Colony Singers (RACS) and is looking forward to singing with Alaska Chamber Singers after hearing many of their spectacular performances over the years. Sponsored by Jeffrey W. Schwartz
Dr. Bruce Wood is the Director of Music and Fine Arts for the Anchorage School District. Before arriving in Alaska, Dr. Wood was Associate Professor of Music Education at Texas Tech University. Dr. Wood received his master's and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his bachelor's degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. At Texas Tech, Dr. Wood received over $80,000 in grants for teaching and research projects, including the Texas Tech String Project, which he directed. Dr. Wood has been published by the American String Teachers' Journal, Strings Magazine, GIA publications, and has written a book entitled, The Yin and Yang of Teaching Music. In addition, Dr. Wood was the founding Music Director of the Youth Orchestras of Lubbock.
Dustin Jorgensen has been singing as long as he can remember. He grew up in Wyoming, where he participated in his high school Jazz, Contemporary and Chorale Ensembles. After four years in the Navy, Dustin moved to Washington State, where he sang with the South Puget Sound Community College chorus, in which he met his wife Lauren. He has lived in Alaska for over 10 years, the last six of which have been in Anchorage. Dustin has sung locally with the UAA Opera Ensemble, the Anchorage Opera chorus and the Midnight Sons A Capella Chorus. Dustin has performed in numerous musical theater productions; highlights include Dickon in The Secret Garden, Fyedka in Fiddler on the Roof and soloist/ensemble member in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Forbidden Broadway.
Elizabeth Astle grew up in Los Angeles and has lived in seven states and four countries. After saying goodbye to the military she is now proud to call Alaska home for years to come. From Broadway to Barbershop to Opera Chorus to Oratorios she has dabbled in and enjoyed all kinds of singing groups. One very memorable experience includes singing Mahler's 8th symphony with over six hundred musicians including a children's chorus, two separate eight-part choruses and a double-sized orchestra. Elizabeth is now happy to be creating chamber music. She has a degree in music from Brigham Young University and a Master's in International Relations from Georgetown which she uses to teach her four children Spanish and piano and to conduct her church choir. Sponsored by Lee Astle
Stephanie Williams sings with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Alaska Chamber Singers and has recently started her own performance group "Next In Line Productions." Some of her more challenging solo opportunities have been as the soprano soloist in Poulenc's Gloria with the Anchorage Youth Symphony, as the Queen of the Night with UAA Opera Ensemble and as Geraldine in Barber's A Hand of Bridge with the Anchorage Opera. Born and raised in Anchorage, she has studied voice at Chapman University in Southern California and locally, at UAA and with Kate Egan. Though she enjoys operatic roll greatly, her favorite music is that from the Renaissance and Baroque Periods by composers such as Josquin, Palestrina and Bach. She and her husband James have two funny little girls, Isabella and Brighton.
Mary Britton arrived in Anchorage in January 2014, welcomed by a display of Northern Lights, quite a sight for someone who had always lived in the Midwest and had never seen them before. A piano teacher, music therapist, singer and conductor in her past life, Mary is thrilled to have an opportunity to again participate in musical excellence in this, her first season with ACS. When not making music, Mary can be found volunteering at a mobile food bank and her church, reading, and exploring Alaska with her newly retired husband.
Andrea Gardner, a native Oregonian, was born and raised in Portland. She attended Oregon State University where she received both her Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees. While at OSU, Andrea studied choral conducting, vocal performance, and piano performance and was employed as a collaborative pianist for the music department. After graduating, Andrea taught choir at Ridgeview High School in Redmond, OR and elementary choir with the Youth Choirs of Central Oregon for two years before she made the move to Alaska in the summer of 2016. She currently teaches choir at Dimond High School in the Anchorage School District. Outside of the classroom, Andrea enjoys playing with her dogs, Coda and Forte. Sponsored by Lynnea Gardner
Kimberly Martin has been singing as part of the Alaska Chamber Singers since 2000. She enjoys the fulfillment her garden and flower beds provide during the beautiful Alaskan summers. Along with her bachelor’s in education from Eastern Mennonite University, she completed a minor in Music. Kimberley performed with the university’s Chamber Singers for four years under the directorship of Kenneth Nafziger. Currently Kimberly is teaching 2nd grade at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in Anchorage.
Bardon Simons grew up in Seattle where he received his early musical training-playing violin in school orchestras. Seeking new outlets for musical expression while at Whitman College, he joined the college madrigal and concert choirs and performed as a chorus member in college opera productions. Since moving to Anchorage in 1985, he has sung with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Anchorage Festival of Music, Anchorage Opera, and National Symphony Orchestra during its 1992 Alaska tour. Bardon enjoys gardening and reading history and biographies when taking a break from his job as business manager for a commercial real estate development firm. He is also treasurer of the ACS Board of Directors and his section's leader. Sponsored by Alaska Pacific Leasing, David and Bonnie Faulk
Deb Geeseman has been singing since her unsolicited solo debut in a department store at age 4. She sang in choirs throughout her school years, a women's quartet during college, numerous Messiahs, and just for fun. She is a member of the Anchorage Opera chorus and has sung with the Anchorage Concert Chorus. Deb is a psychiatrist, providing psychotherapy for growth and healing. She is also a world traveler and loves photography and wilderness activities.
Sharon Cooke has a degree in Music Education with a choral emphasis from Northern Arizona University. She teaches both middle school choir and elementary music for the Anchorage School District. Sharon has been in the Chamber Singers off and on a few times now. The first time she left because she had enough free time to travel the world; the second time she had her first baby and suddenly had not time at all. Sharon is thrilled to be back in the group and hopes to stick around for a while this time. When she is not doing musical things, Sharon likes to spend time in the outdoors. Sponsored by Jan Miller and Charles Miller
Katherine Huffman - As a member for about 25 years, Katherine feels enriched by the musicianship, repertoire, travel and friendships of ACS. She loves cabin trips with family and friends, works as a health educator for Planned Parenthood, volunteers for social justice projects with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and is always in the middle of a mischievous art project.
John Braden's tenor voice, musical skills and riser moving talents have anchored the ACS tenor section since 1992. A singer since high school, John claims choir was a good diversion from physics during college. John worked as an engineer for ConocoPhillips for 31 years before retiring, where life is even busier with projects and travels. Sponsored by Zola George
Kathy Jin Hagen is the ACS accompanist. A private piano instructor, she was a piano major and voice student at George Fox College and received additional training at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music. Kathy is active as an ensemble singer, having performed with the Portland Symphonic Choir, Portland State University Singers, Anchorage Opera, and Anchorage Festival of Music. She has appeared as a soloist with the Alaska Chamber Singers and Anchorage Concert Chorus. Her voice can be heard on the children's CD Wee Sing Around the World, part of the internationally popular Wee Sing series.
Liesl Davenport-Wheeler is a music educator with training in voice, piano and French horn. She studied music at the University of Oregon and received a master's degree in music education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a member of Good Dog, a duo performing original songs for kids. Liesl's fondest musical memory is performing in the opera chorus of Carmen at the University of Southern Mississippi with Denyse Graves as Carmen. Liesl is currently teaching music at Trailside Elementary.
Chris Nelson is a new addition to ACS in the bass section. He is a recent transplant from the Washington D.C. area, and before that, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Chris has a minor in music and has been involved in music one way or another most of his life, primarily singing and playing percussion. Most recently, he was the Pirate King in a Capitol Hill Arts Workshop production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance and occasionally sang in the choir at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, D.C. Chris looks forward to being a part of the music community in his new home. Chris is an artist and lives in Anchorage with his husband Tim and their two cats, Truman and Daniel.
Jim Powell has been singing in Alaska since 1964, starting out with Dr. Charles Davis at UAF. His previous singing experience was with the Glee Club at Kings Point, and then with Maynard Klein's Cantata Singers in Ann Arbor. During the 60's and 70's Jim worked with Elvera Voth singing in the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Anchorage Opera and in many Messiah performances. Of the original singers in ACS, fellow tenor Mark Iverson and Jim are the only two still with the group. Jim practiced civil trial law for 40 years, handling litigation all over Alaska. He retired in 2005 and now helps run a Bed & Breakfast with his wife Judy in their West Anchorage home. Sponsored by Karen Hunt, Joe and Meredith Palmier and Hughes White Colbo Wilcox & Tervooren LLC
Mary Klebs started singing with the Chamber Singers in 1995, shortly after moving to Alaska. She took a 10-year hiatus while her children were small, but rejoined Chamber singers in the 2015-16 season. Mary grew up singing – at home, at church, in school – and enjoyed many high school and college performances, tours and competitions. Singing with the Chamber Singers has been the most rewarding musical experience for her. Mary’s heart is her family – her husband Mike, daughters Alli and Lexi, and her church family. Mary works in the commercial HVAC industry and loves her job and her bosses. She also enjoys gardening, spending time at the family cabin, and rooting (loudly) for the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Blackhawks. Mary's sponsorship is in loving memory of Gavin Michael Klebs.
Jennie Barge was born on Kodiak Island and grew up in the Matanuska Valley. She holds a Bachelor of Music Arts from Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Communication Sciences and Disorders from Louisiana State University and is a Speech Language Pathologist with the Mat-Su Borough School District. She spent several years singing and touring with the Alaska Children's Choir and Choir of the West and credits many of her choral and global citizenship skills to her experiences with those ensembles. One of her fondest musical memories is performing Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in London. When she's not singing, Jennie can be found on mountaintops, in her mom's garden, or on the couch with a good cup of tea.
Mary Sindorf has sung with ACS since 1990. A few of her most memorable experiences with ACS include the sister-city concert in Magadan, singing on A Prairie Home Companion, and the concert with guest conductor Moses Hogan. After 25 years as a teacher, counselor and administrator in the Anchorage School District, Mary "failed retirement" and is enjoying a second career as a loan officer for Academy Mortgage . She serves as alto section leader. Sponsored by Paul Sindorf.
Juli Robinson has had the honor of singing in choirs in six states and four countries. After traveling the world with her husband's career, she is pleased to return to Alaska and call Anchorage home. She first began performing as a young child with her sisters in Idaho. After singing in high school and 6 years of vocal studies, she joined the Ricks College Concert Chorale and Ensemble. She went on to Brigham Young University where she sang with the BYU Women's Choir. Some of her great musical pleasures include touring Ireland with Caliente Choir, soloing in John Rutter's Magnificat, and performing in the "Thanksgiving of American Folk Hymns." In addition to singing, she is also plalys piano and cello. Formerly a science teacher, she now stays home with her five children, who share her interest in exploring the great outdoors. Sponsored by Advanced Family Dental Care
Mark Skrade was born in Anchorage, grew up in Ireland, and moved home to Alaska in 2010. He is enjoying his second season with the Alaska Chamber Singers. His interest in singing began at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, where he sang in the concert choir, chamber singers, and in the university's production of Company, by Stephen Sondheim. Recently, he has sung with the Anchorage Opera Chorus in Rigoletto, the Opera Extravaganza, and HMS Pinafore. He is grateful for these experiences and for the opportunity to study in Kate Egan's studio. Mark is a cantor at Holy Family Cathedral and is proud to work for Matson at the Port of Alaska. Sponsored by Matson, Inc.
Gabrielle Wibbenmeyer has grown up singing in choirs. She was a member of the St. Louis Children's Choirs for ten years, 3rd grade through high school graduation, in her hometown St. Louis, MO. She went on to receive her Bachelors of Music in Music Education at Murray State University in Western Kentucky. She is currently teaching choir at Romig Middle School and West High School. She has fallen in love with Alaska and enjoys jogging, hiking, and petting every dog she can.
Lyndon Harder has been immersed in choral music since his grade school years. He sang in his high school varsity chorale, college choir in England, and his university's glee club. Numerous church choirs around the country have counted Lyndon as a member. Lyndon has soloed at US government, military, and college events, as well as at weddings and smaller functions. Prior to returning to Alaska in 2004, Lyndon sang with the Augusta Choral Society, Georgia. Lyndon is an analyst with the U.S. government. This follows a U.S. Army career, after which Lyndon and his wife returned to Alaska to make it their permanent home. In addition to singing, Lyndon enjoys photography and high performance computer design and building.
Corina Johnston, a member since 1999, is a teacher and administrator at Fire Lake Preschool in Eagle River. While she thoroughly enjoys singing 5 Little Monkeys and Alice the Camel multiple times a day, Corina is glad to have the challenge of ACS to round out her musical career. Corina's roots are deep in Alaska; her grandparents homesteaded in Chugiak where they started a dairy farm on the land that is now Russell Oberg Field (named after her grandfather). Growing up in Alaska created a great passion for the outdoors in Corina, and she can be found hiking with her husband and daughter pretty much wherever a trail might take them. Sponsored by Sullivan Water Wells and AofAlaska