Past festivals

Kenneth Nafziger: artistic director and conductor

Kenneth Nafziger is Professor of Music at Eastern Mennonite University. He received his D.M.A. from the University of Oregon, and was a post-doctoral conducting student with Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart, Germany. At EMU his teaching responsibilities include the EMU Chamber Singers, courses in conducting, music history, interdisciplinary humanities, and in music and worship at the seminary. Mr. Nafziger is also music director and conductor of the Lake Chelan Bach Feste in Chelan, Wash., the conductor of two chamber choirs, Winchester Musica Viva in Winchester, Va. and VOCE in Reston. Va., and music director and conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Charlottesville, Va. This spring, Winchester Musica Viva will release a new CD, including music of the United States, Cuba, Spain, and Latin America. During this current sabbatical year, he has made three trips to Cuba, one of which was an extended time of teaching, conducting, and learning more Spanish. On earlier visits, he guest conducted the Orquesta Sinf—nica de Matanzas, led concert trips with the EMU Chamber Singers and with Winchester Musica Viva, and taught master classes in singing spirituals and in orchestral conducting. Last summer's unique festival, Bach y la mśsica de Cuba, came about through the cooperation and assistance of Cuban musical friends. Mr. Nafziger is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Milestone Learning Center, Highlands, N.C., a member of the Board of Directors for Melodious Accord, Inc., New York, N.Y., and was music editor of Hymnal: A Worship Book [1992] and editor of its Accompaniment Handbook [1993]. He is active in the US and Canada as a guest conductor, workshop leader and clinician.


Beth Aracena: coordinator

Beth Aracena, Bach Festival coordinator, received her Ph.D. in music history and theory from the University of Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Vassar College. Her dissertation, titled "Singing Salvation: Jesuit Musics in Colonial Chile, 1600-1767" received awards from the Fulbright-Hays Foundation and the American Association of University Women. She has an article published in Latin American Music Review, and continues to present papers at conferences for both the American Musicological Society and the Society for Ethnomusicology. Last spring she gave a paper on "Anabaptist Mennonite Music in Early Colonial America" at the annual meeting of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. Ms. Aracena is currently at work on an edition of the anonymous villancicos conserved in the Santiago de Chile Cathedral Music Archive. At EMU she teaches music history and theory, as well as applied violin and piano. An advisory member of the Arts Council of the Valley, Dr. Aracena is excited about the potential for arts to enrich lives in this community. She has played violin in the Bach Festival Orchestra for four summers. This is her second year as coordinator for the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.


Mary Kay Adams: flutist

Mary Kay Adams, flutist, received her Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees from the University of North Texas. She is an adjunct music professor at Eastern Mennonite University, James Madison University, Bridgewater College, Mary Baldwin College, and Washington and Lee University. She also teaches in the Preparatory Program at EMU. Before coming to the Shenandoah Valley, she taught flute and theory at Arkansas Tech University, played principal cello in the Fort Smith (Ark.) Symphony, and freelanced in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Currently she plays principal flute in the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, where she had also been principal cellist for many years. In addition, she plays flute in the Roanoke Symphony. This is her eleventh season with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival orchestra. Active as a soloist and chamber musician on both flute and cello, she has performed at conventions of the National Flute Association and Music Educators National Conference.


Jason Axford: homilist

Jason Axford, homilist, is a native of Cape Town, South Africa, born into an English heritage from his father's side, and a Dutch heritage from his mother's side of the family. One grandfather was the well-known Rev. Abraham Victor Axford who led the congregation at Bonteheuwel Baptist Church; his wife was the pianist and choir leader. The other grandfather, Hendrickus Cyster was an elder and founding member of the Athlone Baptist Church; his wife sang in the church choir and was also a founding member. His family emigrated to Australia in 1980 amidst the political unrest in South Africa. They returned one year later. Mr. Axford enrolled as a student at Eastern Mennonite University, where he attained a B.A. in sociology ('98) and a M.A. in Counseling ('03). He is currently beginning his third season EMU's head men's volleyball coach, and is a resident director in one of the dormitories. He was selected by his classmates in the counseling program to give one of the baccalaureate addresses this past April.


Joe Farley: bassist

Joe Farley, bassist, is a member of the Winston-Salem and Greensboro Symphonies, and also performs regularly with the Roanoke, Charleston, and North Carolina Symphonies. He has played at the Garth Newel Music Festival since 1993. From 1988 to 1992 he was a member of the New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. Mr. Farley is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts. This is his fifth season with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.


Joseph Gascho: harpsichordist

Joseph Gascho, harpsichordist, won first prize in the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition, and was recently awarded a grant for solo performance by the Maryland State Arts Council. He earned his Master's Degree from the Peabody Conservatory in 2001; his teachers include Webb Wiggins, Arthur Haas and Lisa Crawford. He has performed with the Washington Bach Consort, the Baltimore Symphony Chamber Players, Modern Musick, Peabody Opera, the Peabody Concert Orchestra, the Ceciliana Quartet, and at numerous early music festivals. As the music director of Divinity Lutheran Church, he conducts frequent performances of Bach cantatas and his own compositions. He teaches at the Friends School of Baltimore and the Peabody Elderhostel Program, and he coaches chamber music at the Amherst Early Music Festival. He also studies harpsichord construction and regulation in the workshop of Thomas and Barbara Wolf. This fall, he will enter the doctoral program at the University of Maryland, where he will also maintain harpsichords and teach figured bass. Mr. Gascho is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, where he majored in music.


Sandra Gerster Lisicky: oboist

Sandra Gerster Lisicky, oboist, enjoys a varied musical career of oboe, oboe d'amore and English horn engagements throughout North America, Europe and Asia. She has been praised for "exemplary bravura" (New Haven Register), "perfect balance and abundant merriment" (Richmond Times-Dispatch) and "impeccably timed and nuanced" music-making (Richmond Times-Dispatch). Since 1993 Ms. Lisicky has lived in Virginia, performing regularly with the North Carolina, Richmond and Virginia Symphonies, as well as Virginia and North Carolina Opera Orchestras. She serves as Principal Oboist of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, heads the Music Program at Orchard House School and is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond. Formerly she was Principal Oboist of the Hartford Symphony, Connecticut Opera, and New Sousa Band, and a founding member of the Soni Fidelis Quintet, resident ensemble of the Hartt School of Music. With this chamber ensemble, Ms. Lisicky co-managed four chamber music series, collaborated with guest artists such as actor/director Mark Lamos, actress Susan Saint James and media star Captain Kangaroo and made an acclaimed Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1989. As a chamber musician, Ms. Lisicky has collaborated with the New World, Franciscan and Cavani String Quartets on numerous occasions. In 1998 she was invited to participate in a special chamber music concert in London for Prime Minister Tony Blair and designated members of his Cabinet. In February 2003 she was a featured artist with the VCU ChamberFest. An avid teacher, Ms. Lisicky has served on the faculties of over twenty educational institutions including James Madison University. This appointment included duties as Director of Music Admissions as well as Oboe Professor. Ms. Lisicky received her Music Performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music where she studied with legendary oboist Alfred Genovese.


Joan Griffing: violinist and concertmaster

Joan Griffing, violinist and concertmaster, is currently Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Eastern Mennonite University where she teaches violin and viola, coaches chamber music, and conducts the EMU orchestra. She is also concertmaster of the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, a member of the Virginia Symphony, and violinist with the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. In the spring of 1999, she premiered a Violin Concerto written for her by Terry Vosbein, composer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University. She earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University, where she studied with Tadeusz Wronski, and her Doctor of Musical Arts in violin performance from Ohio State University. Her chamber music coaching has been under artists such as Joseph Gingold, Janos Starker, James Buswell, Gyrogy Sebok, Boris Berman, the Fine Arts String Quartet, and the Tokyo String Quartet. Ms. Griffing has performed as concertmaster with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Austria and Italy as well as with the Coronado, Grand Teton, Norfolk, and Spoleto Festivals in this country.


Anne Gross: soprano

Anne Gross, soprano, has been praised for her exquisite tone, excellent breath control and enjoyable stage presence; she is a polished performer who delights audiences with her musicality and sense of humor. Ms. Gross received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she was a recipient of the prestigious Corbett Opera Scholarship. She is currently an Instructor of Music at Eastern Mennonite University where she teaches class voice, private voice, vocal pedagogy and Introduction to Music Listening and directs the University Chorale. Recent performances include a solo faculty recital, Chanting to Paradise-Emily Dickinson in Song, and solo appearances with the EMU Community Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Ms. Gross was the featured soloist in J. S. Bach's Cantata No. 202 in the 2001 Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. In the 2002 Festival she performed Libby Larsen's song cycle Love After 1950. She has sung with Boston Lyric Opera and Longwood Opera and has appeared in many Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Ms. Gross was a founding member of Showstoppers, a theater company presenting musical revues on Boston's South Shore, and she has performed in numerous musical theater cabarets. Ms. Gross came to EMU from a four-year association with the African Children's Choir. During that time she served as the United Kingdom administrator for the choir as well as the tour director and musical supervisor of the choir in North America, Europe, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.


John Hugo: tenor

John Hugo, tenor, is no stranger to the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. In the last two festivals he has appeared as a tenor soloist on the noon concerts, with the chamber choir at the Leipzig services, and has sung with the festival chorus as well. He holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Music from Arizona State University. He currently serves as Professor of Vocal Music and Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts at Liberty University. He conducts the LU Concert Choir and University Chorale, and serves as Chorus Master for the Roanoke Symphony Chorus, of which he is the founding director. He frequently appears as a tenor soloist at Lynchburg area churches, and has appeared several times as soloist with the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra, the Jefferson Choral Society, and players from the Roanoke Symphony. He currently serves as Governor of the Virginia District of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. As well as specializing in the works of Bach and Handel, Mr. Hugo is a great admirer of the songs of Franz Schubert, and recently performed Die schöne Müllerin at Liberty University and Sweet Briar College. His duties at Liberty University include teaching music history, choral conducting, and private voice. He has also published choral arrangements though Thomas House Publications.


Matthew Hunsberger: bass

Matthew W. Hunsberger, bass, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Eastern Mennonite University. As a student, he presented three vocal recitals which included Antonin Dvorak's Gypsy Songs, Francis Poulenc's Le bal masqué, music by several Argentine composers, and songs of Charles Ives. He sang the role of Jesus in J.S. Bach's St. John Passion, and has been the soloist in numerous Bach cantatas at EMU. His stage experience includes the roles of Judas in Godspell, Charlie Brown in Snoopy, and Gianni Schicchi. He was a member, co-founder, and co-director of the local ten-member male a cappella and very popular ensemble based in Harrisonburg, Full Table.


Douglas Kehlenbrink: bassonist

Douglas Kehlenbrink, bassoonist, is an active performer in the Washington/Baltimore area and a devoted teacher of the instrument. He appears as Principal Bassoon with the Concert Artists of Baltimore and the Roanoke Symphony of Virginia, and is a regular member of the Filene Center Orchestra and Wolf Trap Opera Company, the National Gallery Orchestra, the Kennedy Center's Opera House Orchestra, the Washington Chamber Symphony (Handel Festival Orchestra) and the Washington Bach Consort. He has held positions with the Richmond Symphony, the
Shreveport Symphony and the Shreveport Summer Music Festival Orchestra. Kehlenbrink is heard in recitals and chamber concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe, most recently with the Concerts Artists of Baltimore, the Garth Newel Music Festival (Hot Springs, Va.), at the Parish Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, England and in a European premiere for The College Music Society in Vienna, Austria. He premiered a Walter Ross Concerto for Bassoon and Strings (1986) in Charlottesville, Va. and has been soloist with The Contemporary Music Forum in Washington, D.C. His solo work was described by critics of the Baltimore Sun and Roanoke Times as "…extremely expressive" and "…beautifully played." Recent world premieres include two works written especially for him by composer, John Hilliard. He was a founding member of the Montpelier Winds at James Madison University, Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley Bach and his very active Trio d'Anche, WindRose. He has participated in music festivals throughout the United States, including the Sarasota Music Festival, the Shreveport Summer Music Festival, the Garth Newel Series and the Wintergreen Music Festival. Kehlenbrink's professional influences include notable bassoonists Sol Schoenbach, William Waterhouse, Mark Popkin and Homer Pence. He enjoyed a distinguished 25 year teaching career at James Madison University, recently assuming new duties as Chair of the Arts at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. His recordings with saxophonist Gunnar Mossblad, the Concert Artists of Baltimore (Sonora) and the Roanoke Symphony (VT-Digital Studios) are distributed world-wide.


Marvin Mills: organist and assistant choral conductor

Marvin Mills, organist and assistant choral conductor, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., is Associate Minister of Music at National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C., where he is coordinator of Music at Midday, a ten month noon concert series. He is also music director of the acclaimed the National Spiritual Ensemble (formerly the New England Spiritual Ensemble). Previously he was Director of Music at All Souls Church, Unitarian, and University Organist at Howard University, both in Washington, D.C. Mr. Mills has performed for numerous chapters of The American Guild of Organists, was a featured recitalist in the Guild's 1992 National and 1996 Centennial National conventions, was a featured artist at the Washington Bach Festival 1987 and 1988, and was the second in a series of four dedicatory recitalists to perform on the Schudi organ in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in February, 1988. He opened the 1989 Wendell P. Whalum Concert Series at Morehouse College, performing for the entire student body. Presented in recital by the Washington National Cathedral in observance of Black History Month 1989, he returned to appear on its 1995 and 2002 Summer Festival Series. Mills has performed throughout the United States in such places as The Academy of Music, Philadelphia, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Barns, Wolf Trap Farm Park as well as historic churches in Krakow, Poland, and appeared as guest artist with the Washington Male Chorale, the Concert Artists of Baltimore, the Washington Bach Consort, the Cathedral Choral Society, the Folger Consort and Fairfax Chorale Society. In the spring of 1992 Mr. Mills performed the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach in a weekly series of fourteen programs on the 96 Rieger organ at All Souls Church, Unitarian. He made his west coast debut in July 1992 at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion International Organ Summer Concert Series in Balboa Park, San Diego, his New York City recital debut in July 1993 at the Riverside Church. Concerto appearances include the Pittsburgh Symphony with conductor Isaiah Jackson, the Johns Hopkins Symphony and the Peabody Symphony. Having performed concertos by Handel, Rheinberger and Jongen in two previous engagements, he returned this season to play Hindemith's Concerto for Organ and Orchestra with the Jacksonville Symphony, Jacksonville, Fla. For several years Mr. Mills has been a featured artist at the Shenandoah Bach Festival as recitalist, chamber musician-with Cuban chamber choir Exaudi-and choral conductor-preparing the Festival Chorus for Haydn's Creation. Active as a vocal coach/accompanist, he can be heard as arranger and accompanist on a disc of spirituals with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, Angels Watching Over Me.


David Nesmith: hornist

David Nesmith, hornist, teaches horn and the Alexander Technique at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He is an active member of Andover Educators, an organization of teachers certified to present the course What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body. From 1992-2002, Mr. Nesmith served as Principal Horn of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, an ensemble specializing in the presentation and recording of new American music. He currently performs with the Cathedral Brass Ensemble, the Columbus Broadway Series, the New Hampshire Music Festival and the West Virginia Symphony. He is an alumnus of Capital University and Indiana University.


Leslie Nicholas: clarinetist

Leslie Nicholas, clarinetist, in the words of Eleanor Hood of Cameo Concerts, plays having "a sound like liquid gold…" Formerly Principal Clarinetist of the West Virginia and Roanoke Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Dallas, ProMusica, and New York's Classic Chamber Orchestras, Mr. Nicholas now devotes more of his time to the performance of chamber music. Since 1994 he has been a featured soloist at the Garth Newel Music Center and member of the Garth Newel Chamber Players. Recent collaborations include performances with artists Christopher O'Riley, Jon Kimura Parker, Susan Starr, Anton Kuerti, and the Veronica Quartet of Moscow, among others. A recitalist at The International Clarinet Association's Clar-Fest '92 International, he was also guest soloist with the Quartet of the U.S. Naval Academy Band at the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium 2002. Nicholas has performed as chamber-soloist at the Lincoln Center in New York and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. One of few wind players to receive a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival, he has also performed with the Coronado, Grand Teton, Round Top, and Wintergreen Festivals, where he was director of the performance academy.
Mr. Nicholas has toured and performed as a member of both the Pastiche and Blair Woodwind Quintets, and repeatedly throughout Europe in opera, orchestral, chamber music, and solo roles; most recently by invitation in Vienna, and at St. Martin-in-the Fields, London, both as founding member of WindRose (Trio d'Anches). Principal Clarinetist and Soloist for many years with both the Lancaster (Ohio) and Shenandoah Valley Bach Festivals (Va.), in 2003 he also joins the faculty of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.
Mr. Nicholas holds performance degrees cum laude from the University of Texas and Northwestern University, with additional graduate study at Southern Methodist University and post-graduate (doctoral) study at the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have been members of the San Antonio, Dallas, Cincinnati, Chicago and Cleveland Orchestras; most notably the late Robert Marcellus, his mentor for many years. Mr. Nicholas has previously served on the applied faculties of Vanderbilt Universitys Blair School of Music, Radford University, James Madison University, Capital University, Kenyon College, and as performer and chamber music coach for The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. In demand as a guest clinician and adjudicator, Mr. Nicholas is presently Woodwind Area Coordinator and Lecturer in Clarinet and Chamber Music in the School of Music at Georgia State University. Atlanta's St. Nicholas Concert, his newest project now underway, will honor Prague's namesake high-Baroque church, a favored music center since before the time of Mozart.


Paige Riggs: cellist

Paige Riggs, cellist, lives in Pittsburgh where she works as a freelance musician and maintains a large home studio. From 1997 to 2002 she was a member of the University of Virginia's Performance Faculty where she taught cello and chamber music, was co-director of the music department's McIntire Chamber Music Series, and held the Genevieve Brown Horween and Marion Horween Chase Principal Cello Chair of the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra.
She is an active performer appearing recently in recital on the Music for a Great Space Series in Greensboro, N.C., the Friends of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Sunday Concert Series in Fredricksburg, Va., the Embassy Concert Series in Washington, D.C., and the Cherry Hill Concert Series in Warrenton, N.C. She has received fellowships from several of the country's most prestigious music festivals, including the Spoleto Festival, the Bach Aria Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center, which awarded her the C.D. Jackson Memorial Prize in 1997. She has been a guest artist at the Foothills Music Festival, the Garth Newel Music Center, the June in Buffalo Festival, the Staunton Music Festival, and for the past five summers has performed and taught at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C. This is her second summer at the Shenandoah Bach Festival.

Carlos Cesár Rodríguez, pianist, is a musician of exceptional brilliance and versatility who has gained recognition as a virtuoso pianist who not only generates unusual excitement in the Hispanic keyboard repertoire (in recordings on the Omicron, Brioso labels) but also displays an extraordinary flair for Mozart and avant-garde scores. An expert on early instruments as well, enjoying entrée to the Smithsonian Institutions's rare collection, he was chosen by the Smithsonian to perform in its one 150th anniversary concert in Washington, D.C. as well as a solo recital celebrating the 300th anniversary of the piano as part of the museum's Piano300 exhibit. He has won acclaim moreover, as a music director of Mozart operas and a composer/improviser of ballet and Spanish dance scores. Mr. Rodríguez made his New York debut at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall at age 21, and has since performed in such major venues as the John F. Kennedy Center and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., Merkin Hall in New York City, and the Royal Palace of Music in Salzburg, Austria. In his career he has toured Spain, and performed concerti and solo recitals in locales as disparate as San Juan, Puerto Rico and Fairfax, Va. After making his recital debut in his native Venezuela at age 11, Mr. Rodríguez earned both his high school diploma and bachelor's degree with Clifton Matthews from the North Carolina School of the Arts and earned his Master's degree from the Juilliard School, studying with Joseph Kalichstein. A finalist in the New York Philharmonic Young People's Competition, he also worked privately in London with Peter Feuchtwanger, and attended the Summer Academy of The Salzburg Mozarteum, where his teachers were Harmut Holl and Alfons Kontarsky. Last month, Mr. Rodríguez completed his DMA degree with Thomas Schumacher at the University of Maryland, College Park and is a member of the piano faculty at The Levine School of Music and an Apprentice Artist with The Washington Opera's Domingo Young Artist Program in Washington, D.C.

Susan Sievert Messersmith: trumpeter

Susan Sievert Messersmith, trumpeter, is Second Trumpet with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (S.C.), and has held that position since 1993. A native of Dalton, Ohio, Susan studied at the Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music in Cleveland, and at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where she received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, respectively. The Eastman School also awarded her the Performer's Certificate. Additionally, she received post-graduate training at the Cleveland Institute of Music. At these schools she studied under noted trumpeters James Darling, Mary Squire, Barbara Butler, and Michael Sachs.
Susan has performed as an extra with the Chautauqua (N.Y.) Symphony Orchestra, and is a past participant of the National Orchestral Institute, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany. Ms. Messersmith has been a member of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra since 2000. In Charleston, she an active member of the CSO Brass Quintet and the Spoleto Brass Quintet, and has been an Adjunct Faculty member at Charleston Southern University since 1993.


John Spuller: double bassist

John Spuller, double bassist, is the Principal Double Bassist of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and The Carolina Chamber Symphony. He performs regularly with the Winston-Salem Symphony, the Roanoke Symphony, and the Charlotte Symphony. He has toured extensively though Europe with orchestras and chamber groups and has recorded with several orchestras
over his career. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts where he teaches during the summer months. Mr. Spuller is currently the Bass instructor at Wake Forest University. He counts among his principle teachers Jack Budrow and Lawrence Hurst. This is his third year at the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.


Carrie Stevens: mezzo-soprano

Carrie Stevens, mezzo-soprano, is highly regarded for her versatility in concert, chamber and operatic venues spanning styles from baroque to new music. She has performed with conductors Jeffrey Kahane, Michael Morgan, Ivan Fisher, Helmuth Rilling, Roger Norrington and Carl St. Clair among others. Her concert experience includes performances with the Oakland Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Chico Symphony, Magnificat Orchestra and Lyra Consort. She has enjoyed appearances with the Crested Butte, Kalamazoo Bach, Austin Bach Society, and Oregon Bach Festivals and was a Fellowship recipient to the Stonybrook Bach Aria Festival. A 1992 winner of the Upper Midwest District Metropolitan Opera Auditions, her operatic experience includes the title roles of Purcell's Dido and Handel's Xerxes, as well as Idamante in Idomeneo, the Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Ma Moss in Copland's The Tender Land, Elmire in the East Coast Premiere of Kirke Mechem's, Tartuffe. Ms. Stevens has a particular interest in performing contemporary music and has been involved in many premieres including music of Kirke Mechem, Ofer Ben Amots, John Baboukis, Braxton Blake and Russell Burnham. She is a graduate of Boston University, the University of Wisconsin Madison and is in the final stages of completing her Doctorate at the University of Minnesota. She has worked with renowned teachers, Anna Reynolds, Glenda Maurice Donald Stenberg, Larry Weller and, Margo Garrett. She is a multiple recipient of awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Schubert Club. Prior to joining the faculty at James Madison University, Ms. Stevens has held faculty positions at Sonoma State University and Chico State University in California.


Julia White: artistic director and founder of the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir

Julia J. White, Artistic Director and Founder of the Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University and a Master of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, both in performance. Ms. White has done post-graduate specialization in children's choirs at Westminster Choir College, the American Boychoir School, Royal School of Church Music, and Choral Music Experience Institute at Northern Illinois University, where she received Levels I-III certification and Artist Teacher Diploma. Ms. White has studied long term in Vienna, Austria and in England and holds the Level I in Kodaly certification. She served two terms as the American Choral Directors Association Children's Choir Chair for Virginia and established the Virginia/Maryland Honors Children's Choir in 1998 and 1999. Ms. White is a frequent guest director and teacher across the U.S., including District and All-State Choirs and received Governor's School awards in Richmond in 1998 and 2000. In the spring 2003 Eastern Mennonite University awarded her the title of Distinguished Artist in Residence at EMU.
The Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir (SVCC) began its first season with 38 members in September of 1992 and has since grown to include 192 in five choirs ages 6-18. Singing a capella as well as in two to four parts, the choristers experience a broad range of choral literature including classical music, folk songs of many countries and cultures, and sacred and secular songs with an emphasis on themes of love, peace, beauty, friendship, and nature. Kodaly-based solfege instruction is used at all levels of the SVCC.
The SVCC has sung at the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival five times, with the American Boychoir four times, at the U.S. Capitol and White House, and twice at the Virginia Music Educators Meeting. They have sung at the National Tree Lighting ceremony, in Carnegie Hall, and at various national and international choral festivals. The SVCC will serve as Honor Choir at the Children In Harmony National Children's Choir Festival in 2004 in Florida and has been invited to participate in the Pacific Rim International Children's Choir Festival in 2005 in Hawaii. The choir has released six recordings, the latest being "Here's to Song" in April, 2003.


Katherine Winterstein: violinist

Katherine Winterstein, violinist, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Charles Castleman, and completed a Master of Music degree from Boston University's School for the Arts, where she studied with Peter Zazofsky. She was a member of the Seneca String Quartet and has collaborated in chamber music settings with Andres Diaz, Ida Kavafian, Ann-Marie McDermott, Steven Tenenbom, and Peter Zazofsky. In addition, she has often performed in series such as Washington DC's Embassy Series, Boston's Ashmont Hill Chamber Music Series, the Craftsbury Chamber Music Festival, the Staunton Music Festival, and the McIntire Chamber Music Series at the University of Virginia. She has appeared as soloist with the Charlottesville and University Symphony, the Blue Ridge Chamber Orchestra, the Charlottesville Chamber Orchestra, and the Boston Virtuosi. Ms. Winterstein is the concertmaster of the Vermont Symphony, was the assistant concertmaster of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and has been a member of the Boston Lyric Opera and the Breckenridge Music Institute Orchestra.
From 1999-2002, Ms. Winterstein was a member of the performance faculty at the University of Virginia's McIntire Department of Music. Currently, she is a member of the music faculty at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Read about 2002 Artists


Kenneth Nafziger, artistic director & conductor
Eastern Mennonite University • Harrisonburg, VA