Joan Chambers Concert Series

Julie Wyma - sopranoJulie Wyma, soprano

Friday, October 11, 7:30pm in Campana Chapel

Soprano Julie Wyma has been praised for her “strong, solid performances” and “soaring, powerful voice.” Her operatic highlights include Pamina and The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Gilda in Rigoletto, Marie in Die verkaufte Braut, Musetta in La Bohème, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, Sophie in Werther, Amy in Little Women, Norina in Don Pasquale, Despina in Così fan tutte, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Monica in The Medium, Beauty in Beauty and the Beast, Frasquita in Carmen, and Lisette in La Rondine. Of her Norina, the Kansas City Metropolis said: “soprano Julie Wyma sparkled with a self-confident air and a strong, beautiful voice.”

Ms. Wyma’s upcoming performances include concerts with the Brandenburgisches Konzertorchester Eberswalde, as well as the roles of Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Adele in Die Fledermaus at the Choriner Opernsommer at Kloster Chorin, Germany.

Recent performances have included the roles of Marie in Die verkaufte Braut, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto with the Brandenburgisches Konzertorchester Eberswalde at Kloster Chorin, Germany; Musetta in La Bohème and Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with Puccini's Toaster in Berlin; the Soprano solos in Mozart's Requiem and Fauré's Requiem, all in Berlin; a concert of music by the American expatriate author and composer Paul Bowles in Magdeburg and Berlin, Germany with tenor Laurent Martin; Lovers’ Quarrels, a concert of operatic duets and arias with her husband, Peter Furlong, in Concord, New Hampshire and Niemegk, Germany; Three Tenors and a Soprano concerts in Cornish and New London, New Hampshire; and Viva Divas!, a concert of operatic arias, duets, and trios in Phoenix, Arizona, Cornish, New Hampshire, and Berlin, Germany.Julie Wyma - Die verkaufte Braut, Labudefoto

Her oratorio repertoire includes the soprano solos in Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Matthäeus-Passion, and Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus, Haydn’s Heiligmesse, Mozart's Requiem, Mass in C, and Krönungsmesse, Fauré’s Requiem, and Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine. She has presented recitals in Berlin, Germany; Antwerp, Belgium; and throughout the United States.

In addition to her singing credits, Ms. Wyma is also no stranger to opera production, having worked as a Stage Director, Costume Designer, Wig and Makeup Artist, Assistant Stage Manager, and in set construction. In 2010 she was awarded a grant for a production of Massenet's Werther, which she directed and performed in Bloomington, Indiana. She is an alumna of Indiana University, The University of Missouri - Kansas City, and The University of Arizona.

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Kassia EnsembleKassia Ensemble & Pitt-Greensburg Chorale

   First Noël - Music of Bach, Saint-Saëns, Handel

   with Cynthia Ortiz, soprano, Daphne Alderson, contralto, & Skip Napier, baritone

Wednesday, November 20, 11:30am - Campana Chapel (piano-only preview concert)

Thursday, November 21, 7:30pm - Delmont Presbyterian Church, Delmont

Friday, November 22, 7:30pm - First United Methodist Church, Greensburg

The poet and hymnographer Kassia was a byzantine abbess in the 9th century. A woman born into a wealthy family, she is said to have been in the running to marry the Emperor Theophilus. The emperor, however, found her too witty and candid to make a good wife and chose another. Kassia went on to found an abbey and become a prolific composer, one of the first medieval composers of either gender whose scores are both extant and able to be understood in modern notation. It is her spirit that the Kassia Emsenble seeks to emulate.

The Kassia Ensemble is dedicated to promoting female leadership and entrepreneurship in the arts through quality collaboration and performance. The seven member ensemble strives for gender equity by highlighting female composers and collaborating with female artists while presenting high caliber concerts performed by an all female ensemble.

The composition of the ensemble is quite unique. It is composed of the traditional string quartet, plus Double Bass, Clarinet, and Harp. This allows for quite a bit of variety in programming. A concert could range from charming duos such as Andrea Clearfield's Three Songs for Violin and Double Bass and Shulamit Ran's Private Games for Clarinet and Cello to larger scale works like Andre Caplet's Conte Fantastique.

The talents and mission of Kassia have also been put to use in the recording studio. The ensemble is featured alongside the critically acclaimed group Kinetic on the album Songs of Lake Volta, a song cycle based on Ghanaian folk tunes written by local composer Joe Sheehan. Soon to be released, they are also featured on renowned Trumpeter Mary Bowden's upcoming album Rêverie. One can also hear the ensemble occasionally broadcasting live on WQED, Pittsburgh's classical music station.

The ensemble particularly enjoys collaborating with mixed media artists. Internationally admired Fran Flaherty has worked closely with the group, curating shows that highlight local female artists to pair with concert programs. Recently, a few members of the ensemble represented Kassia in the Cultural Trust's large scale production of Manifold, a world premiere by composer Wang Lu and visual artist Filip Roca as a kickoff to 2018's Festival of Firsts.

There are many projects coming in Kassia's near future. There will be more recording projects, an educational residency at Britt, and the group will begin commissioning new works from vibrant composers.

Through imaginative and collaborative programming the Kassia Ensemble continues to pursue projects that build a platform for gender equality in the arts.

Kassia is pleased to again partner with the Pitt-Greensburg Chorale, having previously collaborated in the Spring of 2015 for performances of Faure Requiem.

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This PRAAperformance has been funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance as part of the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) grant program.

 

Elizabeth Lins ShoenfeltElizabeth Lins Shoenfelt, soprano

Friday, February 14, 7:30pm in Campana Chapel

Elizabeth Lins Shoenfelt graduated magna cum laude from Messiah College with a degree in music education and has divided her energy between teaching, performing, and choral conducting since that time. She received her master’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the Pennsylvania State University and doctorate in vocal performance at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. Ms. Shoenfelt is in demand as a soloist, voice teacher, guest conductor, and choral clinician. Currently she serves as a member of the music faculty at Shippensburg University and has also taught at Bloomsburg University, Wilson College, and Messiah College. 

In addition to teaching, Ms. Shoenfelt maintains a busy private voice studio, directs the Susquehanna Young Women’s Chorale, and is a recurring choral adjudicator and clinician. Ms. Shoenfelt also serves on the executive board of the American Choral Directors Association of Pennsylvania as the repertoire and standards chair for women’s choirs. Ms. Shoenfelt is a frequent recitalist throughout central Pennsylvania and Virginia and has sung principal roles with opera companies in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. She made her professional debut at the age of twenty with the Harrisburg Opera Company singing the role of Juliet Brooks in the Pennsylvania premier of Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep. In 2008 she was featured as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Shippensburg Summer Festival Series, and in 2009 she sang the soprano solo in Vaughan William’s Dona Nobis Pacem under the direction of choral pioneer Robert Page at the Pennsylvania Choral Directors Association convention. Also in 2009 she had the privilege of singing with opera legend Frederica von Stade. Since 2010, she has enjoyed multiple appearances as a guest artist with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, and she is the recurring soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Pennsylvania Consort. 

Ms. Shoenfelt has completed young artist programs in Siena, Italy, and through Songfest in Malibu where she worked with composers such as Lori Laitman, Jake Heggie, and John Musto as well as acclaimed pianists and coaches Martin Katz an Graham Johnson. In addition to performances with the Piedmont Symphony, Ms. Shoenfelt has also performed with the Shippensburg University Orchestra and the West Shore Symphony Orchestra. She has sung in a variety of venues throughout the United States and Europe, including performances for the former governor of Pennsylvania, several Miss Americas, and a concert appearance with Kenny Rogers.

About the series

The Joan Chambers Concert Series is possible through the generous support of President Emeritus George F. Chambers. It brings local, national, and international artists to our campus for performances of the highest professional caliber. It has featured international opera star Andrew Zimmerman, cello/piano duo Antonio Lysy and Patricia Hoy, pianist Pablo Amorós, the Swara Sonora Trio, Shana Mashego, North Sea Gas, the Tucson Girls Chorus, thingNY, tenor Chris Carr, contralto Emily Marvosh, and it has proudly presented some of Pennsylvania's finests ensembles and artists, including Kassia Ensemble, Heinz Chapel Choir, Pittsburgh Trombone Project, Blue Mile Jazz, PM Woodwind Project, Zach Rohlwing, and the Penn State Chamber Singers.

The series is named in honor of Joan Chambers, late wife of President Chambers, who was an ardent supporter and representative of Pitt‐Greensburg in the community for many years. While her interests were widespread, she especially enjoyed participating in book‐discussion groups, attending cultural events, hosting themed luncheons at her home, and spending winters in southwest Florida. The Children’s Literature Collection in Millstein Library, another of her passions, was developed and named in her honor.