December 2nd-5th & 9th-11th, 2016 (12:00 noon to 9:00 pm each day) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Performers

Kimberly Bell received her BM in Flute Performance from the Eastman School of Music and her MM from Northwestern University.  She has performed with many orchestras throughout the Seattle and Los Angeles areas and has enjoyed teaching flute privately and for the Palos Verdes School District. She lives in Bellevue with her husband and three children.

The Bateman Family -  The seven members of the Michael Bateman clan have been caroling a capella in 4-part harmony since the oldest children were in grade school. From their first song, "Carol of the Bells" to the most recent "Jesu Thou Son Most Sweet and Dear" each song they add to their repertoire represents the most hauntingly beautiful Christmas music they can find. This year the family is down to five, but they still manage to add a touch of cello, violin, and a capella to the mix.

Elaine Brighton started taking piano lessons when she was 6. When she was a teenager, she became interested in learning how to play the organ, and took private lessons. Later, she acquired a harpsichord, and took lessons. She has continued to study with private teachers most of her adult life. "Playing keyboard music isn't my profession, but my passion."  She has been playing the piano and organ for church, since she was a teenager.

Emilee Pitcher Cleaver performed at the spring gathering of the B'nai Shalom organization for Latter-day Saints with Jewish lineage or interest in the Jewish culture, and all in attendance loved her singing. She also plays the piano and has many children that sometimes sing with her and perform on various instruments. "I am happy to be performing at this Nativity event again this year because I love our Savior, I love music, and especially Christmas music!" Song has as played a leading role all her life, from her own mother's lullabies and songs in the car, through the years of refining her own gifts, and now, as she watches her children express themselves. "My parents moved here, just in time for my birth in 1976. They quickly found wonderful piano teachers for me. We had a singing home, and I  studied voice in High School and also at BYU."  She is interested in every avenue of artistic expression. "If I could intertwine them all for you this evening, I would.  But, as a wife, and mother of nine beautiful children, I am learning the beauty of peaceful simplicity! As a humble stable provided refuge one busy day in Bethlehem, I hope my music will comfort some troubled hearts tonight. Merry Christmas." Also participating with her is Lauren Cleaver. Here is a little about her: "My name is Lauren Cleaver and I am Emilee Cleaver's eldest daughter. She decided that this year she wanted to have me sing-along with my sisters for a couple songs--and she will accompany us on the piano. I have two songs that are not in English and I will include the translations in the programs I will be making."

Lisa Coffey has been a musical performer since she was a young girl, beginning with the silver flute, and adding to that vocals as a young adult. She began learning to play the Irish flute and whistle as well as traditional Irish songs over ten years ago, and has since performed at weddings, dinner parties, and many non-profit organization events.       Accompanist: Susan Strick (see bio below)

Kim Cooney specializes in sacred music as diverse as classical, art song, African-American spirituals, and Appalachian laments. Sacred tenor-baritone Kim Cooney has sung as a guest artist at some 1,000 worship, memorial, concert and theatre events from Canada to Mexico, Hawaii to New Zealand, Ireland to Brazil (2017), S.F. to St. Louis, L.A. to Atlanta and District of Columbia. Theater roles include Ewert (Music Man), Freddy (My Fair Lady), Head Chef (Cinderella), Tommy (Brigadoon), Frank (Annie Get Your Gun) and Grimwig (Oliver!). Operetta roles include Pirelli (Sweeney Todd), Old Deuteronomy (Cats), First Yeomen (Yeomen of the Guard), and scenes from 1776, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Jeykll & Hyde. Opera roles: Yukuside (Madama Butterfly), Grenvil understudy (La Traviata), Don Curzio (Figaro), beggar (Cavalleria Rusticana), Parpignol (La Boheme), Sciarrone (Tosca) and Father (Hansel & Gretel). He has sung the U.S., Canadian and Israeli anthems at professional sports events, state political conventions and other high-profile community events, and his Star-Spangled Banner set to Londonderry Aire for Irish- American events. Concert solo work includes Handel (Messiah), Haydn (Creation), and Mendelssohn (If With All Your Hearts, The King of Love My Shepherd Is, It Is Enough), Bach (Sheep May Safely Graze), and Dvorak (Goin' Home, Song to the Moon/Song to the Sun). He recently returned from soloing in Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Anglican worship services of more than a dozen of the largest basilicas, cathedrals and historic parish churches of Ireland and the Isle of Man. Of him, former special presidential advisor to George W. Bush, Karl Rove enthused "What a voice!"

The Cougar Mountain Ward Choir was established in 1992 and has featured talented musicians such Linda Snow, Bertigene Will, Helen Klann, Lind Stapley, and Will & Maxine Lo. Today the choir is under the direction of Cheryl Ann Jensen and Rebecca Toborg, with accompanists Austin Vach and Deb Hardy. This is a glorious time of year for choir members to share their love of the Savior through music.

Betty Fladager -  Although completely blind for 23 years, Betty Fladager is a “young” 93 year old who still enjoys playing the piano, especially at the Holidays. Betty began composing musical arrangements at the age of about 5 years old.  he spent her growing up years training in Piano, Classical Ballet, and Voice. She was the sole musician often for performances in the Los Angeles Area. Betty was headed for Julliard School of Music in New York, but her vision issues and World War II put an end to those plans. Instead she served our military by joining the USO and performing for military personnel and prisoners of war with a company in the Los Angeles Area. She has composed well over 300 musical pieces, including a holiday musical performance for which she composed 14 songs, wrote the play, and directed about 150 people of all ages. sShe has perfect pitch and can still play the piano with great expression and beauty.

Kjirsti Foutz received her Masters in Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her Bachelors in Music from Oberlin Conservatory. She has performed in both musical theater and opera roles in Washington, Utah, and Ohio. While she loves the splendor and excitement of the main stage, her heart is most full in the recital setting. She has received much acclaim for her communicative powers and deep interpretations of both art song and operatic arias. She currently performs mostly for her three small children. She maintains a vocal studio in Shoreline, WA. And has recently enjoyed teaching her eldest son piano. She's thrilled to be singing at the Festival of Nativities again this year, as it reminds her of the collection of nativities her own mother kept around their house at Christmas time. She hopes her songs will bring peace, hope and joy at this glorious time of year!  2016 bio: Kjirsti Foutz received her Masters in Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her Bachelors in Music from Oberlin Conservatory. She has performed in both musical theater and opera roles in Washington, Utah, and Ohio. While she loves the splendor and excitement of the main stage, her heart is most full in the recital setting. She has received much acclaim for her communicative powers and deep interpretations of both art song and operatic arias. She currently performs mostly for her three small children. She maintains a vocal studio in Shoreline, WA. And has recently enjoyed teaching her eldest son piano. She's thrilled to be singing at the Festival of Nativities again this year, as it reminds her of the collection of nativities her own mother kept around their house at Christmas time. She hopes her songs will bring peace, hope and joy at this glorious time of year! Accompanist Katie Phillips, bio: Katie Phillips has loved music, particularly the piano, for as long as she can remember. She began taking piano lessons at age 8, and continued on into her college years. She accompanied for many instrumentalists and vocalists while attending college at BYU-Idaho, and discovered that accompanying is one of her favorite things to do! She also teaches piano lessons to a variety of students, and hopes that each of her children will develop a love and/or appreciation for music.

Gardner Strings - The Gardner family enjoys performing together. They have performed in the Assembly Hall, Concerts in the Park, Pike Place, and various community events. All of the children began their instrument study at age three or four. Some performing highlights include Adam (13) and Jarom (11) performing at the National Reflections Exhibition in Washington D.C., Rachel (10) touring Russia with Rocky Mountain Strings, Joshua (8) participating in Salt Lake's Families Making Music Series, and Josh and Melodie touring with the Tabernacle Choir (Josh), and Orchestra at Temple Square (Melodie). The purpose of Gardner Strings is to inspire and bring joy through music.

Dale Green did not perform as a singer until well into his adult years. He studied under a local opera soprano who showed tremendous patience and care while teaching him the art of song, Jessie Coldren. He has been very active since then however performing in numerous Community Theater Productions for over 20 years as both leads as well as in the chorus. This has taken him from Gilbert & Sullivan to Dickens to early 40's musicals all with their own charm and challenges and rewards. Lately he has been very active in the Seattle Ensign Chorus as a 1st Tenor performing many concerts at Benaroya Hall which has brought him many hours of delight and joy. It is with great humility that Dale returns to perform in the Festival of the Nativities to worship our Lord Jesus in song. Hopefully you will feel the spirit of the music as well. Accompanist: the exceptional Kathryn Stapely

Ken Green began playing the piano by ear at five and started lessons at seven.  He joined the LDS Church at 14 and was immediately asked to play the organ for services. He loved the unusual feel of the organ and was excited for the challenge of learning how to play it. He earned his way through college playing electric piano and Sax in "The Electric Brass Band" while earning a bachelors in Civil engineering and a Masters in Geotechnical Engineering. After much debate he chose engineering as his career over music, but music is still a major part of his life. He has become very experienced in accompanying musicians of all types as well as playing for all occasions.

Spencer Hall began 8 years of piano lessons at age 8. He played hymns for church services during his 30 month mission in Central America, and he is currently the Primary pianist for the Somerset Ward. He loves to add that when he was a child his mother served daily as a metronome, beating time on the piano top for him during his practicing, helping him understand rhythms.

The Highline Flute Ensemble is comprised of flutists from the South King County area. They have been established as a group for more than 10 years. They love to explore various genres of music to play on their flutes ranging from classical, sacred, jazz, ragtime and contemporary. Some of the members also have expanded their sound by playing the range of flutes in the flute family; bass flute, alto flute and piccolo. Several of the members also perform in local performance bands, including the Renton City Concert Band and the Seattle Wind Symphony.

Halsey Holt began playing the violin at age ten and continued her studies in college, graduating from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Music Education. In addition to raising four darling children with her husband, Mark, Ms. Holt enjoys playing with the Ensign Symphony Orchestra and especially loves teaching her private music students.

Rachelle Hrncirik began classical training at 16 and has taught voice lessons since 1999. She received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University. Rachelle has performed many leading roles in various operas, and sang with Brigham Young University Singers, performing in England, Jordan, Israel, and Carnegie Hall. While living abroad in Prague, she sang for the President of the Czech Republic and other Czech and U.S. officials at a memorial service for victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. She has been a guest soloist for various performing groups and is currently a resident soloist for Seattle Ensign Symphony and Chorus. She has directed many choirs including a small international women’s choir in Prague, CZ.   Rachelle resides in Issaquah, WA with her husband and four children.

Jasmine Huls was raised with music in the home as her mother sang primary songs in the hallway during bedtime and her father shared songs he wrote on the piano and guitar. She participated with her family in ward choir throughout her youth and was in treble choir and jazz choir in high school. She has loved sharing special musical numbers in church settings throughout her adulthood, because it provides a unique way for the Holy Spirit to communicate directly to our spirits!

Heather Johnson graduated from BYU with a B.M. in Vocal Performance. Her major roles through seven years of classical vocal training included Fiona in Brigadoon, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, and Christine in Phantom of the Opera. While in college she sang with the BYUH Premier Choir and the BYU Concert Choir, and was a featured soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. In recent years she has been the featured soprano soloist in church productions of Handel’s Messiah and He is Jesus Christ. Heather currently sings with the Ensign Symphony and Chorus, lives in Issaquah, Washington and is the proud mother of four children.

Rose V. Johnson, flutist, is a member of the Pacific Sound Wind Quintet, acts as Principal Flute of the Ensign Symphony and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, collaborates on a variety of ensemble work, and has been a member of the National Flute Association's Professional Flute Choir in 2008, and 2010-2016. She has performed in solo and collaborative events in Utah, Washington, Arizona and Texas. Rose earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Arizona University and Master of Music degree from University of Washington. Recipient of the Seattle Flute Society’s Weeping Willow Teacher’s Grant (2014), Rose maintains a teaching studio, conducts a student flute choir, adjudicates, and has coached with the Seattle Youth Symphony's Marrowstone-in-the-City Summer Music program, the Evergreen Philharmonic and the Bellevue Youth Symphony. Rose is on the board of Silver Flight Ensembles, a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the development of young flutists, teachers and composers. Rose lives with her engineer husband, Travis, in beautiful Sammamish, Washington. She is a proud mother of a violinist daughter and Lego-loving son.

Chenda Larsen is an up and coming vocalist. She is currently a student of both Voice and Piano. She has been singing in front of groups for many years, and loves to share the sweet spirit that music can bring. She particularly loves singing jazz and classical music.  She is very excited to share her love of music and the savior at this most wonderful time of the year.

Loralee Leavitt sings repertoire ranging from medieval chant to Broadway. Past performances include concerts with  Cascadian Chorale and Ave Seattle. A ward organist, she also composes descants and hymn arrangements, which she posts at www.songsoftheheart.net.

William and Maxine Lo met one fateful day, in choir.  He was a tenor, she was a soprano. They were married within a year, and have been making beautiful music ever since! Maxine has a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music from the University of Washington. William has a Minor in Music from Brigham Young University.

The Manning Family perform songs you may have heard before, but in new ways you won't forget. Using a variety of ethnic and traditional instruments (including ukulele, tenor guitar, penny whistle, and concertina), this musical family fuses ancient and modern tradition as they explore the beauty of music. The group consists of 14-year-old Faith, 16-year-old AJ, and their older brothers, Logan, and Eli. They have performed together around the Puget Sound area for the past 7 years (often with their father, Bill), during which time they have been known as The Moone Family Minstrels, The Ship's Musicians, and Lightly.

James Monson (16) is a sophomore at Newport High School. He has been taking piano lessons since he turned five and most enjoys sight-reading and accompanying. He has had the honor to accompany the Tillicum choir for the past four years and the Newport choir for two, as well as various other solo performers. He plays viola in Newport's Chamber Orchestra, which won the National Orchestra Cup in 2016. He loves music of all kinds, and enjoys making it whenever and wherever possible.

Elizabeth Moore served as Seattle Opera's Music Coordinator/Accompanist for the better part of the 1990's. She has played under the batons of Gerard Schwarz, Edoardo Mueller, Antonello Allemandi, and many others in her capacity as rehearsal pianist/coach accompanist. Her repertoire includes the major operas by Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart, Britten, Wagner etc., as well as extensive art song and concert repertoire. During the 2004-2006 seasons she served as Voice Teacher/Coach-Accompanist for Seattle Opera's Young Artist Program.  She has been involved in community outreach through the Education Department of the opera company as a lecturer.  After leaving full-time work with the opera, she opened her private voice studio full-time and founded VocalArts Northwest, a non-profit training program for young singers. She directed VANW for six years. In 2009 she joined the faculty of Seattle University where she teaches classical voice while still maintaining her private studio, and continuing to accompany recitals. She has a BS degree in Horticulture from BYU and a Masters in Counseling from St. Martin's University.

Sally Palmer: "I am the owner of Sally L. Palmer Music Studio in Bellevue, where I teach private piano and voice lessons, and provide contractual piano accompaniment. I have been teaching for approximately 35 years and have been accompanying for 45 years. I am a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs, Music Teachers National Association, and the National Association of Teachers of Singers."

Jim Peterson, pianist,  has a Master’s in Piano Performance. He conducted choir and orchestra at Lake Washington High School for 18 years, and was a founding member of the Seattle choir The Esoterics. He currently teaches private lessons in piano and voice, and is the conductor of the Kirkland-based Carillon Choir and Carillon Orchestra.

Cheryl Pietromonaco has been playing piano and organ for decades for many different churches: Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Protestant, Non-Denominational Christian, Episcopalian, and now Mormon. She’s played at weddings, funerals, private parties, conventions, and all kinds of events. "My associations with many different churches have expanded and enriched my faith over the years in ways it never would have if I'd been going to just one church all my life. And all the special occasions I have participated in over the years have brought much joy into my life, and I hope, happiness and comfort for those who hear my music."

Mele Santos, soprano, holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Brigham Young University, and a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from The University of Arizona. She has performed in Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto, Mozart's Die Zauberfle, Bizet's Carmen, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and numerous opera scenes. She premiered the roles of Agath in Abinadi and Elisa in The Wanderer, both contemporary works by living composers. She is a skilled recital artist and a sought-after concert soloist. Mele is an accomplished teacher as well. She currently maintains a voice studio and has served as a guest vocal technique clinician for high school choral programs in Washington and Arizona.

Thuan Stevens: "I discovered my singing voice at the age of 3 when my aunts would sign me up to audition for local gigs. I grew up in Vietnam and participated in story telling and musicals in my youth. When I came to the States at age 12, I learned the language through singing in the Philadelphia All City choir and solos at church. I sang for BYU women's chorus and again participated in musicals such as Wizard of Oz, Pirates of Penzance and church productions such as He is Jesus Christ and Millie Millennium. I auditioned and sang with the Seattle Metropolitan Glee Singers in 2011. Now a mother of 4, I find myself on the teaching side of music. I teach music at Kinder Mundo, Highlands Community Hall, and you can find me at my local community hall behind the mic every 4th Friday of the month."

Susan Strick (celtic harp)Susan has performed at Folklife and many other regional festivals, in the Seattle Children's Theater production of Jack and the Beanstalk, as a regular at restaurants, and at many a wedding ßand celebration. She inaugurated the "Healing Music Project" of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, bringing live harp music to patients all over the associated hospitals.  She loves teaching others to play the harp, an ideal first instrument for young or old.

The Totem Lake Ensemble is made up of musicians and singers from the Totem Lake Ward of the Kirkland Washington Stake. Under the direction of Maer Robertson and accompanied by Stuart Lake, the group is now in it's second season of performing together and are thrilled to be performing once again for the Bellevue Festival of the Nativity.

Suzanna Turpin began violin at age three and holds both a Master of Music in violin performance from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Brigham Young University. Suzanna currently performs with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys teaching violin and Music Mind Games in her violin studio as well as music classes at Samena Preschool. Suzanna has performed with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic (OK), Fort Smith Symphony (AR), Trans-Siberian Orchestra (OK), and Orchestra at Temple Square (UT). During her graduate studies, Suzanna held String Quartet Assistantships and had the opportunity to be a leader and a mentor in those roles. During her undergraduate studies, she toured with the BYU Chamber Orchestra through the Eastern United States and Europe. Suzanna currently resides with her husband Paul and three sons in Bellevue, WA, two of whom are studying violin!

Denisse Williams was born and raised in a small town in the state of Chihuahua, northern Mexico. She started taking piano lessons at age 8 and was always involved in school bands and orchestras, picking up a few other instruments along the way. At age 18 she spent a year in Slovakia, where she was able to further her piano studies and learn a new language. Coming back from Slovakia she enrolled in college and halfway thrower studies she participated in a study abroad in Vienna. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Leisure Services Management and Commercial Recreation, and a minor in German and worked 3 years as an Event Planner. She currently enjoys teaching piano and is always working on new pieces.

Mindy Wiscombe: "I have been blessed with a special gift from Heavenly Father and inherited from both of my parents who had wonderful singing voices. I have done nothing to deserve it except that I promised Heavenly Father that I would share this gift anytime anyone asked me to for as long as possible. I love that my daughter, Molly who will be singing with me, has the gift to harmonize with any song. I can't say enough about my fabulous accompanist and "adopted" daughter, Amy Taggart Warner, who can play anything and who is famous in her own right. I've had opportunities to sing in many awesome places and with many wonderful people but my favorite place to sing is at bedtime to my chickadees."

Kina Yukish, Stephanie Shipley, and Laurie Bateman, with Amy Tait accompanist: We are all mothers who like to sing together for a break.

 

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