Ars Musica is proud to feature several of our own members as soloists in our upcoming Summer Sings.
Daniella Ashbahian, soprano, has been a soloist and professional chorus member with the Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra of Maryland and the Alexandria Chorale (now Choralis) in Virginia, and with the National Chamber Singers and Echos, chamber groups in the Washington, D.C. area. Previously, she sang with the Chamber Singers and the Symphonic Choir of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Ms. Ashbahian was a soloist and section leader for the Falls Church Presbyterian Church in Virginia. In May 2009, she sang the soprano solo in Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, and in December 2008 and 2011, she sang the soprano solo in Handel’s Messiah. She currently sings at St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, and with Ars Musica of Ridgewood, New Jersey, where she is a frequent soloist.
Joyce Chang, soprano, recently received her degree in vocal performance from Rutgers University. She has been involved with music since her early years, playing violin in the Bergen Youth Orchestra for several years, and studying at the Manhattan School of Music’s precollege division. She also attended Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute and the University of Miami at Salzburg Summer Program. A highlight of Joyce’s career at Rutgers was performing in a small ensemble for the Dalai Lama during his visit to the university.
Her opera appearances include Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (A Witch), Grisette in Lehar’s Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow), and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss. As a choral singer, Joyce has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Shed, Ozawa Hall, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and at Avery Fisher Hall, performing Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 under the baton of Valery Gergiev, during Shostakovich’s 100th-birthday celebration. Ms. Chang is NYC District Office Manager and Constituent Liaison for U. S. Senator Charles Schumer. She is a soloist at All Saints Episcopalian Church, in Leonia, NJ.
Soprano Yoojin Lee, a native of Korea, received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal performance at the Catholic University of Korea and her Master in Vocal Performance from Kyunghee University, Seoul, Korea. After moving to the US, she earned her Master in Vocal Performance from Syracuse University. She is currently Music Director of the Musical Theater Classes at the Friends of Grace Seniors Korean Community Center (FGS KCC) in Englewood, NJ.
While a high-school student in Seoul, Korea, Yoojin Lee conducted school chorus events, sang in the Seoul Oratorio Choir, and performed opera arias and scenes with the summer camp program of the National Budapest Orchestra, Hungary. As part of Catholic University’s Opera Galas and performances, Yoojin sang Mozart’s Così fan tutte, and undertook the role of Cherubino in another of Mozart’s comic operas, Le nozze di Figaro. While studying voice at Syracuse University, Ms. Lee sang in the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble and was a member of the Syracuse University Oratorio Society. Part of her degree work for a Masters of Music Degree in US included singing the role of Miss Silverpeal in Mozart’s Impresario and performances in graduate recitals.
She has performed professionally as soprano soloist at Kwanglim Methodist Church and Seocho Joongahng Church in Korea, and the Korean Church of Syracuse. She is currently a soprano soloist with New York Presbyterian Church. Ms. Lee is a member of Ars Musica and sang the 2012-2013 season with the chorus.
Reinée Ellise Sheffield is a lyric coloratura soprano who has sung several beloved roles in the light opera to operatic repertoire including Cunegonde in Bernstein’s Candide and Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. Reinée’s choral experience includes the soprano solos in, Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Reinée’s vocal training includes the Vocal Arts Performance Program at the University of Southern California, voice teachers, Becky Somberg, Alice Taylor, Janet Parlova, and Herta Glaz, and vocal coach, Monroe Kanouse.
Soprano Marjorie Vandervoort has performed in solo and duet recitals and concerts in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere. This is her 21st year as Music Director and conductor of The Ridgewood Choral, a women’s chorus founded in 1928. She is conductor of the Ridgewood Unitarian Society chorus and assistant conductor of Ars Musica. She has served as assistant conductor of the Rockland Camerata, guest conductor of Harmony Basket Chorus (a choir of Japanese Women), and church choirs.
A resident of Closter for over 60 years, Marjorie has her own art and custom-framing business, The Mirage Portfolio. She and husband Robert have three daughters, with grandchildren and great-grandchildren completing the family.
Christine Opalka has been a professional soloist and chorus member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Fair Lawn, NJ, and Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne, NJ. She also sings at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Wayne where she is a frequent performer in their annual Musicales at Noon Concert Series.
As a choral singer, she has appeared at Bergen PAC in the NJ Philharmonic Concert Choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. Opera roles include Fiametta in Gondoliers, Lady Angela in Patience, and Sandman and Dewfairy in Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Opalka enjoys performing for the residents of several area nursing homes. She has had the honor of singing our National Anthem at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, NJ. She studies voice with Hanne Ladefoged-Dollase.
Born and raised in New York State, Alexander Canovas has performed in multiple capacities on the operatic stage, in roles ranging from character roles (Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Valere in Kirke Mechem’s Tarfuffe) to lead roles (Orfeo in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo). He was also The Vain Man in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince, and served as the cover for Le petit vieillard in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges and for Le prince charmant in Viardot’s Cendrillon, all with Ithaca College Opera. Outside of Ithaca College, Alex has performed as “Monostatos” in the Johanna Meier Opera Theatre Institute’s production of Die Zauberflöte, as well as performing in numerous collegiate tours and church performances throughout the United States. In addition to performing, Alex has presented research on performance-based analytical techniques for singers at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. Visit his blog: Musical Analysis of Art Song for the Singer.
Daniel Aponte, baritone, is a senior at Kean University’s Conservatory of Music, studying for his BA in Music with a concentration in Voice and Piano studies. He is a recipient of the Student Organization Endowed Scholarship and has been recognized by the Alpha Lambda Honor Society for exceptionally high honors and was inducted into the internationally known Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society. Daniel has been studying voice under the tutelage of Concert Artist Richard Hobson. Daniel is a sought-after baritone in the Kean University Concert Choir, Chorale, and Men’s Choir. He has performed as a soloist in well-known oratorio works such as Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum and, most recently, Faure’s Requiem Mass in D Minor, both with orchestral accompaniment. Daniel has also performed in the Opera Workshop Ensemble, performing scenes from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte as Papageno, Cosi Fan Tutti as Don Alfonso, and Schaunard in Puccini’s La Bohème. In spring 2013, Daniel performed a solo work in a student recital in La Chapelle Historique du bon Pasteur in Montreal, QC. In addition to participating in the Vocal ensembles, Daniel has performed as a part of the Conservatory’s Chamber Music program, under the direction of Dr.Allison Brewster Franzetti, where he has performed works with guitar, violin, cello, and piano accompaniment. This summer Daniel participated as a research assistant as a part of the AIRS (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing) conference in Toronto, CA, where he also performed in a master class.
A native Texan, Blake Kelly is no stranger to the performance world. He has studied voice with Christine Jubera in El Paso, Texas, and Dr. Eugenia Oi-Yan Yau in New York. Before moving to Manhattan in 2003, Blake held the distinction of being the only student in his school with the title of Texas All-State Soloist, Ensemble Member, and Choir Member for three years running.
In 2004, he graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy with a focus in Musical Theatre, and in 2007, he graduated from the Borough of Manhattan Community College with a degree in Theatre Performance.
Since he began performing in 1999, Blake has starred in numerous musicals in both Texas and New York. Favorite roles have included Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls, Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar.
For the past 10 years, he has been an active member in a number choirs including The Bruce Nehring Consort in El Paso, The Tribeca Downtown Chorus in New York and, most recently, our own Ars Musica Chorale where he was featured in our recent performance of La boheme in role of Alcindoro.