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Meet the 2018 Lake Junaluska Singers

Mary Huff

Mary Huff

DIRECTOR

Mary Huff graduated cum laude from Furman University in 1999 and received a Master of Music degree in 2001 from Yale University.  She furthered her post-graduate studies in music education at Westminster Choir College, specializing in the training of children’s choirs. She is the founding director of the New York City Children’s Chorus and associate director of Music at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. Her choirs have performed in Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as well as for national broadcasts on Good Morning America, the TODAY Show, and CBS Sunday Morning. She also plays the organ for liturgies, accompanies and conducts the Church Choir and Saint Andrew Chorale, and manages the church concert series. 

Kathy Geyer McNeil

Kathy Geyer McNeil

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

McNeil received a Bachelor of Music in education and a Master of Music in organ performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. McNeil presently directs the choir for Grace Church in the Mountains and also serves as an organist for Lake Junaluska. She has given numerous recitals throughout the New York metropolitan area and in Western North Carolina, and she is in demand as an accompanist for soloists and choral groups. McNeil is also the choir director for the Haywood Community Chorus in Waynesville, NC.

Sherami Harris

ALTO  |  Spartanburg, SC

Sherami is a recent graduate of Converse College, SC, earning a degree in vocal performance. She will be returning to Converse in the fall to pursue her Masters of Music in vocal performance. She is originally from Spartanburg, SC. She joined the Lake Junaluska Singers last year and is excited to return for her second year. Her church home is Saint Paul's United Methodist Church. Before she became a trained singer, she was also a violist.

Sherami Harris
Thomas Gruenthal

Thomas Gruenthal

TENOR  |  Port Jefferson Station, NY

Tom recently received his Bachelors of Music in vocal performance from the State University of New York atFredonia. Tom performed with the Fredonia Chamber Choir and College Choir. He has also performed for the Hillman Opera, Western New York Chamber Orchestra and the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series. He recently served as a student conductor for The SUNY Fredonia University Chorus, and plans to attend graduate school to study sacred music.

Madison Murphy

SOPRANO  |  Greensboro, NC

Madison Murphy is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in music performance with a minor in French. A member of UNCW’s Opera Outreach Project, Madison has performed in operatic scenes in Hansel and Gretel, The Medium, and Meira Warshauer’s contemporary opera, Elijah’s Violin. While in residence at UNCW, Madison has performed with the UNCW Chamber Choir in Mozart’s Requiem, the Brahms’ Requiem, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War, and Jeffery Van’s A Procession Winding Around Me. In 2017, she appeared as an ensemble member in the Opera Wilmington production of Bizet’s Carmen. Madison plans on pursuing a Masters in performance and vocal pedagogy after graduating from UNCW in 2019.
Madison Murphy
Jacob Plaisted

Jacob Plaisted

BASS  |  Charlotte, NC

Jacob is a vocal performance major at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. Originally from Charlotte, NC, he serves as an intern at Highlands First Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir. At WCU, he has been a member of the University Chorus, Catamount Singers & Electric Soul, Opera Scenes, and Early Music Ensemble. He is also a member of the Concert Choir, which recently headlined a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City, where he was a featured soloist. He has been a soloist in a number of choral masterworks and won the 2018 Jackson County Civic Orchestra solo competition.

Emily Arbour

SOPRANO  |  Apex, NC

Emily is a recent graduate of Appalachian State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. While at ASU, she has had the opportunity to perform with the Appalachian Opera Theatre, the Hayes School of Music Woodwind Chamber Ensemble and the school’s early music group, Collegium Musicum. She has also sung with ASU’s University and Chamber Singers, and is a member of the North Carolina Master Chorale. She will also be competing as a finalist in the Rosen-Schaffel Competition for Young and Emerging Artists at the end of July. Emily is very excited to return to ASU in the fall of 2018 as she pursues a master’s degree in vocal performance.
Emily Arbor
Ben Adamo

Ben Adamo

TENOR  |  Greeneville, TN

Ben Adamo, a returning Lake Junaluska Singer, is a native of Greeneville, TN, and a recent graduate of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in K-12 Vocal Music Education. During his tenure there, he had the opportunity to sing in a large variety of choral masterworks and operas, and has performed both abroad and nationally. Ben will be attending graduate school in the fall. He has been accepted into a blended MA/PhD program in musicology/ethnomusicology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He is very interested in studying a variety of topics including the identity of Americana as illustrated in folk music, folk traditions, and organology (the study of instruments). He is also interested in examining and studying the relationship between Christianity and rock music.

LaDejia Bittle

ALTO  |  High Point, NC

LaDejia is a 2018 vocal performance graduate of Wingate University in Wingate, NC. Originally from High Point, NC, she has sung in church choirs since she was a young girl and was a member of the youth choir, the youth praise and worship team, the college and young adult praise and worship team, and the liturgical dance and mime team. During her four years at Wingate, she was part of both the auditioned choirs, Wingate University Singers and Chamber Choir, as well as the United in One Gospel Ensemble which she directed for three years. She has performed as a soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and several other major works. She has also participated in Wingate's opera productions in lead mezzo roles. Next year, she will continue making music in a classroom setting as a middle school chorus teacher.
LaDejia Bittle
Patrick Saiff

Patrick Saiff

BASS  |  Sodus Point, NY

Patrick will be going into his senior at the State University of New York at Fredonia where he is obtaining his bachelor's degree in vocal performance. He has performed principal and supporting roles with the Hillman Opera and the Student Opera Theatre Association, in addition to having been a member of the Fredonia Chamber Choir, College Choir, and the Fredonia Masterworks Chorus. Patrick has also been an avid participant in a capella during his time at Fredonia, being a member of the Guerrillas, one of the all male groups on campus. Patrick was also a young artist at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, Colorado during the summer of 2017.

Kayla Brotherton

ALTO  |  Greensboro, NC

Kayla graduated from Greensboro College in NC as a voice performance major and currently attends UNCGreensboro as a graduate student. A Greensboro native, she was the alto section leader during her time atGreensboro College. She performs in musicals and operas locally with Greensboro Opera, and is a soloist with the Greensboro Choral Society. She has worked as a vocal counselor at North Carolina United Methodist All State Youth Choir Camp. Kayla currently is a section leader at Jamestown Presbyterian Church.
Kayla Brotherton
David Waterland

David Waterland

BARITONE  |  Chadds Ford, PA

David recently graduated from his undergraduate studies at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he received his Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance. He has been fortunate enough to be in the Hillman Opera Productions of The Medium, The Merry Widow, and the 60th Anniversary Gala this past October. In March 2016, David sang the role of Judas Iscariot in Fredonia's production of J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion under the direction of the late Gerald Gray, and in November of that same year, won the Opera Club of Syracuse award at the Civic Morning Musicals competition. For the past three years, David served as the organist and music director at the First Presbyterian Church of Westfield, NY. David is a proud graduate of Julie Newell's Fredonia Voice Studio and will be attending Syracuse University next year for his master's degree in vocal performance with a full assistantship.

Julianna Grabowski

SOPRANO  |  Baldwinsville, NY

Juliannai is excited to return for a second season with the Lake Junaluska Singers. She is a 2017 graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia with degrees in vocal performance and music education with a concentration in piano. In addition to her time as a Lake Junaluska Singer, Julianna’s professional credits include her solo performances with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra in their 2016 Holiday Pops concert and 2018 Mr. Tambourine Man concert. Julianna also has professional experience as a collaborative pianist both in public schools and at the collegiate level. This fall, she will attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA to pursue a graduate degree in vocal performance. She will also hold the position of assistant conductor with the Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh.
Julianna Grabowski
Isaiah Bishop

Isaiah Bishop

BARITONE  |  Kingsport, TN

Isaiah is a rising sophomore studying for a bachelors degree in music education at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. He plans to pursue up to a doctorate in conducting in order to teach music at the collegiate level. Since beginning his singing career, he has performed and collaborated with groups such as the Swingle Singers, the Appalachian Men’s Ensemble and the Tennessee All-State Honor Choirs.

Lisa Louw

ALTO  |  Greer, SC

Lisa grew up singing in choirs. Some of her favorite ensembles she has sung with include the Chicora Voices, the South Carolina Honors Choir and the South Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities Cantus Choir. A recent graduate of Converse College in Spartanburg, SC, with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance, Lisa will continue at Converse for her Master of Music in vocal performance in the fall. Through Converse College’s Lawson Academy, Lisa will be teaching privately. Additionally, She will be going into her fifth year as an alto section leader for St. Paul United Methodist Church located in Spartanburg, SC.
Lisa Louw
Erik Rasmussen

Erik Rasmussen

TENOR  |  Brentwood, NY

Erik obtained his Bachelor of Music in voice performance from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2017. He has previously appeared in operatic and concert performances with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Nickel City Opera, the Hillman Opera, the United States Army Field Band & Soldier’s Chorus, the Waynesville FUMC Summer Chorale and the Lake Junaluska Singers. He has previously sung with the choirs of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, Scarsdale Congregational Church, Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, Fredonia Chamber Choir, and Fredonia Masterworks Choir. He is a previous recipient of the Laurence Schauffler Scholarship, the Sol Schoenbach Memorial Scholarship, and the Semper Fidelis Award for Musical Excellence from the U.S. Marine Corps Youth Foundation. A recent Young Artist at SongFest in Los Angeles, Erik will return to the New York City area this fall to participate in SingThrough Central, continue freelancing and private studies, and apply for graduate schools to pursue a Master of Music in voice performance.

Nicole Brendel

SOPRANO  |  West Seneca, NY

Nicole is a graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia, where she earned degrees in voice and arts management. During her undergraduate years, she enjoyed performing as a member of the Fredonia Women's, Chamber, and Masterworks choirs, as well as student-run jazz and pop a capella groups. Nicole has also performed in many operatic productions with the Hillman Opera Company and Western New York Chamber Orchestra. Nicole was a Young Artist at Rocky Ridge Music Center in Estes Park, CO in 2016 and studied bel canto vocal technique in Fermo, Italy in 2017. She is currently a graduate assistant at SUNY Fredonia pursuing a masters degree in voice performance and working as an administrator for the chamber orchestra in-residence. Nicole hopes to pursue a second masters degree and doctorate in vocal pedagogy and make a career as a performer, arts administrator and voice teacher.
Nicole Brendel
Mark Shelton

Mark Shelton

TENOR  |  Johnson City, TN

Mark is a senior music education and voice performance major at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. Originally from Mount Carmel, TN, he is a member of the ETSU Chorale, BucsWorth Men's Choir, Appalachian Men's Ensemble, Opera Workshop, and Greyscale, a pop-jazz fusion group. He currently serves as a choral scholar at Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church. When he graduates from ETSU, Mark plans to pursue a master’s degree in vocal performance.

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