Dora Barnes (Mar 5) was born and raised in Yakima Washington and now resides in Seattle. She is a classically trained vocalist, pianist, and saxophonist, and is currently studying with Davida Kagen. Dora attended Yakima Valley Community College and Central Washington University with a focus on vocal performance. Dora has performed with the Seattle Art Song Society, Ladies Musical Club, and the Puget Sound Concert Opera, among others. Notably, she has performed as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, placed 1st in the PAFE Opera division, placed 3rd in the Seattle Opera Guild’s Singer Development Awards, and was an honorable mention in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards. When not singing opera, Dora is the lead singer and plays saxophone in two Motown/Oldies bands, and also composes her own music.
Beth Ann Bonnecroy (Mar 13) is in demand as a conductor, singer and teacher of voice. She has performed as a soloist with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus. She has sung with the Seattle Opera Chorus and Lyric Opera Theatre of Tempe, AZ as well as on several movie and video game soundtracks. In 2013, Beth Ann joined the music faculty of Seattle Pacific University where she teaches voice and conducts the SPU Treble Choir. She is also a member of the music staff of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church in Seattle where she conducts the Chancel Choir and Handbell Choirs. With colleague, Dori Baunsgard, Beth Ann founded and co-conducts Wanderlust Women’s Choir, a choir dedicated to sharing music through travel. In 2023, they will sing their way from Barcelona to Bordeaux! Beth Ann holds a Bachelor of Music degree in church music/voice from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and a Master of Music degree in voice performance from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.
Born in Taiwan, Jonas Chen (Mar 16) started learning piano at the age of five. After moving to Seattle in 2005, he picked up the cello at the age of ten. He started his studies in piano and Alexander technique with Richard Asher in 2010, and cello with Page Smith in 2013. While obtaining a degree in finance and accounting at the University of Washington, he performed with various ensembles, such as the UW Symphony Orchestra led by David Alexander Rahbee and Ludovic Morlot, both as a cellist and pianist. He was also principal cellist of the UW Campus Philharmonic for their performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with Mario Alejandro Torres. He also played in the Seattle Philharmonic Strings, led by Adam Stern and Allion Salvador. After graduating, Jonas continues his playing in orchestras such as the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, Northwest Mahler Festival, and the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra. He frequently performs at house concerts, weddings, and churches. Jonas performs on a 2013 cello made by Leo Goujard Spiga in Cremona.
Lin Chen (Mar 16) is a freelance vocalist, violinist and music educator in the Greater Seattle area. Growing up in Australia, she was fortunate to study music with esteemed teachers from the Griffith Conservatorium in Brisbane and the Sydney conservatorium. Her experience in vocal performance expands multiple genres including Classical, Musical theatre and Jazz. She currently studies voice with Dr Kari Ragan. Lin is also a violin coach for the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) and performs with a number of local ensembles including her own string quartet—Quartet Evolution. Her career highlights include performing at the Sydney Opera House, Westminster Abbey and Cologne Cathedral. She enjoys giving regular recitals in Seattle with the Ladies Musical Club.
Diana Gao (Mar 5) began studying piano at age 4. She moved to the U.S. from China in 2013 to pursue her MBA at the University of Washington (UW), and she’s currently a Senior Marketing Manager at Microsoft. Although she has pursued a career outside of music, the piano has remained a significant mainstay in her life. She has consistently cultivated her passion through regular lessons and performances. She’s been studying with Dr. Robin McCabe from UW and is a prizewinner in many competitions, including Gold Medalist of the Seattle International Competition and First Prize of the “Golden Classical Music Awards” International Competition. She also performed at the prestigious Piano Texas International Festival. Since 2020, she has presented annual fundraising recitals through the Microsoft Give campaign, raising thousands of dollars in support of local organizations. Those events reinforced her belief that music has the power to inspire change and make the world a better place.
Joyce Gibb (Mar 13) was born in Sri Lanka and started her early piano studies with the admired, but feared music critic Elmer DeHaan. After surviving his rigorous training, she moved to London for further studies with Swiss pianist Albert Ferber, whose teachers included Rachmaninoff. Studying both piano and cello, she was awarded a gold medal for performance by the Royal Schools of Music. Joyce teaches and performs regularly and has been the concerto soloist with the Cascade Symphony, Seattle Philharmonic, Rainier Symphony, Port Angeles, Thalia, and Philharmonia Northwest Orchestras. Her performances have included concertos by Beethoven, Poulenc, Grieg, Addinsell, and Chopin, and the 1st and 2nd piano concertos by Rachmaninoff.
Stephanie Guasch (Mar 10) is a classically trained singer and educator with over 10 years of experience in formal singing. She earned her Master’s Degree at the Mannes School of Music (New York, NY) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (San Germán, P.R.). During her time at Mannes she studied with Ruth Falcon, and performed in multiple master classes, opera workshops, outreach programs, and recitals. Back in her native Puerto Rico, and an active performer, she was a member of the San Juan Philharmonic Chorale as well as Coralia, the renowned concert choir of the University of Puerto Rico led by the distinguished conductor Carmen Acevedo Lucío. Since relocating to Seattle in 2020 Ms. Guasch has been an active freelance vocalist performing in a wide variety of genres including classical music, bossa nova, jazz, Latin jazz, as well as backup singer for local Latin music ensembles.
Katie Hochman (Mar 10), soprano, can be heard regularly giving recitals with Ladies Musical Club of Seattle. She has also enjoyed singing opera and oratorio with Puget Sound Concert Opera (PSCO), Opera Theater Oregon, Portland Opera, Utah Opera, Columbia Chorale and Southwest Washington Symphony (SWS). Highlights include the title role of Massenet’s Cendrillon and Héro in Berlioz’s Beatrice et Bénédict performed with PSCO and Exultate, jubilate performed with SWS.
Emiko Hori (Mar 16), a native of Japan, graduated from the renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Piano Performance. She studied with Shigeo Neriki, and performed at numerous places including Banff Centre, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Germany. Emiko became fascinated with and continued her study in Computer Science at Boston University. Busy working in technology companies such as CommerceHub and Microsoft, Emiko thought she would never play the piano again. She was wrong; Emiko became one of the newest performing members of Ladies Musical Club. Emiko enjoys dividing her time between performing concerts, teaching piano, and working at Starbucks HQ’s Digital Commerce team.
Violinist Adrianna Hulscher (Mar 16) began her studies at the age of 6, inspired by a gift from her parents—a record of Mozart’s delightful opera, The Magic Flute. She is currently a freelance violinist in the Seattle area, and a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. She developed her musical skills at the New England Conservatory and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Adrianna is a member of the St. Helens String Quartet, and has also performed with Seattle Opera and the Seattle Symphony. As a soloist, she has performed Bartok’s 1st violin Concerto with the University of Texas Symphony and The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams with the Lake Sammamish Symphony. Adrianna lives in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter, Amelia.
Composer Eldon Leuning (Mar 10) has lived his entire life in Washington, growing up on a fruit orchard east of Yakima near Zillah. He earned a BA in English from Whitworth College in Spokane where he also studied music. He subsequently became a high school English teacher before eventually turning to teaching music in the Lake Washington School District. It is the combination of these two interests and studies, poetry and music, that led to and define his current work composing Art Song. His training and passion for both of these are apparent in his musical settings, combining the two into a singular statement of meaning. Music is a passion Eldon shares with his son, Mark, who is a trained tenor and French teacher. Art and artistic expression are central to his life, and are infused with the rigor learned on the end of a shovel, making sure that the irrigation water got all the way to the end of every row of pear trees. He has most recently studied with John Muehleisen.
Karin McCullough (Mar 10, 16) is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music who gives piano lessons in her Ballard studio & performs often in the Seattle area. She co-led two music history tours of Vienna in the early 2000s. She’s the Principal Organizer in Puget Sound for the international movement Bach in the Subways (this year on March 23 & 24) and is the Acting Librarian for Seattle Music Teachers Association. She has frequently played on KING FM’s show NW Focus Live; her most recent radio performance there was recorded & is available on NPR (https://livesessions.npr.org/videos/brandi-birdsong-karin-mccullough-h-leslie-adams-branch-by-branch-from-five-millay-songs)
Luke Raffanti (Mar 5) has been a frequent piano performer around Seattle since moving here in 2017. Before the pandemic, he performed frequently at house concerts, retirement homes, and for benefit concerts. In 2018, he earned the top prize in the Chopin Northwest solo piano competition and in 2019 he was featured as vocal accompanist and solo pianist on Classical KING FM. He has enjoyed collaborating with several professional opera companies: Seattle Opera, Seattle Modern Opera Company, and Northwest Opera in Schools, as well as numerous individual professional vocalists. Luke teaches roughly 40 students of all ages at Cascade Piano Studio in Ravenna, and is the collaborative pianist and organist at Richmond Beach Congregational United Church of Christ in Shoreline. Lately Luke has been taking voice lessons with Davida Kagen and singing with Seattle Pro Musica. He earned a BM in classical piano performance and a BA in environmental studies from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music.
Emily Riesser’s (Mar 16) diverse experience encompasses opera, oratorio, theatre, and new works. She recently portrayed Missy Hart in 9 to 5: The Musical (Twelfth Night Productions), sang Dolcina in Suor Angelica (Puget Sound Concert Opera), and sang Frasquita in Carmen (Kitsap Opera). In concert, Emily is known for her interpretation of Bach cantatas, including Wedding Cantata, which she has sung in several venues. Favorite experiences include singing Iphigenie in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride (Seattle Opera Guild), Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata (Kitsap Opera), Tamiri in Mozart’s Il re pastore (Off-Center Opera), and soprano chorus at Seattle Opera. Emily is a graduate of Goshen College (Goshen, IN) and past participant in Bel Canto Northwest (Portland State University).
Soprano Tiina Ritalahti (Mar 16) holds degrees in music and vocal performance from the University of Washington. She has performed throughout Washington with Northwest Opera in Schools Etcetera (NOISE), Puget Sound Opera, Ladies Musical Club and Puget Sound Concert Opera, as well as being a featured soloist for the Finlandia Foundation. She has sung such roles as the First Spirit and Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Despina in Cosi fan tutte, Lisa in Bellini’s La sonnambula, Änchen in Der Freischütz by Weber, Cis in Britten’s Albert Herring, and Olympia in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffman. Further, she has performed in multiple operas by Menotti: Lucy in The Telephone, Monica in The Medium, and Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief. Her passion for singing also extends to art song repertoire, which she performs regularly in recitals around Western Washington. Tiina has created unique breathing classes for young singers that combine her knowledge and experience as a massage therapist, certified yoga teacher and singer.
Bernard Shapiro (Mar 16) was principal oboe of the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera from 1961-2004, participating in over 80 Seattle Symphony recordings. He appeared as soloist with the Seattle Symphony, Philadelphia Quartet, Balamian Quartet, Seoul Symphony, Korean Broadcast Symphony, and Bellevue Symphony. He was co-founder of the New York Baroque Quintet, English horn with the Royal Ballet Touring Orchestra (London), and received the Fromm foundation Fellowship for Contemporary Music Performance at Princeton University and Tanglewood (1960). Mr. Shapiro has been a member of the faculty at University of Washington, Cornish School, Pacific Lutheran University, Western Washington University, and Seattle Pacific University. At PLU, he participated in many programs as a member of the faculty wind quintet, the Camas Quintet. He graduated from the Music and Art High School of New York City, and holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Education from Manhattan School of Music. In addition to oboe, he also enjoys playing cello.
Asta Vaičekonis (Mar 13) holds her MM in Piano Performance from the University of Washington and her Bachelor’s degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music. Asta was granted a diploma for best accompaniment in the International Competition of Chamber Music in Kaliningrad (Königsberg), Russia (1992). She was a soloist with the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra (2002), performed in the University of Washington Summer Arts Festival (2001, 2003), the Bach Fest (2001, 2002) in Lake Chelan, Washington, accompanist for Ladies Musical Club of Seattle’s Awards Tours (2000, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018), and the Bumbershoot Festival (1999) in Seattle. Asta served as an accompanist and coach in the Summer Chamber Music Seminars in Berlin, Germany (1992, 1993), and has performed with the Chamber Dance Company. She has played many recitals and chamber music programs in various cities of the United States, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Russia, and Israel, and made several recordings for the Lithuanian Radio and Television (1993). She was the first solo pianist to play in Seattle’s own Benaroya Hall. Asta has been on the faculty at Music Works Northwest and staff accompanist at Western Washington University, and is currently on the faculty at Seattle Pacific University, while maintaining a private piano studio.
Sharon Wong (Mar 10) is a pianist passionate about playing chamber music with instrumentalists and singers. She began her collaborative piano journey during high school while serving as the organist and choir accompanist for her church. During her university years Sharon studied with Margaret Fabrizio on an 1812 fortepiano (twin to the piano Broadwood sent to Beethoven) while gratifying her inner nerd, earning a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. Recently retired after serving as a technology executive at multiple startups and major software companies, Sharon now happily plays with many chamber ensembles and subs at various churches around Seattle.