St. Stephen's UCC Choir
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The Saint Stephen's Choir is a group of music students from James Madison University who lead Hymns and perform musical selections in weekly services. These students are involved in many things so be sure to check out the choir's calendar of events to see what else they are involved in!
Monica Slater is a senior student of music and writing at James Madison University. She enjoys her job at the JMU writing center as a writing tutor and her job as the President of the JMU Opera Guild. As far as opera performance, she has most recently participated in Pirates of Penzance as Edith (JMU Opera Theatre), Dead Man Walking as Sister Catherine/ cover for Sister Rose (JMU Opera Theater), Cendrillon as Maguelonne (Stafford Opera Troupe), HMS Pinafore as Josephine (JMU Opera Theater), and Dido and Aeneas as Belinda (Stafford Opera Troupe). Monica has received first place in the classical category in Virginia NATS (2017), first place in the musical theater category in the Mid-Atlantic Region (2017), and the All-star award from Virginia Theater Association for her role “Jane” in Full Bloom. Last year Monica was chosen by the JMU Honors College to be a Hillcrest Scholar. Through the Hillcrest scholarship, she attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria in the summer of 2019. She also has a passion for singing in one of her native tongues, Portuguese, and is currently working on researching, translating, and preparing the one-woman Brazilian opera Domitilia by Joao Ripper.
Catie Brooks is a senior Vocal Performance and Music Theatre Music major here at JMU. She's performed numerous roles outside of JMU such as Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte at the Bethesda Summer Music Festival, and Lucille in Monsieur et Madame Denis by Offenbach in the Chicago Summer Opera Festival. Catie also appears frequently as part of JMU's opera chorus. Besides singing at St. Stephens', Catie also is a cantor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic church back home, works as at a nearby preschool, and works as a freelance nanny.
Anastasia is a senior at James Madison University, pursuing a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Music-Theater. Her past performance credits include roles in Musical Theater, operetta and opera productions, both at JMU and outside of the Harrisonburg community. She spends her time in Harrisonburg teaching voice lessons to both high-school and college-aged students, taking advantage of any yoga or dance class available and filling her Sundays with music and fellowship at St. Stephens!
Andrew Magruder is a Junior Music Industry Major at James Madison University. He has been playing the violin for 16 years and singing for 7 years. Andrew most recently had an internship this past summer with the Virginia Association of Broadcasters where he recorded news, sports, and weather for his local radio station. This coming semester he will be interning at Blue Sprocket Sound Music Studio in Harrisonburg. In the opera world at JMU, Andrew has participated in both spring semester shows of Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. Locally, Andrew plays violin and guitar in a duo with his friend Sarah Zotian on piano. Andrew can also be seen performing in the JMU acapella group, The Overtones. His song performance of Haze on their most recent album was put on BOCA(Best Of College Acappella) for 2019. Outside of music, Andrew enjoys reading, hiking, and swimming.
Kathleen Gibson, originally from Vienna, VA, is a senior vocal music major and music and human services minor at James Madison University. A member of the Newman Voice Studio, she has also sung with JMU's The Madison Singers, JMU Chorale, Treble Chamber Choir, and the University Women's Chorus. Her leadership positions have included the 2018 manager of the JMU Chorale and the 2017 soprano one section leader for the Treble Chamber Choir, and current music director of the Saint Stephens Choir! She has worked abroad in Rome as an au pair, where she took care of two young children and learned Italian, along with participating in the 2017 InterHarmony Music Festival in Aqui Terme. Her career plans include teaching music on multiple levels, with a special focus on elementary music education, as well as graduate studies in music. Kathleen loves working with the choir every week and creating beautiful music together.
Megan O’Brien is a senior vocal performance major and student in the Modern Foreign Language Department studying Italian. She works at the music library on campus and is president of the SNATS chapter at JMU. She's performed numerous roles at JMU including Siebel in Faust, Sister Lillianne in Dead Man Walking, and ensemble in HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, and Cosi fan Tutte. She is an active member in the choirs at JMU and has been a member of The Madison Singers since her junior year. She attended the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria in the summer of 2019 focusing on German Lied. Outside of music, Megan enjoys reading, working out, and watching old movies.
Brayden Paitsel is a classical and contemporary singer in his sophomore year at James Madison University. In his schooling, he has performed numerous roles of musical theater, opera, and operetta repertoire. This most recently includes his roles as Valentin in Gounod's Faust and Major General Stanley in G&S's The Pirates of Penzance. In addition to his merit as a theatrical performer, he has also been awarded several honors by competitions in the greater Richmond area. Most notably at The Koste Classic and Menchville CoC where he has been recognized for Best Solo ('17, '18), Best Showman ('16, '17, '18), and Best Overall Male Performer('18). He is also a local of Richmond, Virginia and when he isn't busy with the performances and papers of college, he enjoys spending his time with his family of 6 siblings and his dear friends. He is so excited to be joining the choir at St. Stephens, and looks forward to the rest of his time with the church!
John Lopez is a sophomore vocal performance major at James Madison University. Singing has been his passion all his life, and he continues to enrich audiences with his romantic, charmed voice. He is in his eighth year of classical training, studying under Kevin McMillan, baritone, at JMU. John has been fortunate enough to participate in summer opera programs, such as the Washington National Opera Young Artists Program, and The Nightingale Opera Program. He has performed in operas at JMU as well, including Dead Man Walking as a gruesome inmate and Pirates of Penzance as lead, Samuel. John is excited to be part of the Saint Stephens Choir and can't wait to see what the future holds!
Mike has been making music on some kind of keyboard since he was very young. He has performed classical, jazz, ragtime, pop, rock, and electronic music. He really enjoys the pipe organ at St. Stephen ‘s and accompanying the JMU singers.
“Theresa Perez is a senior Vocal Music Education major at James Madison University. She is from Springfield, Virginia, and is returning there in the Spring of 2020 to student teach in Fairfax County. She is currently the president of the JMU’s Chapter of the ACDA and works hard within the JMU vocal area to bring music engagement wherever she can. Her work experience circulates around working with small children in an early childhood education center where she is thrilled every day to go in and teach her young students about the world around us! She is excited to spend her last semester at JMU getting to perform with the St. Stephens UCC choir!