AJ Banach, Bass AJ graduated with a degree in music education in 2018 from the University of Vermont. He currently teaches Chorus and Media/Audio Recording at Enosburg Falls High School. He recently joined Solaris in 2019. He can also be seen playing trumpet in various groups throughout Vermont and is a new member of the Heritage Brass Quintet.
Karen Baron, alto Karen, a charter member of Solaris, has been singing in choruses all her life. She is retired and beyond singing spends her time hiking and biking, sewing, making pottery, and visiting her grandchildren.
Jenny Berschling, alto Jenny has been hooked by choral singing since her high school glee club’s ambitious performance of Mozart’s Requiem. A charter member of Solaris, she is also a member of Bella Voce, and enjoys the musical challenge of both groups. She works as an environmental analyst for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
John Buck, bass John is a graduate of the University of Vermont, and spent his career as a Wildlife Biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife. He has been involved in music since his elementary school days, was a member of the Vermont All-State Chorus, is currently a member of the Waterbury Congregational Church choir & Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and is a charter member of Solaris.
Jennifer Carpenter, soprano Jennifer received a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Vermont, and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Indiana University, Bloomington; she also has done doctoral studies at the University of Washington-Seattle. She has served as Music Director at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, and joined Solaris in 2015.
Shawn Chapman, bass Shawn attended the University of Maine at Orono, where as a Music Education major he sang in several of the University’s choral groups under Dr. Dennis Cox and others. An avid traveler and black-belt martial artist in Shaolin Kempo karate, he considers singing with Solaris for the past six years to be the highlight of his musical career.
Matt DeDiana, tenor Matt is a graduate of Allegheny College (PA) with degrees in Computer Science and Music. Prior to joining Solaris in 2015, he sang with the Master Chorale of Washington DC, the Vermont Choral Union, and the Burlington Choral Society. Matt is a software engineer for Fluency, Inc. a Burlington based startup. He lives in Williston with his wife, Kristin, and two daughters, Maris and Selene.
Adam Grundt, bass Adam lives and works in Burlington, where he is a practicing psychologist, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Brown University and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada at Reno. He has sung with many choral groups since high school, when his music theory teacher, Ms. Pinto, would have the class sight-singing at 7:30 every morning. He has been with Solaris since 2014.
Kim Hardy, alto Kim received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College (Conservatory of Music) and a Master of Music degree from Ithaca College. Her focus was cello performance. She is also licensed to teach Dalcroze Eurhythmics. A chorister from childhood, she has sung with the Horseheads High School Chamber Singers, Oberlin College Choir, and Ithaca College Choir. As a cellist, she performs occasionally in Vermont and also uses music in her profession as an ordained Episcopal priest, currently serving St. James Episcopal Church in Essex Junction. With interests in Celtic music and Celtic spirituality, she founded Anam Cara Sojourners, a collaborative effort to explore both. She joined Solaris in 2018.
Claire Hungerford, soprano Claire, a member of Solaris since its second season, is a graduate of the Crane School of Music, and has also studied music in Vienna, Austria. She was an original member of Robert DeCormier’s Counterpoint chorus for many years. Claire considers the opportunity to sing with Robert, and by extension with Peter, Paul, and Mary, to be an important highlight of her very active musical career. She has traveled to Ireland as a soloist and member of New York City’s A Viva Voce chorus, performing American Spirituals and folk songs along with traditional Irish folk music
Dean King, tenor Dean joined Solaris in 2016. He previously sang with the Mad River Chorale and is a long-time member of the Waterbury Congregational Church choir. Dean is recently retired after a long career as an actuary with National Life Insurance Company. He and his wife reside in downtown Burlington.
Kathleen Messier, soprano Kathleen grew up loving Classical music and studied organ and piano in middle school and high school. In collage, although she majored in science and math, she pursued her interest in singing as a member of the St. Michael’s College Chorale and Madrigal Singers. Since then Kathleen has studied voice with Jill Hallett Levis and sung with the Colchester Community Chorus, Green Mountain Mahler Festival, the Burlington Choral Society, the Oriana Singers, and the Vermont Choral Union. Her favorite periods of music to study (and sing!) are the early to late Renaissance and Baroque. Kathleen is the Archivist at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington and lives in Essex Junction with her husband and three children. As well as singing, she enjoys baking, cooking, graphic design, and gardening.
Nan O’Leary, alto Nan was introduced to many musical genres at an early age, instilling in her the desire to continue singing in choruses throughout her life. Nan joined Solaris in 2014, is one of the founding members of Bella Voce (since 2004), Cantiamo (since 2009), and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus (since 2000). This keeps her very busy musically, while gardening at her home in Essex, VT fulfills her love of nature’s beauty during our too-short summers.
Steve Olson, bass Steve is the Director of Music at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School in Shelburne. He received degrees in Music Education from Florida State University, and in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. In 2014 had the honor of directing the world premiere of Sam Guarnaccia’s “Emergent Universe Oratorio” here in Vermont. Steve joined Solaris in 2013.
Becky Peterson, alto Becky has sung with Solaris since its beginning, as well as with Bella Voce (since 2004), Cantiamo (since 2009), and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus (since 1996). She retired from Champlain College, and now works as a Behavior Interventionist at Orchard Elementary School. When she is not working or singing, she can be found reading, hiking, biking and spending time with her husband, Tom, and dog, Imani.
Skip Potter, tenor Skip lives in Barre and has been employed by Maplefields for the last 20 years as its IT Manager. He sings regularly with the Vermont Philharmonic, Mad River Chorale, Burlington Choral Society and many other groups throughout Vermont, as well as with several church choirs. He also has a love for the stage, performing often with Lyric Theater, Stowe Theatre Guild, and Unadilla Theatre. He became a member of Solaris in 2018.
Caleb Roman, bass Caleb joined Solaris in Fall of 2017. He is currently in his senior year at Saint Michael’s College as a Theatre and Music dual major. Caleb often participates in college mainstage productions and has actively contributed to on-campus musical projects including the Saint Michael’s Chorale and Concert Band. An asset of living and studying in Burlington is its rich and nurturing artistic community, and Caleb feels exceptionally fortunate to have had the opportunity to become involved with inclusive local projects both inside and outside of his academic pursuits, these including Solaris.
Cameron Shippee, bass Cameron is our Conducting Intern. You can read his bio here.
James Stewart, tenor James joined Solaris in 2017, and he may be familiar to many as a host on Vermont Public Radio Classical. He has sung in choirs since he was a child, and has been a choir director since the age of fifteen. James is active as a composer of diverse musical genres, and among other accomplishments, holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Hartt School of Music (Connecticut) in composition.
John Trackey, bass Jake, who joined Solaris in 2018 was active in several choral and instrumental ensembles while at Saint Michael’s College, including the College’s Chorale, Liturgical Choir, and Jazz Band; he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Classic Languages there. He is currently absorbed in translating texts in classical Latin, Greek, and French, and has an avid interest in Medieval and Renaissance music.
Katherine Wayman, alto Katherine received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Vassar College and an M.Phil in musicology from the University of Cambridge, studying voice and 16th century music. A native Washingtonian, her love of choral music was fostered in the Gospel and Madrigal choirs of the DC public schools she attended. She sang with the Choral Arts Society of Washington before going to medical school at the University of Virginia. She is a clinical neurologist with the University of Vermont Medical Center. She joined Solaris in 2018.
Linda Wheeler, soprano Linda has been active in choral singing since her school days, and has studied vocal technique with several teachers, currently with Sarah Cullins. In addition to being a charter member of Solaris, Linda also sings with Bella Voce (since 2004), Cantiamo (2009), Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and College Street Congregational Church.
Gail Whitehouse, soprano Gail has been singing since childhood. Growing up in Burlington, VT, she was active in the Children and Adult Choirs at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception as well as Concert and Polyphonic Choirs at Rice High School. She earned a Bachelor if Arts in Music from Mercyhurst University, where she realized her passion for opera and performed leading roles in several opera productions. While new to Solaris this season, she sings with Vermont Choral Union (since 2009) and studies voice with Sarah Cullins.
Dawn Willis, alto Dawn is our Artistic Director. Read her bio here.
©2019 Solaris Vocal Ensemble