CORA BLOUCH is in her twelfth season with the Chorale. She first studied music at Northern Arizona University and completed her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance at ASU. She is an active contributor to the arts community and has received several awards including first place in the Arizona NATS competition. She has sung with various jazz and rock bands over the years, and has lent her voice to different recording projects around the Valley, both as a singer and as a voice-over actor. In addition to her singing engagements, she is a partner in a fiber-arts business creating hand-knitted wares and handspun yarns, which can be found at Roadrunner Farmer’s Market during the cooler months and year-round on bewilderknits.com. Ever the animal enthusiast, Cora shares her home with Fran the cat, Hazel the dog, and a flock of wild chickens.
LINDSAY DECOSTE is excited to begin her first season with Phoenix Chorale! She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northern Arizona University. A native of southern California, Lindsay attended Mt. San Antonio College for three years, where she sang under the direction of Bruce Rogers. After transferring to NAU, she held leadership positions in Shrine of the Ages and High Altitude, performed with NAU Opera and as part of the Sedona Academy of Chamber Singers. Lindsay also sings with Canto Vivo under the direction of Dr. Craig Peterson. She currently teaches choir at BASIS Ahwatukee and enjoys playing board games with her husband Robert.
LIES’L HILL is thrilled to be making her debut with the Phoenix Chorale this season, an honor she has dreamt of since middle school. For the past three years, she worked in New York City as a conductor, teacher, singer with the New York Repertory Singers and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Choir, and was the Founding Assistant Artistic Director of New York Chamber Choirs. When not singing, she taught chess and art classes at Trevor Day School and studio pottery classes in Brooklyn. Upon returning to Arizona, her native state, Lies’l has been building a career for herself as a musician and teaching artist. In addition to teaching in her private voice studio and choral classrooms, she serves as Soprano Section Leader at St. Maria Goretti Church, and works with the Arizona Commission on the Arts as their new Arts Learning Intern. Lies’l holds a degree in Choral Music Education from Northern Arizona University and furthered her training as a teaching artist through Lincoln Center’s Teaching Artist Lab and Harvard University’s Passion-Driven Learning Institute.
NINA MAKSTON is in her second season performing with the Phoenix Chorale. Nina is a native of Arizona. She holds her Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Grand Canyon University, and has been performed with various groups in the valley including Arizona Opera Chorus, Scottsdale Musical Artists, Musica Nova, The Royal Renaissance Singers, and was soloist and section leader at Faith Presbyterian Church for 7 years. She has also worked with many congregations in and around the Phoenix area doing solo work and choral work. She has two children, and works full time in central Phoenix at 180 Degree Automotive as the Customer Service Representative.
HOLLY SHEPPARD is in her tenth season with the Chorale. She began working towards a degree in Vocal Performance at the University of New Mexico and then moved to Phoenix to attend the University of Advancing Technology (UAT). She earned a B.A. in Multimedia with a Digital Animation emphasis and spent six years as an Environment Artist in the video game industry. She currently works as an artist and animator at Scientific Games Firebird Studios creating slot machine games. Holly has continued her vocal education, studying with voice instructor Gail Dubinbaum. She is a regular soloist and performer with Phoenix Opera and is also a member of the Arizona Opera Chorus. She sings alto with the Schola Cantorum at Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral and performs frequently throughout the Valley. Holly and her husband George are outdoor enthusiasts living in Mesa with their two birds, Luna and Beaker.
STEPHANIE STICKFORD is in her ninth season with the Chorale. A native of Ohio, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music business and a Master of Arts degree in music education from The Ohio State University. She moved to Phoenix to attend graduate school at ASU, and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music education. Over the course of her career, she has taught choir and music appreciation at all levels, delivered presentations at state and national music education conferences, taught private voice and piano, served as a church musician and soloist, performed bedside concerts for hospice patients, and sung with jazz big bands and combos. Stephanie currently teaches vocal and general music at Pinnacle Peak Elementary School in the Paradise Valley School District, sings with the Schola Cantorum at Saints Simon & Jude Cathedral, and is a member of Helios, a seven-voice early music ensemble.
LEIA WASBOTTEN is so excited to be in her second season with the Phoenix Chorale. She is a May 2015 graduate from Penn State University, holding a degree in voice. While studying at PSU, Leia was involved in Penn State’s Concert Choir and Essence of Joy where she had the opportunity to perform all over the world, including touring to Spain and France and singing with The Rolling Stones. Currently, Leia directs a church choir at Desert Foothills UMC and teaches voice. She is expecting to start her Masters in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at Arizona State University next fall.