SHA APPENZELLER is in his eighth season with the Chorale. Sha received a degree in Music Education from The University of Northern Iowa and pursued a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He has performed numerous opera and musical theater roles with San Antonio Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of the Rockies’ Vocal Arts Symposium, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, and Opera Colorado. Sha’s concert performances include Haydn’s The Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers. Sha is a litigation manager with USAA.
RYAN DOWNEY is beginning his fifth season with the Chorale. Ryan graduated magna cum laude from ASU with a Bachelor’s in Voice Performance. He received his Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he won the Elizabeth Stoeckler Stevens Prize in German Lieder. He has sung with Michael Tilson Thomas, Warren Jones, Lori Laitman, and George Darden. Currently, Ryan is finishing his DMA at ASU. He has performed roles in Cosí fan tutte, Ariadne auf Naxos, La traviata, Gianni Schicchi, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Handel’s Serse, and Gallantry. He also sings with the Trinity Cathedral Choir, Arizona Opera Chorus, and True Concord in Tucson.
CALEB FRENCH is glad to make his professional debut with the Phoenix Chorale this year. He holds a master’s degree in church music from Bob Jones University, with emphases in voice, conducting, and composition. He was awarded first prize in the John Ness Beck Foundation Choral Composition Competition in 2012. As a graduate student, Caleb appeared under Steven White (Metropolitan Opera, NYC) as The King in BJU’s production of Aida and sang for five years in Dr. Warren Cook’s Chorale, the university’s premier choral ensemble known for its performances of works by composer Dan Forrest. Caleb currently resides as head of music education at Arrowhead Christian Academy (Glendale), where he directs the graded choirs of the school’s high-participation choral program. He and His wife Heidi were married in the summer of 2016 and are active members at Northwest Valley Baptist Church, where Caleb also serves as director of worship.
RYAN D. GARRISON is in his eleventh season with the Chorale. Ryan is currently a choral director at Arizona School for the Arts and Choirmaster at The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Tempe. A Wyoming native, Ryan graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Music Education. After teaching middle school orchestra and choir in Denver, he received a Master’s in Music Education and DMA in Choral Conducting at ASU, where he conducted the Women’s Chorus and taught courses in beginning conducting. Ryan joined the Kansas City Chorale at the Incheon International Choir Festival in South Korea, has been a soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, American Bach Series and has been Guest Choral Clinician/Conductor directing junior and high school Honor Choirs in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming.
CHRISTOPHER HERRERA is in his third season with the Chorale after joining the group for its final concerts of the 2013/14Season. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice from California State University, Northridge. He moved to Arizona in 2003 to attend The University of Arizona where he received a Master of Music degree in Voice and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts. Professionally, he has sung with the Arizona Opera chorus for ten years and has also performed several roles with the company. He has also been a featured soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, Catalina Chamber Orchestra and Phoenix Opera. Christopher currently holds voice faculty positions at Grand Canyon University and Arizona Christian University.
JOSHUA HILLMANN is in his twelfth season with the Chorale. A St. Louis native, he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Kansas and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from ASU, where he is currently a DMA Candidate in Piano Performance. He has won many awards as a pianist, including “Most Outstanding Arizona Pianist” at the 4th USASU Bösendorfer International Piano Competition. Josh has also sung with many other professional choirs including Anúna, Seraphic Fire, True Concord Voices and Orchestra (formerly Tucson Chamber Artists), Spire Chamber Ensemble, and the Kansas City Chorale, having recently appeared on their Grammy-winning album Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen. He’s been a featured soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Bach Festival, and ASU. He holds a piano faculty position at Grand Canyon University, is a staff musician at St. Barnabas on the Desert, and also teaches piano from his private studio in Chandler.
DAVID TOPPING has sung with the Chorale for over twenty years, including when it was the Phoenix Bach Choir and the Bach and Madrigal Society. He has degrees in choral music from Cal. State Fullerton and ASU. He has made many solo appearances with choral ensembles in Arizona and California, and also with The Phoenix Symphony and the Arizona Bach Festival. He helped create ChoralNet (the preeminent website for choir directors) and is on the board of the Arizona chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Arizona Bach Festival. When he’s not singing, David serves as the Computer Systems Manager for the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church, has a web-consulting business, and directs music at Faith United Methodist Church, Phoenix. He lives in Phoenix with his wife Jody (the pastor of Faith UMC) and has two grown children, Ryan and Erika.