SHA APPENZELLER is in his ninth 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. He has worked for USAA for 15 years and is currently a claims litigation manager.
CALEB FRENCH returns for his second year with the Phoenix Chorale. He holds a master’s degree in church music from Bob Jones University, with emphases in voice, conducting, and composition. He appeared in 2014 in BJU’s production of Aida, and sang for five years in the University Chorale. Caleb was awarded First Prize in the John Ness Beck Foundation Choral Composition Competition in 2012 and is a published composer with Beckenhorst Press. Caleb currently resides as head of music education at Arrowhead Christian Academy, where he directs all graded choirs in the school’s high-participation choral program. He has begun making adjunct appearances as vocal coach, choral clinician, and church music instructor here in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. He and his wife Heidi are active members at Northwest Valley Baptist Church, where Caleb also serves as director of worship services and conductor of the church’s choir.
MICHAEL GABRIEL FRONGILLO is thrilled to be joining the Phoenix Chorale this season. Michael graduated from the University of Arizona with his bachelors in Choral Music Education. He is currently the choir director for Apollo High School in Glendale, serves on the board for the Arizona branch of the American Choral Directors’ Association, and has worked as a freelance vocalist and choral conductor around the valley.
SMITH GRAHAM is excited to be singing his first season with the Phoenix Chorale. A native Arizonan, Smith received his B.M.E. from Northern Arizona University and taught Choir and Guitar in the Chandler Unified School District for three years. He has sung with many choirs around Arizona including the Sedona Academy of Chamber Singers, Sonoran Desert Chorale, and North Valley Chorale. This summer, he had the privilege of being the Assistant Music Director at the Arizona Magic of Music & Dance in Paradise Valley. Smith is currently the music director at Mission del Sol Presbyterian Church in Tempe where he leads the adult and bell choirs and also runs his private music studio.
CHRISTOPHER HERRERA is in his fourth season with the Chorale after joining the group for its final concerts of the 2013/14 season. 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 eleven 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 thirteenth 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, Spire Chamber Ensemble, and the Kansas City Chorale. He’s been a featured soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Bach Festival, and at 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 at Hillmann Piano Studio in Chandler.
JASON RAETZ is excited to be singing in his first season with the Chorale. He earned a B.M. in Music Education from Western Michigan University and a M.M. in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University. A native of Phoenix, Jason grew up singing and learning music in the Phoenix Boys Choir and has gone on to perform as a soloist with the Flagstaff Master Chorale, Early Music Michigan and is currently in his second season with Helios. He has taught music at several schools around the valley and was a director with the Phoenix Boys Choir. Currently, Jason is directing two choirs at Arizona School for the Arts.
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.