ALISON CHANEY is in her thirteenth season with the Chorale. A native of Dallas, Texas, she completed a graduate degree in vocal performance from Ohio State University after receiving a Bachelor of Music Education from Baylor University. Alison has appeared with the Carolina Chamber Chorale, Sounding Light of Michigan, and on the American Bach Series as a soloist and chorister, along with numerous opera companies including Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Company Brooklyn, and the Ash-Lawn Highland Summer Festival. She is a founding member of Helios, an early music performance ensemble in Phoenix. A former music educator for 9 years, Alison is in her sixth year as Headmaster of Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, one of the Great Hearts Academies.
CASSANDRA EWER is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a dual degree in music education and vocal performance and has sung with the Chorale for over twenty years. Career highlights include performances at the World Choral Symposiums of 2002 (Minneapolis) and 2008 (Denmark) and the 2003 National ACDA Convention (NYC), as well as ten seasons with the Oregon Bach Festival during which she premiered Arvo Pärt’s Litany with the Hilliard Ensemble and performed on OBF’s Grammy-winning CD Penderecki: Credo. She is a featured performer on fourteen professional recordings, many of them Grammy-winning or nominated, including recordings on the Hänssler-Verlag and Harmonia Mundi labels and she has sung on all of the Phoenix Chorale’s Chandos recordings.
NINA COLE GARGUILO is in her eighth season with the Phoenix Chorale and has been performing/teaching in the Phoenix area since 2011. Most recently, she performed in Harrower Opera’s Ballad of Baby Doe, and has performed in shows such as Così fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, and West Side Story. She sang as the title role in Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank at the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany. She has also been featured in many choral works. While obtaining her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Mississippi, Nina was a soloist for Ola Gjeilo’s “Tundra” and premieres of “Liberation of Ellisbell” and “New York I & II”. She completed her doctorate in Vocal Performance at ASU in 2017 and took her research of American Southern music to New York and Brooklyn. Nina finds joy in exploring the style and traits of American music and seeks to promote American Opera, Art Song, and Broadway repertoire in her own work as well as in her teaching.
LIES’L HILL is in her fourth season with the Chorale. After earning her degree in Choral Music Education from Northern Arizona University, Lies’l moved to New York City where she lived and worked as an educator, conductor, and singer with the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church Choir and was the Founding Assistant Artistic Director of New York Chamber Choirs. She was inspired to further her education through three years of Lincoln Center’s Teaching Artist Lab and Leadership Lab and Harvard University’s Passion-Driven Learning Institute. After returning to AZ in 2016, she began following a passion for local arts organizations, serving as the AZ Creative Aging Coordinator for the Arizona Commission on the Arts and in outreach and development for the Phoenix Chorale and Mesa Arts Center. Today, Lies’l teaches at Mesa Community College as an Adjunct Faculty member in Choral Music and Musical Theatre and in music classrooms valley-wide as a freelance teaching artist. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Education through NAU. Lies’l also sings with Canto Vivo Chorale and Solis Camerata chamber choirs.
CAROL PLATT JENNINGS is in her eighteenth season with the Chorale. As a soloist, she has performed in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Arizona, Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand; performed in renowned ensembles including the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, True Concord Voices and Orchestra, and the American Bach Series. For over ten years, she has studied voice with Ms. Claudia Kennedy, her teacher, mentor, and friend, and continues to specialize in French Mélodie. Her current positions include voice faculty at both Glendale and Scottsdale Community Colleges, as well as Grand Canyon University. She earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from ASU and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Oklahoma. In addition to performing and teaching, Carol is also a certified yoga teacher and is passionate about sharing yoga with others.
LISA RITTENHOUSE is thrilled to be in her first season with the Phoenix Chorale as a substitute singer. A native of Napa, California, Lisa moved to Flagstaff to study music and sing with Jo-Michael Scheibe and Edith Copley, where she sang in Shrine of the Ages, Chamber Singers, and Vocal Jazz. She earned her Bachelor in Voice from Northern Arizona University and later, her Masters in Elementary Education from NAU. Lisa has taught K-12 music in the East Valley for fifteen years. She sang for over twenty years with the Sonoran Desert Chorale in Mesa and currently sings in the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist of Mesa. She is currently teaching Elementary Choir, General Music and Drama at Santan Elementary in the Chandler Unified School District. When she is not teaching or singing, she enjoys spending time with her husband Gavin, a music educator and their two teenagers, Emma and Paul.
KIRA ZEEMAN RUGEN is in her fifteenth season with the Chorale. Kira is the Director of Choral Activities and Musical Theater at Arizona Christian University. Additionally, she is the Artistic Director of Solis Camerata, an early music professional choir which performs with the Phoenix Symphony for Final Fantasy and Zelda, and Game of Thrones live concerts. Kira traveled to France in November 2017, to conduct the premiere of her composition, Saint-Brieuc Magnificat, with the Saint-Brieuc Cathedral youth choir. Furthermore, she has performed at Durham University’s Norvis Early Music, Carnegie Hall’s Young Artist Concert Series, Korea’s Incheon International Choral Festival, and with Anúna (Ireland’s National Choir) throughout Ireland, Japan and China. Kira has served as a faculty member at GCU and ASU. She earned her BA in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting from Weber State University, a Master of Music in Choral Education and a Doctorate in Choral Conducting at ASU.
DANYA TILLER is in her fifteenth season with the Chorale. She is the Artistic Director of the Phoenix Girls Chorus, a five choir non-profit organization for young women now in its 38th season, and with whom she made her conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Danya earned a B.M. in Piano Performance and M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Alabama, and is A.B.D. for the D.M.A. in Choral Conducting from the University of Oklahoma. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, she has performed with distinguished ensembles including the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, New Orleans Opera, Santa Fe Pro Music Chamber Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, The Phoenix Symphony, and St. Martin’s Chamber Choir, and she has toured extensively with choirs worldwide as both singer and conductor. Danya also serves in her 7th year on the AzACDA board and is a founding member of Helios, a seven voice early music ensemble.