ALISON CHANEY is in her eleventh season with the Chorale. A native of Dallas, Texas, she completed a graduate degree in vocal performance from The 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 fifth 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 sixth season with the Phoenix Chorale. Originally from Memphis, she has been performing and teaching in the Phoenix area since 2011. She most recently completed her Doctorate in Vocal Performance from ASU this year. Nina has performed roles including Despina (Così fan tutte), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Bellomy (The Fantasticks), and Maria in scenes from West Side Story. In addition to opera and musical theatre performances, she has been a featured soloist 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 his premieres of “Liberation of Ellisbell” and “New York I & II”. In the summer of 2013, Nina sang the title role in the opera, Das Tagebuch der Anna Frank at the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany. Her most recent performance was in New York and Brooklyn for her “Southern Comfort” recital series.
LIES’L HILL is in her second season with the Chorale. Before moving back to Arizona last year, she spent the previous three years working 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. SInce returning to AZ, Lies’l has been working as a teaching artist and for arts organizations across the valley. She was the Coordinator for the Creative Catalysts program at the Mesa Arts Center, and currently serves as the AZ Creative Aging Coordinator for Arizona Commission on the Arts, and is the Development and Outreach Coordinator for our very own Phoenix Chorale. She serves as the Soprano Section Leader at St. Maria Goretti Church and sings with Canto Vivo Chorale. Lies’l holds a degree in Choral Music Education from Northern Arizona University and has continued her education through Lincoln Center’s Teaching Artist Lab for two consecutive summers, and Harvard University’s Passion-Driven Learning Institute.
CAROL PLATT JENNINGS is in her sixteenth 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, American Bach Series and in churches throughout the Valley. For over ten years, she has studied voice with Mrs. Claudia Kennedy, her teacher, mentor, and friend, and continues to specialize in French Mélodie. She holds voice faculty positions 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.
KIRA ZEEMAN RUGEN is in her thirteenth 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. This year Kira travels 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 thirteenth 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 36th season, and with whom she made her conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in June 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 is also Associate Director of Music at Mountain View Presbyterian Church and a founding member of Helios, a seven voice early music ensemble.