The Grand Blanc Arts Council’s 29th Annual “Community MESSIAH Performance” will be presented at Holy Family Catholic Church; 11824 S. Saginaw Street in Grand Blanc. The date is Sunday November 20, 2016, and the time is 4:30 p.m. The performance is open to all. There is no charge for this exciting performance but a free-will donation will be gratefully accepted at the door. MESSIAH, composed by George F. Händel, tells the story of MESSIAH in song.
This year's chorus is comprised of volunteer singers - both adult and high school students from the area. The guest director, this year is Dr. B. Simon Lee.
Accompanying this year’s performance will be a six-member chamber orchestra. Soloists auditions for this year’s performance were held on Sunday June 5, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of Holy Family Catholic Church – Grand Blanc.
Director, Dr. B. Simon Lee
Dr. B. Simon Lee has been named guest director for the Grand Blanc Arts Councils’ 29th Annual “Community MESSIAH Performance” to be held at Holy Family Catholic Church on Sunday November 20, 2016 at 4:30PM.
Dr. Lee is a native of South Korea, and since 2003 has been a conductor and singer working as the full-time music director at Church of The Holy Family in Grand Blanc, MI. Lee studied at Michigan State University where he earned his masters’ and doctoral degrees in music conducting. While studying at MSU, he conducted the MSU Chamber Choir and the Korean Women’s Chorale and worked at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in East Lansing.
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music from Seoul National University in South Korea, Dr. Lee sang in The Bucheon City Chorus. This chorus is one of the top Korean professional choruses in Korea. Lee also performed nationally in various concerts and operas. Moreover, Dr. Lee was frequently invited to instruct, vocal coach, or guest conduct at many music camps and conferences throughout Korea. He also had a large private voice studio.
Organist, Dr. Hyekyung “Sia” Lee
Organist, Dr. Hyekyung “Sia” Lee, a native of South Korea, is an active performer, appearing as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist. She has received her second master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and earned her doctorate this year in Piano Performance from Michigan State University. She taught at Yeungnam University where she received her first master’s degree. She won the Honors Competition at Michigan State University, the PianoTexas International Festival Concerto Competition, the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra Piano Concerto Competition, and American Protégé International of Romantic Music.
Dr. Lee has performed with several orchestras and given chamber music recitals with fine musicians in New York and Michigan. She has been featured on numerous occasions for many instrumentalists, especially woodwind and brass players. She also has extensive experience as a choral accompanist. Currently, she accompanies Sistrum, Lansing Women’s Chorus, and plays the organ at Church of the Holy Family in Grand Blanc.
Soprano, Laurie DiSabatino
Soprano, Laurie DiSabatino, holds a Bachelor Degree in Music from Central Michigan University. After Graduating from CMU, Laurie performed with the Lyric Opera Theater of Philadelphia and her debut role was MiMi in Puccini’s La Boheme. Since returning to the Flint area, she has performed locally as a soloist with the New Century Chorale and The Carolyn Mawby Chorale. DiSabatino has also been Grand Blanc Arts Council’s Messiah soprano soloist three other times and we are very pleased to welcome her back to our stage.
Laurie has also sung with Michigan Opera Theatre’s Opera Chorus in productions of Verdi’s Nabucco, Puccini’s La Boheme, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Leoncavalo’s I Pagliacci. Most recently, Laurie has worked with talented composer and organist, Brenda Portman, premiering and recording several of Brenda’s compositions for voice and piano. Laurie currently serves as Music Director at Kirkridge Presbyterian Church in Grand Blanc, and sings with the Carolyn Mawby Chorale.
Soprano, Hannah Busch
Hannah Busch is a budding mezzo soprano based in Detroit, Michigan. She enjoys both choral and operatic repertoire which has spurred the beginnings of a diverse and exciting career. Hannah spent the summer of 2016 singing with Grant Park’s festival chorus under the direction of Christopher Bell.
The summer of 2015 was spent in Colorado with Central City Opera’s training program as an Apprentice artist covering the role of Annina in Verdi’s La Traviata. Hannah completed her masters in music at DePaul University under the guidance of Jane Bunnell where she sang the roles of Second Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Mistress Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff , and The Queen of the Fairies in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. While completing her Bachelors of music at Michigan State University, Hannah performed roles including Nicklausse in Offenbach’s Les contes D’Hoffmann, Arminda in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, and Gertrude in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliettte.
Soprano, Natalie Cocagne
Soprano, Natalie Cocagne, is growing up in Grand Blanc, Michigan and is currently enrolled at Grand Blanc High School as a junior. At the high school, she participated in the auditioned all-girls ensemble Treble Tones in her sophomore year. Starting this year, Natalie is a soprano in the high school a capella group, Unaccompanied Minors.
Additionally, she is enrolled in Chorale under the instruction of Mrs. Sarah Stockton. Moreover, Natalie has cantored at The Church of the Holy Family for the past three years. She is currently taking private voice lessons and has done so for the past year. She plans to continue her singing in college and into her adult life.
Alto, Maria Berry
Alto, Maria Berry, is a native of Grand Blanc, Michigan, and has been a parishioner of Holy Family her whole life. She has been singing with Dr. Lee since 3rd grade- as a member of Holy Family School’s children’s choir, high school chamber choir, and adult choir.
Maria is currently a junior at Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Michigan. There, she is involved mainly in choir, theatre, and marching band. Maria plans on continuing to pursue the arts in college and for many years to come.
Tenor, Aaron David Bush McCoy
Tenor, Aaron David Bush McCoy, is a native of Burton and has been involved in music since age six when he began playing violin to emulate his grandfather. Then at FIM, Aaron discovered he could sing and began studying voice with Sylvia Pittman. Aaron attended Central Michigan University and earned a B.A. in vocal performance. At CMU, McCoy-Jacob studied voice with Dr. Timothy Caldwell and is currently studying voice with Nada Radakovich.
Some of McCoy-Jacob’s performance credits include: performances with Flint Symphony, International Youth Orchestra, and Detroit Symphony. Some of the many roles Aaron has sung include the title role in the musical Bye Bye Birdie, Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen, and Kasper in Menotti’s Amal and the Night Visitors. He is a recipient of both a St. Cecelia Scholarship and the Piarian Scholarship and is proud to say he shares an Emmy and the Aurora Award with The Flint Symphony and the Jubilee Chorale. This summer, Aaron sang the role of Ralph Rackstraw in The Kearsley Park Players’ performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta HMS Pinafore, and earned rave reviews
Tenor, Steve Pierce
Tenor, Steve Pierce, returns to singing as a soloist after a 22-year marriage, five children, twelve years heading up his own investment company, Pierce Financial Ann Arbor, and his move to Senior Financial Advisor of the Ann Arbor firm, Chisholm & Darden earlier this year. Since returning to his hometown Ann Arbor, he has sung with the U of M Choral Union, the Ann Arbor Cantata Singers, and Measure for Measure Men’s Choral Society (www.measure-for-measure.org). He is among the song leaders for the Ann Arbor Rotary Club and appears in pick-up choirs and solos for special events.
Pierce’s passion for music was born before he embraced his gift for solo work. It led him to New York City, where in 1991, he sang at Carnegie Hall during the first season of the prestigious hall’s second century. While in the city, Steve was chorister and occasional soloist in eight different choirs over several years. Among these were The Collegiate Chorale, a group founded by Robert Shaw and lead by Robert Bass and The New York Choral Society, lead by John Goodman. Pierce also sang in the Grace Church Choral Society, where he sang the tenor solo in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Schubert’s Mass No. 6 in E-Flat. While at Grace Church, Pierce also performed various Anglican style and traditional hymns. Working in New York City gave Steve the opportunity to meet, work with, and be inspired by people such as Isaak Stern, Seiji Ozawa, and Paul McCartney. Pierce has also sung in Europe and performed Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro in Vienna’s Rathaus (city hall).
Steve has studied voice with Stuart Sharp, Francesca Richards, and Marilyn Brustad. However, he believes his most influential voice teacher was the late Harold Haugh, Professor Emeritus from the University of Michigan School of Music. Professor Haugh gave Pierce voice lessons gratis because he believed in Pierce’s abilities. This marks Steve’s first performance singing the first tenor recitative/aria in MESSIAH. However, he will be following his debut with a solo performance of MESSIAH with First Presbyterian Church Choir in Ann Arbor later this year. Steve feels privileged to sing for you and believes it is part of his re-invention. By singing in Messiah, Pierce is also honoring Harold Haugh’s spirit by taking the torch from Haugh, and bringing Händel’s words and music to you.
Bass, Kevin A. Starnes
Bass, Kevin A. Starnes, has performed a variety of styles in a career spanning over twenty years. He has appeared with Michigan Opera Theatre as Ivan in Die Fledermaus, a prisoner in the Midwest premiere of Dead Man Walking, and was cast in their critically acclaimed performance of Pirates of Penzance. In 2009, Kevin dazzled and excited audiences with his performance of Jerry in The Full Monty, and gave a “smoking” performance as Berger in Hair. His "rich baritone" has added gravitas to performances that have been called “a true highlight;” his roles sung with “panache and style.”
This fall, he will sing the role of the Duke in the University of Michigan’s production of Charles Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Starnes currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in vocal music performance and a Master of Arts in arts administration. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Michigan. Kevin is supported at home by the love of his life, Jennifer, as well as his three minis: Braeden, Logan, and Joel.