Soprano Vale Southard is a summa cum laude graduate of University of Miami’s Frost of School of Music, where she studied under Dr. Susan Williams and was awarded the Rita Wallach Vocal Scholarship.
Born and raised right outside of Boston, Vale Southard has been surrounded by music her entire life. She grew up listening to her mom’s Faure and Mozart CDs in the living room, and her dad’s Jim Croce and Cat Stevens CDs in the car. At 6 years old, she began taking piano lessons with Barbara Jones in Stow, Massachusetts. She would continue those lessons for 8 years, crediting Mrs. Jones with providing her with an amazing musical foundation of theory and literacy.
She is currently a member of the Metropolitan Chorale, directed by Dr. Lisa Graham, and regularly performs in church services in the Boston area. In addition to performing, Ms. Southard is the K-8 general music teacher and choral director at the Michael Driscoll School in Brookline, MA. She is also a musicianship teacher for the Handel and Haydn Society’s Vocal Arts Program*, and serves as a member of H&H’s Education Planning Team. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and Sigma Alpha Iota.
*[the Vocal Arts Program provided our wonderful array of young soloists for ‘Aspects of Light’ in March 2016]
Alto Cara Sanford inherited her love of singing from her mom. She has sung with numerous choruses over the years in Maine and Massachusetts, with her rich warm tone functioning both as valuable core voice for her section and also as capable solo pinch hitter stepping up on a moment’s notice. Cara was a student of mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato and soprano Bonnie Scarpelli. She lives in Lancaster with her husband and two cats.
Tenor Nate Ramsayer hails from the gorgeous (but cold!) land of northern Minnesota. Now a professional singer in Boston area, Nate performs regularly in a variety of choirs, including singing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops; he recently sang backup for Josh Groban, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses national tour, and the Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience. Nate is an avid lover of musical theater, and has been a part of seven productions of the show Les Misérables in the Boston area—landing DASH Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor twice (roles of Enjolras and Marius). Other recent shows include Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Into the Woods, Bonnie & Clyde, and three productions of Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Nate holds an M.A. degree in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East from Brandeis University, and works as a freelance biblical studies instructor, giving guest lectures at churches, synagogues, schools and universities. He is also an archaeologist who has excavated at numerous sites in Israel, Russia, and the U.K., a karaoke host, a samurai sword tournament champion, and one of America’s top-scoring Ms. Pac-Man players.
Tenor Michael Pfitzer is Director of Music at First Parish Church of Stow & Acton in Stow, MA, where he directs the church’s Adult and Youth Choirs and oversees a vibrant music program; and Choral Director at Framingham State University.
An experienced singer, he has performed as an oratorio soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Cambridge Community Chorus, and has sung in voice recitals in the US, France, and South Africa.
Michael has previously conducted choirs at Harvard University, Boston University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and led international performances in Brazil and Romania. An advocate for creating strong communities through music, he conducts Boston-area community choruses Voices of Metrowest and the Wakefield Choral Society, and has previously led the Cambridge Community Chorus.
He is currently a doctoral student at Boston University, studying conducting with Dr. Miguel Ángel Felipe. He received a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and History from Tufts University. For more information, please visit michaelpfitzer.com
Quiet City horn soloist Sharon Juhasz’s musical adventures started as a little girl in Hawaii, where she took Suzuki violin lessons from her neighbor down the street. Soon after, she moved to Massachusetts and continued the violin but also picked up oboe lessons through her elementary school’s music program. An avid violinist for many years in Boston Youth Symphony Orchestera (formerly GBYSO), Sharon gradually shifted her focus to the oboe, serving as the principal oboist of several ensembles including New England Conservatory’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra under Benjamin Zander and the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra under James Yannatos.
Today, Sharon is an active oboist and English hornist in local community orchestras, including the Concord Orchestra, the Mercury Orchestra, and the Sounds of Stow. She has also played with the New England Philharmonic, the Lowell House Opera, and the Nashua Chamber Orchestra. Her oboe teachers include Janice Bennett and Stuart Dunkel, and she has also participated in Elaine Douvas’ Oboe Master Conference at Interlochen.
Quiet City Trumpet soloist Charlie Anderson is a retired computer programmer and amateur trumpeter. He plays regularly with the Concord, Sounds of Stow, and MIT Summer Philharmonic orchestras, attends the Chamber Music Workshop at Wellesley College each summer, and is a member of the rock ‘n’ roll band White Collar Crime. Charlie is the Artistic Director of the Wayland Concert Series, which presents three or four free concerts per year at Wayland High School. For more information on the series, visit waylandconcerts.org