James has done chorus in school from 4th grade to 12th grade. He was in all county chorus all 8 of those years, tri county once, junior all state 2 times, senior all state 2 times, and men's all state demonstration chorus 3 times. In 11th grade James was awarded junior vocalist of the year at his school, Calvert high. Last year, in his senior year he was awarded outstanding senior member, and overall outstanding musician. James performed both with a group and alone at the 2016 mid-Atlantic jazz festival, and last year, as part of a quintet, achieved straight 1's at the Maryland state solo and ensemble festival.
Janet "Jan" Baker (alto, flute)
Janet is a native of St. Mary’s County and is very proud of her Southern Maryland lineage. She has been singing with St. Maries Musica since 2007 and enjoys it immensely. Janet started her musical career when she was 6 years old at The Bunny Bailey Studio of Dance. Soon after, she began piano and flute lessons. She was encouraged to continue studying and performing music throughout her elementary, middle and high school years where she had the privilege of performing in multiple competitions/honor bands and choruses. Janet studied music and education at Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music (now Shenandoah University) and received her B.S. degree in elementary education with a minor in flute performance. Her greatest musical highlight was being able to perform with Shenandoah’s choir at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Janet currently works in the real estate field and enjoys life with her husband Scott, who is the sound guy, events manager and Chair of St. Maries Choral Arts. She is most proud of her adult daughter, Kristi who is currently working on her doctorate in Astrophysics.
Jessica Bensel (soprano)
Jes Bensel is a transplant to St. Mary’s County, having lived in eight states and one foreign country. She began playing piano and singing at the age of four, and has been in choirs, musicals and glee clubs ever since. She is a mother of three who also enjoys running, triathlons and visiting wineries. Jes works as a Director for Human Capital Strategy and Management and is an Adjunct Professor for UMUC.
Mike Berkin (Tenor)
Mike Berkin is a natural baritone who has been singing tenor two/bass one with St. Maries Musica for 6 years.He began his music career in high school in the early 1970s, singing with a large touring group called Sounds of America. Since then, he has sung with several church and community choirs in Maine, Florida, California, Italy, Japan, and Maryland. In his spare time, Mike likes to compose, sing and record original rock and pop compositions in a local two-man band. Mike is a retired Naval Aviation Maintenance Officer and is now the Branch Manager for Readiness Analysis working in the Logistics Competency of NAVAIR at NAS Patuxent River. He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State and a MS in Material Logistics from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Mike and his wife, Shirley, reside in Drayden, MD. They have four adult children.
Pateley Bongiorni (alto)
Pateley is a recent graduate of Frostburg State University and is very excited to be a part of Musica! She teaches Chorus at Esperanza Middle School and has loved singing as long as she can remember. Music is an art that Pateley thinks brings out the best in people. It is something to be shared with all ages and treasured dearly. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music of course, and traveling.
Heather Bortner (soprano)
Heather is a recent graduate of East Carolina University where she earned her BFA in Professional Acting. She is currently a working actor as well as an Administrative Assistant for an Engineering Firm. Heather spends her non-existent free time leading worship at Lifestream Church of the Nazarene, baking, and singing in Musica. She is so blessed to be able to sing under the direction of TC O’Brien again. Her Iove for music began when TC was her choir teacher at Maurice J. McDonough High School. TC taught Heather everything she knows about music and has given her the confidence to pursue her dreams. She likes to say that, without TC, she would never have found her voice.
Cheryl Ceriale (soprano)
Singing has been her avocation for a long time. Cheryl joined Musica in January, 2009. After moving to Southern Maryland in 2000, she sang with Charles County Consort and Chesapeake Choral Arts Society, and now sings with Two Rivers Harmony and the St. Andrews Church choir. She also sings with St. Maries Musica Minstrels, an ambassador ensemble consisting of 8 members from Musica. Singing has been the impetus for several trips to Europe. As a member of Larimer Chorale in Ft. Collins, CO, Ms Ceriale sang in Notre Dame, San Marco in Venice and the Duomo in Florence. In 2008, she journeyed to Prague, Salzburg and Vienna to participate in Advent Choral Festivals in each city. She performed the music of Stephen Schwartz and Eric Whitacre at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York in March of 2014, under the direction of Mr. Whitacre. Cheryl looks forward to continued adventures in singing with Musica.
Wesley Corbett (tenor)
Wesley is a native of St. Mary's County. He attended Frostburg State University where he received his Bachelors in Science in Music. While at Frostburg, Wesley was a member of the co-ed music fraternity Delta Omicron. He was also a member of Chamber Choir and University Chorale. This is Wesley's first year with the group and he looks forward to making lots of beautiful music.
Kelly Combs (soprano)
Kelly Barnes Combs is the choral director at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick, Maryland, where she teaches five choirs and guitar class. She completed her degree in Vocal Performance from St. Mary's College of Maryland, where she was the musical director and arranger for The Nightingale A Cappella Choir, and sang with the Chamber Singers as they toured throughout Eastern Europe, Italy, France and Switzerland. She has appeared onstage multiple times at the River Concert Series, and performed at the Alba Music Festival in northern Italy. As an educator, her choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and appeared as back-up singers for the rock group Foreigner. She lives in Valley Lee with her husband Jamison, daughter, Lena, son Julian, and their cats, where she enjoys the sunsets, bird-watching and playing bluegrass badly on the porch.
Nicholas Diaduk (bass)
Nick has enjoyed performing music since 5th grade, playing in a variety of instrumental music ensembles until he started singing in college. After singing with St. Maries Singers Nick is excited to join Musica and have the opportunity to be a part of this talented group.
Laura DiGeorge (soprano)
Laura is a recent graduate from Towson University, and she now teaches Special Education in Calvert County. She sang all throughout Elementary, Middle, and High School but had to take a break in college to focus on her classes and student teaching. Now that she is back, she is very excited to be a part of a chorus again and perform with such wonderful people and singers!
Jennifer Drake (alto)
Jennifer is the general music, band, and choral teacher at Oakville Elementary School. She has participated in various choirs and vocal ensembles, both collegiate and professional. Jennifer was employed as a keyboardist and vocalist in a praise band in Salisbury, NC while attending Catawba College. During her time at Catawba, she had the opportunity to tour Europe with the Catawba Singers, perform at the Roosevelt Theater in Chicago in Paradise Lost under the direction of Eric Whitacre, and perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Paul E. Oakley. In the spring of 2011 she received a B.A. in Vocal Performance and Sacred Music. Jennifer has been teaching private voice and piano lessons for 9 years. She joined Musica in the Fall of 2015 and has enjoyed singing with Musica immensely. She is the director of SMACappella and the interim director of St. Maries Singers. Jennifer looks forward to continuing to have fun and make beautiful music with this wonderful group
Gabriel Gray (tenor)
Gabriel “Gabe” Gray is very excited to perform with St. Maries Musica for another season! A Charles County native and Maurice J. McDonough High School alum, this isn’t the first time Gabe has been under Mrs. TC O’Brien’s incredible direction. He had the pleasure of being of member of her prestigious Madrigal Lords & Ladies, Show Choir, & Concert Choir. Gabe & his best friends are also founding members of her fifth ensemble; a male a cappella group known as The Ramtations! Gabe also participated in five MHS Drama productions including West Side Story & Grease, and in numerous county, regional & state honor choirs.
Gabe attended Marshall University in Huntington, WV for his B.A. in Music Education. He was a member of the Chamber Choir, University Chorus, Choral Union, Opera Workshop, and he did a few projects with the MU Theatre. He is also a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. Upon graduation, Gabe was also named Student Teacher of the Year for Related Arts. Today, he teaches General Music & Chorus at William A. Diggs Elementary in Waldorf and performs & directs whenever possible!
Nick Graziano (bass)
Nick has sung in various choirs throughout his life. In middle school he was the lead singer in the annual musical. Throughout high school, All-County chorus, a small chamber choir. He was a member of a local church's choir in high school which did choreographed pieces and performed as far away as New York City. After joining the Air Force, he has sung in various church and community choirs, including 3 years in Germany with the local German church choir. He currently cantors and sings at St John Vianney in Prince Frederick. Beside singing, he's been in a semi-professional musical at Ft Bragg Playhouse, acted and directed and done lighting and sound in several plays. He also plays several instruments when not playing with his 4 grandchildren.
James Haigler (bass)
James is returning to music after a brief hiatus avoiding the paparazzi by joining the U. S. Navy. He's enjoyed singing with various groups over the years including the Naval Aviation Choir and a six-man a cappella group called "The Bare Essentials."
Kellie Hall (alto)
Kellie has participated in choral groups, ensembles and musical productions from fourth grade through high school, culminating with selection to participate in tri-county and all-state choruses. She has been singing as a choir member and cantor at IHM parish for over 15 years. Kellie delights in the cultivation of virtue, teaching reading (yep, that geeky) and Thursday night family dinners with ukulele jams.
Stephen Hilson (bass)
Stephen is a Charles County native and alumni from McDonough High School. Stephen is excited to be a part of Musica and under the direction of T.C. O'Brien once again. In high school Stephen was a member of Mrs. O'Brien's Madrigal Lords & Ladies, Show Choir, Ramtations, and Concert Choir. He then went on to study Music Education at Indiana Wesleyan University where he was a part of two traveling vocal ensembles. While attending IWU he had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall and travel all throughout the U.S., London, and France performing with the IWU Chorale. After graduating college, Stephen went on to teach a year of elementary general music in Indianapolis Indiana before moving back to the Charles County area to teach choir at his alma mater McDonough High School.
Chris Hoepfl (tenor)
This is Chris’s first year in Musica, but not his first time under the direction of TC O’Brien. He has loved music and sang all his life. He is the Lead Singer and Guitarist of the Maryland-based band, Changing Scene.
Jacquelin Horn (soprano)
Jackie is thrilled to be a part of St. Maries Choral Arts for a fourth year in a row, especially as one of the Publicity Co-Chairs. Ever since she fell in love with opera at the age of fifteen, she has pursued her passion in music, minoring in vocal performance in college, and participating in as many operas as she possibly can. Jackie is still an enthusiastic member of Musica, Minstrels, and SMACappella as a soprano, and dreams of singing opera professionally one day.
Brian Jamerson (bass)
Brian is currently 23, recently graduated from Towson University in late 2017 for information technology. He recently found out about this group and is looking forward to singing and performing with them!
Michael Judd (bass)
Mike was educated at Indiana University, where he was a member of the world famous Singing Hoosiers, with whom he performed and toured extensively. He first joined Musica in 1975, moved to Memphis in 1996 and performed with The Wolf River Singers. He rejoined Musica after moving back to Southern Maryland in 2005. He has performed with the Light Opera Company of Southern Maryland with major roles in "Orpheus in the Underworld" and "The Magic Flute". In the spring of 2014 he traveled to New York City to perform with Distinguished Concerts International New York under the direction of Eric Whitacre. He is now the treasurer and chief fund raiser with Musica. Michael currently serves on the St. Mary'’s County Arts Council. He lives in Lexington Park near his daughter, son-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren.
Phoebe Kammerer (soprano)
Phoebe Kammerer is currently a general music teacher at Chesapeake Public Charter School. Phoebe is a Pennsylvania native and attended West Chester University where she studied Music Education with a concentration in voice and a minor in Special Education. Phoebe sang in choirs under the direction of David P. Devenney, Ryan Kelly and Jane Wyss and studied voice with Emily Bullock. Phoebe has always enjoyed singing in choirs and is thrilled to a member of such a talented ensemble.
Beth Lanier (alto)
Beth began her career as a Professional Alto when her middle school chorus teacher realized that she could read music and has only rarely been allowed to sing the melody. This led her to the decision to become a choir director thus allowing herself to sing all of the parts – though sadly, not all at one time. Beth graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor’s in Music Education and has taught in exotic locations such as Warrenton and Falls Church, Virginia as well as Sunnyvale, California before being invited to teach for Calvert County Public Schools. Since arriving in Southern Maryland, Beth has taught music at all levels in schools throughout the county. She recently made the decision to return to elementary school where the students treat her like the rock star she always wished she could be! In addition to having a private studio for piano, voice and theory, Beth serves as a Music Minister for Middleham and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
Alyssa Melton (Intern-alto)
Alyssa is a high school senior at Calvert High School and an Intern for the Musica choir.
Susan Melton (soprano)
Susan is a wife, mother of 5 girls and a grandmother to 4 beautiful children. Singing was her most favorite thing to do and she is glad to be back doing what she loves!
Chad Mildenstein (tenor)
Bio coming soon!
LeeAnn Miller (alto)
LeeAnn moved to Maryland from Colorado last year with her daughter who is stationed at Pax River Naval Air Station. She has been singing all her life, in church and in a variety of groups including high school Honor Choir, a southern rock band, and various community groups. She "retired" after 29 years of teaching, including teaching music to preschool/kindergarten children. For the last 3 years LeeAnn has been working as a nanny. One thing she is passionate about is handbells which she has played for 45 years. Her other passion is gardening
Kelly Murph (Intern-alto)
Kelly is a senior at Leonardtown High School where she is a member of the chamber choir, Bella Voce. She has performed with the St. Mary's All-County Chorus and with both the Treble and Mixed Maryland Senior All-State Choirs. She discovered her love of music in elementary school and hopes to continue to learn and grow as a musician in college next year.
Shannon Obedoza (alto)
Shannon currently sing in Two River's Harmony. She sang in the CSM Chamber Choir when they toured Germany and Austria in 2006. She sang with UMBC's Maryland Camarata, and had the pleasure of performing with Kenny Rogers. In grade school Shannon participated in school choir, and All-County, Tri-County, and All-State Honors Choirs.
Kylie Oosterink (soprano)
Although Kylie is a St. Mary's County native, she is a new member to Musica but is thrilled to be a part of such a talented group. Kylie is a recent graduate of Frostburg State University where she graduated cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Music Education. At Frostburg, Kylie participated in Chamber Choir, University Chorale, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Opera. Upon graduating, Kylie became the choir teacher at Leonardtown High School, where she is the director of five different choir groups. When she's not singing or directing, you can find Kylie coaching her St. Mary's Soccer girls travel team. Kylie played a major role in the Three Notch Theatre production of “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Bye,Bye Birdie”. Kylie has enjoyed singing with Musica and hopes to continue singing with them!
Heather Rardin (alto)
Heather is a new member of St. Maries Musica, and joined in the winter/spring season of 2018. She has previously sung with the Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Choir, as well as the Lincoln Cathedral Consort in the UK.
Ashley Gleisner Ritchey (soprano)
Ashley grew up as the only non-athlete in a family of sports stars. She quickly discovered her place was in music and not on the field, and traded sports balls for sheet music.
In school and at home, Ashley was heavily involved in music, delighting (I’m sure delighting) her family with nightly concerts from the shower, and joining such ensembles as Leonardtown High School’s Ladyes Fayre, Salisbury University’s Chorale, Louisiana Tech’s Chamber Singers, and many more. She also took many years of private voice lessons and performed in several Summerstock productions.
When she’s not chasing her three wild boys around, Ashley spends her time among the maritime history artifacts at the Calvert Marine Museum.
Temma Schlesinger (intern-soprano)
Temma is currently a sophomore at Leonardtown High School. In addition to Musica, Temma is a member of the Leonardtown chamber choir, Bella Voce. She has been singing in choirs for most of her life and has always found a love for music.
Haley Stewart (alto)
I've been singing my whole life, but I only started singing with a group in my senior year of high school. I was an alto in the McDonough Hgih School chamber choir that was direct by TC O’Brien. I sang the national anthem at CSM's 2018 spring graduation, and I will be singing at the spring commencement this January, too. I am now a part of the chorale and chamber choir at the College of Southern Maryland.
Ed Stone (tenor)
I sang in Concert Choir McDonough High Shool 2002 , The Madrigals Lords and Ladies at McDonough High School from 2004-2006 (solo in Daniel, Daniel Servant of the Lord 2006) , All-County 2002, 2004 and Tri-County chorus in 2003.
Andrew Tolarski (intern-tenor)
Andrew is very excited to be a part of Musica this season. He has been doing music for most of his life and is honored to be a part of this group.