Women’s Vocal Ensemble · Mitchell Covington, Artistic Director

Singers

Fall 2017

Ella Bacon grew up singing with the Piedmont Choirs for 11 years, and participated in many tours, choral competitions and festivals around the world. This is her first year with Voci. In her spare time, Ella plays the viola, and enjoys singing to, and gardening with, her two young daughters.

Janet Biblin joined her first choir in fourth grade, where she discovered her love of choral music. She’s been singing in choirs ever since, most recently as a founding member of the Berkeley choir Chora Nova. She is excited to be singing with Voci and be part of the close harmony and sound of an all-women’s group. In her free time, she enjoys playing the Appalachian dulcimer, hiking in the open spaces of the East Bay, and keeping track of the NBA.

Liz Binning grew up singing with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir. She was a founding member of the high school women’s ensemble, Ancora, which originally practiced in her parents’ living room. In college she studied civil engineering, but still continued to sing and study voice. Liz currently works for San Francisco Public Works upgrading pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to increase public safety. In her spare time, she rides both road and mountain bikes, works on her never-ending home construction projects, and hosts frequent plant-based dinner parties.

Julie Blade has sung virtually all her life, with her first choral experience being in the fourth grade. She joined Voci in the fall of 2009 and considers this her finest choral experience. Julie has sung with notable community choruses and ensembles. She has also performed in a number of musical stage productions and dabbled in jazz and opera. Julie’s encore career is as a personal historian who helps clients write their memoirs and publish them in books. She has three adult children and four grandchildren. In addition to singing, Julie’s passions are live music in many forms (opera, symphony, jazz), theater, dancing, gardening, hiking, and always learning, learning, learning.

Elizabeth Brashers has enjoyed singing all her life. She sang with the San Francisco Girls Chorus in her teens, and in college sang with and directed Yale’s all-women’s a cappella group, The New Blue. 2017–18 marks her 14th year with Voci. Elizabeth is Assistant Dean and UC Berkeley-UCSF Campus Liaison at UC Berkeley, where she works to foster greater collaboration between the two institutions. When she’s not working or singing, Elizabeth loves being outdoors in the garden, the Sierras, or the hills of Mendocino.

Jenny Breckler comes from a musical family. Her father played piano by ear and her sister is an accomplished recorder player of the baroque repertoire. Jenny is a biologist, has a husband and 2 adult children, and recently become a grandmother. She loves hiking, traveling on the west coast and taking french classes. She played piano for years as a child and took up classical choral singing about ten years ago.

Kate Buckelew has sung all her life in choirs and with family and friends, and she loves singing with the women of Voci. She is an artist who paints and draws. She has been married to her husband, Bruce, for 34 years, has two children and two stepchildren, half of whom are married, and one granddaughter!

Barbara Brenner Buder has sung in church choirs for most of her life, beginning with the First Baptist Church of Elk Grove where her father was pastor. She is a long-standing member of the Chancel Choir at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley where Mitchell Covington was music director for many years. Twenty-eight years of Sunday morning anthems, Christmas and Easter concerts, and three international choir tours gave her a great appreciation for the breadth, the beauty, and the power of sacred choral music. She was pleased to join Voci this past spring and is enjoying the challenging new choral experience.

Ayyana Chakravartula has sung in many choirs and a cappella groups, with one of the first being a high school madrigals group directed by former Voci Artistic Director Anne Hege! Ayyana would not classify any of her time as “spare” but she does manage to squeeze in hanging out with her husband and three sons, music, baking, and mechanical engineering.

Mishaela De Vries is in her third season with Voci. She has studied music since the age of six, beginning with violin, and later studying piano and voice. Since graduating with her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Oregon, she has taught private music lessons and studied choral conducting. Her passions are early music of the Renaissance, coffee (small batch, local roasts...self-proclaimed coffee snob), and teaching music to the very young.

Cynthia Dodge has enjoyed a lifetime of singing in all sizes of choral groups around the country. From Albany Pro Musica in New York to the Anchorage Opera Chorus in Alaska, she finds collaborating with fellow musicians to be a grounding and sustaining force. Cynthia is thrilled for the opportunity to sing with Voci, her first all-female ensemble. Early in her career she served as a Clinical Psychologist in the US Air Force, and now serves Veterans within the VA Northern California Healthcare System.

Ruth Ekhaus is enjoying singing with Voci again after an 11-year hiatus, during which she raised two children, did lots of laundry, and tended to her dogs—all the while longing to take her place on the risers with her sisters. So she filled her need to sing by singing to, and at, virtually everything with which she came into contact. Her children think she is nuts. During the days she engages in possibly the least musical activity on earth as an official court reporter in San Mateo, but she is a much happier person.

Vicky Faulk has been singing, and loving it, since she was a small child. As a young adult she studied voice and has performed with choirs and smaller ensembles almost continuously. Vicky works with Coldwell Banker as a residential real estate agent. She has assisted with marketing and selling homes in the East Bay area since 1987. Says Vicky of singing with Voci, “Nothing is as soul-satisfying as standing in the midst of a glorious choral chord, the vibrations swirling around my head. It is transformative!”

Rose Hansen has been singing with Voci since 2016. Singing has always played an important role in her life, and she is grateful for the special opportunities it has afforded, such as singing in magnificent European and Mexican churches on choir tours and performing as the live “soundtrack” for a silent film at film festivals. When not singing in choirs or writing about science (her day job), Rose enjoys reading, hiking, writing fiction, and traveling with her husband, whom she met while singing.

Emily Kirk has been involved in music since she was very young. She studied classical singing for 10 years and was involved in various high school and college music groups for eight. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA in 2015 where she earned a BA in International Political Economy, and a minor in Music. She now works at a law firm in San Francisco, and is thrilled to be singing with Voci after a post-graduation hiatus from choral music.

Katherine McStravick is amazed to now be one of the old timers, having joined Voci in the early 00’s! She has sung with varied ensembles and characters through the years, including daily concert chorale under Jane Hardester while a music major in college. Recent retirement from a long career in healthcare allows her more freedom to enjoy yoga, hiking and biking, friends and family, and of course, singing!

Susan Martin has been singing with Voci since 2008. She is currently a full-time music student at San Francisco State University, but also continues to work as a veterinarian. Her two kids are now in college; she and her husband live in El Cerrito with their dog, who has no plans to leave the nest. She also sings with The Dulcet Four, an a cappella jazz quartet formed with three other Voci singers, as well as in several other vocal groups at SFSU.

Terry Meyers grew up in Los Angeles, the youngest child of two musicians. In a former life she danced, made art, played the violin, and performed in musical theater. Terry joined Voci as a founding member in 1991 and has worked behind the scenes for Voci for 22 years, currently serving as board president. She also sings with The Dulcet Four and Resmiranda Vocal Ensemble. She is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice, has 2 grown daughters, and a husband who is usually working the box office for Voci.

Michelle Pitcher comes to Voci as a recent UC Berkeley graduate. She has been part of various ensembles throughout her life, singing everything from madrigals to show tunes. To pay those student loans, Michelle works as a writer and marketing manager. She is thrilled to be part of a choir again, especially with such an amazing group of women!

Nicky Reed loves being a part of Voci! She sang in an all-women’s choir in college and enjoys the complexity and sound of women’s choral music. In addition to singing with Voci, she loves to trail run and bake desserts of all shapes and sizes.

Karla Sagramoso is very pleased to be part of Voci, having participated in choral singing of all sorts since childhood. She is convinced that if the world’s people all belonged to choirs and ate regular infusions of chocolate, they’d all be happier and healthier, though perhaps not slimmer. She especially enjoys singing in small ensembles and house concerts, and loves learning repertoire from many centuries and countries. When not singing, she works as a clinical psychologist and enjoys her family.

Lisa Sanders enjoys being part of such a talented group of singers. Lisa also sings in The Dulcet Four, an a cappella quartet based in the San Francisco Bay Area, performing repertoire from the Great American Songbook and other classics. She has sung with Festival Opera in Walnut Creek and the Livermore Valley Opera. On weekends, Lisa cantors at the St. Perpetua Church in Lafayette and sings jazz. When not singing, Lisa teaches technology and math at St. Mary’s School in Walnut Creek and keeps up with her two 20-something daughters and a traveling husband.

Susan Sands has been singing in groups all her life, and has joyously sung with Voci for 25 years. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice, and also teaches, writes articles, and supervises other therapists. In her former life, she was a print and television journalist. She has an adult son and loves traveling all over the world with her husband.

Adina Sara is returning to Voci after a 13 year break, during which she pursued other musical interests with Broadway, pop, and jazz ensembles. A veteran performer, she produced three albums of original music and performed as a singer/songwriter in folk festivals and clubs throughout Northern California. Adina is also a member of MOZAIK, an a cappella chorus that sings Eastern European music. When not singing, she can be found digging in her garden, crocheting clothes, or visiting her 4 grandchildren in southern California, where she loves to sing duets with her 12 year-old granddaughter.

Lezak Shallat started singing choral music in college and has never stopped. She’s sung mostly in chamber groups and symphonic choirs, and music from Latin America. In addition to singing in choirs, she loves to travel with choirs and participate in music festivals, and is famous for making copious notes in her scores.

Victoria Skerritt is happy to be in year three as a member of Voci and loves learning Voci’s diverse repertoire. Victoria’s music background is rooted in musical theater, alternative rock bands, and jazz vocal ensemble work. When she is not singing with Voci, Victoria manages parks and recreation activities for Contra Costa County. She thanks her co-workers, her friends and family for encouraging her musical journey.

Marsha Wehrenberg has been a choral singer since elementary school. First with church choirs and later with a variety of Symphony Choruses in Napa, Oakland and Stockton. Marsha discovered music for women in the last few years while singing with the Harmony Ensemble at Rossmoor. A Real Estate Broker, she helps families in transition at Rossmoor to purchase or sell their retirement homes in this 55+ community.

Edna Yeh, Assistant Conductor, joined Voci in 2008. After a childhood spent playing the piano and violin, she began singing with a women’s chorus in college, and eventually earned a master's degree in music theory. Edna works by day in web development, and is the mother of two young adults.