Women’s Vocal Ensemble · Anne Hege, Artistic Director

Singers

2016-2017 Season

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 join Voci and become 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.

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. 2016–17 marks her 13th year with Voci. Elizabeth recently returned to UC Berkeley as Assistant Dean and Campus Liaison between UC Berkeley and UCSF. When she’s not working or singing, Elizabeth loves being outdoors in the garden, the Sierras, or the hills of Mendocino.

Ayyana Chakravartula has sung in many choirs and a cappella groups, with one of the first being a high school madrigals group directed by Voci Artistic Director Anne Hege! She is delighted to be singing under Anne’s direction again with the women of Voci. When not singing, Ayyana can be found analyzing, designing, and researching in her job as a mechanical engineer.

Laurel Covington has been singing all her life. Her passion for choral music was fueled in high school and continued on to San Francisco State where she earned her Bachelor of Art in Music and met her composer/conductor husband, Mitchell Covington. She served as soprano soloist/section leader at St. Mary the Virgin, sang with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Sacred and Profane, and Voci before parenthood took priority. Laurel has continued singing with her church choirs where she also spent several years at the conductor’s podium with the elementary and middle school choirs. She is pleased to be singing with Voci once again this spring.

Mishaela De Vries is in her second 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 returns to Voci 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.

Rose Hansen has gleefully embarked on her first season of singing with Voci. 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.

Stephanie Joy Hartono is thrilled to be singing with Voci again this season. Stephanie started her choral career as a tot in the Piedmont Choirs KinderChoir and hasn’t stopped singing since! She has sung with collegiate choirs at Mills College and Indiana University. In addition to choral singing, Stephanie enjoys improvisation and has performed as both a pianist and vocalist in contemporary music settings. Since completing her MA in musicology in 2012, Stephanie has taught piano, worked as an administrator for the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, and is currently enjoying her most exciting musical endeavor yet — singing lullabies to her newborn son.

Hallie Holtzman joined Voci this spring, and is enjoying singing with a women’s choir. She discovered the joy of choral singing growing up in Philadelphia. As an adult, she has sung in a range of a capella groups, madigral groups and community choirs, with a current focus on early music. Hallie is a retired healthcare consultant, and spends her time with her children and grandchildren, traveling, taking fitness classes and singing.

Katherine McStravick’s musical roots began with the usual school and church ensembles and progressed to performing and recording for composers of various stripes; a brief period of singing jazz standards; daily concert chorale under Jane Hardester during two years as a music major; then joining Voci in 2003. A semi-retired RN, she is pursuing studies in alignment-based yoga and meditation. Her prescription for all maladies: singing and yoga!

Susan Martin has been singing with Voci since 2008. This semester, she has returned to school to (belatedly!) pursue a degree in music. She lives in El Cerrito with her husband, daughter, and dog, and she has a son at San Jose State (also studying music). A few of her favorite things are her work as a veterinarian; singing with The Dulcet Four, an a cappella jazz quartet formed with three other Voci singers; and performing in concerts—such as this one—that let her sing every note in her range!

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 while working on her dissertation and raising two young children. Today she is a clinical psychologist and her daughters are adults. She also sings with The Dulcet Four, an a cappella quartet. Her husband, John, has been a long-time supporter of Voci, and often serves as Voci’s box office volunteer. After more than 20 years of working behind the scenes, Terry is retiring from her role as administrative director of Voci this fall. She looks forward to remaining active on the Board, but otherwise looks forward to “just singing”!

Nicky Reed is new to Voci this year and is loving the experience! 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. 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.

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 two 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.

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 teenagers.