Susan Saylor – Flute

Susan Saylor PhotoSusan Saylor is an active soloist and chamber musician who has performed throughout North America and Europe. She is currently principal flutist of Camerata Chicago, Metropolis Symphony, Handel Week Festival Orchestra, Kithara Trio and a founding member of the Mozart Project.

She performs regularly with Broadway in Chicago, The Paramount Theater in Aurora, St. Charles Singers, Valparaiso Bach Institute, Chicago Chorale, Milwaukee Symphony, “Live from Studio One” WFMT radio broadcasts, and has played in the back up band for Ray Charles and Pacquito DʼRivera. She has recorded with the Milwaukee Symphony, Camerata Chicago, NuClassix Chamber Players, St. Charles Singers, GIA music publishing house and numerous radio and TV commercials. She has participated in both Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals and has played with the Boston and Philadelphia Orchestras.

Teaching is a passion for Susan; she has a private studio of more that 35 students ranging from elementary school through adult learners and gives master classes and clinics throughout the Chicago-land area. She is an avid gardener who loves to cook and dine with her friends in the Finer Things Club! She lives in Wheaton with her husband, Jonathan, (musicologist/bassoonist), and her two dachshunds, Star and Gracie.

Susan performs the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto with Faye Seeman in our 2019 Mozart Series concerts.

Faye Seeman – Harp

Faye Seeman Photo by Cora MitchellFaye Seeman is principal harpist with the Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra, and holds positions as professor of harp studies at both Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. As founder of the “Kithara” flute (Susan Saylor), cello (Jill Kaeding) and harp trio, she has led the group to notoriety through highly successful performances in recitals throughout the Midwest.

Faye has distinguished herself as one of the most versatile harpists in the area, often venturing away from playing traditional classical repertoire. Together with her colleague steel pan virtuoso and professor at NIU Liam Teague, the dynamic musicians have reached out across boundaries yet unexplored in the musical community to form the Pangelic duo. From original compositions to arrangements of classical selections, the two creative forces have woven improvisation, poetry, and art into the fabric of their music-making.

A recent performance took them to the Trueblood Performing Arts Center in Door County, Wisconsin for the summer music festival on Washington Island. Faye’s niece, Emily Durham, wrote a poem for her undergraduate work at University of Pittsburgh titled “Hypolimnion”. Inspired by the power of the poem, Faye composed a piece for harp, steel pan and narrator based on this poem. The work was premiered at Wheaton College in November 2018 and is slated for several more performances in 2019. Always in search of new compositions for the duo, the Pangelic Duo has commissioned Chicago composer Gustavo Leone to write a concerto grosso, scheduled to premiere in Door County June 2019. In its original form, the piece will be written for harp, steel pan and piano accompaniment, with open improvisation for each instrument, then the duo improvising together in true baroque style. From there the piece will expand for harp, steel pan and chamber orchestra, then harp, steel pan and steel pan band.

One of Faye’s proudest accomplishments is the commission of a concerto for harp and orchestra in memory of her father, violinist and conductor, Ernest Seeman. Composer Gustavo Leone wrote the music which premiered in 2006 at the Birch Creek Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin.

Since then the work has been performed many times throughout the United States. Summers Faye is on the faculty of the Birch Creek Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin, and is a regular guest clinician and performer at the Midwest Harp Festival at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. As a solo artist, Faye recorded her first CD in 2010 at Bastyr University Chapel in Seattle, Washington. The disc features several of her own compositions, along with transcribed classical and jazz favorites. Faye graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Music Performance degree, and earned a Master of Music Performance degree from Boston University, studying with the legendary harpist Lucile Lawrence.

Faye performs the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto with Susan Saylor in our 2019 Mozart Series concerts.

Amelia Piscitelli Artist Profile

Amelia Piscitelli made her professional debut with Camerata Chicago in our October 2016 Sweetest Day Series and went on to perform the Vivaldi Four Seasons in October 2017. We are now recording the Four Seasons this summer for a new educational CD primarily for children which will include a performance of the complete work, the poetry Vivaldi wrote and numerous demonstrations of the sound effects he uses. As part of the recording project, we have two concerts to support the project on July 13 in Griffith and July 14 in Wayne.

The following video is Amelia’s debut with Camerata Chicago as part of the Sweetest Day Series:

Amelia has been smiling to classical music since infancy and formally began playing violin at the age of four. From 2009-2014, she studied violin with Debbie Edwards, then in late Summer 2014, she began studying with Drostan Hall, her current teacher. Having recently turned 17, she has just completed her junior year at Hammond Baptist High School, and greatly enjoys playing violin, teaching violin, and playing specials with her violin students at church. She relishes the chamber music opportunities afforded her at Sforzando String Camp for the last 7 summers and has been privileged to be a member of the Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra since 2015.

Amelia is Concert Master of the Camerata Chicago Academy Orchestra. She performed an entire recital of virtuoso classics on 98.7WFMT Introductions on December 3, 2016. She was accompanied by Cindy Trowbridge and performed:

Violin Sonata No. 4 in D Major, HWV371, George Frideric Handel
– Movement 1 – Affettuoso
– Movement 2 – Allegro
Romanze Op. 26, Johan Svendsen
Praeludium and Allegro “in the Style of Pugnani”, Fritz Kreisler
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Fritz Kreisler
Melodie, Christoph Willibald Gluck
Scherzo tarantelle, Op.16, Henri Wieniawski

Messiah Soloists

We have six great soloists for our Messiah and Magnificat concerts on November 2 in Chicago and November 2 in Wheaton:

Robin Wiper – Soprano

1S-robinwiper-0150x0180Robin Wiper received her Masters Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has had the blessing to learn from many famous Master Clinicians, Teachers and Coaches during her 25 -plus years of study, performance and teaching. She has studied acting, directing, pedagogy, movement and dance, and has twice been a Certified Actor Combatant in six weapons as a stage combat artist with the Society of American Fight Directors. Read more …

Michelle Wrighte – Soprano

wrighte headshot-0300x0375Michelle Wrighte’s versatile talent has taken her all over the United States performing many lead roles. The Iowa-born mezzo-soprano earned critical praise for her portrayal of Emilia opposite Ben Heppner, Renae Fleming, and Lucio Gallo — in Sir Peter Hall’s internationally acclaimed new production of Otello, which opened the 2001-02 season of Lyric Opera of Chicago. During Ms. Wrighte’s past seasons at Lyric Opera she has also performed the roles of Mercedes/Carmen … Read more …

Denise Gamez – Alto / Mezzo-soprano

3A-Denise-Gamez (HD)-300Mezzo-soprano Denise Gamez regularly sings recital, oratorio and symphonic repertoire with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. She has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis, San Francisco Opera, Toledo, South Dakota, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute, and Wheaton College symphony orchestras, and twice performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica under the baton of John Nelson. Read more …

Timothy Bentch – Tenor

4T-timothybentch-0150x0180Tenor Timothy Bentch was raised on a farm in Missouri. His first singing experiences took place in the local Mennonite church and practicing scales on the tractor and in the silo but eventually led him to a master’s degree at the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music. For twelve years he lived in Hungary where critics referred to him as “a treasure in today’s Hungarian musical life”, naming him the most significant “Hungarian” lyric tenor of this generation. Read more …

Stephen Morscheck – Bass / Baritone

Stephen Morscheck, BassBass-baritone Stephen Morscheck is an alumnus of Wheaton College and is widely respected for the dignity he brings in both concert and operatic performances. “Stephen Morscheck’s Leporello was genuinely funny, as well as solidly sung. His catalogue aria was almost too effective, drawing applause before its conclusion,” says Opera News of his performance in Don Giovanni. Of Verdi’s Requiem, The Boston Herald said … Read more …

Matteo Warren – Boy Soprano

Matteo Warren

Matteo Warren performs arias of the Messiah and has been working with our soprano and voice teacher Robin Wiper. Matteo is a member of the Children’s Music program at College Church in Wheaton under the direction of Jennifer Wheatley. He also sings with Franklin Middle School All-School Chorus and Concert Choir organized and led by Mrs Crystal Forbes.
Purchase Tickets for Sacred Music Concerts-0730x0050

Robin Wiper

Robin Wiper – Soprano

1S-robinwiper-0150x0180Robin Wiper is a local private vocal instructor with a checkered past.. She has her Masters Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and has had the blessing to learn from many famous Master Clinicians, Teachers and Coaches during her 25 -plus years of study, performance and teaching. She has studied acting, directing, pedagogy, movement and dance, and has twice been a Certified Actor Combatant in six weapons as a stage combat artist with the Society of American Fight Directors. Her students have gained entrance to fine schools and conservatories around the country. Currently residing as a stay-at-home, home schooling mother of four, she coaches and teaches voice lessons out of her home in Wheaton. She is also wife to Steve Wiper, who knows about her former secret life as an opera singer, among other things. Continue reading if interested.

Ms. Wiper, an aluma of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Apprentice Program, has had the pleasure of singing all over the world. She made her Lyric Opera debut as Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica as an apprentice. Her favorite roles with the Lyric have been varied from Papagena in The Magic Flute to the pants role of Oberto in Alcina. With the Lyric Opera she has also performed the title role of Lucia with the Grant Park Orchestra.

Ms. Wiper has also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (debut LuLu 2000) as well as with the New York City Opera (debut Orfeo1997) both onstage at Lincoln Center and on their National Tour (title role in The Daughter of the Regiment 1998-99). She was also featured in the role of Margaret in the opera Lizzie Borden as which was broadcast live from Lincoln Center. Other regional opera companies include Indianapolis, Atlanta, Cinncinnati, Cleveland, Memphis and Eugene. She made her European debut at the Spoleto Festival in Italy as Blondchen in Mozart’s the Abduction from the Seraglio.

A sought-after recitalist and oratorio performer, Ms. Wiper has performed with a variety of orchestras, including the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Atlanta Symphony and the Birmingham Symphony.

Equally at home in the world of musical theatre, Ms. Wiper has performed in professional and semi-professional companies in such roles as Fiona in Brigadoon, Lizzie in Baby, the Mistress/chorus/swing in Evita, Winthrop (yes, Winthrop) in The Music Man, and Liesl in The Sound of Music.

Michelle Wrighte

Michelle Wrighte, SopranoMichelle Wrighte

Soprano

Michelle Wrighte’s versatile talent has taken her all over the United States performing many lead roles. The Iowa-born mezzo-soprano earned critical praise for her portrayal of Emilia opposite Ben Heppner, Renae Fleming, and Lucio Gallo — in Sir Peter Hall’s internationally acclaimed new production of Otello, which opened the 2001-02 season of Lyric Opera of Chicago. During Ms. Wrighte’s past seasons at Lyric Opera she has also performed the roles of Mercedes/Carmen, Giovanna/Rigoletto, the Tango Singer/The Great Gatsby, the Herdswoman/Jenufa, and the Second Apparition/Macbeth. A passionate advocate of Baroque opera, she has been heard as Armindo/Handel’s Partenope in Francisco Negrin’s critically acclaimed Glimmerglass Opera production, conducted by Harry Bicket; Ino/Handel’s Semele at the renowned Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy; and as both Virtue and the Nurse/Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Utah opera.

The mezzo has made an indelible impression nationwide in an unusually wide variety of repertoire with important companies. Ms. Wrighte’s portrayal of Meg Page/Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor has been heard at Indianapolis Opera, and she sang Miss Dorothy Snite/Susa’s Black River at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Other operatic Highlights include: Prince Ramiro in La Finta Giardiniera for San Francisco Opera Center, The Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen at Tulsa Opera, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti at Tampa Opera, Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri at Pamiro Opera, Cenerentola in La Cenerentola for the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Opera in the Neighborhood, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti at Tampa Opera and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro at L’opera Piccola where “Michelle Wrighte sang both arias charmingly,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

While at the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, now known as the Ryan Opera Center, Ms. Wrighte was heard in an operatic concert at the Ravinia Festival; as Zerlina/Don Giovanni and Dorabella/Cose fan tutte at the Grant Park Music; and in her debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, singing Bernstein’s Songfest. She also collaborated with Lyric’s Opera’s two composers-in-residence, premiering Ricky Ian Gordon’s song “Friend” and creating the role of Lucy Cross in the workshop production of Michael John LaChiusa’s Lovers and Friends (Chautauqua Variations).

A highly successful concert artist, Ms. Wrighte has sung the alto solos in Bach’s St. John Passion under the baton of Robert Shaw, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem with the Elgin Symphony and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Decatur Symphony. Michelle has performed the alto solos of Bach’s B minor Mass and Handel’s Messiah with The Choral Society of Durham.

Ms. Wrighte was a featured recitalist for the San Francisco Opera with performances of Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben in San Francisco and Oakland, CA., and also with Ned Rorem’s west coast premiere of song cycle, Evidence of Things Not Seen at San Francisco’s 9th Other Minds Festival with the composer in attendance. Ms. Wrighte was also featured in the prestigious New Works Sampler for OPERA America’s 2001 annual conference in Atlanta, for which she sang works by John Adams, Michael Ching, and Tobias Picker.

Michelle was a featured soloist in an operatic concert at the 20th International Saint-Barthelemy Music Festival in the French Caribbean. She mesmerized the audience with a riveting rendition of Carmen’s Habanera and sang the powerful ensemble pieces of Rosenkavalier Trio and the Rigoletto Quartet. Michelle followed her St. Bart’s debut with another featured soloist role in Oak Park’s fifth annual Handel Week. Michelle brilliantly performed several rare secular Handel cantatas thrilling an audience of Baroque enthusiasts at The 5th annual Handel Week in Oak Park IL. Ms. Wrighte was also featured at Oak Park’s Handel Week in the title role of Ezio in 2006 and the role of Micah in Handel’s Samson in 2007.

The mezzo-soprano was a 1998 national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Ms. Wrighte has a B.M. from Drake University, a M.M. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a Certificate of Opera Studies from Temple University.

Denise Gamez

Denise Gamez – Alto / Mezzo-soprano

3A-Denise-Gamez (HD)-300Mezzo-soprano Denise Gamez regularly sings recital, oratorio and symphonic repertoire with orchestras throughout the United States and abroad.  She has appeared as soloist with the Indianapolis, San Francisco Opera, Toledo, South Dakota, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute, and Wheaton College symphony orchestras, and twice performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica under the baton of John Nelson, most recently in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis this past November.  She has collaborated with other conductors including Patrick Summers, Dennis Russell Davies, David Bowden, Delta David Gier, Sherrill Milnes, and Daniel Sommerville in repertoire including Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, the Verdi Requiem, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, the Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the Bach Saint Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and de Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españolas.  At the Merola Opera Program of the San Francisco Opera, where she received the Gropper Memorial Award, she sang Dame Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, and Fidalma in Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage.  She was mezzo soloist in the premiere of Daniel Kellogg’s Children of God, commissioned by the Soli Deo Gloria Music Foundation.  In recent seasons, she has been a frequent guest artist at the Peoria Bach Festival, operatic and Broadway selections with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the MasterWorks Festival Orchestra, and the Bach Saint John Passion with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra.  Recently, she appeared as Mrs. Noye in the Wheaton Opera Music Theater production of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde.  A frequent recitalist with pianist Daniel Paul Horn, she is a graduate of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and the Indiana University School of Music, and is currently a member of the voice faculty at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music.