The Atonement Schola
Hailed as “exceptional...[with] a beautiful and powerful voice,” by The Harlem Globe, Carl Alexander is a budding American countertenor known for his captivating performances which incorporate contemporary literature and gems of the past.
A graduate of Morehouse College, he was featured frequently as a soloist with the Morehouse College Glee Club and as a member of the Morehouse Quartet. He received his Master’s degree in Voice and Opera Performance from Northwestern University, and is studying with W. Stephen Smith.
His recent recital entitled Shelter: A Glance into Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome was met with much acclaim and praise. It included an original documentary made in collaboration with videographer Noah Frick-Alofs. With this work, Alexander draws parallels of various minority experiences that are tied to this social-psychological disease, from the Afro-Cuban, Civil Rights, Black Feminist, and entrenching humanist experiences.
Bethany Hamilton Clearfield
After earning a masters degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Bethany Hamilton Clearfield returned home to Chicago to quickly become a fixture on the vibrant choral scene. Specializing in early and new music, Clearfield performs as both soloist and ensemble member with the Grant Park Chorus and Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the William Ferris Chorale, and is also a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Clearfield's true specialty, however, is her mastery of multiple styles. She holds a jazz studies degree from Roosevelt University and remains in demand as a jazz, folk, and session singer, performing her original compositions with the band Outertown.
To find out more, visit outertown.com
Hailed for her “floating, silky soprano” and deemed “a standout in acting and voice” (Chicago Classical Review), Nathalie Colas was born and raised in Strasbourg, France. She is a current soloist and founder of Third Coast Baroque, Petite Musique Collective, Liederstube, and new music ensemble Fonema Consort. Nathalie is excited to join Haymarket Opera Company once again, after being featured in Cavalli’s Calisto, Telemann’s Don Quichotte, and Pimpinone, amongst others. She was recently heard in Handel’s Messiah with the St Louis Bach Society, in the title role of Rita by G. Donizetti in Switzerland, and with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest for Sibelius’s tone poem Luonnotar. Engagements in 2018 will include Canteloube Chant D’Auvergne in Oak Park and Rose in J. Offenbach’s Der Zaubergeige in Switzerland. An avid recitalist, Nathalie studied Art Song with the late German baritone Udo Reinemann and regularly performs such repertoire (Symphony Center, Pianoforte Foundation, Omaha Under the Radar, Chicago Arts Club, Driehaus Museum, Central Methodist University). A graduate of DePaul University School of Music and of the Brussels Royal Conservatory, Ms. Colas completed her opera training at the Swiss Opera Studio/Hochschule der Kunst Bern. She was awarded 1st prize in the 2015 Music Institute of Chicago competition.
Bass-baritone Matthew Cramer is a graduate of the Yale School of Music where he received a Master’s degree in conducting, studying under Marguerite Brooks, Jeffrey Douma, and David Hill. While at Yale, he also studied voice and performance practice with Judith Malafronte and was a member of the Yale Schola Cantorum, performing under conductors David Hill, Masaaki Suzuki, Matthew Halls, and Simon Carrington.
Prior to moving to Illinois, Matthew was a sought-after choral musician in Connecticut, having sung with the Schola Cantorum of the Cathedral of St. Joseph (Hartford), Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus, VOCE, and the Composers’ Choir, among others. An early music enthusiast, he was a founding member of Voce Concitato – a one-on-a-part early music vocal ensemble based in Hartford. In 2015, he was chosen to be a member of the Carnegie Hall Chamber Chorus as part of their Spem in alium Project – a weeklong workshop for professional choral singers to work and perform with the Tallis Scholars and their director, Peter Phillips. Most recently he attended the American Bach Soloists Academy in San Francisco where he was a soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Purcell’s King Arthur.
Matthew will begin doctoral studies in choral conducting with Donald Nally at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University in the Fall of 2017; he is the first Doctor of Musical Arts candidate to be named a Thomas Kasdorf Scholar in Choral Music.
A Georgia native, baritone Phillip Dothard has been singing with Atonement since 2013. Previously, Phillip has performed with Tulsa Opera, DuPage Opera Theatre, Music by the Lake, and Opera Theater of St. Louis. Following graduate studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, he made his transition to Chicago as an artist with the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. There he performed in productions including Roméo et Juliette, Dialogues of the Carmelites, La Traviata, La bohéme, Cosi fan tutte, and the title role in Rossini’s Barber of Seville. After leaving the opera world, Phillip has made a career in healthcare and now manages accreditation activities at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
Anne Katzfey is excited to begin her 8th season at Church of the Atonement. As the daughter of a minister and pianist, Anne was provided many outlets for musical expression in voice, piano and flute. Anne graduated with a degree in vocal performance from Millikin University. After graduating Anne spent time in the United States and overseas performing in original operas, musical theater performances, as a studio vocalist/voice-over artist, and backup singer. She currently sings with Church of the Atonement Episcopal Church, Anshe Emet Synagogue, Mr. Dave Music, 56 Hope Road, Chris Corsale Band, is a soloist for many churches, theaters and choral performances, and is an adjudicator for several high schools throughout Chicagoland and central Illinois. In her off time she enjoys her friends, family and especially her husband Matt and their two daughters Elizabeth and Eden.
Soprano Katelyn Lee is a native of Springfield, Missouri. Most recently, she understudied the role of Doris Parker in the Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Charlie Parker's Yardbird. She was also a part of the ensemble in Lyric Opera's My Fair Lady. Other operatic and musical theatre highlights include Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Antonia in Man of La Mancha, Mizzi in the American premiere of The Ball at the Savoy, Cunegonde in Candide, Romilda in Handel’s Xerxes, Madame Goldentrill in The Impresario, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Lee has been a Young Artist with companies such as Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Cedar Rapids OperaTheatre. She has also performed various concert works with Chicago Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Grant Park Symphony, and Music of the Baroque. Lee’s previous education includes a Master of Music degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. During the upcoming Lyric Opera season, she will perform in Puccini's Turandot and Bellini's I puritans.
Gregory Peebles, [voice part available upon booking], grew up in Alabama singing in a bluegrass gospel trio. After a stint on the revival circuit, Gregory pursued his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi (BA, 2000), where his original, confessional indie-rock musical James Goody, Sunday School Drop-Out show played to astonished—if confused—audiences totaling probably 250 people. After moving to Chicago, Gregory sang indiscriminately with anyone who would hire him, eventually completing his education at Chicago College of Performing Arts (MM, 2008). Gregory joined the Schola at Church of Atonement in 2014 after finishing six seasons of world tour with the San Francisco-based, GRAMMY-award winning ensemble, Chanticleer. Assistant Music Director to the celebrated ensemble the last two years of his tenure, Gregory conducted masterclasses with numerous singing groups on three continents before returning to Chicago, where he is now a care manager, a homebody, and a novice in religious life with the Community of the Mother of Jesus.
British alto Helen Rashad has enjoyed singing with the Atonement Schola since 2010. A graduate of York University, UK (MA Vocal Performance), she specialized in ensemble performance, performing throughout the UK and in Europe, studying and singing in Munich, Germany and London, UK in the years following graduation. She came to Chicago in early 2005 to work at the Grant Park Music Festival and joined the programming staff at the Chicago Cultural Center later that year. There she curated family events and classical concert series including Classical Mondays, Sunday Salon Series and Vocal Journeys. She produced Chicago's first citywide Early Music Festival and the first fully-staged opera to take place on the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, to an audience of over 4,000. Helen currently runs marketing, communications, front of house and music production at UIC's School of Theatre & Music. She also manages programming, volunteer and staff recruitment, and partnership projects for the Chinese Fine Arts Society, recently directing the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, reaching over 10,000 people. Other freelance projects have included extensive work with Rush Hour Concerts, Peter McDowell Arts Consulting, Chicago Opera Theater and One Tail at a Time dog rescue among others. In her spare time she continues to perform around the city in various ensembles with friends and is currently studying photography and Arabic.
"You do not generally get to hear voices of this quality in circumstances so personal."-Chicago Tribune
"Roberts’ big arias are rendered with such heat and sweetness that you immediately ache for him. "-Chicago Sun Times
"William Roberts, as the title role has a voice that will literally shake you if he stands near you. It is something to behold."-Picture this Post
Bass-Baritone William Roberts recently made his Opera St. Petersburg debut singing The Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann. A recent transplant to Chicago, Mr Roberts has been seen as Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with Light Opera Works and Tony Esposito in The Most Happy Fella with Theo Ubique Cabaret (2017 Jeff Nomination Best actor in a musical). Mr Roberts made his professional debut in 2009 singing Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Carolina.
Mr. Roberts has sung frequently with Sarasota Opera as a studio artist. Favorite roles include Alcindoro in La Boheme, General Polkan in The Golden Cockerel, Gandalf/Smaug in The Hobbit, and The Herald in Jerusalem. Mr. Roberts also appeared recently with Opera Circle Cleveland singing The Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Frank in Die Tote Stadt, and Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Mr. Roberts spent three years in residency with Tri Cities Opera in Binghamton, NY, performing children's opera and main stage roles. Highlights include Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, The Four Villains in The Tales of Hoffmann, Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte, Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore, and the the title roles in Gianni Schicchi and Le nozze di Figaro. Other appearances include The speaker in The Magic Flute with Chautauqua Opera, Maestro Strappaviscere in Viva la mamma with Opera Saratoga, and Don Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Carolina.
Mr. Roberts appeared for two seasons with College Light Opera Company as a member of the vocal company and then as a guest artist in 2009 performing the role of Tony in The Most Happy Fella. Other roles performed with CLOC include Etienne Grandet in Naughty Marrietta, Dick Deadeye in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Pooh Bah in The Mikado. Mr. Roberts is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and The Boston Conservatory.
Joe Shadday, tenor, is originally from Indianapolis, IN. Joe is currently a member of the Schola Choir at Church of the Atonement. Joe has also been a member of Cantus, an all male vocal ensemble. Joe has performed with opera companies all across the United States including, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Pensacola Opera, Indianapolis Opera, etc. Joe received his B.M. from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, and his M.M. from the University of Maryland.
Ryan Townsend Strand
Ryan Townsend Strand, tenor, has been hailed as having "beautiful vocalism" (SF Chronicle) and "an attractive nimble tenor” with “a nice sense of Baroque style" (Chicago Classical Review). Strand has been a featured soloist under the direction of conductors Paul Agnew, Jane Glover, and William Jon Gray with Music of the Baroque in Chicago. A passionate performer of Bach, Strand was most recently the tenor soloist in the Johannes-Passion with the Madison Bach Musicians. At the start of the 2016-2017 season, Strand was seen onstage playing the role of Dr. Cajus in Verdi’s Falstaff with Chicago’s Main Street Opera. Other Chicago credits include singing the role of Ferrando from Cosi fan tutte with the Elmhurst Symphony in their all-Mozart Review. Other opera credits include playing Laurie in American composer Mark Adamo’s Little Women, Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and Al Joad in Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. With Chicago Opera Theater, Strand has sung chorus roles in Chicago Opera Theatre’s productions of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American, Mozart’s Lucio Silla, and Bloch’s Macbeth. He made his professional Chicago opera debut in Haymarket Opera’s production of Scarlatti’s Gli equivoci nel sembiante. Strand sings with the contemporary vocal ensemble The Crossing in Philadelphia under the direction of Donald Nally. Locally, Strand performs with Music of the Baroque, the Chicago Bach Project and the Grant Park Festival Chorus. He is a founding member of the new Constellation Men’s Ensemble based out of Chicago.Ryan Townsend Strand, tenor, has been hailed as having "beautiful vocalism" (SF Chronicle) and "an attractive nimble tenor” with “a nice sense of Baroque style" (Chicago Classical Review).
To find out more visit: www.facebook.com/ryantownsendstrand