Meet the Singers

Who are the singers of Gloriana? They are Haofang Chuang, Tyler Gillson, Mary Ann Keenan, Sarah Kline, Susan Lutz, Adam Miller, Jonathan Miller, Bob Mocharnuk, Abby Musgrove, Sean Rose, Jacob Smetters, Jennifer Smetters, Abbey Turner, Megan Turner, Rachel Ventress, Sarah Williams, and Linda Younkin. They teach music to students from pre-kindergarten through college. They are students of music. They play the flute, trumpet, piano, violin, organ, oboe, clarinet, tuba, trombone, and euphonium. They lead church choirs and sing in church choirs. Read on to get to know our singers better.

Haofang Chuang (soprano)

HaofangChuangHaofang Chuang is from Changhua, Taiwan. She is a stay-at-home mom of a 6-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. She lives in Lincoln and helps her husband minister to Chinese students at Lincoln Christian University. Hoofing has sung in several evangelistic concerts in the U.S., Canada, China, and Hong Kong, and has participated in CD recordings of several choirs and solo pieces in Taiwan and the U.S. Ms. Chuang also gives piano and voice lessons. Before moving to Lincoln, she was the conductor the Greater Boston Philharmonia Singers, conductor of the church choir at the Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston, and vocal coach of Yin Qi Symphony Orchestra and Chorale in Taiwan, Jung He Junior High School Choir, Taipei.

Ms. Chuang graduated from the New England Conservatory, vocal performance GD, and from National Taiwan Normal University, MM and BM. She is the winner of many awards, including First Place of the Nan-Hai Rotary Clubs Vocalist Scholarship, 2003 New Artist of the Association of Vocal Artists of the Republic of China, selected singer of the Third New Start Competition of Taipei Philharmonic Foundation for Culture and Education, First Place Vocalist of the second Taiwan Music Competition, and the final round singer of the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Vocal Competition. She has been invited to be a concert soloist by Taiwan Yin Qi Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, The Association of Vocal Artists of Taiwan, YMCA Messiah Christmas Concert, Greater Boston Philharmonia Singers, and New England Conservatory Opera Scene concert.

Tyler Gillson (bass)

GillsonTyler Gillson is soon to be a graduate of Illinois College, with a major in music education and a minor in English. During his time at Illinois College he has had several fun musical adventures from traveling to Texas, singing Mozart with Millikin and his favorite, singing in a Quincy nursing home, bringing the listeners to tears. Tyler is a member of the Illinois College Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers. He also plans on joining the band during his upcoming academic year to play the tuba. Tyler enjoys performing in theatre productions and has been a part of four of Illinois College’s Theatre Works Productions including starring as The Singer in the 2013 fall show, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. During the spring semester of his freshman year, Tyler was honored to present at the National College English Association in Savannah, Georgia, to which he flew on an airplane for the first time. Tyler was recognized this spring for his musicianship and performed at the annual Illinois College Honor’s Recital, where he was presented with the Ruth Melville Bellatti Music Honor Scholarship for his work in and outside of his music classes. He can’t wait for what the next year has in store!

Mary Ann Keenan (alto)

Mary Ann KeenanA native of central Iowa, Mary Ann Keenan has lived in Springfield for the past 5 years with her husband and 2 year old daughter. Mary Ann is a graduate of St. Ambrose University, Davenport Iowa. Her interest in music began at an early age and by 6th grade was invited to sing with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Childrens Choir. In high school, Mary Ann was invited to sing with the Iowa Ambassadors of Music on their bi-Annual European trip. After college, Mary Ann was the director of music for First Christian Church in Davenport. After her move to Illinois, Mary Ann was the principal singer for St. Joseph Parish African Choir in Lockport, Illinois under the direction of Father Godwin Oblugami of Nigeria, Africa.

Currently Mary Ann is the Director of Liturgical Music for Church of the Little Flower. There she directs the adult and children’s choir, plans the music for all masses, cantors, and plays piano and organ.

Adam Miller (tenor)

Adam is thrilled to be singing again with Gloriana. Adam works as an underwriter at Wells Fargo. He graduated from Millikin University with a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance where he performed in several operas and was a member of the Millikin University Choir. He also sings with the Springfield Choral Society, the Capital City Men’s Choir, and the Westminster Presbyterian Church choir. Adam attends Peace Lutheran Church, where he is a member of the founding council and also serves as the chair of the worship and music committee.

Robert S. Mocharnuk, MD (tenor)

MocharnukRDr. Robert Mocharnuk is an Associate Professor and practicing Hematologist/Oncologist with the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, IL. He is a California native and has lived in Central Illinois since 2007. He began playing the piano at the age of 5 and took lessons until he graduated from high school. He also served as an organist for his parish church in Southern California for many years and has recently started playing masses at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, his home parish in Springfield. He is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a BA with honors in English and a MA in Education. He graduated from Texas Tech University School of Medicine and completed his internship, residency and fellowship and the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine.

Regarding his vocal career, he cut his first record at the age of 11 as part of a large youth choir at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Claremont, California. No kidding! He has sung in various church and community choirs during college and afterwards, and currently sings and cantors for Blessed Sacrament. Depending on the day and time, he can sing both tenor and baritone. Self-described as a frustrated artist, he acknowledges that singing is just another way to exercise the right side of my brain.”

Abby Musgrove (alto)

Musgrove, Abby

Dr. Abby Musgrove is the Director of Choral Activities at Illinois College, where she teaches various music classes, conducts choirs and ensembles, and oversees the Music Education Program. Prior to her appointment at Illinois College, Dr. Musgrove was on the faculty of Aurora University and received degrees from the University of Kansas, University of North Texas, and Millikin University. A native of central Illinois, Dr. Musgrove has taught all ages and levels of music, including choirs and bands, and is an avid church musician.  She is also the current director of the Jacksonville Symphony Chorale.  Her musical interests are eclectic, from Renaissance polyphony and Baroque chamber to experimental and avant-garde, with plenty of classic rock thrown in.  Dr. Musgrove’s research often focuses on connections between the arts, and the science behind aesthetics.  She also enjoys working with international students, helping them transition to American university life and navigate the local culture.  She is a fan of science fiction, Shakespeare, steampunk, archeology, and tea.  Abby lives in Jacksonville with her tall husband, Will, her skinny greyhound, Ozzie, and her fat cat, Gracie.

Sean Rose (bass)

SeanRoseA native of the Quincy area, Sean Rose is very pleased to be a part of Gloriana Chamber Choir.  Sean has been involved with music his entire life and, just recently marked his 38th year as a church organist.  He has been singing with various choirs since the second grade and has studied voice with Dr. R. Scott Quant and Dr. Raymond Goeke.  Currently, he has resumed his musical studies at Illinois College where he is studying Music Performance in Flute with Dr. Abigail Kegel-Walsh.  He sings with the IC choir and plays flute and piccolo in their wind ensemble and is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon.  Sean has his sights set on his DMA and is enjoying being involved in academia again. In his “free time”, he plays with the Jacksonville Symphony and he enjoys being on-stage and directing musicals and plays.  He is the organist at Central Christian Church in Jacksonville.

Jacob Smetters (bass)

SmettersJacob Smetters has just finished his fifth year teaching in the Franklin School district.  His many tasks include teaching general music to kindergarteners through 5th graders, beginning band, junior high band, high school choir, and theatre.  He also teaches private lessons for instruments and voice throughout the school year and summer.  On the side, Jacob is actively participating in numerous choirs and bands including Blackburn College Choir, Friends for Christ, Blackburn College Band, and has recently retired from directing the Messiah Wind ensemble.  You might even occasionally see him playing an instrument or two for a musical around central Illinois.

Jacob earned his bachelor’s degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois.  At school, he studied primarily voice, but became proficient on every brass, string, woodwind, and percussion instrument.  He was a member of the VanderCook Chamber Choir, touring northern Illinois, performing and singing solos in a variety of different venues.

This is Jacob’s third year living in central Illinois with his wife Jennifer and 15 month old baby girl Melody.  He grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago where he met his wife and began his teaching career.  It has been a huge culture shock moving south, but he has met some wonderful new friends and colleagues, and has continued to share his passion of music with many students.

Jennifer Smetters (soprano)

JenniferSmettersJennifer Smetters is a native of Northern Illinois. She grew up in the town of Fox Lake right on the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Jennifer’s musical path began at the age of 10, when she began taking piano lessons.  From there she flourished into singing, playing for churches and weddings, and singing in many choirs at school.  After graduation from high school, while attending college at VanderCook College of Music for her Bachelors degree in Music Education, Jennifer gave piano lessons to students of all ages. She absolutely loved teaching and it was this particular job that helped confirm her career choice.

Jennifer has been teaching for 5 years now. She currently teaches general music and choir grades preK-8th in Winchester. She also directs the high school choir for the district. Previous to this position, she taught general music in the north suburbs of Chicago. Jennifer is also building her clientele for her piano studio – a life long dream of hers.

Besides music, Jennifer’s other great passion is her family. She is a proud mother of a 15-month-old daughter and a wife to fellow singer. Music is so important to Jennifer. To her, it is a universal language that derives emotion and feeds the soul.

Abbey Turner (soprano)

AbbeyTurnerAbigail (Abbey) Turner grew up in Decatur, IL. Coming from a large musical family music has always been a part of her life. At the age of 9 she began piano lessons and continued them throughout high school. She started voice lessons at 16 and found an exceptional desire to sing. Abbey was a recipient of the Decatur Chorale Society Voice Lessons Scholarship in high school. Abbey attended college at Bob Jones University for 2 years with a double major of Piano Pedagogy and Vocal Performance. During that time she competed in various school-wide vocal competitions as well as SCNATS (South Carolina National Association of Teachers of Singing) where she placed into Regionals and was chosen as an Honors Recital performer.

Abbey currently works as sales manager at The Limited. She plans to continue her college degree at Millikin University this fall. Apart from practicing, Abbey loves spending time with her German Shepherd and shopping.

Megan Turner (soprano)

TurnerMegan Turner grew up on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay in Kilmarnock, Virginia. Coming from a very musical family where music study was a priority, voice and violin lessons began at an early age. Megan pursued her passion and was accepted into Millikin University as a double major in violin and vocal performance. She competed in the graduate division of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) winning first in state and was accepted into the Italian opera program, Music in the Marche in Piobiocco, Italy in 2010. Last summer, Megan was a featured soloist in the International Chamber Music Festival in Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Currently residing in Springfield, Illinois, Megan has a busy full life, teaching violin at Capital City Music, playing violin and singing in the Emerald Underground, Thistle n’ Thyme, and Seraphim women’s vocal ensemble. Her other interests are biking, reading and anything outdoors.

Rachel Ventress (alto)

VentressRachel Ventress graduated magna cum laude from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She teaches elementary music at Chatham Elementary in the Ball-Chatham School District. She has also taught at Tri-City Schools in Buffalo, IL. She has over 20 years of piano playing experience and has taught private piano lessons to young students periodically throughout the last 10 years. She has directed church choirs at College Avenue Baptist Church in Normal, IL; First Baptist Church in Mt. Zion, IL; and Chatham Baptist Church in Chatham, IL. She has also been invited to serve as the camp choir director for the Southern Baptist music camp “Summer Worship University” at Hannibal LaGrange University.

Her other hobbies include reading, scrapbooking and shopping. In those rare moments when she is not doing something musical, she mostly enjoys spending time with her wonderful husband Seth and two gorgeous daughters, Anna and Abigail.

Sarah Williams (mezzo soprano)

SarahWilliamsSarah Williams is a 2007 graduate of Blackburn College, with an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. She earned her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education. She has taught self-contained classrooms of Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third grade students, in addition to Pre-K-8th grade general Music at St. Aloysius Grade School from 2013-2015. Currently, Sarah is keeping busy being a full-time mom to Clara (age 3) and Grace (age 1 1/2), but also serves as the organist for St. Joseph’s Home in Springfield, IL, and keeps busy with other singing engagements including weddings, funerals, and accompanying for church services. Sarah says “I come from a very musical family…in fact, I don’t ever remember a life without music! Gloriana is a very exciting opportunity for me to come together with other professional musicians and teachers who are just as passionate about music as I am.”

Linda Younkin (mezzo soprano)

LindaYounkinLinda Younkin, mezzo soprano, is the music director for Christ the King Catholic Church in Springfield, where she has directed the junior, teen and adult choirs for the past twenty five years. She also teaches private voice and piano. She has taught K-12 music in the local public and parochial school systems. Linda holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree in piano and voice from St Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Linda spent a summer studying at Interlochen School of Arts, and received her certification in Kodaly from ISU. She was awarded special recognition by the Springfield Mayor’s awards for the Arts Committee for her work with youth choirs. She and her choirs have performed for area civic and social events in the Springfield community, including the Governor’s prayer breakfast and the Illinois Symphony  Orchestra.

Linda is excited and honored to be a part of this professional group of singers to foster musical excellence in our community as well as nourish the souls of both the artist and the listener. Linda and her husband, Dr Casey Younkin, are the proud parents of four children, Carrick, Kemper, Kyler and Caroline.

Joseph Welch (accompanist)

JosephWelchDr. Joseph Welch is an active and eclectic performer and teacher based in the St. Louis area.  As a pianist, Joe performs frequently as soloist, recently performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. He has served as acting principal keyboardist for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. His extensive vocal accompanying has seen him collaborate with such artists as Christine Brewer, Laura Hynes, and Marc Schapman.

Within the realm of opera and musical theatre, Joe has served as coach, music director, and conductor. For five years, he has worked at the Midwest Institute of Opera alongside Joshua Greene of The Metropolitan Opera Company. Other recent engagements include working with Marble City Opera in Knoxville, TN, SIUE Summer Showbiz, SIUE Opera Theatre, and the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre.
In 2015, Joe established a workshop called The Business of Being a Pianist. This workshop helps prepare young musicians for careers as pianists. The event is held at McKendree University, where he teaches piano. He also teaches piano and music appreciation at Blackburn College.
Joe studied piano performance at SIUE with Linda Perry. He studied collaborative piano and vocal coaching at the University of Minnesota with Timothy Lovelace and Noriko Kawai. His doctoral thesis focused on the design and implementation of collaborative piano degree programs.

One Comment on “Meet the Singers

  1. Pingback: In Full Swing | Gloriana Chamber Choir

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