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Composer Abbie Betinis writes music called “inventive” and “incandescent.” A two-time McKnight Artist Fellow and featured in Musical America for her “contrapuntal vitality” and “ability to use her talents to effect social change,” she is Adjunct Professor of Composition at Concordia University, and has written over 70 commissioned pieces for world-class organizations, including the American Choral Directors Association, Cantus, Chorus Pro Musica, The Dale Warland Singers, and James Sewell Ballet. She has been a Composer-in-Residence with the New York State School Music Association, The Rose Ensemble, The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists, and The Schubert Club, among others. This year, she is the American Composers Forum’s “ChoralQuest” composer, visiting schools around the U.S. to write new choral music with middle school singers. Abbie is a graduate of St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota, and has done post-graduate study in Paris, France at the EAMA Nadia Boulanger Institute. She lives in St. Paul, where she hosts a weekly recital series at The Schubert Club, sings in a local doo-wop quartet, and is co-founder and executive director of Justice Choir.
Chione is a Twin Cities-based woodwind quintet comprised of innovative and cross-disciplinary women. The unique and evolving medium provides an outlet to explore and create new sounds while redefining and rediscovering lesser known music. Chione is committed to collaborating with professionals of all genres and creative outlets, with particular interests in commissioning new pieces and performing works by women artists. Throughout each endeavor, Chione aims to reach a wide range of audiences with the hopes of inspiring contemporary and aspiring artists as well as supporters of the arts. Since Chione’s inception, the ensemble has performed live on Classical Minnesota Public Radio, they have performed as pop-up classical artists representing Classical MPR at the 2017 Saint Paul Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler as well as the Current’s 2018 Rock the Cradle event. Chione will hold their 3nd annual quINTENS!VE Chamber Music Camp in August, working with middle and high school students through coaching and performing chamber music. Chione performs numerous self-presented performances throughout the year in venues such as the Schubert Club, Macphail Center for Music, Icehouse Minneapolis, Can Can Wonderland and the Woman’s Club. Throughout the 2018-2019 school year Chione has had the pleasure of performing their “Story Time with Chione” program with elementary schools throughout Minnesota as Classical Minnesota Public Radio Class Notes Artists.
Jennifer Anderson, piano, is the Director of Music at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the Founding Artistic Director of VocalPoint, an 80-voice auditioned choir that uses the power of people, art, and collaboration to tell the stories of organizations doing life-changing work. Jennifer has accepted a Special Recognition Award from The Advocates for Human Rights on behalf of VocalPoint. In the larger musical community, she has served on the board of the Twin Cities American Guild of Organists, co-directed the Synod School Choir at Buena Vista University, and was recently featured at Chorus America speaking about the national Justice Choir movement. Dedicated to building community through music and to use it as a powerful medium for social change, she has led sing-a-longs in venues as diverse as the front-steps of an inner-city church to her living room.
Jennifer Gerth is in her 21st year as principal clarinet of the Duluth-Superior Symphony. An active member of the Twin Cities musical community, she also performs with the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, Mill City Opera, and in various other freelance orchestras. Her formal studies were undertaken at St. Olaf College, Northwestern University and The University of Minnesota. Ms. Gerth has taught at the College of St. Benedict, St. Cloud State University, Concordia College, St. Olaf College and is currently teaching at Augsburg College and the University of St. Thomas. Ms. Gerth also teaches at Birch Creek Summer Performance Center and plays in the Alexandria Festival of the Lakes Chamber Music Festival.
Eric Bartlett, bass, has sung in many professional ensembles including Border CrosSing, The Gregorian Singers, the MPR Carolers, The Rose Ensemble, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (Denver), and the Ensemble Singers of VocalEssence. He has been the bass section leader of several church choirs in the Twin Cities and Denver, Colorado, over the last eighteen years, and has toured internationally to China, England, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Russia, South Africa, and South Korea. Eric is also a professional voice over actor, with Berlitz, Ford, and Hyundai among his many credits. He was born and raised in International Falls, Minnesota, and is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Concordia University – St. Paul.
Sonja Thompson, piano, enjoys a varied professional life as educator, church musician, theater musician, conductor, coach and performer. In addition to maintaining an active performance schedule, she is Assistant Professor of Music and College Organist at Augsburg University, and Music Associate at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. Of particular interest for Ms. Thompson is the development of new works, and in this vein notable colleagues and collaborations have included New Dramatists in New York City, stage director and pedagogue Wesley Balk, director Ben Krywosz of Nautilus Music Theater, stage director Cynthia Stokes (San Diego CITY Opera), choreographer Rosanna Gamson (Los Angeles) and composers David Evan Thomas, Edie Hill and Jocelyn Hagen. Sonja is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the University of Minnesota.