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Rise Up Chorus Presents "Meet the Musicians"
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Rise Up Chorus Presents "Meet the Musicians"

Author: hosted by Matthew LaPine

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Join host Matthew LaPine (Founder and Artistic Director of Rise Up Chorus) as he takes a journey through the life stories of incredible musicians, both professional and amateur. Each episode is a conversation with an active musician telling the most compelling story of all: the journey of their life! Everyone has a story -- join us for the adventure!
16 Episodes
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In this 15th episode of "Meet the Musicians", guest host Helen Kernizan (Rise Up Chorus's Youth Chorus Director) interviews Brittney Boykin. Composer and Concert Pianist Brittney Boykin (B.E. Boykin) is a native of Alexandria, Virginia. After graduating from Spelman College in 2011 with a B.A. in Music, Ms. Boykin continued her studies at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey. She continued to compose music during her time at Westminster and was awarded the R & R Young Composition Prize just a few months shy of graduating. In May of 2013, Ms. Boykin graduated from Westminster Choir College with a M.M. in Sacred Music with a concentration in choral studies. Among her professional endeavors, Ms. Boykin has also been featured as the conductor/composer-in-residence for the 2017 Harry T. Burleigh Commemorative Spiritual Festival at Tennessee State University. Ms. Boykin’s instrumental and choral works are currently being published and distributed through her own publishing company, Klavia Press. She is currently pursuing a PhD with an emphasis in Music Education from Georgia State University. "Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In this episode, Helen Kernizan, the Youth Chorus Director of Rise Up Chorus, guest hosts "Meet the Musicians". This is the 14th episode of "Meet the Musicians" and the fourth episode in our series that delves into issues surrounding race with professional, classical musicians and music educators of color. In this episode, Helen interviews the Brandon Waddles, a vibrant musician who is a respected singer, conductor, and composer.Brandon’s choral compositions and arrangements have been published and performed by choral ensembles around the world, including the Morehouse College and University of Michigan Glee Clubs, Oakwood Aeolians, Westminster Choir, Brigham Young University Singers and the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir. In 2019, he was awarded as the inaugural recipient of the ACDA Diverse Voices Collaborative Grant. In addition, he has worked as a transcriber of Black gospel music for numerous choral octavos, hymnals and hymnal supplements published by GIA, including his recent work as a contributing editor for the One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism hymnal. Brandon recently released Just In Case You’ve Forgotten, the first selected compendium of works by the late Thomas Whitfield, the subject of his dissertation. Brandon has been blessed to work with a diverse array of musicians including Dalton Baldwin, Martin Katz, Angela Brown, George Shirley, Donnie Ray Albert, Vinson Cole, Fred Hammond, Kathy Taylor, Anita Wilson and Chrystal Rucker. Recently serving as Music Director for Grammy-nominated recording artist Ledisi, he has collaborated with the celebrated singer on multiple occasions, including her Nina & Me concert series and LEDISI: THE LEGEND OF LITTLE GIRL BLUE show-run at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.Dr. Waddles holds professional memberships with the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc.
In this 13th episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, host Matthew LaPine has an energetic conversation with musician, Diane Bruce. Violinist Diane Bruce performs regularly at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with the American Symphony, American Composers Orchestra and American Ballet Theater, among others. She spends her summers playing with the Chautauqua Symphony where she is Principal Second Violin. She has played for many Broadway shows, including Les Mis, An American in Paris and The King and I, as well as the  the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and  Encores at City Center.Diane received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music from the Juilliard School.She maintains a teaching studio in Metuchen, NJ, where she teaches violin and the Alexander Technique, https://www.dianebruce-alexandertechnique.com.When not performing or teaching Diane enjoys swimming and biking, gardening, meditation and playing fetch with her indefatigable Whippet."Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
We again welcome our guest host Helen Kernizan, the Youth Chorus Director of Rise Up Chorus, to "Meet the Musicians". This is the 12th episode of "Meet the Musicians" and the third episode in our series that delves into issues surrounding race with professional, classical musicians and music educators of color. In this episode, Helen interviews the incredible Elisabeth (Lis) Stevens, a classically-trained singer and educator. Elisabeth “Lis” Stevens @iamlisastefani, founder and Principal teaching artist at Studio LIS Voice brings a combined level of knowledge and experience that few can boast. Her performance credits include the Metropolitan Opera, Academy of Music in Philadelphia, Teatro Verdi di Sassari, and other world stages in Italy, France, China, Austria and across the US.  2020 saw the launch of her innovative Quarantine Sing! Program @studiolisvoice to support singing artists in cultivating a calm mind, a peaceful spirit and renewed energy and commitment to the voice and career through the pandemic and beyond. The program offers singers the opportunity to study intensely and perform for international audiences through digital platforms, while also singing in masterclasses for industry professionals including artist managers, conductors, and opera administrators.  In addition to teaching and singing, Ms. Stevens is the author of Perfect Practice: A Journal for Singers (@perfect.practice.singing on Instagram), published in 2020 . This exciting tool will help singers develop and maintain healthy practice habits that will advance their technique and artistry beyond the studio, making them independent, consistent, confident artists. Order your copy of Perfect Practice at http://perfectpractice.studiolisvoice.com @perfect.practice.singing on Instagram. Learn more about Studio LIS’s programs and apply for upcoming opportunities at www.studiolisvoice.com "Meet the Musicians" is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In this eleventh episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, host Matthew LaPine has an energetic conversation with musician, Markos Kandilis. Markos is a multi-faceted performer, native Jersey Boy, and proud Greek-Italian American. The endless support of his family and community led him to an early entrance into the world of professional performance as a chorus member of the Metropolitan Opera House of New York City at the age of ten.His love and skill in performing were developed by participating in every choir, play, and musical available to him throughout his time in high school and at Westminster Choir College. He earned numerous accolades and leading roles, catching the attention of Royal Caribbean Productions who cast him as a Featured Soloist, Vocal Captain, and Headliner for their renowned fleet of shows.After seven years of performing at sea, Markos returned ashore to progress his career and life on land. He regularly trains with experts in the realms of voice, acting, and movement to sharpen his skills and enhance his performances in the booth and on the stage.You can learn more about Markos or collaborate with him through his website, markoskandilis.com."Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In this tenth episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, our host Matthew LaPine again welcomes our guest host, Helen Kernizan, who continues our series of conversations discussing the issues of race with professional, classical musicians and music educators of color. Helen is Rise Up Chorus’s Youth Chorus Director, and she teaches music at the Township of Ocean Intermediate School in Ocean Township, NJ.Born in Southern California and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Carrie Compere attended Trenton public schools and graduated from Trenton Central High School. She briefly attended Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ.She began acting professionally in 2010 and has both stage and TV/Film experience. A few productions include:Broadway:The Color PurpleHoller If Ya Hear MeOff-Broadway:DaddySistas the Musical.1st National Tour:The Color PurpleShrek the MusicalFilm/TV“Many Saints of Newark” (2020)“Dead Men Tell No Lies” (2020)“The Crew” (Netflix)“City On A Hill” (Showtime)“Manifest” (NBC)“New Amsterdam” (NBC)“Seven Seconds” (Netflix)“NYC 22” (CBS)“Show Boat: Live at Lincoln Center” (PBS)Carrie is a wife of 22 years to her husband, Jerry, and a mother of their two children, Isaiah and Pneuma. Carrie continues to work as an actor but her most important job and commitment remains that of a wife and mother.Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In this ninth episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, our host Matthew LaPine welcomes a guest host, Helen Kernizan, who begins a series of conversations discussing the issues of race with professional, classical musicians and music educators of color. Helen is the director of Rise Up Chorus’s Youth Chorus, and she teaches music at the Township of Ocean Intermediate School in Ocean Township, NJ.Educator, musician, and public speaker, Wayne Mallette is the Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District. Mallette holds his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Masters’ from Northwestern University (Music Education), and Ramapo College (Educational Leadership). Currently, he is pursuing his doctorate at Columbia University, Teacher College. "Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In this eighth episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, host Matthew LaPine sits down with Jerry Blackstone. Grammy® Award winner Jerry Blackstone is a leading conductor and highly respected conducting pedagogue.  Prof. Blackstone was a member of the faculty of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance for thirty years where, as Director of Choirs, he led the graduate program in choral conducting, oversaw the University’s eleven choirs, and upon retirement was named Professor Emeritus of Music (Conducting).   In February 2006, he received two Grammy® Awards ("Best Choral Performance" and "Best Classical Album") as chorusmaster for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience.Dr. Blackstone is also the Artistic Director of "Choral Singing in America", a  documentary about just that - choral singing in the United States. The docu-series is slated to be published in 2023. For more information about "Choral Singing in America, visit their website, https://choralsinging.org. "Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In this seventh episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, host Matthew LaPine sits down with one of the world’s leading composers whose music has changed the face of choral music, Eric Whitacre. Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre, is among today’s most popular musicians. His works are programmed worldwide and his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united singers from more than 145 countries over the last decade. Born in Nevada in 1970, Eric is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music (New York). He completed his second term as Artist in Residence with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in 2020 having served five years as Composer in Residence at the University of Cambridge (UK). His compositions have been widely recorded and his debut album as a conductor on Universal, Light and Gold, went straight to the top of the charts, earning a Grammy. As a guest conductor he has drawn capacity audiences to concerts with many of the world’s leading orchestras and choirs in venues from Carnegie Hall (New York) to the Royal Albert Hall (London). Insatiably curious and a lover of all types of music, Eric has worked with legendary Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, as well as British pop icons Laura Mvula, Imogen Heap and Annie Lennox. In 2018 his composition, Deep Field, became the foundation for a pioneering collaboration with NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Music Productions and film-makers 59 Productions. His long- form work The Sacred Veil, a profound meditation on love, life and loss, was premiered by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted by the composer, and released on Signum Records in 2020. His collaboration with Spitfire Audio resulted in a trail-blazing vocal sample library, became an instant best-seller and is used by composers the world-over. A charismatic speaker, Eric Whitacre has given keynote addresses for TED, Apple, Google, the United Nations Speaker’s Program, in education and for numerous global institutions. "Meet the Musicians" Podcast is produced by Rise Up Chorus, a community chorus organization whose mission is to bring the community together and enrich lives through musical experiences. For more information about Rise Up Chorus, visit us online at www.riseupchorus.org.
In our sixth episode, host Matthew LaPine has a conversation with Kirk Geritano, a professional actor and member of Actor's Equity Association. He started performing at a young age in his home state of New Jersey, and has since performed all across the United States. Kirk was last seen Off-Broadway as an original cast member in the Drama Desk-winning Yiddish version of Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Joel Grey.
In this fifth episode, Matt has a conversation with Jeriel Johnson, the Executive Director of the Recording Academy™ Washington, D.C. Chapter, responsible for overseeing Membership & Industry Relations for D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Jeriel is also Executive Sponsor of the Recording Academy’s Black Music Collective, an advisory group of esteemed artists and industry executives dedicated to the inclusion, recognition and advancement of Black Music and its creators and professionals within the Academy and music industry at-large. A native of Philadelphia and an accomplished drummer, Jeriel received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music, and after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Music Business & Management he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the music business. Prior to assuming the role of ED of the D.C. Chapter, Jeriel served as Head of Urban Music at the Recording Academy, where he oversaw the awards process for the R&B, Rap, and Reggae categories for the GRAMMY Awards®. Prior to the Academy, Jeriel held leadership roles at NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Records and The Walt Disney Company. A 2018 Prince George’s County, Maryland 40 Under 40 honoree, Jeriel has also been featured in Billboard Magazine, Berklee Today Magazine and Music Industry Quarterly. He has served as a guest lecturer at the American Dramatic School for the Arts in Los Angeles, University of Maryland, and has produced and/or moderated panels at Essence Festival, SXSW, BET Week, Roots Picnic, Urban Network Conference, The Worship & Arts Summit, The NSO, and The GRAMMY Museum on topics ranging from the state of Hip Hop & R&B to Mental Health & Addiction in those music communities. Jeriel is a servant leader, sharp administrator and skilled relationship builder with a knack for curating innovative programs at the intersection of art and life, while his advancedmusicianship has earned him high praise and trust from artists and executives. Jeriel believes we must “lift as we climb” and is committed to supporting the next generation of musicians and industry leaders. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.Program funded by Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
In this fourth episode of "Meet the Musicians" Podcast, host Matthew LaPine has a conversation with the superb JoAnn Falletta. Grammy-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Connie and Marc Jacobson Music Director Laureate of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center and Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. She is hailed for her work as a conductor, recording artist, audience builder and champion of American composers.Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.Program funded by Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
In this episode of the Meet the Musicians Podcast, host Matthew LaPine interviews Dr. Gillian Velmer, a licensed speech-language pathologist working in public schools in central New Jersey. She enjoys using music with her young students to facilitate language.learning and growth. She is the founder and director of Sing Aphasia, a community-based choir for adults with aphasia, which is a language disorder that may occur after a stroke or other brain injury. Her latest project is a collaboration with Neuro Music Therapy, LLC on the first international aphasia choir video, which premiered in November, 2020.Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.Program funded by Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
In this episode of the Meet the Musicians Podcast, host Matthew LaPine interviews special guest, Dr. Gerald "Jerry" Custer. Jerry is a multi-faceted choral musician, active as conductor, composer, author, and teacher. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, where he studied with Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt and later with Robert Shaw, he is Minister of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Farmington, MI and on the music faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.Program funded by Middlesex County, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
In our inaugural episode of the Meet the Musicians Podcast, host Matthew LaPine interviews Rise Up Chorus's Events Manager, Angela Dohl. Angela is an amateur musician whose love for music has made music an important part of her everyday life!
Join host Matthew LaPine (Founder and Artistic Director of Rise Up Chorus) as he takes a journey through the life stories of incredible musicians, both professional and amateur!
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