Internationally known mezzo-soprano Rachel Velarde began her music career at the Indiana University School of Music in the IU Children's Choir (under the direction of Jean Sinor and Mary Goetze) and the IU Young Pianists' Program (studying with Karen Taylor). After receiving her B.A. in Music from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, Rachel earned two Master of Music degrees (one each in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy) at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
Rachel is currently Adjunct Faculty in Voice at Grand Canyon University, teaching private studio lessons, class voice, and Italian, French and German Diction classes. Rachel is also pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) Vocal Performance degree at Arizona State Univerisity.
Luminaries Rachel has worked with include Franc d'Ambrosio, Vernon Hartman, James Caraher, Lorenzo Malfatti, Shirlee Emmons, Mary Sue Hyatt, John Sikora, David Jones, Kamal Khan, James Marvel, Sherrill Milnes, Hugh Keelan, David Britton, and Carol Smith.
Rachel teaches an active studio of singers of all ages who regularly perform as well as compete in competitions. In the 2011-2012 school year she will have former students as vocal music majors at the University of Southern California, Marymount College (NYC), Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona and Arizona State University.
Rachel is active in the Arizona Valley of the Sun chapter of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) as President, the local AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) Union as the current secretary/treasurer, and is a member of both MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and NYSTA (New York Singing Teachers Association). She is also the recipient of the NATS 2010 Independent Teacher Fellowship and attended the 2010 National Conference, "Echoes of Song," in Salt Lake City.
Vice President - Programs
Alexis Davis Hazell
Philadelphia native Alexis Davis Hazell is emerging as an active performer on the international opera stage. Alexis has sung the roles “Maria”, “Lily” and “Strawberry Woman” with European tours of the Gershwins’ masterpiece Porgy and Bess, in Russia, Poland, Greece, Latvia, Estonia, Germany and Switzerland. These critically acclaimed performances were in collaboration with the Mikhailovsky Opera in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Philharmonic, and the Polish National Opera of Warsaw, leading to her debut in the principal role "Maria" at the Kuressaare Operadays Festival in Estonia. Under the leadership of Maestros William Barkhymer, Richard Cordova and Kelly Kuo, she performed at the Hamburg State Opera, the Festspielhaus of Baden-Baden, and Theatre 11 in Zurich. Her experience with the same opera continued with debuts at San Francisco Opera, Dresden SemperOper, and the Deutsch Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf.
Alexis' work regionally has included, among other works and roles of the 2008-2010 seasons, the Mother in a production of Amahl and the Night Visitors in Paradise Valley; the cover to Amneris in the 2009 Phoenix Opera Aida; mezzo soloist in the Rossini Stabat Mater at Valley Presbyterian Church; and the cover to Viktoria Vizin for the title role in Phoenix Opera’s 2009 production of Carmen. Appearances for Alexis in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons include La Badessa in Suor Angelica with the Southern Arizona Symphony; Dritte Dame in the Phoenix Opera production of Die Zauberflöte; Annina in the Phoenix Opera production of La Traviata; and the cover to Lori Phillips as Santuzza in the Arizona Opera production of Cavalleria Rusticana.
A recent recipient of The Golden Seat Belt Award presented to faculty with the highest student retention rates, Alexis serves on the Voice Faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She has been instructing young voice students in their Performing Arts department along with introductory music theory, ear training and courses in music humanities since 2004. A magna cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University, Mrs. Davis Hazell is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance at Arizona State University. During previous graduate work at Arizona State, she made special study of voice disorders & rehabilitation, and historical vocal performance practices of the Baroque era. Her current research is geared toward developing curricula for Russian lyric diction studies tailored to young American singers, based on an innovative application of the principles of clinical phonetics. Alexis is also the Creative Director of Jazzoperetry, Inc.: the production company currently featuring the touring concert series Earl & Alexis: AMERICAN SONGS.
Vice President - Membership
Jennifer Song-Sheldon, soprano
Kerry Ginger, mezzo soprano, is active as a soloist and teacher across the greater Phoenix area. Kerry made her professional opera debut in 2010 as the Third Spirit in Die Zauberflöte with Phoenix Opera, and has also appeared as a soloist with the Phoenix Symphony in Hans Krása’s Brundibár. She sings regularly with the Phoenix Opera and Arizona Opera ensembles, and performs as a teaching artist with Arizona Opera’s outreach program, OperaTunity. Kerry maintains an active concert schedule around the Valley of the Sun, including performances as a soloist in the Handel Messiah, Mozart Requiem and Coronation Mass, Duruflé Requiem, Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, Vivaldi Gloria, and more. In 2006, Kerry was a featured performer with the Walla Walla Baroque Festival. Kerry is a new member of the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale, and also appears regularly with Tucson Chamber Artists and Scottsdale Choral Artists. An avid recitalist, she won the Arizona NATS Artist Award recital competition in 2008. In addition to maintaining a private studio, Kerry has taught at Kirk’s Studio for the Performing Arts in Scottsdale, and from 2008 to 2010, she taught class voice and music theory at Phoenix’s Metropolitan Arts Institute. Her students perform with the AMEA Regional and All-State Choirs and the Arizona Masterworks Chorale, and serve as section leaders at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Parish. Kerry is pursuing her doctorate in Voice at Arizona State University; her favorite roles there include Hansel, La Cenerentola, and Giulio Cesare.
Dr. Melissa Walker Glenn holds a doctoral degree from Arizona State University, a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Melissa has enjoyed soloing with the Phoenix Symphony, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, and the Eastman Orchestra. Favorite roles performed include Luisa Fernanda in the Spanish opera Luisa Fernanda, the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, Mother Miriam in Agnes of God, and Anita in West Side Story. Melissa has also sung with the chorus of Arizona Opera and performed as a seasonal caroler at Disneyland with Goode Time Productions.
Ex officio Nominations Chair: Tracy Peterson
Jennifer Nagy, chair
Stephen Crawford, Judy May and Andrea Pitman, members