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Dr. Chris AlfordMusic Director & Conductor
New to Chanteuses in 2010, Music Director and Conductor Chris Alford has been making music since the third grade when he started trumpet lessons. “The rest of my buddies were out playing baseball and I was inside playing 'Red River Valley' over and over again,” he recalls. “To this day, I hate that song and, also, don’t have an athletic bone in my body.”
Music goes deep with Chris. A gifted trumpet player with early plans for a solo and teaching career, Chris began conducting and playing professionally in high school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music history jointly from the University of Tennessee and the Victoria University of Manchester, England, and received the master’s degree in musicology from Northwestern University. Chris holds a doctoral degree in worship theology and practice from the Institute for Worship Studies.
A native Tennessean, Chris spent the first eight years of his professional musical life as the Artistic Administrator of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Alford left the symphony world in 1992, when he became a music minister in the Knoxville area, a post he held until the family’s move to California in 2005. He was a popular conductor and clinician in the Knoxville region and beyond. He served as music director and conductor of Knoxville's annual Nativity Pageant. From 1997-2004, Chris traveled about twice a year to Indianapolis' Aire Born Studios to conduct live orchestral and choral recording sessions for Monarch Music, a division of the Lorenz Company, for its demonstration recordings and performance accompaniment tracks.
“Conducting these amazing women is a great happiness in my life,” says Chris. “When I stopped being a full-time church musician, I thought I was prepared to leave music-making behind. But I didn’t realize how very much I would miss the collaborative and creative work that happens when you make music with friends. I count it a privilege to lead the remarkable ladies of Chanteuses: That they are so talented makes the job musically satisfying— that they are also friends makes it a joy.”
Pam HendersonAlto 1
Pam was practically born singing! Pam started formal piano lessons at age 6 and "official choir singing" at age 9. Pam has sung in junior and high schol musicals - formal "choral training" started with Mr. Putnam at Nova and Shasta High schools. Mr. Putnam was a master at choral conducting and musical productions. Pam sang in Madrigals, Jazz Ensembles and Acappella Choirs at Shasta High School and later at Bella Vista High School. Pam was also in the All-State Honor choir both her junior and senior years. Pam has sung for the Fair Oak Presbyterian Church's Youth Choir, American River College's Chamber Singers under the direction of Pearla Warrne; and UCLA's University Chorus.During Pam's elementary teaching career and Girl Scout leading, she directed several children's choirs and musicals along with leading school wide sing-alongs and Day Camps. She was also involved with Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church's first bell choir. From there, Pam sang and rang bells at Freemont Presbyterian Church directed by Mel Olsen. Pam also sang in the Presbyterian church choirs in Auburn and Loomis. Pam is currently a member of the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra
Lisa van StuijvenbergSoprano 1
Lisa comes to Chanteuses through her friendship with soprano Cynthia Hills, who she met when they were both living in South Lake Tahoe. An accomplished singer from the Bay Area, Lisa made her operatic debut as Sieglinde in Richard Wagner’s Die Walkure and has performed in numerous operas and ensemble groups, some of which are the San Francisco Lyric Opera, Golden Gate Opera, North Bay Opera, Grainger Singers, Quire Quodlibet, and Consort Music. In addition to Chanteuses she currently sings with Viva Vocali, four operatic sopranos from the Napa Valley.
When delivering singing telegrams didn’t quite pay the bills in college, Lisa switched her major from voice to accounting and is the accountant for a winery in Napa, California, where she lives with her husband, Marcel, and her daughter Jasperina. (She will still sing a delightful birthday greeting in a generous moment.) Her favorite thing about performing is the collaborative efforts of the participating musicians. Lisa enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, hiking, reading, and listening to music, especially live concerts.
Christine LanphereSoprano 2
Christine is one of the founding members of Chanteuses and has taught French at Natomas High School since 1995. While studying in Paris during college, she was selected to sing with the choir of the University of Paris, Sorbonne, and had an amazing opportunity to participate in a 12 day concert tour through Spain, performing J.S. Bach’s Saint John Passion.
Christine is active in many professional associations for language educators and co-directs the local site of the California World Language Project, which provides professional development for language educators throughout northern California. In 2007, she was highly honored as National Language Teacher of the Year by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and recently completed a 4 year appointment to the California Curriculum Commission, an advisory body to the State Board of Education. When she has time, Christine enjoys cooking and spending time with her cats.
Mary WagonerAlto 2
Mary Wagoner is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Law, and the University of Central Oklahoma. Mary has worked as Administrative Law Judge for the California Department of Social Services, Staff Counsel for the same department, attorney in private practice, legal secretary and high school English teacher.
Mary grew up in Oklahoma in a singing family and has wonderful memories of singing and playing the piano at home, school and church through high school. After time away from music, Mary returned to the joy of music-making when she joined Chanteuses in 2003
Mary is honored to have the joy of making beautiful music with the lovely and talented musicians of Chanteuses.
Mary HowardSoprano 2
Mary is the daughter of musical parents who started her in music classes while she was still in preschool and she has been singing and playing ever since. At one point, while also earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley, she managed to participate in five choral groups simultaneously.
Prior to settling into an elementary school teaching career, Mary and husband Rich were Peace Corps volunteers and spent several years in Africa where she had the opportunity to sing with and direct singers from all over the world.
Here in Sacramento, in addition to Chanteuses, Mary has sung with the Sacramento Symphony Chorus, the Sacramento Opera Chorus, the Sacramento Chamber Singers, and Camerata California.The Howards love to travel around the world, hike, or tent camp, but also spend a lot of time in the Bay Area where the rest of their families live, including one of their two daughters. In those rare spare moments at home, Mary likes to sew and read.
Jerri MeierAlto 1
Jerri discovered singing at her hometown church in Santa Ana, California, and learned the joys of good classical choral music during her college years. She sang and toured with the Occidental College Glee Clubs under the direction of Dr. Howard Swan. Currently Jerri sings with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra under Dr. Donald Kendrick as well as the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Chancel Choir. She enjoys the challenge of singing with Chanteuses, and is amazed to have the opportunity to work with such outstanding musicians and delightful women every week.In "real life" Jerri is a CPA specializing in income tax preparation, and shares an office in Citrus Heights with her husband's financial services business. Fair Oaks residents for over twenty years, the Meiers enjoy gardening, bike riding, and playing with their two grandsons.
Melissa MandevilleSoprano 1
Melissa, originally from Ohio, has always been very active in performing arts, not only studying but also teaching both dance and piano at a young age. After singing her way through junior high and high school in a variety of venues, Melissa continued to sing in college groups but focused on earning a B.M. in Piano Performance from CSUS. She has been teaching piano since 1978, but also served as director of an elementary school choir in the San Juan Unified School District. Very active in the MTAC, Sierra Branch, Melissa is past president and current board member.
She is also a business owner: Melissa and husband Scott bought Tim’s Band Instrument Service several years ago and she works part-time in the business. Despite all the professional demands on her time, Melissa has been known to describe herself as principal taxi driver and social secretary to her “adorable, complicated, rewarding kids” and an “equally adorable Golden Retriever”. Besides Chanteuses, Melissa has sung with the Sacramento Chamber Singers and The Mark Clark Chorale. She likes reading, attending shows, time with friends and family, and outings in Tahoe and Bodega Bay.
Athol WongSoprano 2
Athol Wong can’t remember a time when singing was absent from her life. Choral experience began with Glee Club in elementary school, and the local church youth choir where she was often asked to do solos and descants. She sang with her high school mixed chorus, played guitar and sang through the 70’s (didn’t everyone?), and has continued throughout her life singing with church choirs and doing occasional solo “gigs.” As her children grew, she also directed youth choir and the contemporary choir at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Camarillo.
Education has been the other constant in Athol’s life. She graduated from Hoover High School and summa cum laude from CSU, Fresno with a BA in English. She also holds a Masters in Administrative Services from Pepperdine University. After 22 years of teaching high school English and another 6 as a high school administrator, Athol served as Principal of Newbury Park High School in Ventura County for eight years. One of her favorite things to do as Principal was to sneak out of the office and visit the choir classes to sing for a few minutes. She was honored when students asked her to join with them and alumni at performances or to sing the National Anthem at school events. During her tenure at the school, both the choral and instrumental programs grew to include: Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, Marching Band, Concert Band, two levels of Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Beginning Strings, and Orchestra – all in spite of severe budget cuts.
After retirement, she and her husband bought a century-old home in Midtown and are loving Sacramento! She is blessed with two children and their wonderful spouses, and one grandson. A second grandchild is due to arrive very soon. She currently sings with the choir at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Camerata California, and Chanteuses.
Nicole NaditzAlto 1
Professionally, Nicole is a somewhat well-known French teacher at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks, having been honored as the 2015 National Language Teacher of the Year by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and also receiving recognition for her work in and out of the classroom from PBS, Hilton, National Geographic, Google, and the GRAMMY Museum, among others.
In her spare time, Nicole is an avid figure skater and also loves photography and travel, especially when she can do those in the company of her husband and son and their rescued 120-pound lapdog. The three rescued cats bring a lot of joy too, but they don't travel.
Linda SchmidtAlto 2
Linda and Chanteuses happily discovered each other when she attended a Chanteuses-led workshop for Girl Scout leaders in 2007. With a B.A. in biology and an M.A. in endocrinology, Linda was trained as a clinical laboratory technologist and worked most of her life in medical research, most recently studying the genetics of autism at the UC Davis Medical School. She is now very happily retired!
Linda has many years of music lessons behind her and has sung in a great variety of groups on both coasts, most recently (before joining Chanteuses) with the Davis Chorale. Linda loves reading, working crossword puzzles, and gardening, volunteering at the UC Davis Arboretum each week; she recently took up another "hobby", being Grandma to two little grandsons. She, husband Bill, and the youngest of their three children live in Davis, California.
Roberta SnyderSoprano 2
Roberta loves singing! Born into a musical family, Roberta has been singing her entire life. Roberta attended CSU, Sacramento and sang in the University Chorus and the CSUS Vocal Jazz Ensemble for 4 years. Roberta continued throughout her life to sing in many musical productions and church choirs. She was also part of a gospel singing group for 8 years. Roberta is currently a member of the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra as well as Chanteuses.Singing is Roberta's passion. Roberta is happily married to Gene Snyder and together they have been richly blessed with family members who have musical notes running in their bloodstreams...even the precious ones who married into the family are musical. Roberta loves to vocalize and harmonize with all the members of her extremely talented family. Roberta also enjoys gourmet cooking, gardening, sewing, and loving all her grandbabies!
Katie BjornsonAlto 2
Laurel JensenAlto 1
Laurel started singing at a very young age: with a theatrical and musical family, this was just part of everyday life. At age seven, Laurel began piano lessons and singing in church choirs. She continued through grade school and high school singing in community theater and school choirs - including girls ensemble, madrigals, and honor choir. She continued singing in college, but eventually focused on a geology degree. Laurel graduated from CSU, Sacramento and is working for the State of California as an engineering geologist.
Laurel has been singing with Chantueses since 2002. Prior to that she performed with the Sacramento Choral Society and Sacramento Chamber Singers. Laurel feels very honored to be singing with such incredible musicians, and having an opportunity to sing with Chanteuses. Laurel studies voice under Sharon Erman. Laurel also sings with Camerata California.
Chris KeightleyAlto 2
Chanteuses' newest member, Chris and her husband Chase recently moved to West Sacramento from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Chris began her musical career in Baltimore, Maryland, where she studied piano for many years and sang in school and church choirs. After several moves, she and Chase settled to California in 1986, where she sang with the Los Robles Master Chorale in Thousand Oaks and, later, the Cuesta Master Chorale in San Luis Obispo. For several years, she was a member of a 4-part women's group that sang at Renaissance Faires throughout central California.
After moving back to Santa Fe in 2006, Chris sang with the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble, Canticum Novum, the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, and the New Mexico Bach Chorale.
Chris and Chase are now back in California and getting to know the Sacramento area. Chris is a retired speech and language pathologist. She enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren, making beaded jewelry and traveling. She loves choral singing, particularly Renaissance music, and is excited to be joining Chanteuses.
Holly CarmichaelSoprano 1
Holly is a transplant from the Bay Area, where she sang for 10 years with the Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale. She credits her love for choral singing to her junior high music teacher, various church choirs, and community theater productions. An attorney and CPA, Holly minored in music and now specializes in singing silly songs to her two year old son.
Alysse RochaSoprano 2
Alysse's love of singing and choral music began with 4th grade chorus. She continued with choir throughout grade school and in high school sang in mixed choir, girl's ensemble, All-County Chorus and was involved with drama club/musical theater, landing the lead role of Oliver in her senior year. She also studied guitar and music theory in high school. Alysse holds a Communications degree from Elizabeth Seton/Iona College in New York, where music, theater and dance played a big part of her life through her college years and beyond.
Moving from New York to Sacramento in 1992, Alysse found a home with several groups, including the San Juan Adult Choir, the Sacramento Valley Concert Choir (14 years), and from 2006-2013 the Three Rivers Chorale & the Women's Choral Studio, both under the direction of Catherine Fagiolo.
Her hobbies include photography and sports/fitness such as belly dancing, Zumba, hiking, and kayaking.
Although Alysse doesn't have as much "formal" musical training or a music degree as many of the group's members, she is passionate about singing and honored to be a part of the Chanteuses family!