Classical VI – Ode to Joy: Beethoven’s 9th
Kimi Kawashima – Pianist Kimi Kawashima enjoys a committed career as a teacher, performer and arts advocate. She made her concerto debut with the Toledo Symphony at the age of 14, performing Mozart with conductor Ole Schmidt. Ms. Kawashima recently performed Ravel’s Concerto in G Major with The Longview Symphony and Jerry Steichen and has appeared in such notable chamber music series as the Grand Teton Music Festival, Music in Context, Musiqa, Aperio, and NOVA. She has recorded for MSR Classics and performed on the Hyperion recording of Saint-Saens’ beloved Carnival of the Animals, with pianist Jason Hardink and Maestro Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony, from live performance recordings in December 2017.

An avid chamber musician, Kimi has performed for composers Andrew Norman, Thomas Osborne, Tristan Murail, Frederic Rzewski and Chen Yi, and has recently given the Utah premieres of works by Wang Lu, Karen Tanaka, and Anthony R. Green. She performed with conductor Keith Lockhart and members of the Utah Symphony in performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King, and has premiered works with the Utah Arts Festival chamber ensemble.

Ms. Kawashima completed her DMA in piano performance at Rice University as a student of Brian Connelly, where she was the winner of the Shepherd School Concerto Competition, performing the Concerto for Piano and Strings by Alfred Schnittke with the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra and conductor James Gaffigan. Kimi is currently director of music and piano faculty at Westminster College, where she teaches piano, seminars in the Honors College and directs piano activities. She is in her third year serving as a Board Member of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums.

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Adrienne Fletcher – Adrienne Fletcher currently serves as the music director of the Mid-Columbia Youth Symphony Orchestras and the assistant conductor of the Mid-Columbia Symphony. She also holds positions as programs manager and music director at the Academy of Children’s Theatre, drama teacher at Tri-Cities Prep, and a guest conductor and pianist for the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers. An advocate for arts education, Fletcher is frequently seen as an adjudicator and judge throughout the region including WIAA/WMEA Washington Solo and Ensemble Contest and CBMEA Large Group festival. She also has been at the helm for several musical theatre productions that are youth-centered and produced in the Tri-cities. Fletcher remains active as a performing musician. As a singer, Fletcher has performed a variety of roles and genres including The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Kathy in The Last Five Years. Fletcher is an enthusiast for opera repertoire and is an active opera coach. Her most recent credits include CWU’s production of Little Red Riding Hood, Die Fledermaus, Gianni Schicchi and Valley Musical Theatre’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Fletcher holds a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting and Vocal Performance/Pedagogy from Central Washington University and a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in Harp from Pacific Lutheran University. A native of Forest Grove, Oregon, she currently resides in Richland, Washington with her two cat companions. [Photo: Raleigh Hawthorne]
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Molly Holleran – Molly Holleran performs throughout the Pacific Northwest as a concert soloist, as well as appearing in opera and musical theatre. She most recently performed Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Mid-Columbia Symphony, and sang the title role in the West Coast premiere of Melissa Dunphy’s Gonzalez Cantata. Favorite solo concert performances have included Handel’s Messiah with the Oregon East Symphony and Walla Walla Symphony; Poulenc’s Gloria, Verdi’s Requiem, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Mid-Columbia Symphony; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Washington-Idaho Symphony. Molly sang the premiere performance of Reginald Unterseher’s Hanford Songs song cycle for soprano and string quartet. Favorite opera roles include Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte) and Cunegonda (Candide), and local audiences may have seen her perform with Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre as Marian in The Music Man, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Cinderella in Into the Woods. As a professional chorister, Molly was a founding member of both the Chicago Chamber Choir and True Concord, and has performed with the chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival, and also sings with Chor Anno out of Vancouver, Washington. Molly holds undergraduate degrees in voice and theatre from Lawrence University in Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in voice from the University of Arizona. In addition to performing, she runs a full-time independent voice studio in Richland, Washington, and also enjoys doing graphic design work for arts organizations.

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Melissa Schiel – Canadian/American mezzo-soprano Melissa Schiel has established herself as a concert soloist, stage performer, and recitalist. Past chamber and orchestral highlights include Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’éte, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Verdi’s Requiem. Recent performances this past season include Handel’s Messiah and recitals. This fall, she will be singing the mezzo solo in Manuel De Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat with Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra. She has enjoyed collaborating and performing in the Northwest with Fairbanks Symphony, Rainier Symphony Orchestra, Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Seattle. Before moving to Central Washington, she performed operatic leading roles in operas such as Così fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Eugene Onegin, The Cunning Little Vixen, Rigoletto, Gianni Schicchi, Trouble in Tahiti, Candide and Albert Herring. Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, Schiel is currently Associate Professor of Voice at Central Washington University and resides in Ellensburg, Washington with her family.
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Katherine Goforth – American vocalist Katherine Goforth shares her “noble, colorful and iridescent vocal sound” (Magazin Klassik) in strong and heartfelt performances that represent the best of next generation operatic talent. “Goforth…does not hold back,” (The New York Times) offering vivid character portraits sung with the utmost commitment and finesse. An alumna of the Juilliard School, St. Olaf College and the International Opera Studio of Oper Köln, Katherine’s recent operatic roles have included Tamino (Oper Köln Kinderoper, Aquilon Music Festival, Lark Opera), 3. Jude and Il Conte di Bandiera (Oper Köln), Spoletta (Portland Opera), the Father in Hansel and Gretel (Lark Opera), and premieres by Drew Swatosh and Elise Winkler for Seattle Opera’s Jane Lang Davis Creation Lab. In 2022, Katherine performed the tenor solo in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for Walla Walla Symphony and Bozeman Symphony and appeared as Rebbetzin Tzurris in a reading of Dan Kitrosser’s Why This Night for Artists Repertory Theatre. Upcoming, she will record Jacquet de la Guerre’s Ester with Byron Schenkman; she is serving as dramaturg for Opera Theater Oregon on Nu Nah-Hup: Sacajawea’s Story, a collaboration with Rose Ann Abrahamson, a descendant of Sacajawea, flutist Hovia Edwards, and composer Justin Ralls; and she will lead the choir at Portland State University’s Germanlanguage summer immersion program, Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik.
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Steven S. Slusher – Steven S. Slusher, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri, received his Master of Music Degree as the Choral Conducting Graduate Assistant from Southern Illinois University. Mr.  Slusher holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Ohio Northern University. Mr. Slusher has conducted throughout the United States from the Crystal Cathedral in California to Riverside Church in New York City. He has performed in many musicals, opera productions and orchestral works, including Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, Mozart’s The Impressario, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and most recently Faure’s Requiem and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra. He was a featured soloist at Missouri’s Music Education Association Convention (MMEA), as well as a backup singer for Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis. Slusher is the past Assistant Director and Soloist (Great and Marvelous CD) of the Bach Society of St. Louis and a Principal Singer and Soloist (Schubert Mass in Eb and Rachmaninoff Vespers) for the St. Louis Symphony. He was on the Music Faculty at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri for seven years teaching choir, choral arranging, private voice, opera workshop, vocal pedagogy and vocal literature. Steven served as the Director of Music at Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Louis and, most recently, Director of Choirs at Toppenish High School. Currently, Mr. Slusher is Assistant Chorusmaster of the Yakima Symphony Chorus and tenured Associate Professor of Choral/Vocal Activities at Yakima Valley College.
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Charles Robert Stephens – Charles Robert Stephens has enjoyed a career spanning a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. In his 20 years in New York City, he sang leading roles with the New York City Opera and was hailed by the New York Times as a “baritone of smooth distinction.” He also appeared frequently in Carnegie Hall with the Opera Orchestra of New York and was active in regional opera throughout the United States. On the international stage, he sang opera roles in Montevideo Uruguay, Taiwan, Santo Domingo and Mexico City. Now based in Seattle, Charles has sung with the Seattle Symphony on numerous occasions, Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma and Spokane Symphonies, Spokane Opera, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Symphony and many other orchestras and opera companies in the Pacific Northwest. He premiered the roles of Rudyard Kipling in John Muehleisen’s cantata entitled But Who Shall Return to Us Our Children? A Kipling Passion, now available on CD, and baritone soloist in Nuclear Dreams by Reginald Unterseher (inside Reactor B at Hanford!) He also can be heard on the prize- winning CD, Heaven to Earth. Recent performances have included performances of Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Scarpia in Tosca, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Father in Hansel and Gretel and the Mozart Requiem.