Members of the TOCCATA Chorus
Allfree, Carolyn Buchan – alto/soprano: Carolyn, now retired, is from Chicago, IL and has a BA in Humanities from Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, NV. She has also studied at Wheaton College and University of California, Davis. She has sung in several community choruses in the area including Sierra Nevada College Choir from 1993-1995 and currently the Reno Philharmonic Chorus and Toccata. She also plays French horn and clarinet.
Angelucci, Eileen - alto/soprano: Eileen, originally from Minneapolis, MN, grew up in a family of symphony musicians. She began a career in middle school as a classical pianist and piano teacher. She earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in business from University of Minnesota and completed doctoral work in business from California Coast University. She worked at the Unisys Corporation for 34 years and was a marketing executive at the time of her retirement. Eileen began singing after she retired and moved to Nevada in 2003. She is active in several choral organizations including the Carson Chamber Singers, Reno Philharmonic Chorus, Western Nevada College Theater, and St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church. She is also on the is the choral interface and Public Relations/Publicity Manager for TOCCATA.
Banzett, Lorelle – alto/tenor: Lorelle is a retired psychiatric social worker and mental health administrator currently employed as the Worship and Music Planner for Truckee Lutheran Presbyterian Church. Originally from Lancaster, PA, Lorelle received a BA in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara and an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She has sung in choirs since childhood and studied piano, clarinet, guitar, organ, flute, and voice. Lorelle's other volunteer interests include Canine Companions for Independence, International Health Partners (US-Tanzania) and the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus.
Barron, Gerald – bass/baritone: Gerald is a retired Ophthalmologist and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology UCLA. Gerald moved to Reno from Maui in 2009. He studies piano and bass as a child, but was not very successful! About ten years ago he discovered that he could sing and began performing with the Maui Symphony and his church choir. Gerald currently studies with Richard Lee and sings with The Reno Phil, the Master Works Choral, and TOCCATA. He is 82 years old and still enjoys skiing and riding road bikes. He loves to cook.
Becker, Tom – bass: Tom Becker was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA where he began singing daily in the boys’ choir at the age of seven. He holds Electrical Engineering degrees from Carnegie Mellon and USC, and has sung with several community choruses. In Fullerton CA, he joined the Philharmonia Chorale which later evolved into the Master Chorale of Orange County. He retired to Carson Valley, Nevada in 1995.
Bittner, Mary - Alto/Soprano: Mary relocated from Southern California to South Lake Tahoe almost 15 years ago. Her love of vocal music creates a balance for her busy professional life as the Vice President of Nursing at Barton Memorial Hospital. Mary holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Cal State Fullerton, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco (USF) and is currently working on a Doctoral degree in Nursing Practice at USF. Mary enjoys sharing the beautiful music and friendships with the great musicians of both the Tahoe Choir and TOCCATA.
Bushard, Aimee – alto: Aimee has been a Reno resident since 1991. She is a math tutor for TMCC and is a music student at UNR, intending to finish in Music Education. In high school she was a member of the Nevada All-State Choir for two years and served as section leader one year. She has sung with TOCCATA since December 2010. Her musical experience since grade school has been primarily choral, but she has recently ventured into becoming a cellist, and has played cello with the UNR Orchestra and the Carson City Symphony since 2011.
Chavez, Rachel Hand – soprano: Rachel Hand Chavez grew up in Southern California where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre from California State University, Fullerton. Rachel currently sings soprano in TOCCATA, the Nevada Opera Chorus, and the Reno Philharmonic Chorus. She moved to Northern Nevada in 2007 and lives in Southeast Reno with her husband, son, and daughter. She works 24/7 as a Stay-At-Home Mom.
Clarke, Millie – second soprano: Millie lives in Incline Village. She's a retired IBM executive and Sierra Nevada College assistant professor, with a Masters degree in chemistry from CalTech. She has been performing with choirs for about 30 years, and with TOCCATA since its formation. She also sings with the Sierra Nevada College choir, and with the Village Church choir. She loves Tahoe outdoor activities—hiking, biking, kayaking, snowshoeing, skiing. 2011 milestones: both our sons got married!
Clontz, Donna – alto: Donna is a retired attorney from Southern California. She has sung in choirs since elementary school and has enjoyed singing with TOCCATA since 2009; she lives in Reno with her barbershop-singing husband, Norm. They love to ski and travel the world.
Deupree, Scott - bass/baritone: Scott began singing choral music in college and has sung with a variety of organizations, most notably for over 15 years with the Allan Hancock College A Cappella Choir (Santa Maria, CA) under the direction of Glenn Montague. This was a touring choir that was formally recognized by both Pope John Paul II and President Reagan, among others, for multiple cultural enhancement tours behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. He currently resides in South Lake Tahoe and sings with the Lake Tahoe Community Chorus, and with TOCCATA since 2009. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Police Administration from California State University Los Angeles and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. He was employed in the field of corrections for 37 years and retired in 2007 as the Chief Probation Officer for Santa Barbara County.
Dupuy, Judy – second soprano: Judy is a 38 year resident of Lake Tahoe, moving from the Bay Area after graduation from the University of California at Davis with a bachelor’s degree in history. Her husband and she have two college students. She is the office manager for a Stateline law firm. Judy sings in the choir at Hope Lutheran Church of the Sierras and in the Tahoe Choir, with whom she performed at Carnegie Hall in 2006. She has sung with TOCCATA for three years and enjoys the challenging repertoire and the joy of singing with a live orchestra.
Elliott, Marta – alto: Marta Elliott is originally from Iowa City, IA, and is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Reno. She received her PhD in Sociology from The Johns Hopkins University, and prior to that studied piano and voice at Phillips Academy/Andover and Oberlin College."
Felix, Jeanne – soprano: Jeanne studied music in Hayward, CA since 3rd grade, playing cello, oboe and flute all through college. She played in Honor Orchestra and Marching Bands. Jeanne has sung with the Reno Philharmonic Chorus, University of Reno Choral Group, Mountain Belles (Barber Shop Group), and several other groups over the years. She enjoys the challenging pieces that TOCCATA performs. As a member of the UNR Chamber Group, Jeanne sang at Carnegie Hall and at the Bavarian Music Academy in Germany.
Gallien, Rick – bass: Rick has his BA in History from the University of California, and an MA in Management from Michigan University. He has been singing for 25 years, and this is his second year performing with TOCCATA . Rick is a guide for the Tahoe Rim Trail, a former Coast Guard C-130 pilot, and a Lake Tahoe Real Estate Appraiser. He currently lives in Incline Village, NV.
Gollery, Suzanne – soprano: Suzanne's two passions are science and music, with science as vocation and music as avocation (because it is much easier to make great music recreationally). While earning a B.S. in microbiology (Arizona State University) and Ph.D. in Immunology (University of California, Berkeley), Suzanne continued to play flute, recorder, and sing in the Sun Devil Marching Band, ASU Choral Union (Douglas McEwen), CAL choir, and various church choirs and informal performing groups. Much of her formal vocal training came from singing with Rob Seibel in the Bering Memorial UMC choir in Houston, Texas. Currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Science and Technology at Sierra Nevada College, Suzanne sings soprano and occasionally plays flute or recorder for TOCCATA, sings periodically with SNC's chorus under Donna Axton, and sings and plays flute at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Incline Village.
Griffith, George – baritone: George lives in Reno. He received his Bachelor of Science in Math, and has a masters Degree in Electrical Engineering. He is now retired from a career working at GTE/Verizon. He sang in many church choirs throughout his life and most recently with the Tahoe Community Choir from 1991-2005. He has performed with TOCCATA for one year. George has visited and spent time in 60 different countries. He wrote one musical piece and one small book, "Musical Birds of Nevada".
Helman, Mary Ann – alto: Mary Ann has been a member and alto soloist for community and church choirs from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay area. She received her training while attending Nursing School in the San Francisco Bay area. Like many, music has been a creative and relaxing outlet from the stresses of Medicine. She has resided in South Lake Tahoe since 1979 along with her husband, Jon, and Wheaten Terrier, LuLu. She has been a member of Lake Tahoe Community Choir for over 20 years, where she has performed as soloist for Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi Gloria, Beethoven's Mass in C, Mozart Requiem, Bach Magnificat, and Christmas Oratorio, Britten Ceremony of Carols, and the Brahams Liebeslieder Walzes. She is a frequent guest and soloist for St. Theresa's Catholic Church in South Lake Tahoe, and member and soloist for St. John's Episcopal Church, Glenbrook, Nevada.
Hess, Merdene – alto/soprano: Merdene is originally from Modesto, CA and is now an Enrolled Agent with IRS - owner of Incline Tax Service and a tax preparer for 27 years. She has lived on both coasts and now resides in Reno. Merdene has a BA in Music/Elementary Education from San Jose State, has taught private piano lessons and elementary school music and kindergarten. She has sung in the Fairfield County Chorale in Westport, CT, the Pitchpipers in Fairfield, CT, the Sierra NV College Choir, and St. Patrick’s Church Choir in Incline Village, NV.
Horst, Susan - soprano: Susan has been co-conductor of the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus since 2007, a position she assumed upon completion of a Master of Music in choral conducting at the University of Nevada, Reno. Ms. Horst hails from Juneau, Alaska where she held both instrumental and choral positions in the Juneau schools. She was a frequent artistic director and workshop conductor with the Juneau Lyric Opera and the University of Alaska Southeast. Ms. Horst was also a national consultant for Yamaha Music where she trained teachers on Yamaha's Music in Education Technology Assisted Music Program (MIE) and developed curriculum. Ms. Horst received her Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. Ms. Horst is an instructor at Sierra College, Truckee Campus, operates a private voice and piano studio in Truckee, and sings with TOCCATA and The Reno Philharmonic Chorus.
Hutto, John – tenor: John grew up in San Jose, CA, beginning his musical career at age 8 on piano under the instruction of his grandfather, a concert violinist and contra bass singer. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1996 with a BA in Music with a specialty in string bass, and a minor in voice and piano. He later earned his MBA, with emphasis in Hotel Administration from UNLV in 1998. He has served in two church positions as assistant music director and accompanist for the past 10 years. He currently works for Wells Fargo Bank. He is the piano accompanist in his local church, and performs with TOCCATA and other local music organizations.
Keel, Linda Penny – alto: Linda, a former Chicagoan and Michigander, earned her Ph.D. at The University of Michigan in counseling and psychology. She moved to Lake Tahoe (Stateline, NV) in 1999 after retiring from full time university teaching in Chicago, IL, where she taught/trained graduate students in professional counseling. Singing since elementary school in church and school choral groups, she has been a member of the Tahoe Community Choir in South Lake Tahoe since 2000, and is choir director for the Environmental Science Magnet School's elementary school choir. Currently she is adjunct professor at several community colleges, and does private practice counseling.
Lauder, Amy – soprano/alto: Amy is from Carson City and has been singing in choirs almost nonstop since the age of three, and with TOCCATA since 2009. She has a BA in music from the University of Nevada, Reno, where she sang with the Chamber Chorale and Nevada Chamber Opera and performed in such far flung places as Milwaukee, Germany, and Elko. Since graduation she has entertained herself by working in libraries, dabbling in teaching piano, making complicated sweaters, and taking classes towards a master’s degree in library and information science.
Lauder, Robert F. – bass: Robert F. Lauder has resided with his talented wife and 4 daughters (all musically talented) in Carson City, NV since 1984. He has 2 Bachelor of Science degrees, one from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (’76), the second from Syracuse University (’77). He is a professional engineer (licensed in Nevada and California), and is the sole proprietor of RL Engineering, provider of civil and structural engineering design services in Carson City. Robert has been singing with Carson City’s First United Methodist Church Choir since 1998, with Carson Chamber Singers since 2005, and with TOCCATA since 2009.
Leo, Jonathan S. – bass/tenor: Jonathan accompanied his wife, Rabbi Teri Appleby, to Reno in July, 2009 from California, after Teri was hired as the rabbi of Temple Sinai, Northern Nevada’s only Reform Jewish congregation, where Jon serves as the volunteer cantorial soloist. He practiced environmental law for 20 years, works as an environmental consultant for federal government and commercial clients on Superfund cleanups, corporate sustainability practices, and energy policies, and taught environmental law in 2010 at UNR to undergraduate and graduate students in engineering, natural resources, and political science. Jon received his B.A. at UCLA in Political Science with a minor in Russian, and received his J.D. from the USC Law Center. He has sung in Jewish congregational choirs in Northern and Southern California, with the Hallel Community Chorus in Jerusalem, the Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale, the Southern California Choral Society, and the Long Beach Chorale before moving to Reno. In Reno, Jonathan is a regular with TOCCATA as well as with the Reno Baroque Ensemble, the Reno Philharmonic Chorus, and the Nevada Opera Chorus.
Leonard, Maureen (Moe) – alto/tenor/soprano: Moe is originally from New Jersey and has a B.A. in Music from Monclair University. She is employed as a Broker-Salesperson at ReMax Realty Today in CA and NV and is Music Director , vocalist/pianist/organist at St. Theresa Church, South Lake Tahoe.
McKaslin, Kelli – alto/soprano: Kelli was born in Santa Monica, CA and raised on a Sloop between Los Angeles, Hawaii, and French Polynesia. Her education includes University of Hawaii, Hilo in Viola/Orchestra, Music Theory, and Musical Theater and at Palomar College, San Diego in Medical Lab Technology and Nursing. Kelli’s employment includes Medical Assist/Phlebotomy Instructor, San Diego Blood Bank, nurse/phlebotomist, Lab Research Associate/DNA Bank, and Sequenom Genomics. Currently Kelli sings with Tahoe Choir and is assistant director of the Children's Honor Choir at the Environmental Science Magnet School under Paul Kushner.
Mitchell, Linda – alto/soprano: Linda received her BA and MA in musicology from University of California at Riverside. She has taught music in schools from elementary through college. She has been the conductor of the Tahoe Choir for 17 years and has taught music at LTCC for many years. Linda has sung music from the choral repertoire as well as opera, Broadway, and cabaret.
Morton, Stephen – baritone: Stephen grew up on the San Francisco peninsula and is currently working part time in the Hospitality Industry and special events for the Town of Genoa. He attended Foothill JC in Los Altos Hills as a music major and transferred to San Jose State where he received a BA in music. Besides college choirs, his vocal experience includes participation with the St. Helena Chamber Singers under the direction of Craig Bond and the Schola Cantorum (based in Mountain View, California) under the direction of the founder, Royal Stanton.
Nygren, Joanie - most recently been singing with Sierra Nevada College Chorus, and Toccata. She started singing in choirs at age 8, and has been involved with Musical Theater productions in the CA Bay Area, as well Lake Tahoe ever since.
Joanie was an elementary teacher for 30 years in Cupertino, CA. Her favorite part of the day was pulling out her guitar and singing with the students!
Penner-Johnson, Karen – alto: Karen resides in Reno with her husband Marc. She has been singing in choirs since the age of six in churches, schools and communities. She obtained a Master of Music degree in organ performance after retiring as a Professor Emerita from Kansas State University, where she worked nearly 30 years in the food science/human nutrition program. Before moving west, she was a church organist for ten years in Manhattan, KS. Karen has also accompanied many choirs and soloists in her past life. In Reno, she serves on the Board of the Reno Chamber Orchestra, skis, quilts, and performs occasionally on the "Pipes on the River" weekly organ concert series at Trinity Episcopal. Previously, she also sang with Bella Voce.
Powers, Meghan – soprano: Meagan grew up in Truckee and began singing at age 10 in the children's choir at Assumption Parish. Having no choir in middle or high school, Meghan sang with Sierra Nevada College Choir in Incline Village for 5 years. She studied for one year at University Nevada Reno on a vocal performance scholarship, returning to Truckee and the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus. She continues to sing and now directs with the "Joyful Choir" at Assumption Parish in Truckee. Meghan is a soprano and this is her third year singing with Toccata.
Rebane, Anga - alto: Anga grew up in Whittier, California and earned her Bachelor's degree in biology at Antioch College, Ohio, followed by a Master's in wildlife management. She has taught biology and environmental science at UNLV, Sierra Nevada College, and in middle and high schools in Michigan and Las Vegas, and is currently retired. She began singing with her Girl Scout troop in second grade, and has sung recreationally with Reno Philharmonic Choir, Sierra Nevada College Choir, and TOCCATA, as well as several church choirs.
Schimmel, Sheri – soprano: Sheri is from South Lake Tahoe and has owned Mary's Drapery & Interior Design for 29 years. She received her Bachelor's in Music (Voice Performance) from Cal State University Fresno. She has sung with the Tahoe Choir since 1974, performed in local musical productions & weddings, and has done solo work at Sierra Community Church. She has sung with TOCCATA for five years.
Stevenson, Phil – bass: Phil has been singing in community choruses and church choirs since his undergraduate days at Harvard College. He currently resides in South Lake Tahoe and sings with the Hope Lutheran Church choir, the Tahoe Choir, and with TOCCATA since 2009. He has a B. A. Degree in Chemistry from Harvard College, a Ph. D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and an M. B. A. from Rutgers Graduate School of Management. During his working career he taught college chemistry, worked in the plastics industry designing materials, and after his initial retirement, worked for an insurance company in information technology. He retired to Lake Tahoe in 2000 where he enjoys hiking, cross-country skiing, and occasional bird watching with his wife. He also enjoys traveling in the U.S. and abroad to ride and photograph electric railways.
Vogt, MaryEllen – alto: MaryEllen is from Ames, Iowa, received a BA in English from Colorado State University, an MA in literacy education from California State University, Stanislaus, and a doctorate in Language and Literacy from UC, Berkeley. She served as a public school teacher and reading specialist, and as professor at California State University, Long Beach, prior to retiring to Lake Tahoe in 2004. MaryEllen first appeared on stage at age 3, and since then has performed with many ensembles, choruses, and in lead roles in community musical theatre in Modesto, where she and her husband, Keith, raised their four children. During college, she was also a “lounge singer” at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, but that’s another story…
Weinstein, Esther – alto: Esther has been doing odd jobs in music for more than 40 years. She moved to Las Vegas in 1970, soon after completing a Master in Musicology from New York University. For the first 20 years, she taught piano at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Community College of Southern Nevada, and for the Nevada School of the Arts, as well as free lanced as an accompanist and arts writer. For eight years, she was Music, Dance and Fine Arts critic for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 1990, she became an Elementary Music Specialist for the Clark County School District, where she taught for 20 years. Now retired, she enjoys amateur chamber music and choral singing. She belongs to the Las Vegas Master Singers, "the voice" for the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and gravitates to choruses who perform great classical works. With her son a Professor at UNR, she enjoys the excuse to come north to sing some of those works with TOCCATA.
Zambresky, Liana – tenor: Liana lives at South Lake Tahoe, but was raised on the Monterey Peninsula. She has a BS in physics from the University of Redlands and an MS in geophysics from the University of British Columbia. In the 1980’s she was a physical oceanographer for the U.S. Navy and brought online the first five day global ocean wave forecast in the world. As a meteorologist for the Department of Defense in the 1990’s, she was responsible for providing weather forecasts to US Armed Forces in areas of conflict. Music has always been a part of her life. At one time or another, she has played the clarinet, sousaphone, classical guitar or piano, but now enjoys singing choral music. In addition to TOCCATA, she sings with the Tahoe choir.