The Bridge String Quartet
The Bridge String Quartet, formed in 2014, is a passionate group of music students that attend the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. The quartet consists of violinists Hannah Kennedy and Cally O’Leary, violist Michelle Miller, and cellist Susanna Ray. They regularly play for weddings and parties, and greatly enjoy the opportunities to perform alongside jazz bands and choirs. Audiences in the Eau Claire area seek out this professional student quartet, as their captivating performances never fail to impress.
Novum Voce is the newest ensemble to join the UW-Eau Claire choral family. This small chamber ensemble of 16-24 voices sings advanced repertoire from the early Renaissance to music of the 21st Century. The ensemble is destined to thrill audiences with their diverse, unique repertoire, and intimate sound. Novum Voce will perform three concerts this fall.
Judy Lies, organ
Judy Lies has been the organist/pianist at First Congregational United Church of Christ since 1993. She is a graduate of Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a Music Education Degree and has received a degree in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Formerly, Lies has served as the organist and Director of Music at Central Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls while also teaching elementary music in the public schools. Currently, she maintains an independent piano studio of 35-40 students and works as a freelance accompanist.
John Murphy, narrator
Originally from Red Wing, Minnesota, John is the Host and Producer of 790 TODAY at WAYY in Eau Claire. John has been in broadcasting since 1976. While with sister station WAXX 104.5, John won the Marconi Award as small market personality of the year, and the Country Music Association Small Market Personality of the Year award. John is also the Christmas Pageant writer and director at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire. John and his wife Juli live in Eau Claire, have two cats, and spend their free time writing, reading, cooking, going for long walks, and enjoying music, theatre and movies.
Karen Taylor, narrator
Karen Taylor is a Nurse-Educator at Chippewa Valley Technical College. She earned her BSN and MSN from UW-Eau Claire. She has served on the board of directors and performed with The Master Singers on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Choral Festival in Washington D.C. in 2016. Karen sings in the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ.
Charles Tibbetts, French horn
Charles Tibbetts is a French horn player who performed for thirty-six years as a professional in Germany. He is a native of Beloit, Wisconsin, and at the age of thirteen studied privately with the legendary New York freelance French horn player John Barrows at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also played principal horn in the Wisconsin Youth Orchestra in Madison under its founder, Marvin Rabin. Later Charles continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison until the death of his teacher, at which time he immediately left for Europe. He studied briefly with Alan Civil, Herrmann Baumann and Barry Tuckwell. At the age of twenty-two, he won his first principle horn position with the Philharmonia Hungarica under the direction of Antal Dorati. Tibbetts is currently retired and living in Eau Claire with his wife Eva and their two children, Philip and Rebecca. This is Charles’ sixth season with The Master Singers.
Frank A. Watkins, conductor
Frank A. Watkins, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, taught secondary choral music in Texas for six years. He holds degrees in piano performance from Jackson State University (BM), the University of Arkansas (MM), and degrees in choral conducting from Northwestern University (MM) and Michigan State University (DMA). Watkins is in demand as guest conductor and clinician. Recent engagements include the 2013 Mid-Michigan Honor Choir, University of Nebraska Omaha Collegiate Choir Concert Series (2014), Dunn St. Croix Honor Choir (2015), Lakeland All-Conference Honor Choir (2015), University of Nebraska Omaha Middle School Honor Choir (2016), and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra (2016). Future engagements include the 2016 Great Northern Conference All- Conference Choir and the 2017 Big Nine Festival Honor Choir in Red Wing, MN. He has presented workshops on choral methods for the International Music and Christian Arts Conference, Michigan State University, and the Ohio State University. In 2015 he presented at both the Wisconsin Music Educators State Convention and the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference. Watkins joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2014. In 2016, he was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. A dynamic young conductor, Watkins’ love and passion are teaching. He believes that in order to educate, you must first inspire! It is his goal to make an impact…not just an impression, on the lives of those that follow his baton.
Mary Jo Wagner, narrator
Mary Jo Wagner is in her fourteenth year narrating for The Master Singers. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Music Education. She spent many years teaching private voice and piano and serving as a church choir director and organist. She sang in choirs while at Wartburg College and as a community member of the Platteville Chorale. The addition of courses in broadcast journalism led to a career at Wisconsin Public Radio for twenty years as a talk show host and news reporter. Her program, The West Side was an award-winning, hour-long regional public affairs program focusing on western Wisconsin. She followed that with a five-year career as Professional Moderator for national webinars at KRM Information Services, Inc. in Eau Claire. To stay immersed in music, she sings in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Symphonic Choir. She kayaks with the Pure Water Paddlers in Eau Claire and lovingly tends to seven grandchildren.