The Master Singers

Media Sponsor

Wisconsin Public Radio

Season Sponsors

Wisconsin Arts Board

The National Endowment for the Arts

Transportation Sponsor

Kobussen Buses, Ltd.

Concert Sponsors

The Casper Foundation

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic

Dr. Gary & Nancy Schwartzhoff

The Bailey Family

The Basilica of Saint Mary

Friends of the Master Singers

The Master Singers Circle

The White Family

The Master Singers Ensemble

Gary R. Schwartzhoff, conductor | Nancy Schwartzhoff, accompanist

Soprano I

Rachael McIlquham, Music Educator

Rachael McIlquham, soprano, is very excited for the opportunity to again sing with The Master Singers. She is the choral director at Eau Claire North High School, and is the former choral director at Beloit Memorial High School. She studied at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. While at UW-Eau Claire, Rachael participated in choral ensembles under the direction of Dr. Gary R. Schwartzhoff and Dr. Alan Rieck. She has studied voice with Nicole Harper, Ron Buckles, and Elizabeth Petillot. Rachael is the former director of Eagle Show Choir at Eau Claire Memorial High School and has judged middle school solo and ensemble festivals. She has also taught theater classes at the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre.

Cathy Statz, Education Director

Cathy Statz

Cathy Statz, soprano, is currently in her eleventh season with The Masters Singers and is the education director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU), a grassroots rural advocacy organization in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She coordinates cooperative education programs for Farmers Union members, their children and the general public, including youth camps at WFU Kamp Kenwood on Lake Wissota. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (Education) and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Cathy, her husband Tom Pamperin and their cat Ozymandias live in Chippewa Falls. She is a volunteer with Junior Achievement - Northwest Wisconsin District and has served on the boards of the Rotary Club of Chippewa Falls, the Kentron Foundation, the Association of Cooperative Educators and the Lawrence University Alumni Association.

Marcia Van Beek, Development Director

Marcia Van Beek

Marcia Van Beek, soprano and charter member, works for her alma mater as Major Gifts Director for UW-Eau Claire Foundation. It was here she received her undergraduate degree in social work and went on to receive a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Minnesota. Singing has been a lifelong passion for her and includes choral participation in the UW-Eau Claire Concert Choir, University of Minnesota Concert Choir, The Bach Society of Minnesota, Eau Claire Musical Arts Chorale and First Congregational United Church of Christ Chancel Choir. Marcia also enjoys working with community non-profit organizations, international travel with her husband, Jack Kaiser, and time with their new grandson.

Angela Van Loon, Office Manager

Angela Van Loon, soprano, is joining The Master Singers for her third season.  She graduated from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education.   She was a member of the Minnesota Chorale for two years and a church musician while living in the Twin Cities area, but has since relocated to Eau Claire.  Currently, she is the office manager and worship leader at Arrowhead Bible Camp.  Angela loves spending quality time with friends and family and discovering new music and art.

Soprano II

Kristi Gerry, Homemaker

Kristi Gerry, soprano, is delighted to return to The Master Singers for her tenth season. A 1984 graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, Kristi earned a major in English and a minor in German. She studied voice for four years with Alice Larsen and sang in several St. Olaf Choirs while on campus. Kristi is mother to three amazing daughters. In addition to raising them, she has been an active volunteer in the schools, her church and community.

Meredith Pirazzini, Office Manager

Meredith Pirazzini

Meredith Pirazzini, soprano, now in her eighth season with The Master Singers, brings a background in choral singing, piano and dance to the ensemble. She is the office coordinator for the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center and State Theatre. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in German and English at St. Olaf College, where she also studied voice with Frances Anderson and was a performing member of the St. Olaf Dance Company. She has been singing in church choirs since grade school, and, while studying in Germany, sang with the Freiburger Kammerchor. For twenty years, she enjoyed the rewards of accompanying youth choirs in Rhinelander and Eau Claire churches. In Eau Claire, she is a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational UCC. She enjoys photography, travel and wilderness camping in the BWCAW. She and husband Mark have two grown children, David (Kristin) and Kaia.

Nancy Schwartzhoff, Educator

Nancy Schwartzhoff, soprano and charter member, is a retired elementary educator. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Central College in Pella, Iowa where she sang in the A Cappella Choir. She also has a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and an Education Specialist degree in Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Nancy has served as the accompanist for numerous choral ensembles including The Master Singers since 1993; The Ames Chamber Artists, Ames, Iowa; and The Charles City Singers, Charles City, Iowa. She is a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ. Nancy is married to Gary Schwartzhoff and they have two daughters, Jenifer Morgan (Jerry), and Rebecca Johnson (Andy), and grandchildren Brady, Alex, Anna, Emma, and Clare.

Holly Simmons, Educator

Holly Simmons

Holly Simmons, soprano, is in her first season with The Master Singers. She is a middle school teacher in the Stanley-Boyd Area School District, where she co-directs the high school musical, is an advisor to the student council, and helps with after-school programs promoting social and emotional growth. Holly studied at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has had the privilege of singing in choral ensembles conducted by Dr. Gary R. Schwartzhoff and Dr. Alan Rieck in Concert Choir, Women's Concert Chorale, and Symphonic Choir. Holly recently married her high school sweetheart (tenor Ryan Simmons) and they are happy to begin their lives together in the Chippewa Valley. Holly and Ryan are thrilled for the opportunity to sing together with The Master Singers this season.

Annelies White, Therapist

Annelies White

Annelies White, soprano, is entering her fifteenth season with The Master Singers, and is currently a mental health therapist at Marriage and Family Health Services. She also teaches private voice and piano lessons, plays piano at various churches and directs the choir at Sacred Heart Hospital. She has taught choral music for the past eleven years at various Wisconsin and Pennsylvania schools and conservatories. She received her Bachelor of Music Education and her Masters of Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and sang in Concert Choir during her time at UW-Eau Claire. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, and painting, as well as being involved with the Eau Claire Children's Theatre. She lives in Altoona with her husband, Howard, and their two cats, Alex and Princess.

Alto I

Annie Bailey, Nurse Midwife

Annie Bailey

Annie Bailey, alto, has been a member of The Master Singers since 2003.  She is a certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic Health System-Eau Claire. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Hamline University, a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance, and a Master of Science degree in Nurse Midwifery, both from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She is also a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire.

Corinne Liegel, Social Worker

Corinne Liegel, alto, has performed with The Master Singers on several concert tours, but this is her first season with the ensemble. Corinne has been a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ for the past twelve years and believes that something spiritual happens when each individual voice harmonizes with others to create something bigger than the single voice. Professionally, Corinne has been a social worker for Eau Claire County Department of Human Services for thirty-seven years. She is married to Mark and has two sons, Jeff and Joe.

Lynn McFadyen, Music Educator

Lynn McFadyen

Lynn McFadyen, alto, joined The Master Singers in 1997, making this her twentieth year of singing in the choir. She serves as the historian for the ensemble. Lynn graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Music Education degree and is a retired music educator. She is currently a church musician at The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Eau Claire. Lynn accompanies various musical performances and does some substitute teaching in area schools. She lives in Eau Claire with her husband, Bob. Together they enjoy family time, fishing, traveling, Badger football, Brewers baseball and, of course, Packer games! She is proud to be in The Master Singers and enjoys the level of musical excellence this choir attains.

Leah Richardson, Account Manager

Leah Richardson

Leah Richardson, alto, is singing in her first season with The Master Singers. She had the privilege of singing in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Choral Festival this past season. She graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in Business Administration. She sang under the direction of Dr. Schwartzhoff in Concert Choir for three years. She is an Account Manager at Ambient Inks and teaches voice and piano lessons at the Eau Claire Music School.

Megan Sorenson, Educator

Megan Sorenson, alto, is excited to begin her second season with The Master Singers. Megan is a graduate of UW-Eau Claire, where she majored in elementary education and music. While in college, Megan participated in many of the music ensembles, and had many opportunities to tour parts of the United States, as well as Europe. Currently, Megan is beginning her teaching career as a fourth grade teacher at Sam Davey Elementary in Eau Claire. She is very grateful to be able to create music with The Master Singers again this season.

Alto II

Jennifer Eddy, Family Physician

Jennifer Eddy, alto, is excited to be joining The Master Singers. She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she sang in the Collegium Musicum under Jameson Marvin, and in the Memorial Church choir under John Ferris. After graduation, she sang in Boston's Ars Cantorum under Mark Janello. Once an avid bassoon player, she is now a family practice physician who serves on the Eau Claire City-County Board of Health and the board of the Family Resource Center. She has also taught French at the Concordia Villages. In her free time, she enjoys tennis and travelling with her husband and teenage son.

Colleen Garnevicus, Music Educator

Colleen Garnevicus

Colleen Forster Garnevicus, alto, is in her fifth season with The Master Singers and is currently the Music Director at Immaculate Conception Parish in Eau Claire, where she directs two adult choirs and the Family Choir.  Most of her 33-year career was spent teaching music in New York City at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. She is also a jazz sax player, having studied in New York City with Jimmy Heath.  She graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a B.A. in English and a sixty-credit minor in Music Education. She spent three years after college as a VISTA Volunteer in inner-city Kansas City, working to start a music lesson program for underprivileged youth and a summer jazz workshop and concert series. “With a great group of family and friends, beautiful Wisconsin to live in, meaningful work and wonderful colleagues, how can I keep from singing?”

Ann Lamoureux, Senior Manager

Ann Lamoureux, alto, is in her second season with The Master Singers. She is an attorney and is a tax senior manager at KPMG, LLP in Minneapolis, telecommuting most of the time. She received Bachelor of Mathematics, Master of Science-Mathematics, and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Minnesota. Ann comes from a family of church musicians, and has been in school and church choirs since elementary school, including The Chapel Choir at Gustavus Adolphus College. She was a member of the Duodecimi Chamber Choir under the direction of Chuck Boody in the Twin Cities for two years. She also sings with the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Eau Claire. She enjoys time with her family, especially her five grandchildren, and travel with her husband, John.

Patty Marsnik, Speech Pathologist

Patty Marsnik

Patty Marsnik, alto, is happy to be singing with The Master Singers for her seventh season. Patty is a Speech/Language Pathologist for St. Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from the College of St. Teresa's and Winona State University, and her graduate degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Patty has sung with a variety of musical groups, including the Cathedral Choir in Winona, various musical theater productions, and her parish choir in Eau Claire. Patty was pleased to sing recently with the ensemble for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Choral Festival in Washington, D.C. With her husband, Pete, and two grown children, Patty enjoys attending area arts productions, running, and travel.

Wanda Miller, Music Educator

Wanda Miller

Wanda Miller, alto, is currently in her tenth season with The Master Singers. She teaches music at Northwoods Elementary School in the Eau Claire School District. Wanda earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Choral and General Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In addition to music, she is passionate about learning more about how good nutrition and eating well impact our lives in such a positive way. Wanda feels blessed to have and share her musical gifts and enjoys singing, playing French horn, and directing choirs at St. Mark Lutheran Church and Concordia Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.

Tenor I

Aaron Athas, Music Educator

Aaron Athas

Aaron Athas, is in his third year with The Master Singers. He is currently a media specialist in the Eau Claire Area School District, having previously taught in Merrill, Wisconsin and in Eau Claire as an elementary music educator. Additionally, he is the communications facilitator for Lake Street United Methodist Church in Eau Claire. He graduated from UW-Platteville in 2010 with studies in music and broadcasting, and graduated in 2014 with an MSE from Minnesota State University. With colleagues, he has delivered educational technology integration lectures at major Wisconsin and Minnesota leadership conferences. He is a member of several professional and social organizations including the American Choral Directors Association, Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association, and Phi Mu Alpha. Aaron has taught private piano and guitar lessons and produces audio and visual media in a home studio. He lives in Eau Claire with his wife, Allie.

Nicholas Flinner, Science Educator

Nicholas Flinner, tenor, is starting his second season with The Master Singers. Nick is currently an Earth Science teacher at North High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography at UW-Platteville, a masters in Earth and Quaternary Science at Indiana State University, and a teaching certification from UW-Milwaukee. While attending school, he discovered a passion for choral music and participated in musicals and choirs with his wife, Magdalene. Nick is very thankful for the opportunity to continue singing with The Master Singers and looks forward to what this year has in store.

Raymond French, Lawyer

Raymond French

Raymond French, tenor, is excited about his first season with The Master Singers. Ray is an alumnus of UW-Eau Claire, where he spent eight semesters with The Singing Statesmen. He then went on to Hamline University where he received his law degree and master in public administration. He is currently admitted to practice law in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ray is also the Business Assistance Specialist with the City of Eau Claire’s Economic Development Division. When not working, you can find Ray reading, watching The West Wing with his wife, or playing princess dolls with his daughter.

Ryan Simmons, Music Educator

Ryan Simmons, tenor, is excited to begin his first season with The Master Singers. Ryan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and received a bachelor's degree in Vocal Music Education. While at UW-Eau Claire, Ryan sang under Dr. Schwartzhoff in The Singing Statesmen, Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir. Ryan currently works at Delong Middle School in the Eau Claire Area School District teaching choir and adaptive music. Ryan and his wife, Holly, are excited to be back in the Chippewa Valley to start their lives together.

Larry Studt, Medical Doctor

Larry Studt, tenor, in his eighth season with The Master Singers, is an Occupational Medicine physician with Prevea WorkMed in Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire. He is married to Rachel and they have three children: Claire, Laurel, and Nathan. He was a member of the Nordic Choir at Luther College, where he received his undergraduate degree. Larry earned his medical degree at the University of Iowa Medical School. When not busy with family, work, running, or music, Larry is an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan.

Tenor II

Adam Accola, Bartender

Adam Accola, tenor, is joining The Master Singers for his first concert season. Previously a member of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Concert Choir and The Singing Statesmen, he graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in vocal music with minors in Spanish, the Health Professions, and Latin American Studies. He currently is living and working in Eau Claire with plans to pursue further education in the near future.

Jerry O'Brien, Software Engineer

Jerry O'Brien

Jerry O'Brien, tenor, is a software engineer with Intel in Eau Claire and has sung with The Master Singers since 2010. He received his bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of New Mexico. While in Albuquerque, he sang with the New Mexi-Chords Barbershop Chorus, competing at the international level. He also sings in the Eau Claire area with the CHIPS barbershop quartet. Jerry also enjoys ballroom dance, bicycling, and kayaking.

Mark Pirazzini, Pastor

Mark Pirazzini

Mark Pirazzini, tenor, has been a member since 2000 and is the minister at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire. Mark earned his Bachelor of Arts at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota where he sang in the Chapel and St. Olaf Choirs. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Andover-Newton Theological Seminary in Newton Centre, Massachusetts and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He is a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire. He loves to read and play racquetball.

Gary Steffenhagen, Music Educator

Gary Steffenhagen

Gary Steffenhagen, tenor, is in his tenth year with The Master Singers. For thirty-four years he was vocal music director in the Wausau Middle Schools and served as Worship Coordinator/Organist at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Schofield, Wisconsin. He received music education degrees from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Gary holds the Colleague Certificate from the American Guild of Organists and is active in the local chapter. At St. Mark Lutheran Church, Eau Claire, he serves as one of the organists and directs the Worship Choir. Gary and his wife, Rita, have three married sons, three grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Bass I

David Bishop, Educator

David Bishop

David Bishop, baritone, is a new addition to the ranks of The Master Singers. He is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he sang in numerous ensembles under the direction of Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff. He is enjoying his first year as a professional educator, teaching fourth grade at Lakeshore Elementary. In his free time, David loves spending time in the outdoors with his wife and watching classic action movies at home.

Jim Forster, Private Investigator

Jim Forster

Jim Forster, baritone, has been with the ensemble since 1993. He retired from the Eau Claire Police Department in 2004 after thirty-one years. He now owns a private detective agency, Veritas Investigations, LLC, and conducts various types of investigations. He is also a polygraph examiner. He attended the United States Air Force Academy and sang with both the Cadet Catholic Choir and the Academy Chorale. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in English and Physical Education at UW-Eau Claire, where he was a member of The Singing Statesmen.

Ken Snart, Counselor

Ken Snart

Ken Snart, tenor, is in his second season with The Master Singers.  He is retired from the State of Wisconsin after more than thirty years working as a Substance Abuse Counselor and Supervisor for both the Department of Health Services and the Department of Corrections.  He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree with a double major in vocal and instrumental music from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia in 1979 and then went on to earn a Master of Music performance degree in saxophone from the University of Alabama in 1981.  In 1998, he earned an MSE in Counselor Education from UW–Oshkosh.  He has served as a music educator for over thirty years with the Wisconsin School Music Association as an adjudicator for Middle School and High School Solo/Ensemble festivals.   He is also a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire.

Mark Wacek, Accounting Assistant

Mark Wacek

Mark Wacek, bass, has been a proud member of The Master Singers since 2008. He works as a Financial Specialist 2 at UW-River Falls and is studying for the CPA exam. Prior to working in accounting, he taught Pre-K – 12th grade general music and 6th – 12th grade choral music in varied settings for seven years. Mark directs the adult choir at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Menomonie and remains a passionate advocate for quality, standards-based arts education programs in schools. Other interests include reading, participating in community and church music ensembles, gardening, and personal finance. Mark is blessed to have a wonderful family including his wife Beth, son Zach, and daughter Miriam.

Samuel Zehms, Salesman

Sam Zehms, baritone, is very excited to be singing with The Master Singers for his second year. He is currently studying biology while working as a customer service representative at Bed, Bath & Drapery. Sam has also had the immense pleasure and privilege of singing with The Singing Statesmen during his first two years at UW-Eau Claire. When he isn't singing, Sam likes to read, sail and travel.

Bass II

Lukas Hoffland, Broadcaster

Lukas Hoffland

Lukas Hoffland, baritone, is On-Air Personality, Promotion Director, Imaging Director and Webmaster for Greatest Hits 98.1, 105.1 WAYY, I-94 and Mid-West Family Broadcasting. He is the sports columnist for Volume One magazine. Lukas is in his fifteenth season singing with The Master Singers and serves on their board of directors. He serves on the Visit Eau Claire Public Relations Committee, and was an entertainer and musician in area renaissance fairs. Lukas's hometown is Eau Claire, and he performed in Madrigals and Old Abe Show Choir at Memorial High School. He is a 2000 graduate of Luther College, where he sang in Nordic Choir, among other vocal ensembles, and founded Luther College Vocal Jazz. He continues to pursue careers in music and broadcasting.

Mark Quamme, Student Affairs

Mark Quamme

Mark Quamme, baritone, is excited to be joining for his first full season with The Master Singers after singing with the ensemble for a short time in the spring of 2015. Mark earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communication and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013, where he sang in The Singing Statesmen, Symphonic Choir, and Concert Choir. Mark recently moved back to the area to take a position as the Coordinator of New Student Orientation & Student Programs at UW-Eau Claire. Mark is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI. In his free time, Mark also enjoys choreographing for many local schools, creative projects for homes and weddings, as well as traveling whenever possible.

Daniel Reali, Accountant

Daniel Reali

Dan Reali, bass, is in his twelfth year singing with The Master Singers. He served as treasurer on the board of directors for the ensemble for eight years, and is an Accountant/Financial Analyst, now retired. He received two Associates degrees from Chippewa Valley Technical College in Accounting, Supervision and Management, and his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was Controller/Chief Financial Officer for several companies in Wisconsin. He is a decorated veteran of four campaigns while serving in the rivers of Vietnam. Dan earned his Black Belt in the martial arts, served as an assistant instructor at Karate American in Eau Claire, and participated in competitions in both regional and national tournaments. He sang with the University Choir while at UW-Eau Claire and currently sings with the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ of Eau Claire. Dan is a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans and a member of Post 305 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Eau Claire. He enjoys music of all kinds, gardening, landscaping, watching football and college basketball, decorating his house and lawn for various holidays and playing with his dogs in his spare time.

Slavko Ivankovic, Oral Surgeon

Slavko Ivankovic, bass, is in his first season with The Master Singers. He is a board-certified oral surgeon with Oral Surgery Associates of Eau Claire. During elementary and high school, he attended St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is also a member of the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire.

Howard White, Attorney

Howard White

Howard White, bass and charter member, is a local attorney and served as president of the Eau Claire City Council for four years. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota where he also spent four years singing with Dale Warland. Howard earned his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. Howard served as President of The Master Singers from 2009 through 2012. He sings with the Chancel Choir at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire.