Summer Music Fest Faculty
Our music faculty are experts in the fields of vocal and choral music, conducting, piano, theory, education, and composition. In 2018, our faculty traveled to Streator from six different states-Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, Georgia, and Tennessee-they comprised our senior faculty, junior faculty, and guest lecturers. Students had the chance to work one-on-one and in small groups, exploring new ideas, fine-tuning skills, and gaining a better acumen for continued education, various careers in the music field, and a life-long relationship with music and the arts.
2018 Senior Faculty
Dr. Carlton Monroe, choral conducting
Dr. Monroe is Director of Music at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park, Ohio, where, in addition to leading an active music program for children and adults, he established and conducts the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas, a professional ensemble of instrumentalists and vocalists who perform services, concerts and educational retreats centered on the music of J. S. Bach.
As a conductor and music educator, he has taught at every level from elementary to college, including positions at Ursuline Academy and Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Miami University (OH), and Georgia College & State University. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is Region V Chair of the Association of Anglican Musicians and Membership Chair of the Greater Cincinnati Choral Consortium. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife Jennifer, contrabassoonist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and their children Jack and Catherine.
Robert Mangialardi, baritone
Robert R. Mangialardi is currently Visiting Professor of music and Director of the Opera Theatre program at Illinois Wesleyan University. Mr. Mangialardi's recent opera theater productions have included “Don Giovanni”, “Ballymore”, “The Elixir of Love”, “and “The Medium.” Prior to beginning his career at IWU, Mr. Mangialardi directed and taught voice for 14 years at Millikin University in Decatur, IL.
Mr. Mangialardi has performed throughout the Midwest with companies such as the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Opera Theater, Sunshine Theater, Fireside Theater, Illinois Voices Theater and The Barn Theater. Robert has also done many television commercials for companies such as Amtrak and Black’s Hardware Company.
Mr. Mangialardi is the founder and executive director of Prairie Fire Theatre, a professional light opera company based in Bloomington-Normal. Each year, Prairie Fire Theatre produces one touring children’s opera, an operetta and two musicals. Productions are cast primarily with area professionals and University students. The 2009 production of “Pinocchio” toured 28 schools and performed for over 7000 elementary students and teachers. Prairie Fire Theatre specializes in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and usually produces one G&S operetta a year. Many of Prairie Fire Theatre’s productions are performed on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Mangialardi received his Bachelor of Music Education degree and Master of Music in vocal performance from Illinois State University and has done doctoral work at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. His wife, Melinda, was an administrator at Illinois State University for over 28 years. They have three children, Nicholas, Samuel and Gabriella.
Nancy Pounds, piano
Nancy Pounds is an Adjunct Faculty Accompanist and Instructor of Piano at Illinois Wesleyan University. She received the MM in Piano Performance from Illinois State University where she studied with Tella Marie DeBose. Nancy maintains a very active performing and teaching schedule working with students, colleagues, and visiting artists. She regularly appears at the IWU contemporary music programs, the Illinois Chamber Festival, and for several summers as faculty accompanist for the IWU Cello Camp. Recent performances include the October 2017 IWU New Music Cafe, Tres Bagatelas para Piano and the American Premiere of Sonata para Trombone e Piano written by Brazilian composer Marcos Lucas, and It Just Takes One written by and featuring Kate Tombaugh and sponsored by NCI Artworks in Spring Valley, IL. Performances in the near future include recitals with Andy Rozsa, IWU faculty and Bass Trombonist with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and Michelle Vought, soprano, ISU faculty.
Dr. Steven Weimer, music theory and composition
Composer Steven Weimer’s music has been performed by the JACK Quartet, Molly Barth, Fear No Music Quartet, saxophonist Sean Xue, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Chamber Players, CCM Wind Ensemble, CCM Chamber Players, Café Momus, and many others.
Performances of his work span from Alaska to Bulgaria, with premieres at festivals such as June in Buffalo, Forum-Festival Computer Music Space, North American Saxophone Alliance, Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, and the Music Theory and Musicology Society Conference. His recent commissions include works for the Kentucky Music Teachers Association, Vandoren, Inc., the CCM Orchestra Program, and tubist Timothy Northcut. He has received first-place awards from the Eta Omicron chapter’s Phi Mu Alpha Composition Contest, the CCM Concerto/Composition Competition, and placed as a finalist for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Marilyn Glick Young Composers Competition.
Dr. Weimer has enjoyed recent collaborations with American poets in Cincinnati and California; his setting of Kathleen Winter’s Eve, Seducing the Apple will be published in the tenth anniversary edition of the Cincinnati Review. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Murray State University in Kentucky.
2018 Guest Lecturers
Dr. Drew Dolan, guest composer and lecturer
Drew Dolan’s activities as a composer have involved instrumental compositions, performance, improvisation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. As a composer, he has received performances in America and Europe from artists and ensembles such as the Clibber Jones Ensemble, 15.19 Ensemble, the University of Akron Men’s Chorus, pianist Kristofer Rucinski, Kennesaw State Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Cartel, Terminus Ensemble, pianist Michiko Otaki, neoPhonia, and the percussion ensembles at Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, Columbus State University, and Brevard College. His music is frequently heard at new music festivals such as the Applause Music Concert Series, TUTTI, highSCORE, UPBEAT, and the Charlotte New Music Festival.
His experiences as a percussionist have seen numerous performances in solo and chamber settings with a focus on new works by living and emerging composers, having given several world and local premieres. He also frequently performs in improvisatory settings using a diverse array of instruments and multimedia tools, which have included accordion, didgeridoo, laptop, and robots.
Dolan completed doctoral studies in composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; he also holds degrees from Bowling Green State University and Georgia State University. A committed teacher, Dolan has taught courses in Music Theory and World Music at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and currently teaches a course on 20th Century Music and Politics for the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Abigail Santos, soprano
Puerto Rican soprano Abigail Santos Villalobos continues to thrill audiences with her pure, satiny and lustrous sound in both operatic and concert appearances. She has gained recognition as a multi-faceted performer, performing under the batons of John Nelson, Steven Fox, Robert Tweten, Mark Gibson, Guillermo Figueroa, James Bagwell, and David Hanhlon. Santos has performed at The Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program covering “Susanna” in Le Nozze di Figaro, The San Francisco Opera Merola Program as “Giannetta” in L’elisir d’amore and with The Cincinnati Opera as “Fanny” in a workshop of a new opera by Ricky Ian Gordon, Morning Star. Highlights of her operatic career have been her recent debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Unlimited, San Diego Opera, and Houston Grand Opera in the leading role of “Amorita” in the world premiere of El pasado nunca se termina, with music by José “Pepe” Martínez and libretto by Leonard Foglia. She debuted at Carnegie Hall, premiering the new work--"Cinco Canciones con los ojos Cerrados" by composer Miguel Francoli.
On the concert stage, Santos has performed Bach’s St. John's Passion, Bach Cantata No. 202, Brahms’ Requiem, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, and Haydn’s Creation with the Costa Rica Symphony, Masterworks Festival, Pro-Arte Chorale, and Wheaton College Symphony, respectively. Additionally, she sang Handel's Messiah with the Cincinnati Symphony and Mahler No. 2 with Lynn Philharmonia. At Emory University, Santos has performed a number of solo recitals and concerts with the Emory University Symphony Orchestra, including works of Mendelssohn’s Hear my prayer, Ralph Vaughan William’s Serenade to Music and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Her upcoming engagements include performing a solo recital with Erika Tazawa at the Schwartz Center in Atlanta, Georgia, performing “A Girl” in West Side Story with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan, and singing Haydn’s Creation with the Symphony Silicon Valley in California.
Santos' other roles performed are “Morgana” in Handel’s Alcina, “Sofia” in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino, “Cleopatra” in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and “Zerlina” in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Abigail’s honors include finalist of the 2014 MONC Southeast region, 2013 promising artist of the Santa Fe Opera Anna Case MacKay Award, 2012 Kentucky Bach Choir Competition winner, 2011 Sam Adams Award, 2010 Italo Tajo Memorial Award and 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Semi-finalist.
Karina Brazas, soprano
Soprano Karina Brazas, described as “sumptuous and soaring" (Omaha World Herald), joined Shreveport Opera as a Resident Artist in the 2017-18 season to sing Pamina in The Magic Flute, Maya in Companion,and Belle in Beauty and the Beast, as well as the Prisma Vocal Ensemble and members of the Shreveport Symphony as the soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah. The previous season began with a return to Union Avenue Opera in Saint Louis as Yum-Yum in The Mikado, as well as performances Monica in The Medium with Music on Site, her Omaha Symphony solo debut in Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream, and a return to Orchestra Seattle as the soprano soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria before finishing the season as Enitharmon with Opera Omaha in the world premiere of Stranger from Paradise, where the Omaha World-Herald wrote that she, “dazzled, singing in the evening's first aria in her portrayal of Blake's fantastical demigoddess Enitharmon.”
Karina made her main stage debut with Central City Opera as Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking while singing as an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera's Bonfils-Stanton Young Artist Program. While at Central City, she also performed as Susanna in the family performance of Le nozze di Figaro, and covered Liesl in The Sound of Music. Other performances include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica. Karina has been a regional finalist and multiple award winner from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as well as winning the Katherine S. Tyrrell Memorial Award from the 2018 Shreveport Singer of the Year Competition. On the concert stage, she has been featured as a soloist with Orchestra Seattle, the Coeur d'Alene Symphony, the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, and the Washington-Idaho Symphony.
Karina spent the first twelve years of her life as a U.S. Army Brat, before her family settled in Olympia, Washington. She currently lives in the Midwest, and has degrees in vocal performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Washington State University. In her spare time, she enjoys running, reading, traveling, and baking/eating cheesecake.
2018 Junior Faculty
Mary Bond, 2nd year mezzo-soprano
Mary Bond is a music educator based in Nashville, TN. She is the Director of Choir and Theatre at Antioch High School and a member of the West End United Methodist Chancel Choir. She received her undergraduate degree in Music Education from Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH, and has worked with many Cincinnati-area ensembles including the Cincinnati Boychoir, the Cincinnati Children's Choir, and Collegium Cincinnati.
Kevin Mangan, 2nd year tenor
Kevin Mangan is Director of Choirs at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, IL. He is responsible for curricular choirs, the madrigal singers, and the musical theatre program. Kevin taught choir and general music in the Woodland School District of Streator from 2014-2017. Prior to that, he worked in the Flanagan-Cornell school district choral program as a student teacher.
Kevin gradated summa cum laude from Illinois Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in music education. He studied voice with Dr. Linda Farquharson and conducting with Dr. J. Scott Ferguson. While there he performed the Collegiate Choir, the university's premier vocal ensemble, as well as the Chamber Singers and Madrigals, while also maintaining an extensive solo repertoire. Kevin also held a position as tenor section leader for the Second Presbyterian Church of Bloomington. He is originally from Schaumburg, Illinois, and currently resides in Morris.Bloomington.
Shireen Hassan, 1st year tech
Shireen is an instrumentalist and vocalist from the Champaign-Urbana area. She studies at Illinois Wesleyan University where she is pursuing a dual degree in Instrumental Performance and Business Administration. A highly active performer, Shireen is the principal alto saxophone in both the Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble, as well as principal clarinet in the Orchestra. She recently performed the Creston Saxophone Concerto with the IWU Wind Ensemble as the winner of the 2018 Wind Ensemble Solo Competition.
In addition to saxophone and clarinet, Shireen frequently performs as a vocalist with Wesleyan’s Jazz Ensemble and has participated in many vocal jazz and a cappella ensembles over the years. On June 9th, she will be making her debut as a vocal soloist with the Urbana Pops orchestra. Shireen is very excited to be joining the Poco a Poco team this summer and looks forward to helping enrich the students’ musical experience!
Andrew Johnson, 1st year baritone and pianist
Andrew is a rising vocalist, pianist, and organist in the Bloomington-Normal area. Currently a student at Illinois Wesleyan University, Andrew is studying Vocal Performance and minoring in organ. He sings Bass I in the IWU Collegiate Choir, an ensemble that tours nationally each year. Andrew is an avid vocal, choral, and instrumental accompanist and enjoys being a student accompanist at IWU. He currently holds the position as organist at Wesley United Methodist Church of Bloomington. His previous organist positions include Our Saviour Lutheran Church of Normal, First Baptist Church of Bloomington, Second Presbyterian Church of Bloomington, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church of Chenoa, IL.
He is also a student member of the American Guild of Organists, East Central Illinois Chapter. Since 2014, Andrew has managed his own private piano studio. He has won several awards for his piano and vocal soli: Illinois Federation of Music Clubs State Piano Competition (2nd place, 2015; 1st place, 2016) and IHSA “Best of the Day” awards for both voice and piano. In 2015, he won 1st place in the IFMC State Composition Contest. He is also Director of Musical Activities for the Sigma Chapter of Delta Omicron. Andrew is eager to continue his music education and pursue the vast musical opportunities available to him.
Nathan Brown, 1st year tenor
Nathan Brown is a recent graduate of Murray State University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He originally hails from Trenton, IL, but currently resides and works in Kentucky. His performing credits include 'Franklin Hart' in 9 to 5, Sam in Street Scene, 'Tamino' in The Magic Flute, the 'Witch' in Hansel and Gretel, and the tenor soloist in Bach Cantata 4 and Handel's Messiah. Additionally, Nathan is an avid teacher and music director with leadership experience as vocal director for MSU's a capella group EQ Blu and for the student-run production of Into the Woods. He has had the pleasure of leading other various amateur vocal groups across campus as both a coach and creative director.
Along with his vocal accomplishments, Nathan is a composer and award-winning arranger. He has written numerous arrangements for a capella ensembles at Murray State as well as for high schools across western Kentucky. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Arrangement award at the International Competition for Collegiate A Capella Midwest Regional competition in the spring of 2017. He has also composed original vocal and chamber works that have been premiered by students and staff. During his time at MSU, he was a vocal student of Dr. Sonya Baker, Dr. Laura Hynes, Dr. Tana Field, and Dr. Steven Weimer for composition.
Brett Eisenhauer, 1st year administrator
Brett Eisenhauer is a senior Nonprofit Leadership Studies major/Organizational Communication minor at Murray State University. She is a native of Mahomet, Illinois. Brett has served as an intern for the Murray-Calloway County Community Foundation and the First Presbyterian Church of Murray. At both organizations she oversaw elements of their social media presence, worked on communication plans, and assisted in creating Standard Operating Procedure manuals for interns. She enjoys hiking with friends, walking her dog Louie, reading, and finding great places to hang her hammock. Brett is very excited to be joining the Poco a Poco team this year.
Livi Gregorowicz, 1st year soprano
Livi is a senior at Murray State University, pursuing a degree in vocal performance with a minor in musical theatre. She is originally from Findlay, Ohio. Most recently, she sang the lead role of 'Polly Baker' in MSU's mainstage production of Gershwin's Crazy for You. Livi maintains a busy singing schedule as a choral intern at Paducah's Broadway United Methodist Church and member of the campus ensembles EQ Blue, an a capella group, and Die Kammersaenger, a chamber choir, among others.