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Meet the Chorus



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Meet the members of the May Festival Chorus! A diverse group of people from all walks of life – health care workers, educators, bakers, grandmothers –all music-lovers who devote their time and energy to creating the choral music we all love!  These individuals are celebrating significant milestones this year with remarkable tenures as a chorus member.

Robert Porco

Robert Porco, known in more familiar circles as Bob, is a man of many passions – music, food, and of course, his chorus family. Always modest, Bob tends to downplay his many achievements, so on the occasion of his big birthday, we’d like to tell you a little more about our amazing Director of Choruses. Learn More

 

Carolyn Hill

Soprano Carolyn Hill celebrated her 10th anniversary with the May Festival Chorus this season, and we couldn’t be happier to have this music lover and educator in our chorus family! Learn More

 

Keith Dale

Congratulations to Keith Dale on a fantastic run of 10 years of singing with the May Festival Chorus! Unfortunately, this past year was Keith’s last with Cincinnati’s Chorus, but we are so pleased to have had him with us for the past decade. Learn More

 

Barb Brown

As an avid camper, Barb Brown is not terribly bothered by bugs, which has come in handy at least once during her 10 years of singing with the May Festival Chorus. Learn More

 

Mark Weaver

Mark first heard the May Festival in concert when his daughters Addie and Megan, as members of the Cincinnati Youth Choir, sang Carmina Burana with the May Festival. About two years later, with the encouragement of his friend and May Festival singer Gerald Shannon, Mark auditioned for the May Festival and ultimately joined in 2006Learn More

 

Beth Roberts

When Beth Roberts picked up the violin in elementary school, she already had a well-tuned ear. In fact, she was able to adjust her fingering to better match pitch, which to her extreme embarrassment was recognized and praised by her conductor in front of the elementary school orchestra class in Sioux Falls, South DakotaLearn More

 

Harry Mathurin-Cecil

Working hard to reach one’s goals is a way of life for Harry Mathurin-Cecil, the May Festival’s Choral Conducting Fellow, and he learned this routine from his parents. Learn More

 

Tracy Bailey

Singing is an art that takes years and years of hard work to perfect, and 20-year May Festival Chorus member Tracy Bailey knows this first-hand. Over the years, she has undergone two separate surgeries to address vocal cord injuries, and despite the challenges, her voice is healthier than ever. Learn More

 

Lauren Hess

One of the most vivid memories Lauren Hess has from her incredible 25-years with the May Festival Chorus is the trip to New York City in October 2001 to sing at Carnegie Hall. Learn More

 

Tony Barkley

As a 30-year resident of Cincinnati’s West End, Tony Barkley has personally watched the area transform into the revitalized hub of activity that it is today. Plus, he only has to walk for about three minutes to May Festival Chorus rehearsals at Music Hall. Learn More

 

Spence Ingerson

Spence Ingerson is a superhero. Over her thirty years of singing with the May Festival, there have been many occasions when she has rushed to her car just as the first claps of applause began, did a quick change into her scrubs in the parking lot, and made it to her night shift at Good Samaritan Hospital just in time. Learn More

 

Dawn Bruestle

One might find that several of our May Festival Chorus members have spent some time as music educators; however, not all of them can claim to have produced an original opera written and performed by 4th graders. Dawn Bruestle can. Learn More

 

Steve France

Steve France brings the low tones to each May Festival performance, and if asked, he could also bring the eggs. This Loveland resident and bass in the May Festival Chorus has kept up to 150 chickens in one year, though now he is down to seven hens. Learn More

 

Julie Schieve

Singing with a major orchestra has always been a family affair for Julie Schieve. In addition to her 25 years with the May Festival Chorus, her father sang for fifteen years with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and her sister has spent thirty years with the Dallas Symphony Chorus. She jokes that all together, her father, sister, children, and nieces must have sung Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at least twenty times. Learn More

 

Monica Wilson

When Monica Wilson moved to Middletown, Ohio, on a Saturday in 1984, she knew she wanted to get involved in a local choir. What she didn’t know was how quickly that would come together for her. Learn More

 

Lisa Koressel

Lisa Koressel knows Robert Porco’s name now, but she didn’t when she first auditioned with him in 1993. After graduating from Ball State University, Lisa returned home to Cincinnati and began working as a telemarketer for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Learn More

 

Sam Stover

When Sam Stover was a little boy, he and his mother would often listen to Karl Haas’ radio show, Adventures in Good Music, learning together about composers and listening to their works. Sam went on to study piano, sing in choirs, and even play the organ, throughout grade school and into college. Learn More

 

Laurie Boisclair

Singing has always been a part of Laurie Boisclair’s life, and she happens to be very, very good at it. Laurie’s high school choir director Herbert Johnson in Crown Point, Indiana, recognized her talent and awarded her opportunities to share her gift, including a Benedictus solo and a twenty-one day European tour singing with her high school choir. Learn More

 

Elaine Lustig

A lifelong choral singer, Elaine first joined the May Festival Chorus upon moving to Cincinnati in 1994 with her number one fan and husband Lowell. She performed with us through 2001 when life took the Lustigs to Syracuse University in New York for Lowell’s work. While there, Elaine was able to complete her music degree at the Setnor School of Music, but her love for Cincinnati’s robust choral tradition remained with her. Learn More

 

 

Jim and Julie Laskey

For some, membership in the May Festival Chorus is a natural consequence of their lifelong love and study of music. For Jim Laskey, being a May Festival singer has everything to do with his wife, Julie. Learn More

 

 

Scott Nesbitt

The May Festival is an international phenomenon. No one knows this better than tenor Scott Nesbitt, who is finally celebrating his 10th complete season of singing with the May Festival Chorus this year. Learn More

 

 

Jean Graves

Jean Graves has been involved with music for as long as she can remember, singing in church choirs and playing various instruments, but in spite of her hard work, she never considered herself talented.  Learn More

 

 

Sarah Grogan

If there is such a thing as a lifetime performer in the May Festival, Sarah Grogan might be one. This year marks her 5th anniversary with the May Festival Chorus, but she has been singing with the May Festival since she was in 7th grade as a member of the Cincinnati Youth Chorus. Learn More

 

 

Andrea Kiehl

Music has always been a part of Andrea’s life, as her mother was the local church’s organist, pianist, and bell director. It wasn’t until high school that she began to focus her studies specifically on singing, after some “ill-advised attempts at strings and flute” in middle school. Learn More

 

 

Megan Lawson

Music has always been a major part of Megan Lawson’s life, from singing in church choir as a young girl to participating in school choirs. Her talent did not go unnoticed by her directors who often awarded her with solos. Learn More

 

 

Alex Kesman

Alexandra (or Alex) Kesman grew up at Music Hall, and we don’t mean that she had rehearsal there a few times per year as a child. Alex’s mother Christine Wands is a thirty-year veteran of the May Festival Chorus, so Alex first heard Carmina Burana before she was even born, reacting to the music in her mother’s belly. Learn More

 

 

Scott Brody

The pandemic has caused the cancellation of many events, but it didn’t stop May Festival Chorus member Scott Brody’s marriage to his high school sweetheart. Learn More

 

 

Douglas Easterling

Douglas Easterling was born and grew up in Smyrna, Tennesse, just outside of Nashville, known as “Music City, USA” and home to the Grand Ole Opry. It’s no surprise that he grew up to become a musician himself; however, he’s not a country singer. Large choral-orchestral works are Douglas’s musical “first love.” Learn More

 

 

Molly Scruta

Gordy is a good boy who lives with May Festival Chorus member Molly Scruta and her husband Max Larson in the Betts-Longworth district of the West End, just about a block from Music Hall. He enjoys long walks in Over the Rhine with his humans, who are generally recognized around the neighborhood as “Gordy’s parents.” However, the May Festival knows that Gordy’s parents are actually just as interesting and memorable as he is. Learn More

 

 

Jim Baxter

Jim Baxter, who is celebrating an impressive thirty years as a member of the May Festival Chorus, is no stranger to adventure. From hitchhiking through France to directing an industrial hygiene laboratory, one thing is constant; Jim is always ready for a new experienceLearn More