SINGERS

JUDY BARCKHOLTZ

Judy gave in to her love of singing 10 years ago when she began taking voice lessons and unveiled her coloratura soprano tone. She has been singing in church choirs and community groups including the gospel driven "Too Hot to Handel" Hallelujah Chorus. She thoroughly enjoys to be musically challenged and is not afraid of the stage. Judy is a home healthcare physical therapist by day and loves to hike and spend time with her family.


RACHAEL BROWN

Rachael has been singing ever since she can remember, from church choirs to high school vocal jazz ensembles to musical theater. Though with her grandfather, uncle, and mother all being band directors, it was somewhat inevitable that she would also take an interest in the instrumental side of music. After getting her degree in French horn performance, she freelances around Denver and also teaches music with El Sistema Colorado. Now that she is a very proud member of Safonia, Rachael is excited to be singing again with this amazing group of ladies


KARYN CONNER

Karyn discovered a passion for singing early in life through her A Capella church upbringing, then in choirs throughout her schooling. After honing her talents as a member of the 1997 TX All-State Choir, she expanded this passion to musical theatre, both in college & community stage performances. As a coloratura soprano, chorale singing has continued to serve as a treasured outlet and life affirming force for her (as well as a delight to her husband and pups!). She loves music of all genres from jazz & Latin to modern folk to classical to the Modern Classics, like Bobby D! You can also find her hiking in the mountains of Colorado (Bailey is one of her favorite spots) or working with local organizations serving teen moms. She's honored to now be singing with such a spunky, talented group of women!


ANNE DICOLA

Anne fell in love with singing at an early age and it is a love affair that has never subsided. She studied music at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, where she was a member of several choirs as well as played various opera roles. Being a native of Chicago, Anne has spent the last 16 years in Denver working for Jeffco Public Schools. Currently a school administrator, Anne is thrilled about the opportunity be back engaging in her first passion of singing in an choral ensemble.


VALERIE EPSTEIN-JOHNSON

Inspired by a Safonia performance to return to organized singing after a 12 year hiatus, Valerie is excitedly renewing her love of choral singing and rediscovering her impressive range and vocal chops. Having sung with school choirs since elementary school, with a stint in a Maryland-based Gilbert & Sullivan troupe, Valerie remembers her work with the Brandeis University Chorus and the Lesley University Unity Gospel Choir with particular fondness. In addition to choral music, she enjoys singing classic show tunes and torch songs. When she's not singing with Safonia, Valerie is working with clients in her private creative arts therapy and psychotherapy practice at the Home Collective in Wheat Ridge or trying to keep up with her two young daughters.


FINESSA FERRELL

Known for her throaty alto and soulful vocal style, Finessa brings more than just sex appeal to Safonia, she lends us panache as well. With choral music experience as diverse as the University of Oklahoma Chorale, the Stoughton Community Players I Stoughton, WI, and the Denver Women's Chorus, Finessa finds herself pushing the theatrical influenced performance every time we step into the spotlight. Her understanding of the socio-political climate of our times helps us to understand and interpret our music in light of our ever-changing world.


JEANNE FISCHETTI

A beautiful mezzo-soprano with a robust mid-alto range and a clear bel canto soprano, Jeanne joined Safonia to challenge herself and experience a different kind of music making. Jeanne has also sung with the Denver Women's Chorus and in the small ensemble Take Note. Her work with Habitat for Humanity feeds her cat and dog and keeps her construction skills fairly sharp during the summer months.


MEGAN FUNK

When Megan walks into a room, you know it! Her contagious energy and laughing smile encourages everyone to enjoy whatever is happening around them. Her parents were singers and performers, which prodded Megan to want to also sing and perform. Megan sang with a women's ensemble that travelled to Carnegie Hall for a spectacular performance her junior year of high school, trained operatically at the University of Wyoming while singing in the women's chorus, and finally co-founded a women's a capella ensemble with several friends as a way to enjoy even more genres of musical performance. Safonia is lucky to have her enthusiasm and musical knowledge -- now if she'd just be on time to rehearsal ...


JUDY HAMILTON

Judy started singing in school and church choirs in Oklahoma, which led to a vocal scholarship at a local university. After moving to Denver, she sang with several different choirs and ensembles (my personal favorite being "Aural Pleasures") and is proud to have the opportunity to sing with Safonia the past few years. Judy is a Registered Massage Therapist and has an office in the Capitol Hill area of Denver.


LILA JIMENEZ

A woman of many talents, Lila has a voice that can capture any audience’s attention and a personality to match. Which is why it is no surprise this talented singer directed and sang with the Vanderbuilt University's all female a capella choir, The Swingin' Dores. Her love for music began when she joined the middle school choir in her home town in New Jersey, then playing trombone and tenor sax in the concert band, marching band and jazz band. When Lila isn't singing with the choir you just might be lucky enough to catch her at a local Karaoke bar showcasing her favorite Sarah MacLauchlan song.


MELISSA KAUFFMAN

Music has always been a part of Melissa's life. She got her start singing four-part harmony in the Mennonite church, participating in a community children's choir, and singing in her high school choir. She continued singing in college and especially enjoyed participating in her college women's choir. She is excited to join Safonia and to continue singing great choral music. Melissa is an enrollment case manager at Developmental Pathways, an organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


BROOKE LAYMAN

Brooke is a singularly talented composer, singer and all-around musician. As one of the founding members of Safonia, Brooke has enjoyed growth and friendship through the years. She has arranged a number of pieces and composed a few originals for Safonia, including "Oceans" for the Water concert, which was based on a poem her mother wrote as a child. In her spare time, Brooke is a singer-songwriter who can be seen playing guitar and singing at various locations throughout the Denver area. Her day job is helping individuals obtain work/life balance, which is evident in her ability to be a successful professional and accomplished musician.


FAITH MARONN

The best words to describe this talented musician are "well-rounded" and "experienced." As a Baritone in a competitive barbershop group, Christmas Madrigal cast member, Soprano I in the Roosevelt University Choir and Colorado Chorale, Faith is skilled in any number of musical genres. As the lead singer in the local blues soul band Velvet Compass, Faith continues to pursue her love of music in all areas of her life.


KAREN MARTINEZ

Given Karen's generally serious demeanor as a singer, you would never suspect that she began her vocal career singing songs by Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters with her own sister in their family's living room. Karen has since sung in choirs her entire life, including all-state choruses, community chorales, church choirs and all women ensembles. In addition to performing in Carnegie Hall with one of her university choirs, Karen has sung in other countries including Venezuela, Spain and Poland. She is thrilled to have found a choral home with Safonia, and loves singing with all of her Safonia sisters. When not asking for the memorization schedule from Marla or preparing Marla's set list for Safonia's performances, Karen serves as a teacher educator in Colorado.


ERIN MCDERMOTT

Erin is another woman for whom the call of musical excellence came early. Erin began playing piano at an early age and discovered her love of choral music in high school. When she is not writing software or singing with Safonia, Erin rides her bike over mountains and across the plains of Colorado and Kansas; she looks forward to another 3,000 miles on her bike! Erin has sung with the Denver Women's Chorus, and has participated in all levels of musical ensemble performance in her career. Erin contributes to Safonia as our web mistress, skilled in the dark arts of making things appear and disappear on the Internet.


CAITLIN MCKERNAN

Caitlin's musical influences are so many and diverse it's hard to know where to start. She sings backups for the Matt Nasi Band; she works with a group of local thespians and other choir members created by Mitch and Kristen Samu; she helped create, and sang in, the a capella group The Bettys and sang in the women's Bel Canto chorus at the University of Wyoming; and claims to have been singing in auditioned choirs since eighth grade in Colorado Springs. Backing vocals, vocal percussion, Soprano in almost every group she has performed with except Safonia -- Caitlin fits right in. She counts the diverse music of Adele, the Civil Wars, Grace Potter, Little Big Town and Maddie and Tae as favorites in her playlist right now.


ALLISON MOE

Ever since her first lesson in kindergarten, Allison has never gone more than six months without being involved in a school or community band or choir. Music, along with hiking and biking, helps keep a balance with her work in affordable housing. A fine instrumentalist as well as vocalist, Allison has become a rock in the Alto section of Safonia.


CATHY NOLAND

The antithesis of a "diva", Cathy is still a Soprano. With a quiet demeanor and crystal-clear vocal quality, Cathy is an invaluable asset to the Safonia sound. Cathy has sung with many choirs, both big and small. As an alumnus of Wichita State University, Cathy participated in the music program there while getting her engineering degree. During the day, Cathy works as an industrial engineer.


ELIZABETH SCHRADER

Elizabeth is a native of Colorado who loves her family, the outdoors , and music. She has always enjoyed music since she was a young pup singing in youth choir and learning to play piano. Her love of music continued to grow during Nevin Platt Middle School's show choir and Boulder's First Presbyterian Salt and Light Choir while in high school. Although it has been a few years since she last performed, Elizabeth makes up for her experience with a passion for music as well as a deep desire for all things that make her move both in body and spirit. Her extensive travel has instilled in her a desire to explore the world through song. Safonia is the perfect place for her to soak up some experience and meet new people. When she is not attending rehearsals or performing, she enjoys hiking, camping, skiing, and singing with her family.


SARAH TIE

Being a full time mom and part-time mental health counselor hasn't slowed Sarah's music-making down one bit. With her balanced personality and low-key worldview, Sarah helps to bring perspective along with her musical work in Safonia. She sang in chorales and show choirs throughout college and high school. One of her favorite musical memories is singing Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at the Denver Performing Arts Complex with symphony orchestra and full choir.


LAURA VANDEREIT

A product of the wonderful music program at Centaurus High School, Laura participated in the women's choir as well as show choir. Selected for the 1999 Colorado All-State Women's choir and the 2000 Colorado All-State Mixed Choir, Laura brings a powerful mix of skilled sight-reading, enthusiasm and a love of women's ensemble music to Safonia. Serving as Safonia's Assistant Artistic Director has enable Laura to expand her leadership and teaching skills. She brings an entirely different element to the Safonia sound with her abilities.


ANDREA WIENS

Andrea literally began her choir experiences when she was four or five -- in fact, she can't remember a time when she wasn't singing in a choir. Traveling and performing with other musicians was a dream come true for Andrea at Hesston College and Goshen College, where she sang in Bel Canto, Chamber Choir, and the Women's World Music Choir. Andrea brings her wish to express more through music than just the notes on the page to the right place with Safonia. A teacher by trade, she is currently in the process of developing an educational non-profit.






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