Heather MacLaughlin Garbes is currently Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, where she helped develop and maintains the UW Baltic Choral Library, the first collection of its kind in the United States. She is also Founder and Artistic Director of the Mägi Ensemble, a women’s ensemble that performs and records Baltic music. Dr. MacLaughlin Garbes has presented at ACDA Divisional, College Music Society’s National and International conferences, the Library of Congress and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies conferences. She co-authored the chapter “Baltic Languages: Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian” in the book The Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet in the Choral Rehearsal (Scarecrow Press). She has conducted numerous collegiate and community ensembles in the Seattle, Chicago, and Houston areas and currently conducts the Finnish Choral Society of Seattle as well as works with the Eesti Koor (Estonian) and Vakarai Lithuanian choirs in Seattle. www.heathermaclaughlin.com
Julie Parsons has sung in choirs from the age of 8, and has over 30 years of classical music training. She holds a BA in Vocal Performance from Central College (IA) and a MM in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, and is currently finishing her DMA from the University of Washington.
Julie is the conductor of the Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle, a music specialist at St. Thomas More Parish School, and organizer of Seattle’s Beer Choir: Rain City chapter. She is the president of the Washington State chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and board member with the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium.
Monica Armstrong, mezzo-soprano, earned a Bachelor of Music in Voice from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She came to Seattle for love in 2013. The love was a terrible plan, but moving here was the second-best thing she ever did (the first-best was joining Mägi, obviously). She has been singing since high school and is so thrilled to be a part of this group of incredible women to look up to, laugh with, and learn from. Community, creating opportunity, and humor are the most important things to Monica. She teaches classes at Jubilee Women’s Center, bakes too many things for friends and coworkers to eat, and is much better at cooking than she used to be. She lives in Capitol Hill with two cats and her girlfriend, who is slowly becoming immune to her puns.
Audience members have described Madeline Bersamina’s solo work as “brilliant”, “sublime” and “perfect and true.” Recent solo engagements include Boccherini’s Stabat Mater and Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri. Madeline has lent her solo voice to many masterworks including Bach’s B Minor Mass and St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Schubert’s Mass in G. In 2016, she sung in the premiere performance of Hope Wechkin’s The Withing Project. An avid recitalist, Madeline has been featured on recital series in California, Washington, and Germany.
As a choral artist, Madeline has sung with the Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival (Eugene, OR), Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble (Germany), Bach Ensemble Helmuth Rilling (Germany), and many groups in the Seattle area.
She completed her master of music in Voice Performance at the University of Washington and currently studies with Nancy Zylstra. madelinebersamina.com
Stephanie Bull is a lyric mezzo soprano, born and raised in Texas. She received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, with specific training in classical and operatic music, from Texas Lutheran University. Previous choirs include Kantori Choir, TLU Mixed Choir, TLU Women’s Choir, and Children’s Chorus of San Antonio. Stephanie currently works as the Business Manager of Youth Theatre Northwest. She can be seen in Seattle-area theater productions throughout the year. Previous shows include Jekyll and Hyde (Emma), Fancy Nancy (Rhonda), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), and Seussical (Mayzie La Bird). When not performing on stage, singing 12-part harmony, or working with kids, Stephanie likes to eat breakfast tacos.
Marjorie Bunday, contralto, began her singing life as a high school tenor in a suburb of Washington, DC. 35 years later, she has a career that has had highlights in both the alto and mezzo-soprano realms. In DC, she appeared as soloist and professional chorister on stages from the Kennedy Center to Washington National Cathedral, performing medieval to modern classical music with groups including Washington Bach Consort, Woodley Ensemble, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, she moved to Denver and established herself as Baroque soloist, Hildegard von Bingen enthusiast, and singer/director of the Denver Early Music Consort. Since arriving in Seattle in 2015, she has become a choir section leader and cantor at St. James Cathedral, where she also works in the music office. She is excited to join the Mägi Ensemble and begin exploring the rich body of music from the Baltics, and to spend quality time with the lower register of her singing voice. Marjorie and her husband Dave love living in Seattle, where they try to make friends with the neighborhood crows.
Teresa Clark has been singing most of her life and has a special love for Early music. In addition to the Mägi Ensemble, she currently sings with local chamber ensemble Vox16 and the Trinity Episcopal Church choir, and serves on the board of the Byrd Ensemble.
Teresa works for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and lives in South Seattle.
A Washington native, Danya recently moved back to Washington from the Bay Area in order to start her Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington. In the Bay Area she enjoyed singing with the San Francisco Choral Artists and Volti, and since moving back has reconnected with the Seattle ensembles Solaris, the Esoterics, and the Bach Choir. As a new mom and graduate student she is enjoying discovering the world through new eyes, but is grateful for any opportunity to sing! She is delighted to be performing in her first season with the wonderful women of the Magi Ensemble.
Mezzo soprano Erica Convery is excited to join the Mägi Ensemble for the first time this season. Audiences recently heard Ms. Convery in Seattle Modern Opera Company’s updated production of Offenbach’s La Belle Hèléne, in the chorus of Seattle Opera in their production of Aida, and with Chorosynthesis, a professional Seattle-based choral ensemble, in a summer concert featuring new choral works on social justice. Ms. Convery will also be a featured soloist on Chorosynthesis’ upcoming album with Centaur Records. Ms. Convery enjoys performing both concert and opera works. She recently performed the role as Hansel in Northwest Opera in Schools, Etc’s outreach production of Hansel and Gretel and filled in as Mercedes in Tacoma Opera’s production of Carmen earlier this year. Before moving to Washtington state, Ms. Convery resided in Baltimore, MD, and sang with Bel Cantanti Opera, Maryland Lyric Opera, The Bridge Ensemble, and was a regular soloist with the Baltimore Musicales.
Miss Convery made her Carnegie Hall & Kennedy Center concert debuts while finishing her Master of Music degree at the Peabody Institute. Ms. Convery received two consecutive scholarship grants from the Stockton Opera Competition, is a recipient of two consecutive Peabody Career Grants, winner of the George Castelle Memorial Award, as well as a member of the elite music honor society of Pi Kappa Lambda. Ms. Convery currently resides in Everett, Washington with her husband, Chris, and enjoys teaching voice and piano in her private studio.
Jessica E. Gibbons Raised in South Carolina, Jessica Gibbons graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2008. She worked as a performer and on staff with the internationally acclaimed accelerated chorister program at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, SC. Assisting pedagogical vocal development for the chorister program, she also served as a clinician for the American Guild of Organists, developing and co-leading a seminar on pedagogy for the young and old voice. Jessica has been featured as an alto soloist with the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra’s performances of St. John Passion and Handel’s Messiah, as well as a featured mezzo soloist with the Duruflé Requiem and Rachmaninoff Vespers and Vivaldi Gloria. After moving to Seattle in 2014 Jessica has performed with Opus 7 Ensemble, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral Choir, and the Byrd International Singers. She currently sits as a the Alto section leader at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Queen Anne and is excited to sing her first season with the Mägi Ensemble. Jessica completed her Masters in Teaching in 2018 and currently teaches Second Grade general education at Cascadia Elementary.
Meaghan Guterman, soprano, is thrilled to join the Mägi Ensemble this season. A recent transplant from Milwaukee, Meaghan performed often in the region and sang with esteemed groups such as Bella Voce, East Side Chamber Players, Milwaukee Choral Artists, and Milwaukee Chamber Choir. She holds degrees in vocal performance from the University of Iowa
(BM), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (MM), and is currently pursuing her DMA at the University of Washington. She is a section leader and cantor at St. James Cathedral, and has toured and recorded with Chorosynthesis. Meaghan also teaches privately, and enjoys her new role as a mother when not singing or rehearsing.
Soprano Natalie Ingrisano has enjoyed performing as a soloist, chamber singer, and professional chorister in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest. As a soloist in the 2018-’19 season some highlights include performing on Pacific MusicWorks’ Underground and Sanctuary in the City concert series, Seattle’s Bach’s Lunch concert series, and singing Vivaldi’s Gloria, Monteverdi’s 1641 Vespers, and Handel’s Messiah with local Seattle ensembles. As a chorister In 2013 she rocked it hard singing with The Rolling Stones. Ingrisano received her Master’s from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and is a graduate of the Artist Diploma in Early Music program at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
Shelby Leyland originally hails from Nebraska and studied Music Education at Hastings College. After living in Japan for nearly two years, Shelby has settled in Seattle and has been part of several singing groups, including Musica Sacra, Seattle Symphony Chorale, and Seattle Choral Company. She loves the uniquely friendly and communal nature of the Magi Ensemble and feels excited to be in this group of brilliant, driven, powerful women.
She is a music teacher at Lowell Elementary School where she feels truly at home sharing the joys of music with the musicians of our future. She is involved in the Seattle Educators community through NW Kodaly Association and helps lead her school’s Racial Equity Team and Arts Team. Shelby is currently working towards learning the accordion and infusing her school curriculum with Baltic tunes.
Maria Männistö, “one of the most hauntingly beautiful voices I have heard in years,” (Seattle Times), moves comfortably among a wide range of musical styles to international acclaim. This season, she will appear as soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet in West Side Story Suite, A Dark and Lonely Space, and The Nutcracker, on the Seattle Symphony mainstage in Janáček’s The Eternal Gospel, with Seattle Symphony [untitled] in Berio’sCircles and Reinbert De Leeuw’s Im Wunderschönen Monat Mai, and in Brahm’s German Requiem at the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium’s 2018 Big Sing. Other recent solo engagements include Sibelius’ Kullervo with Seattle Symphony, Saariaho’s Leinolaulut with Philharmonia Northwest, Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre with Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, and a performance of her own compositions at Musiikkitalo concert hall in Helsinki. A dedicated member of the Finnish community in Seattle, she serves as organist and music director at the Finnish Lutheran Church, and performs regularly at local Nordic festivals and events.
Jessica Martin has been singing for as long as she can remember and has sung with many different types of groups, including choirs, musical theater, a cappella, and small ensembles. While an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Jessica sang with the UW Chamber Singers, with whom she had the opportunity to travel to the Baltic countries and sing a program of primarily Baltic music. Jessica currently also sings in a quartet with the Dickens Carolers and is an attorney in Seattle, practicing mostly family law and civil litigation. When at home, Jessica can be found doting on her doggies, Barley and Maddie.
Elizabeth Mitchell is a conductor, singer, and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with an emphasis in Vocal Performance, from California State University, Chico. Elizabeth is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Choral Conducting in the School of Music at the University of Washington, where she is a member of the Choral Cohort and conducts the University Singers. She was a resident Choral Scholar at Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Seattle, WA, where she also assisted in music planning and directing the choir. A passionate advocate for choral music in the church her professional experience has been directed to liturgical choral music as a liturgical planner, choral scholar, and choir director in California and Washington. Prior to moving to Seattle, she resided in Chico, CA where she served as Director of Music, Choir Director, and Cantor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church from 2011 to 2016 where she had overall responsibility for the choral program involving both adult and children’s choirs as well as planning and directing music for weekly liturgies and special feast days throughout the year drawing on the rich musical heritage from chant to contemporary. She was also Assistant Director and Vocal Coach for Notre Dame School, where she worked with both elementary and high school choirs focusing on sound vocal technic for growing voices. Other roles included Choral Scholar at St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church and St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, and Production Assistant for the North State Symphony. Elizabeth is the recipient of numerous scholarships and young artist awards for both Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting and is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Church Music Association of America, National Association for Music Education, and Royal School of Church Music in America and an active participant in conferences seminars, and workshops focused on excellence in choral music.
Ailisa Newhall earned her bachelor’s degree in voice performance from Western Washington University in Bellingham and performance certificate from Le Conservatoire Darius Milhaud in Aix-en-Provence. She moved to Seattle in 2003 to attend the graduate program at the University of Washington where she earned degrees in choral conducting and music education. As a National Board Certified Music Teacher, Newhall runs the choral program at Inglemoor High School and directs the Fratres ensemble at St. James Cathedral. Newhall was a featured artist on several video game soundtracks including Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 (The Orange Box), Praey for the Gods, and has a character named after her in The Blackout Club. She has performed and recorded with many local artists including Pearl Jam, Allen Stone, Carrie Akre, The Seattle Rock Orchestra, The Seattle Symphony, Philharmonia Northwest, Great Bend Chamber Orchestra, Opus 7, Choral Arts Northwest, and others. She is currently working on a duo project with folk artist Wes Weddell. Newhall is a founding member of the Mägi Ensemble. In her spare time, she runs Pinehurst Photography.
Chelsea Walker has been looking for a group like the Mägi Ensemble since before she can remember! Being of Latvian descent, she’s always wanted to find a way to connect with her roots. Being able to sing while doing it is simply icing on the cake.
Chelsea has studied music almost her whole life, starting first as a Trumpet Performance major, then later finder her passion for voice and theatre. Some of her favorite theatre credits include Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, Young Frankenstein, and Little Shop of Horrors.
When not singing or performing, Chelsea likes to spend time with her wonderfully supportive husband, and two cats, Duck, and Rumble.
Eliza Woodyard, soprano, moved to Seattle after earning her Master of Music degree from University of Northern Colorado and her Bachelor of Music degree from New Mexico State University. She has enjoyed performing in operas, concerts, recitals, a cappella ensembles, and choruses in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Southwest, Germany, and France. Recent performances include Hansel and Gretel (Gretel) and The Tales of Hoffmann: The Doll Act (Olympia) with Northwest Opera In Schools, La rondine (Yvette) with Puget Sound Concert Opera, Michel Edward’s Symphony No. 4 with Octava Chamber Orchestra, Die Zauberflöte (Erste Knabe) with Opera Classica Europa, and The Ballad of Baby Doe (Silver Dollar, Baby Doe cover) with Opera Fort Collins. She is a member of the Seattle Opera Chorus and has appeared in their productions of Nabucco, Les pecheurs de perles, Der fliegende Hollander, and Aïda.
Trina Wright spent her teens studying classical voice and performing in swing and concert choirs, but ended up pursuing a career in lighting design for theater, earning a BFA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Most of her work can be seen at Youth Theatre Northwest or Live Girls! Theater. She is delighted to join Mägi Ensemble because harmonizing with this group of women is so much better than with the radio. When not catching up on her music or climbing ladders in the theater, she can be found building legos with her two boys or strolling with her husband and two dogs.