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. 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). Dr. MacLaughlin Garbes was the 2022 West Coast Estonian Days Song Festival Artistic Director as well as a preparatory conductor for the 2019 Estonian and Lithuanian Song Festivals and the 2014 Latvian Song Festival. She has conducted numerous collegiate and community ensembles in the Seattle, Chicago, and Houston areas and currently conducts the Everett Chorale, the Finnish Choral Society of Seattle, the Seattle’I Eesti Koor (Estonian) and works with the Vakarai Lithuanian choir in Seattle. www.heathermaclaughlin.com
In 40 years of choral singing, Associate Conductor Julie Parsons has found singing with the Mägi Ensemble the most powerful and fulfilling use of her voice. She has sung with choirs around the world, made multiple recordings, and worked with prestigious conductors, but it is in singing with and collaborating with this group of passionate and accomplished women where she feels most challenged and most at home. Mägi Ensemble is a truly unique singing experience, and Julie is proud to have been a member since its inception.
Julie conducts the Seattle Mannskor (formerly the Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle) and is a passionate advocate for heritage choirs and amateur singing. She is also deeply involved with the American Choral Directors Association at both the state and national levels, having served as president of the Washington State chapter, and continuing to serve on the WA-ACDA Diversity Initiatives Committee. She holds a BA in voice from Central College (IA) and a MM in choral conducting from New England Conservatory, and completed doctoral work at the University of Washington.
Since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Monica has toured internationally with the Young Bach Ensemble under Helmuth Rilling, performing St Matthew Passion, B Minor Mass, and other Bach works in Europe and South America as part of a filmed documentary that included performances, lecture recitals, and masterclasses.
Monica’s two musical loves are early music and contemporary works, where she finds excitement and freedom to nerd out with still-living composers. She sang in various new-music chamber groups across the Midwest before moving to Seattle in 2013.
She joined Mägi Ensemble in 2014 and has served on the Board as Treasurer since 2018. In her own words, “There is so much passion, collaboration, and energy in Mägi Ensemble – it feels like this wonderfully talented family I’m lucky to be a part of.”
Audience members have described Madeline Bersamina’s solo work as “brilliant,” “sublime,” and “perfect and true.” Madeline has lent her solo voice to many masterworks including Bach’s B Minor Mass and St John Passion, Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, Handel’s Messiah and Schubert’s Mass in G. She has extensive experience with liturgical music and served as cantor for St. Joseph Parish for 15 years. In 2015, Madeline 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), True Concord (Tucson, AZ), Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble (Germany), Bach Ensemble Helmuth Rilling (Germany), and many groups in the Seattle area. Madeline holds a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance from the University of Washington and will complete her Master of Science in Educational Speech Language Pathology in June 2023.
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 is currently the Managing Director of Youth Theatre Northwest, a romance novelist under the name Stephanie Prehoda, and can be seen performing in theater productions throughout the Seattle area. 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 and hang out with her amazing husband and adorable kiddo.
Awards include first place for the 2020 and 2021 Puget Sound NATS and the 2021 and 2022 Tahoma NATS singing competitions in the Advanced Musical Theatre category, second place in the 2021 Tahoma NATS singing competition in the Adult Contemporary Commercial Music category, and Best Supporting Actress in the Seattle Area for the 2016 Broadway World Awards.
Marjorie Bunday, contralto, began her singing life as a high school tenor in a suburb of Washington, DC. 35+ years later, she has enjoyed a career with 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 moving to Seattle in 2015, she has done ensemble work with Chorosynthesis, is a staff singer and cantor at St. James Cathedral, sings weekly Evensong at Epiphany Parish Seattle, and has sung as a soloist with Seattle Modern Opera Company, City Opera Ballet, Medieval Women’s Choir, Byrd Ensemble/Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and with her self-founded Corvid Ensemble. The Mägi Ensemble is one of her happy places, exploring the rich body of music from the Baltics and spending quality time with the lower register of her singing voice (and with her amazing colleagues). Marjorie and her husband Dave love living in Seattle, where they are fast friends with the neighborhood crows.
Danya Clevenger is a mezzo soprano, and is a native of the PNW. Danya studied vocal performance and choral music education at the University of Puget Sound, is a proud Adelphian and Voce d’Amici alumnae, and was winner of the 2007 Concerto Aria competition. After undergrad, Danya studied voice and sang with the Chamber Singers at the University of Washington. During a stint in the San Francisco Bay Area, Danya enjoyed performing with the West Bay Opera chorus, the San Jose Opera chorus, the San Francisco Choral Artists, the Silicon Valley Symphony Choral, and Volti. In the Seattle area, Danya has performed with Solaris, the Esoterics, the Gerrit Fischer Ensemble, Lumia Ensemble, and briefly at the Plymouth Congregational Church. Danya’s solo appearances include the Soprano II in Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Alto in Handel’s Messiah, Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen, and many of the fun Gilbert and Sullivan alto roles. Danya is a busy mother of two with a full-time day job outside of music, and is very grateful to perform with the Mägi Ensemble’s talented and generous community. Her heritage includes Jewish Lithuanians who were driven out of Europe after World War I, and she treasures the opportunity to connect to that heritage through performing music from the Baltics.
Erica Convery received her Masters degree in vocal performance/vocal pedagogy from the prestigious Peabody Institute and has since performed with Seattle Opera, Maryland Lyric Opera, Opera Lancaster, Berks Opera Company, the Singer’s Theater of Washington, Bel Cantanti Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Bellevue City Opera, and Tacoma Opera. She has also performed recitals at both Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. She is currently a member of Seattle Opera’s regular chorus and the Mägi Ensemble, and performs with the Emerald Ensemble as well as the select choral ensemble, Chorosynthesis, which placed 2nd in the American Prize in Choral Performance, Professional Division. Erica currently resides in Snohomish, WA where she founded the nonprofit organization Snohomish Concert Series, a classical-music concert series featuring artists in the Seattle and greater-Seattle area.
Haley Gabler is thrilled to be joining Mägi Ensemble as a member of the Alto section. Haley is an active performer in the Seattle area, singing with various professional choral projects in addition to serving as a Section Leader for the Cathedral Choir at St. James Cathedral. Haley is a graduate of St. Olaf College with a B.M. in Music Education, where she sang and toured nationally and internationally with the St. Olaf Choir. Haley teaches K-8 Music at Villa Academy and serves as Prep Choir Conductor for Northwest Girlchoir. In addition to her choral music endeavors, Haley enjoys playing banjo and singing with friends in a folk trio.
Meaghan Guterman is a Seattle-based soprano and voice teacher. She serves as a section leader and cantor at St. James Cathedral and sings with local ensembles including the Mägi Ensemble and Chorosynthesis. Meaghan has been a frequent recitalist, including two recent lecture recitals on women composers and Yiddish operetta/theater music. She is also a doctoral candidate in Vocal Performance at the University of Washington, where she performed opera scenes with the UW Opera Theater. She is also the recipient of the 2022-23 Finish Line Fellowship through the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Washington to support dissertation work on Yiddish operetta and theater music.
Natalie Ingrisano recently finished recording her first 6-track solo album of baroque music with harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree which is now in the process of being mixed and mastered. She frequently appears with beloved east coast based Celtic band The Beggar Boys as a guest lead singer and enjoys performing regularly in a local Celtic trio as the lead singer as well. She has twice had the honor of performing the United States and French National Anthems at Alliance Française and City of Chicago’s Bastille Day celebration in Daley Plaza. As a chorister in 2013 she rocked it hard singing with the Rolling Stones.
Ingrisano received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She is a graduate of the Artist Diploma in Early Music program at Cornish College of the Arts which is what brought her to Seattle. She has performed as a young artist alongside faculty at the Baroque Performance Institute at Oberlin Conservatory where she attended on a full scholarship. She has studied baroque dance with Anna Mansbridge for 7 years and performs baroque dance every year at the Seattle Early Dance Costume Ball Fundraiser.
Shelby Leyland, soprano, joined the Mägi Ensemble in 2015. Ever since, she has been inspired by the uniquely strong, creative, and inspired musicians she sings with and enjoys learning about Baltic culture and history. Shelby received her BA in Music Education in 2009, then lived in Japan for two years where she sang in the band Crossroads, highlighting folk music of Japan and the U.S. After moving to Seattle, Shelby sang with several ensembles including Musica Sacra, Seattle Symphony Chorale, and Seattle Choral Company. Since 2013, Shelby has taught elementary music in Seattle Public Schools and is currently finishing her MED in Special Education. In lessons she plans for young musicians, Shelby is always highlighting music from around the world and she regularly shares with students the outstanding musical culture of the Baltics. Shelby is excited about her next chapter as Mägi Ensemble’s jaw harp accompanist.
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. Maria has appeared frequently as soloist with Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, among others, and she has premiered works by Seattle-based composers Wayne Horvitz, Garrett Fisher, William O. Smith, and Tom Baker. Recent solo engagements include Handel’s Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day with Seattle Symphony, Saariaho’s Leinolaulut with Philharmonia Northwest, Carmina Burana with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and a performance of her own compositions at Musiikkitalo concert hall in Helsinki. A dedicated member of the Nordic community in Seattle, she serves as music director of the Finnish Lutheran Church, conducts the Swedish Singers of Seattle, and performs regularly at Nordic festivals and events.
Jessica Martin has been singing for as long as she can remember and has been in choirs since she was about six years old. Since then, she has sung with many different types of singing groups and performed a wide variety of music, including choral, musical theater, a cappella, barbershop, and opera. She prefers singing in small ensembles and has enjoyed the opportunity to do this with Mägi Ensemble.
When not singing, Jessica may be found practicing law, exploring the outdoors with her dog, or solving crossword puzzles.
Elizabeth Mitchell is a conductor, singer, and music educator. In addition to singing soprano and serving on the Board of Directors for Mägi Ensemble, she sings soprano at Epiphany Parish Seattle in the Epiphany Choir and Evensong Choir. Elizabeth is Chair of the Mercer Island Arts Council, where she works with the MIAC board and city and staff liaisons to advocate for the arts, artists, and arts organizations of Mercer Island. In addition to her passion for arts advocacy, Elizabeth works behind the scenes at Youth Theatre Northwest as a production stage manager and costume shop manager, helping to create an environment that nurtures the intellectual, artistic, and personal development of children and youth. She is thrilled to be joining the team of Tacoma Opera, beginning in the 2023-24 season, as the new Opera Chorus Director. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with an emphasis in Vocal Performance, from California State University, Chico. Elizabeth is completing a Master of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington School of Music. She has been an active soloist and choral musician for numerous church, university, and regional ensembles throughout her career.
Ailisa Newhall is a Grammy nominated music educator, soloist, studio musician, and is a featured artist on video game soundtracks such as Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, and Praey for the Gods. She has performed and recorded with Pearl Jam, Allen Stone, Carrie Akre, The Seattle Rock Orchestra, The Bushwick Book Club, The Seattle Symphony, Philharmonia Northwest, Great Bend Chamber Orchestra, Opus 7, Choral Arts Northwest, and others. Newhall is the Director of Community Programs and Education at Kirkland Performance Center and is a founding member of the Mägi Ensemble. In her spare time, she runs Pinehurst Photography.
Egija Ungure is a choir conductor from Riga, Latvia. She has sung in different music groups since the age of 3. By the age of 23, she has had 20 years of experience in musical training, including singing, playing piano, guitar and traditional Latvian folk instruments. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Pedagogy, from Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music. Egija is currently the conductor of the Seattle Latvian Choir, as well as a member and guest conductor of the Northwest Chamber Chorus.
Eliza Woodyard enjoys performing in operas, concerts, recitals, and vocal ensembles locally and abroad. Recent performances include Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Ladies Musical Club, the title role in MARThA with Lowbrow Opera Collective, excerpts from The Tiger and the Deep Blue Sea with City Cantabile Choir, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate at St. James Cathedral, Hansel and Gretel (Gretel) and The Tales of Hoffmann: The Doll Act (Olympia) with Northwest Opera In Schools, Charpentier’s Te Deum with Seattle Baroque Orchestra, and Michel Edward’s Symphony No. 4 with Octava Chamber Orchestra. She is a member of the Seattle Opera Chorus and has also directed operas such as Dido and Aeneas at Olympic College, Diary of a Madman with Lowbrow Opera Collective, and Suor Angelica with Seattle Modern Opera Company. She is a soprano section leader at Epiphany Parish and sings Baltic music regularly with Mägi Ensemble. Eliza holds a Bachelor of Music degree from New Mexico State University and a Master of Music degree from University of Northern Colorado.
Trina Wright earned a BFA in Theater from the Division of Design, Technology, and Management at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She followed her heart to Seattle, where she found an artistic home at Youth Theatre Northwest as a lighting designer and stage manager. However, lighting is not singing, and she was thrilled to join Mägi Ensemble in 2016. When not harmonizing with this stellar group of women or climbing ladders in a dusty theater, Trina can be found beachcombing with her two boys, trying new recipes with her husband, and caroling with the Dickens Carolers.
Kathea Yarnell is a freelance Mezzo-soprano, routinely performing as a soloist and professional chorister. For over 14 years she has been an established soloist, cantor and section leader at Epiphany Parish Seattle in Madrona. As a former middle school choir and youth choir director, Kathea loves working and singing not only with kids, but with other music teachers and directors. Joining the Mägi Ensemble shortly before the pandemic fortuitously brought new camaraderie and top-notch musicianship to her life. She also currently sings projects with Emerald Ensemble and Solaris Vocal Ensemble. Other ensemble work includes Cantatorem, whateverandeveramen., The Fisher Ensemble, The Box Is Empty, Seattle Opera Chorus, and numerous individual concert offerings.
Kathea earned Music Education degrees from the University of Washington and studied voice with Tom Harper, Valerie Yockey, Stephen Wall and Eric Banks. She also maintains a small private studio and teaches voice and piano lessons at Epiphany Music Academy. When not performing or teaching Kathea is wrangling her two teenagers, chauffeuring them to their musical and artistic activities, reading, walking and volunteering in the Northshore School District.
Peter Garbes has been playing piano since he was 4. While a student at MIT, he discovered his love of collaborative piano while playing rehearsal piano for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He’s very proud of Heather starting the Mägi Ensemble and growing it over the past 11 years. In addition to accompanying the Mägi Ensemble, he can be found accompanying other musical theatre and choral groups, most notably at Youth Theatre Northwest and Skagit Valley Chorale. As a choral tenor, Peter currently sings with the St. Mark’s Cathedral Choir and Evensong Choir in Seattle. When he’s not being a musician, he stays busy with his job as an IT Director.