Singers & Staff

Richard Giarusso

Artistic Director

Richard Giarusso enjoys a rewarding career as a conductor, singer, educator, and scholar. An emerging leader within the Washington, D.C. choral community, Dr. Giarusso is music director of the Georgetown Chorale in D.C. and artistic director of the Voce Chamber Singers in Northern Virginia. He served previously as artistic director of The Maryland Choral Society. Guest conducting appearances have included the Washington Bach Consort, The New Opera (Williamstown, Massachusetts), Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre (Cambridge, New York), the Aoede Consort (Albany, New York), Williams College, and CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) in Hartford. Praised by The Washington Post for his "expressive and perfectly controlled voice," he is in high demand as a solo and ensemble singer. Recent and upcoming solo engagements include performances with the Cathedral Choral Society, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the Washington Bach Consort, the Washington Master Chorale, Cathedra, and the Folger Consort, in addition to solo recitals in Washington, Boston, and the Berkshires.

A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Giarusso holds degrees in music and English from Williams College and the Ph.D. in historical musicology from Harvard University. An award-winning teacher, he is Chair of the Department of Musicology at the Peabody Conservatory. Dr. Giarusso is also a frequent lecturer for arts organizations throughout the mid-Atlantic, having presented talks for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Baltimore Symphony, the Washington Bach Consort, the Handel Choir of Baltimore, the Shriver Hall Concerts, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. He has also served as a music panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Giarusso resides in Silver Spring, with his wife, Allison, his son, Adrian, and three cats.

CJ Capen

Keyboard Artist

CJ Capen is the Director of Music Ministries for Saint John Neumann Community in Reston, VA, and Choral Director at Paul VI High School in Fairfax. He received his Master of Music degree in Accompanying under Dr. Andrew Harley at University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where he also studied harpsichord and fortepiano with Dr. Andrew Willis and jazz piano with Dr. John Salmon. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Piano Performance while also pursuing organ and choral conducting at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

In addition, he studied at the Muzička Akademija in Zagreb, Croatia under Vlejko Glodić, at Songfest in Malibu, California, and at The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. He has served as instrumental staff accompanist at Interlochen Center for the Arts Festival in Michigan, staff accompanist at Elon University in North Carolina, accompanist for Georgetown Chorale, accompanist for Vienna Choral Society, guest conductor for the Reston Chorale's "Messiah Sing-Along", and continues to give recitals, most recently for All Saints recital series, George Mason's Osher Institute, and on tour with flautist Lauren Sileo in China.

He is a member of the National Pastoral Musicians Arlington Board, American Choral Directors Association, NAfME, and DC's Friday Morning Music Club.

Kristin Abott

Kristin Abott (A) has been with Voce since 2015 and is thrilled to be with the group. She grew up in Reston and enjoyed making her siblings nuts by singing all the time! Her earliest stage memory is when she was four or five years old. She remembers standing on her bed singing her first original work while dancing the hula. This was her only experience with hecklers...her siblings throwing pillows at her to get her to stop! Kristin continued singing through high school in Concert and Show choirs, and as a chorus member in "Oliver". She also sang for Districts and Regionals. After a brief hiatus from organized singing she enjoyed a short stint on Friday nights at the Bolling AFB Officer's club singing standards from the Great American Song book. For the past 18 years she has been a soloist and member of her church choir and small ensemble. She is married and has two daughters and a grandson. Now that everyone is grown, Kristin is excited to spend more time doing what she enjoys as much as breathing...singing.

Michael Arko

Michael Arko (T) grew up in a musical family in the Chicago area, where he was active in theater, choirs and orchestras that were dedicated to the preservation of his native Slovenian heritage and culture. Because it was too freaking cold there, he abandoned Chicago for the more civil climes of the University of California, Irvine, minoring in classical voice while majoring in political science. That major drew him east to Washington's political arena, but to preserve his sanity he continued his musical endeavors, performing with the George Washington University Chorus, the Paul Hill Chorale, the Alexandria Chorale and (very briefly) the Washington Opera Chorus, as well as at several churches. He joined Voce in 2007. 
 
 

Purev Arlansbaatar

Purev Arlansbaatar (B)

Greg Bloy

Greg Bloy (T) received an organ performance degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where he sang Renaissance and 20th century music with the Collegium Musicum. He went on to get a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Penn State, where he spent too much time playing jazz, funk, and soul saxophone with various local and regional bar bands. Later he sang with a small group named Sine Nomine in East Lansing, Michigan which specialized in early Anglican music. He currently plays organ part-time at Emmaus UCC in Vienna and occasionally fills in as a substitute at various other area churches. His main occupation is the applied mathematics of algorithm design.

Christopher Borton

Christopher Borton (B) was raised in a large musical family near Rochester, New York as a pianist, percussionist, and vocalist. A graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelors in music education and vocal performance, he now uses his creative talents during the day for the American Red Cross Biomedical Services as a national change administrator/ project manager. When not singing with Voce and at church with his wife, JoEllen, you can also find him cycling on the W&OD trail.

JoEllen Borton

JoEllen Borton (A) received her Bachelors in Music from West Virginia University, and Masters from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh). She has performed with many vocal ensembles, including Tayside Opera in Dundee, Scotland, where she played the soprano lead in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades. JoEllen and her husband Chris are also active with several local theater groups as performers and music directors. She has been with Voce for 23 seasons.

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown (T) has been involved in music as long as she can remember. Rachel sang her way through school in England in various groups, and even in college she was the only non-music major in the college choir. She once played Little Buttercup in Pirates of Penzance and would love to get back into amateur dramatics before she is too old! Once in the US, and firmly ensconced in Virginia, she has participated in church choirs and a 12 person a cappella group for the past 20 years. Since joining Voce in 2012, she is delighted to be a part of this accomplished group to continue her music education!

Daniel Capp

Daniel Capp (B) was born in Fairfax, VA. He began singing in elementary school when he was given the option of joining the school chorus or writing a paper. He sang throughout high school and into college at James Madison University where he got a minor in Music. While at JMU he sang in the JMU Chorale, JMU Madison SIngers, and The Madison Project. To pay the bills he works for his family business doing marketing and selling wine.

Anna Robinson Cooper

Anna Robinson Cooper (S)

Melinda Cummings-Lewis

Melinda Cummings-Lewis (A)

Kate Campbell Deglans

Kate Campbell Deglans (S)

Heather Foster

Heather Foster (A)

Jennifer Grotpeter

Jennifer Grotpeter (A) holds a BM degree in vocal performance from Metropolitan State College of Denver, where she was active in the opera and choral programs and was a founding member of the Early Music Ensemble. While earning degrees in psychology and human development and family studies, she also sang with the Duke University Chorale and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate Chorale. In Denver and Boulder, she sang professionally with St. Martin's Chamber Choir, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Temple Sinai, and the Colorado Music Festival (including in the regional premiere of Golijov's Ainadamar), as well as performed with Voices of Light Chamber Choir and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. She is a research scientist with DSG, Inc., and works with the children's choirs and sings with St. George's Episcopal Church in Arlington. She loves spending her free time running around with her husband Andrew and son J-S.

Eric Hoang

Eric Hoang (B)

Kailey Pulos Hoang

Kailey Pulos Hoang (A) is originally from Western New York, but now resides in Centreville, VA. She is the choral director at Brentsville District High School in Nokesville, VA. Her degrees are from Nazareth College of Rochester (Bachelors in Music Education) and Ithaca College (Masters in Vocal Performance). Kailey enjoys spending time with her husband, Eric, and their goldendoodle, Matilda. She is thrilled to be a part of Voce!

Nicholas Keirstead

Nicholas Keirstead (T) studied Music Education at Shepherd University.  He has been an active organist and choir director since age 14, working in Episcopal Churches in Northern Virginia and the Greater Philadelphia area. In his church music career he has focused building youth programs as well as community concert series to help shape the role of music in the life of the wider community. He is an active member with the Association of Anglican Musicians. Currently, Nicholas serves as Director of Music Ministries and Organist at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, Dunn Loring, Virginia. When not involved with music, he works in the financial services industry as a manager with BB&T Bank.

Philip Keirstead

Philip Keirstead (B) received his Bachelor's degree in music education from James Madison University and just recently completed his Master's degree in music education at Florida State University.  He taught choral music at Hylton High School for 4 years and is in his 9th year at Marsteller Middle School in Prince William County.  He and his Advanced 8th Grade Men's Choir have presented sessions on how to engage young men in singing at the Virginia Music Educators Association state conference, the American Choral Directors Association regional conference in Jacksonville, FL, and will be presenting again in 2016 in Boston, MA.  In 2011, Philip was chosen as Prince William County's Middle School Teacher of the Year.  He has conducted several district and regional honor choirs throughout Virginia.  He is also the bass section leader at Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean, VA. 

Tom Korch

Tom Korch (B)

Laura Lazarevich

Laura Lazarevich (S) is the choral director at Freedom High School in Loudoun County, where she directs four choirs and teaches AP Music Theory.  Laura received her Bachelor of Music Education from James Madison University and her Masters of Music Education from Florida State University.  An active member of the Virginia Music Educator's Association (VMEA) and the American Choral Director's Association (ACDA), Laura currently serves as the Virginia High School Repertoire and Resources Chair for ACDA. A native of Virginia, Laura currently lives in Chantilly with her husband, Pete, and new son, Carson.

Annabelle Luebke

Annabelle Luebke (A) started reluctantly singing in choir as an 8th grader and has not stopped since. This is her second season with Voce Chamber Singers. She is a Maryland native who received her Bachelors of Music in Music Education from Susquehanna University in PA where she sang with the University Choir and Chamber Singers. She currently teaches chorus at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, VA, where she also serves as the Music Department Chair. She also teaches private voice and piano lessons, and sings with the choir at Ashburn Presbyterian Church.

Mark Luna

Mark Luna (T)

Emily Martin

Emily Martin (S) 

Sarah Milhoan

Sarah Milhoan (S) is a Northern Virginia native and received a Bachelors of Music Education from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. While studying at JMU, she was a member of the JMU Chorale, The Madison Singers and the Music Director of the premiere all-female a cappella group Note oriety. Sarah is currently the Choral Director at Hughes Middle School in Reston and resides in Centreville with her husband, Mike.

Amy Moir

Amy Moir (S) studied piano and voice at James Madison University where she earned a Bachelor's degree in music education. She later received a Master of Music Education from Florida State University. She has spent fourteen years teaching music education for Fairfax County Public Schools. The last ten years, she has instructed choral students at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon, VA. She conducts the Junior Choir at Vienna Presbyterian Church and teaches private piano and voice. Amy works as a clinician, conductor, accompanist, and adjudicator on the state and district level for choral music. When she is not pursuing her music career, she enjoys spending time with her twin boys, daughter, husband, and dog.

Damone Motton

Damone Motton (T) has sung in classical and musical theater ensembles, touring both domestically and internationally since 1989. Among others, he has had the opportunity to sing under the direction of Jester Hairston, Mack Wilberg, and Leonard Bernstein. Now back in his home state of Virginia, he is very happy to be a member of Voce.

Frank Newman

Frank Newman (T) grew up in a musical family having parents who were professional singers and voice teachers.  Prior to his current career as an IT professional, he worked for various opera and theatre companies in the Pittsburgh area as a set and lighting designer, stage manager, technician, and general factotum.  He minored in music in college and has had the privilege to sing in various temple and church choirs in the Northern Virginia area for the past 20 years.

Gretchen DeGraff Newman

Gretchen DeGraff Newman (S) is a founding member of Voce. Her first choral experience was in a 9-voice group of girls that accompanied themselves on handbells. She then sang with Collegium Musicum and the Oberlin College Choir, and later with the Pittsburgh Oratorio Society under Donald Wilkins.She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and a Masters from the Yale University School of Music. The former Marketing Director and Company Manager of the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, she is a choral clinician and maintains a private vocal studio in Oak Hill where she lives with her husband Frank. They have two adult daughters who grew up with Voce.

Katie Pierce

Katie Pierce (S) is the Choral Director at Westfield High School, the Director of Music at Oakton United Methodist Church and is a dance teacher at the Russell School of Ballet. She holds a Masters degree in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bachelors degrees in Music and in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary. At William & Mary, she performed with the Botetourt Chamber Singers, Spotlight Show Choir and the WIlliam and Mary Choir. She was a soprano soloist with the Early Music Ensemble, section leader with the Bruton Parish Canterbury Choir and directed Common Ground A Cappella. She joined Voce in January 2013.

Kelli Pierson

Kelli Pierson (S) received her degree in Vocal Music Education from James Madison University. She is currently the Choral Director at Marshall High School in Fairfax County. While she attended JMU, she sang in The Madison Singers, The JMU Chorale, Treble Chamber Choir, and the opera chorus of Pirates in Penzance. She was also the music director and member of JMU's award winning, competitive female a cappella group, The BluesTones. She enjoys being involved in her local church and writing and performing music with her talented husband. 

Alicia Powell

Alicia Powell (A) has been singing for as long as she can remember, or as her mother likes to say, "Alicia was singing the Hallelujah chorus at age 2!" She has been in a variety of church choirs and musical groups throughout her early years, and although she was not a music major, she was selected to sing for the top group (The Chamber Singers) at her alma mater, East Carolina University.  She has recently sung with the Northern Virginia Chorale, and is very excited to be with Voce for her second season.

Antonio Rodriguez

Antonio Rodriguez (T)

Nikki Rosengren

Nikki Rosengren (A) has been a musician since she took her first organ lessons at the age of five. The daughter of Army officers, she studied piano and violin in the US and abroad, and played with the Topeka Civic Symphony during her high school years in Kansas. She discovered her voice while an undergraduate at Princeton, where she sang with the Glee Club and enjoyed learning masterpieces of the choral repertoire. Nikki is a cantor, accompanist, and Director of the Women's Ensemble at St. John Neumann Church in Reston. She also sings with the Diocesan Choir at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More and with the Georgetown Chorale.

Valerie Saba

Valerie Saba (A) is an avid singer, arts administrator, development professional, and DC native.  She graduated from Indiana University in 2012 with dual degrees in Vocal Performance and Arts Administration. During her time in school, she performed numerous operatic roles and scenes, and held a church cantoring position.  She currently serves as the alto soloist and section leader for the Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church Choir in Arlington, VA.  When she's not singing, she manages marketing partnerships for an education nonprofit, and loves spending time at home with her family, especially her dog, Brutus!
 

Sid Schwartz

Sid Schwartz (B) started singing in organized choral groups at the age of eight as a first soprano with the Columbus Boychoir (now American Boychoir). He has sung with many accompanied and a cappella choirs and chorales through the years and is pleased to be singing with Voce. During the day, Sid is the director of a center of social scientists, computer specialists, statisticians, and survey specialists at the U.S. GAO where he is wrapping up a 37 year federal career. Sid and his wife have one son in college and another son in high school. They live in their Vienna, Virginia home with their cats' permission.

Joel Shapiro

Joel Shapiro (T) grew up in upstate New York, and received his Bachelor's degree in music education from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. While at Temple, Joel studied with Paul Rardin, Rollo Dilworth, and had the opportunity to music direct Broad Street Line A Cappella.  He is in his third year teaching choral music at Clarke County High School and Johnson-Williams Middle School in Berryville, VA.  He is working towards his Masters degree in Music Education at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.  Joel is in his third season with Voce Chamber Singers.

Keri Staley

Keri Staley (A)

Matt Thorsen

Matt Thorsen (B)

Jacob Walker

Jacob Walker (B) lives in Annandale, Virginia with his wife Josie. He studied classical guitar and voice at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in choral music education. Jacob is currently teaching guitar, music theory, and music production at Falls Church High School. He has been a Voce singer since 2014.

Josie Walker

Josie Walker (S) is from Arlington, VA and currently teaches general music and chorus for Arlington County Public Schools at Discovery Elementary. She lives in Annandale, VA with her husband Jacob, who is also a music teacher and member of Voce. She has earned both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Choral Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Robert Weimer

Robert Weimer (B) has been singing in one choral group or another since he was about six years old, including the Lincoln Boys Choir, Nebraska All-State Chorus, the University of Nebraska Men's Glee, and numerous church choirs. He almost became a music major in college, and did study voice and guitar. But the Navy needed nuclear engineers more than musicians, so he graduated with a degree in physics and then spent 24 years in the submarine force, still singing and playing whenever he could, including occasional impromptu events under water. After retiring from the Navy in 2001, he and his family moved to Springfield, VA, where he's been a steady member of choir at Messiah United Methodist Church. He joined Voce in 2012.