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2021 Concert Program



Gillian Rae Perry- composer & visual art
Rachel Bunning- lyrics
Sarah Welden- soprano
Yijeong Yun- mezzo-soprano
Laura McCauley- soprano
Anne-Marie Shaver- flute

Their work "I Am" was inspired by Courage both at the individual level and as a collective. These dualities were manifested in a meditation on nature, especially the work of bees!

Hailed for her "gleaming soprano" voice and "explosive presentation" (Ken Herman, San Diego Story), Laura McCauley was a Metropolitan Opera National Council District Winner for 2018 and awarded the Encouragement Award in 2019 and 2017. Prior to Covid Laura was touring with Arizona Opera’s OPERAtunity singing the Stepsister and Fairy Godmother in their production of Cinderella, as well as performing in their Opera 101 productions. Laura was to have sung her first time with Seagle Music Festival as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, but will get to sing her first Mimi this summer with them instead. As a Studio Artist with Opera Neo, Laura sang the role of Satirino in La Calisto and covered Clorinda in La Cenerentola.  Her past roles include Tirésias in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Semele, and scenes as Gilda in Rigoletto, Adina in L'elisir d'amore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Servilia in La clemenza di Tito and Baroness in Der Wildschutz.

Rachel Bunning was born and raised in Arizona. She holds a bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Creative Writing as well as a master’s in English Studies from Arizona State University. Her creative work has been published in Write On Downtown and Girls Our Age. She was a co-host a blog writer for the local podcast, We Must Ignite, and told the stories of different artists in the Valley. This is her first time participating in AWC.

Anne-Marie Houy Shaver is a flutist currently pursuing a PhD in musicology at Arizona State University with a focus in ecomusicology and listening practices. She holds degrees from Abilene Christian University and Baylor University, a Deep Listening certificate from the Center for Deep Listening, and was part of Robert Dick's contemporary flute studio in NYC. Specializing in the research and performance of experimental music, she has premiered pieces as both a soloist and ensemble member. She is active with Oh My Ears and in 2019 performed Phillip Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach with the Openscore Ensemble.

Sarah Welden is a soprano based in Boston, MA. Sarah is an avid performer of contemporary music, having performed as a soloist in Boulez’s Improvisation sur Mallarmé, as Bessie in the US premiere of David Rhymer’s Songs from Nightingale Alley, and as soloist in various operatic, musical theatre, cabaret, art song, and sprechstimme premieres. Other credits include Genovieffa Suor Angelica, Atalanta in Handel’s Xerxes, Cunegonde in Candide, and Josephine in Precious Nonsense. Sarah holds a MM in Musical Theatre and Opera Performance at Arizona State University and BMs in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College. 

Gillian Rae Perry enjoys finding ways that her music can break people out of their day to day routine and invite them to glimpse the extraordinary all around them. Perry was a Composition Fellow with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. Perry graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in both music composition and film and is greatly influenced by art forms outside of music – such as film, dance, and theatre. Perry holds an MFA in music composition from The California Institute of the Arts.

Yijeong Isabel Yun is a candidate for DMA in Voice Performance. She holds a Masters of Music degree from ASU. She debuted with UVAA/ Utah lyric opera in the opera "Ariadne Auf Naxos" as Dryade and worked with ASU MTO in "Suor Angelica' as The Monitor and “Xerxes” as Amastre. She also worked as a soloist of the premiere Cipher with ASU Symphony Orchestra. This is her first AWC  project and she is thrilled to collaborate with amazing and talented female artists. She would like to thank the leadership team who organized and managed this project well and Dr. Stephanie Weiss, who guides her with passion and love.



Kristian Rodriguez- composer (Apologies, Apologies) & lyricist (From the Depths)
Britta Epling- composer (From the Depths)
Micaëla Rebb- flute, lyricist (Apologies, Apologies) and soprano
Karen Kelly- mezzo-soprano

In answering "A Call to Courage" this team examined what it means to 'claim space' in fields not originally designed for or by members of their communities. Britta, Kristian, Micaela and Karen's work emphasizes that it is not enough to claim one's own space, but one must life up others from their community and those less privileged. Their exploration manifested in not one, but two brand new works!

Britta Covert Epling is a Southern California based composer with a background in contemporary classical composition and alternative songwriting. She has premiered her diverse range of music as a conductor of a chamber orchestra, singer and guitarist, church ensemble performer, and with live music and film. Her piece for solo violin and piano, Soliloquy, is available on every major digital music retailer and streaming service. She is currently writing and orchestrating the songs for an upcoming animated musical.

Karen Kelley (Mezzo) is elated to perform in the Arizona Women’s Collaborative concert. Originally from Missouri, she is a first year graduate student pursuing her Master’s in Music for Opera Performance at ASU. She has performed with various programs including Springfield Regional Opera, Harrower Opera Workshop, and the American Institute for Musical Studies. She most recently received recognition as a 2020 semi-finalist in The American Prize performance competition and was a first place recipient in the 2020 AZ District NATS competition for the Advanced Classical category. Special thanks to her family, friends, vocal coaches, and voice teacher for all their love, support, and encouragement. 

Micaela Rebb (Soprano/Flutist) is excited to be performing with the Arizona Women’s Collaborative for their third season! She was last seen as Geraldine in Barber’s A Hand of Bridge and is currently pursuing her masters in Vocal Performance at Arizona State University. Micaela would like to thank Kristian, Karen, and Britta for being such amazing collaborators and Stephanie Sadownik for making this whole process possible!

Kristian S. Rodriguez As a queer, non-binary, and Latinx individual from a working-class background, Kristian’s identity is inherently political and intersectional. As such, their creative and academic work reflects an interest in the radical, in liberation of the self and of marginalized communities from all axes of oppression. Kristian's work also reflects an interest in the interdisciplinary, because as someone living at the intersection of various marginalized identities, they understand the importance of nuance and the complex ways in which various frameworks of analyses interact. Thus, through performance, education, and research, they seek to empower marginalized communities by igniting discussions about equity, healing, and liberation.



Jenny Madruga Chavez- composer, lyricist
Karey Miles- piano
Hannah Cummiskey- dancer
Melanie Holm- dancer
Aslief Willmer- soprano
Sam Dávalos- soprano

"A Mother's love, worries and hope" was inspired by Jenny's baby boy, who inspired an infinitely expanding love. The courage of motherhood in all its dualities of being exhausting and exhilarating is one Jenny wanted to celebrate through song and dance.

Jenny Madruga Chavez: Jenny is a wife, mother, and classical singer who has served the Arizona community as a voice teacher, and music educator. She is SO excited to be debuting her first composition as part of the Arizona Women's Collaborative concert. She is a proud student of Stephanie Weiss and is continuing her education at ASU, completing the Masters program in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in opera this coming Spring. During the 2019 season, Jenny played her first principal role in ASU’s Xerxes and completed training at the Taos Opera Institute. Her upcoming performances include Nora in Riders to the Sea by Ralph Vaughan Williams with ASU's Music Theatre and Opera as well as Ilia from Idomeneo in the Opera Scenes performance. She would like to thank her amazing husband for being a Super Dad, supporting her ventures and being the best father to their 15 month old son, Travis. 

Hannah Cummiskey is a musician, performer, and teacher. After attending ASU for both undergraduate and graduate studies in voice with Gordon Hawkins, she has continued to be an active voice and piano teacher in the Phoenix area. In addition to her musical studies, she also trained in ballet and Graham technique modern dance since childhood. Hannah is passionate about working with students of all ages to access the joy of arts involvement and is so excited to be a part of this project.

Samantha Dávalos is a soprano from El Paso, Texas and current Master of Music candidate in Opera Performance at Arizona State University. Samantha received her bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from The University of Texas at El Paso in 2019 where she performed the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. While attending ASU Samantha has performed the roles of “Mother” in Heart of Oksana, “La Badessa” in Suor Angelica, “Linda Morales” in Hometown to the World, “Anna Maurrant” in Street Scene, and “Harriett Beecher Stowe” in The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace. This is Samantha's first time performing with the Arizona Women’s Collaborative. Samantha would like to thank her collaborators and the AWC for their patience, love, and creativity. 

Melanie Holm is a soprano and a passionate advocate for using multidisciplinary platforms to bring classical music to new audiences. Covid may have thrown her a loop, but that hasn’t stopped Melanie from taking on opportunities! Recently, she was part of Antigua y Moderna’s Young Artist Academy singing Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, was a guest artist with the Arts at Nativity Concert Series, and was a Fall 2020 DBR LABSpace artist at ASU. Melanie was a 2019 Emerging Artist with Opera in the Ozarks, has sung with the OME New Music Festival and is a former Education Artist with Arizona Opera. She holds degrees from Arizona State University (DMA/Voice and MM/Opera), and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BM/Voice with a Dance Minor), and studies with Stephanie Weiss.

Karey Miles is a collaborator by nature and loves to be involved with new music projects like those of AWC. Before her move to Phoenix she lived in Portland, Oregon and was director of a large music school and an active pianist in the community. She holds a Masters in Piano Performance from PSU where she was a graduate teacher assistant and is finishing her second Masters in Collaborative Piano Performance at ASU where she studies with Dr. Andrew Campbell. Karey performs regularly with large and small ensembles including the Queer Opera program in Portland. While not teaching or performing, you will find Karey adventuring in the outdoors or cooking delicious food!

Hailed as “a most incredible voice” (Arizona Daily Star) with “glowing color and exceptional artistry” (Schmopera), Brazilian-Italian-American soprano, Asleif Willmer delights audiences with her captivating stage presence, comedic timing, nuanced artistry, and polished lyric-coloratura soprano voice. Asleif has participated in several young artist programs, including International Vocal Arts Institute, Brevard Music Festival, Opera Saratoga, and most recently Florida Grand Opera, and has sung several leading roles in the light-lyric and lyric-coloratura repertoire. Highlights include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Adele in Die Fledermaus, and Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Equally at home in the concert hall, Asleif is an artist with the GRAMMY-nominated True Concord Voices and Orchestra and has been a featured soloist internationally and nationally. She has also received top awards from many organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions, Classical Singer Competition, and MTNA Competition.



Emily Benoit-Smith- composer & mezzo-soprano
Sandra Flores-Strand- lyricist & mezzo-soprano
Julia Chacón- choreographer & dancer
Lillian Noren- composer & soprano
Amanda Stone- soprano
Ashton Bates- soprano

In Speak, Don't Speak, this team set about to reflect on the times they felt discounted and diminished as women, emotionally, physically or mentally.  They bring to light that women often balance the urge to speak out with the shame of being silenced.

Ashton Bates graduated in 2018 with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University. Ashton performed the role of Le Prince Charmant in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon, and Elisetta in Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto with Arizona State Universtiy’s Lyric Opera Theatre and participated in the opera studio of the American Institute of Musical Studies in 2019 in Graz, Austria. Ashton is currently teaching private voice and piano lessons and sings locally around the valley. 

Julia Chacón, is an established American flamenco artist. In 2019 she was a finalist for the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award and Phoenix Mayor’s Arts Award. She is a two-time Artist in Residence at the Musical Instrument Museum (a Smithsonian Affiliate). Julia toured extensively for over a decade as a soloist with international flamenco companies performing throughout the USA, in Spain, Colombia, and Mexico. She directs the Julia Chacon Flamenco Theatre, and 2021 marks the company’s fourth year on the season programming at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Julia has taught national residencies and master classes. She co-presented in TEDx at Louisiana State University. She is currently a second year master’s degree candidate at

Lillian Noren is a Masters in Opera Performance at ASU. She has sung Chorus and Michaëla Cover in Bizet’s Carmen, Zweite Dame Cover and Zweite Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea with the Nevada Chamber Opera. Lillian has also been a soloist with the Reno Chamber Orchestra for Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Handel’s Messiah. Lillian was awarded second place in the NATS Cal-Western Region Conference in 2017. She was also chosen to participate in Dolora Zajick’s Institute for Young Dramatic Voices during the summer of 2020. Most recently, Lillian sang Autumn in Service Provider at ASU.

Emily Benoit-Smith is a first year masters of music candidate at ASU on the opera performance track. As an Arizona native, she is thrilled to be a part of the AWC. She graduated from ASU with a BM in vocal performance. Her favorite performances include Lily Craven in The Secret Garden, Sister Osmina in Suor Angelica, and Roman in the US premier of The Heart of Oksana. She lives with her husband, Parker and cat, Eowyn in Tempe. 

Originally from Albuquerque, NM, Amanda Stone currently studies at Arizona State University. She is a member of Barrett, the Honors College and works as an ASU Community Assistant. Amanda has participated in the ASU Barrett Choir, ASU Sol Singers, New American Choir, Gospel Choir, and Newman Center Liturgical Choir, and was a chorus member in the U.S. premiere of the Ukrainian opera "The Heart of Oksana." In Summer 2020, Amanda was an intern for "How Can I Keep from Singing?" Virtual Kids Camp. This year, she also worked with the International Virtual Children’s Choir as assistant conductor, "Leading Ladies-A New Musical" as assistant music director, and currently works with the Gilbert Youth Choir as assistant conductor and BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir as a teaching assistant. She plans on receiving degrees in both Civil Engineering and Music and fulfilling her dual dreams of becoming an engineer and choral conductor.

Sandra Flores-Strand, Librettist and Mezzo-Soprano, is based in the US and Canada. Sandra feels compelled to write with a focus on marginalized communities, particularly Latin American representation on stage, including the ongoing migrant crisis, a subject that hits close to home. Sandra is currently collaborating with composer Laura Jobin-Acosta, a recipient of the Opera America IDEA Residency for a piece that will have its premiere workshop at Opera America in Fall 2021. As a singer, Sandra has performed with Arizona Voices, Mercury Opera, Voices of Vienna, the Phoenix Opera Orchestra, Brott Opera Festival, Flagstaff Light Opera, Lambs Players Theater, Lyric Opera San Diego. She has participated in apprentice programs with Red River Lyric Opera, the Harrower Opera Workshop, Angel's Vocal Arts, Flagstaff in Fidenza and the Royal College of Music Cratoule Summer Program.



Alicia Castillo- composer
Jenny Madruga Chavez- soprano
Karey Miles- piano

"A Cycle of Marriage" is a song cycle in five movements with the aim to capture all the highs and lows of marriage. The idea was inspired by a book called 'The Art of Marriage," which Jenny had read. The movements of the piece reflect the titles and themes in the book.

Alicia Castillo is a composer, guitarist, and singer-songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently a Senior at Arizona State University studying Music Composition and Guitar. In addition to writing concert music, she enjoys collaborating with various interdisciplinary mediums such as dance, art, and theatre. Alicia is excited to return to the AWC for a third year and work with all of the wonderful women involved!

For Jenny Madruga Chavez & Karey Miles bios; see above.



Tanya Landau- composer
Siva Pooja Ramachandran- choreographer & dancer
Alisa Vest -piano
Rose Johnson- flute
Lori Shepherd- bass clarinet

Program Notes from the composer:

This piece began for me as a meditation and attempt at processing and understanding the last year. Over the course of 2020, I found myself having moments of deep struggle and feelings of hopelessness that would fade in and out from day to day. Whenever I would feel this immense darkness creeping in, I would always turn to my friends and family’s love and support for comfort and hope. Hope became the most important word of the last year. Throughout all of the struggle and moments of doubt, the light inside, the flame of hope no matter how small, never went out. This is where I find my courage. A call to courage is exactly what all of us were called to do over the last year. The courage to support one another, to listen to each other, and to continue to fight for the betterment of our world. The three instruments within Illumination gradually gather and lift each other up to higher and higher melodic and harmonic peaks. When one is low, another comes along to pick it up and help it find its voice once more. The community of women that I’ve found through AWC, and the larger community of women throughout the world, is perfectly represented by this melodic motion as we gather and lift each other up through difficult times. We call upon each other’s courage to speak up for ourselves and we find power and strength in community, a community built on resilience and hope. I hope that this piece can help you to find the light within yourself and that it reminds you that no matter how small and flickering it may sometimes feel, it never goes out. 

Tanya Landau is a senior Vocal Performance major at Arizona State University. As a performer, she was last seen as “Novice” in Suor Angelica with ASU’s MTO and, in early 2020, she was a part of a new work reading of Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed’s Hometown to the World. She began studying composition with Dr. Chris Stover in spring of 2018 and since then has premiered her reed quintet ‘Woven’ at the Tempe Arts Center with ASU’s Society of Composers. Last year, she had the pleasure of premiering her work ‘Lost in Translation’ with the Arizona Women’s Collaborative and she is very excited to once again have the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of women! 

Siva Pooja Ramachandram is a Graduate student at Arizona State University, pursuing Masters in Fine Arts in Dance. She is originally from India and has been dancing for the past 12 years. Her movement style is an Indian Classical dance form called 'Bharatanatyam' which comes from the state Tamil Nadu, India and is one of the oldest dance traditions nationally. It has been nurtured in worship based temples for over centuries since the common era (CE). 

Rose V. Johnson, a freelance solo and chamber ensemble musician, has been performing and teaching music since childhood. Rose received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Instrumental Music Performance, with an emphasis in flute, from Northern Arizona University and her Master of Music degree from the University of Washington. Her mentors include Erich Graf, Philip Swanson and Felix Skowronek. Rose is a member of the Ladies’ Quintessential Quintet, Compass Winds, Shepherd’s Rose Duo, has formerly been Principal Flute of the Ensign Symphony & Chorus and Northwest Symphony Orchestra, and has been a member of the National Flute Association's Professional Flute Choir in 2008, and 2010-2019. Rose maintains a private studio, works with youth chamber ensembles and has coached with the Seattle Youth Symphony's Summer Music program, the Evergreen Philharmonic and the Eastside Youth Concert Band. Rose is a founder of Collaborative Musicians’ Project and has served on the boards of the National Flute Association’s Performance Health Committee, the Seattle Flute Society, Silver Flight Ensembles and Foundation, and the Federal Way Arts Commission. Rose currently resides with her engineer husband in Issaquah, WA and is the proud mother of a violinist daughter and a multi-talented son.

Lori Shepard is a freelance musician and private music instructor specializing in woodwinds. Versatile and creative, she embodies the definition of musician. She performs regularly on clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and flute with ensembles ranging from small chamber groups to jazz bands to large orchestras. Lori has performed in venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Benaroya Hall, Abravenel Hall, the main stage at the Shanghai World Expo in 2019, Advent Lutheran Church in Manhattan, and was slated to perform at both the International Clarinet Association 2020 Clarinetfest in Reno and the 2020 IDRS Conference with Trio de Bois before the COVID19 shutdowns. Since March 2020, Lori has embarked on a very active remote recording schedule with Trio de Bois and the Ladies' Quintessential Quintet to produce multiple livestream broadcasts and world premieres of new works for reed trio and woodwind quintet. The 2020/2021 season has been a fruitful one for new recordings each month from the collaborations with composers across the globe and a successful call for scores for the season, and Lori is very pleased to be able to join the AWC for this virtual event.

Allison Vest is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho having completed a Bachelor of Science in Music degree in 2009. During her time as a student, Allison was frequently asked to accompany university choirs and voice students. After graduating, Allison has continued providing her accompaniment services to BYU-Idaho as an employee of the College of Visual and Performing Arts until recently. She has worked with university choirs, symphonies, bands, students, and other professors as a rehearsal and performance pianist for the Theater and Music departments. Her many experiences with the university have led to an extensive repertoire list that includes every genre from every era of music. She is highly-regarded by university faculty as well as performing arts students. Allison resides in Rexburg, Idaho with her three children.



Teresa Murphy- composer and mezzo-soprano
Elise Daniels- soprano and spoken word
Eddie Frances- poet
Alicia Castillo- guitar
Jasmine Rodriguez- soprano
Vanessa Naghdi- soprano
Amy King- Berimbau

Elise Daniells' ('21) late grandmother, Eddie Frances' was a writer whose poetry inspires hope, courage, and liberation. "Here at Last" is a musical setting of Eddie Frances' poem about Harriet Tubman, the conductor of the Underground Railroad. We have set this piece to capoeira-inspired music. Capoeira is the Brazilian dance/fight/game, which originated as a form of training self defense in the slave communities of Afro-Brazilians in the 1600s. The Afro-Brazilian slaves used music and dance-like movements to disguise their combat training, so that their owners would not suspect the impending slave revolutions. Capoeira song is accompanied by a standing drum and a berimbau, a strung instrument with African origins, which you will hear in our recording. 

Harriet Tubman’s legacy, Eddie's powerful words, and Brazilian Capoeira are more connected than it may appear. The act of creating beauty in a world that refuses to give you the accolade you are due requires courage, and Eddie Frances Teamer embodied that completely. Parts of the song are also translated into Tut, which is a secret language that American slaves invented to learn how to spell and communicate without their masters knowing. This language was passed down through generations of Elise's mother’s family, who eventually taught it to her. This piece will combine the story of Harriet Tubman, personally archived African-American poetry, the Tut language, and Capoeira to create a glimpse into an international, musical, and physical history of the African Diaspora.

Elise Daniels is passionate about stories that reveal the dualities of the Human experience and finding common ground. Born in London, England, Elise moved to Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 7 years old. She grew up in an artistic household; between her mother’s career in musical theatre and her father’s professional ballroom dance career, Elise has always had her eyes on the stage. She is currently finishing her Masters degree in Opera Performance and Musical Theatre from Arizona State University.

Alicia Castillo- see above for bio

Teresa Murphy (Masters student in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at ASU) enjoys singing, composing, dancing and choral conducting. Her compositions have been performed in Massachusetts, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and La Plata, Argentina. She has also recently begun training capoeira, the Brazilian fight/dance/game, which is accompanied by music, and has long stood as a sign of liberation. She is honored to set Eddie Frances Teamer's poem, "Harriet Tubman" to capoeira-inspired music! 

Vanessa Naghdi is a young Persian-American soprano originally from the Washington, D.C. area. She  recently completed an 8-month residency with Opera Colorado as an Artist in Residence performing  Nannetta in Falstaff, Mrs. Soep and Ina Soep (cover) in the world premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me, and  covering Musetta in La bohème, among other performances. She was an Education Teaching Artist with  Arizona Opera for three seasons. Last season, Ms. Naghdi debuted the role of Tormentilla in a concert  version of The Poisoned Kiss with Passion Project: Opera!. This season, she joined NEMPAC Opera  Project and Social Distance Opera.

Jasmine Rodriguez is a second year Opera Performance major at ASU under the voice instruction of Stephanie Weiss. Jasmine received her bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from Chapman University in Orange, CA. Roles performed include Rose (Street Scene), Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi).  She’s attended the Taos Opera Institute and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Next summer she will be attending Seagle Music Colony, performing the roles of Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief) and covering the title role for the world premier of Harmony. Thanks to the Arizona Women’s Collaborative team for putting this show together! It’s an honor to create with you.

Amy King- bio unavailable



This video was only played for the private audience on the original concert date.

Elise Daniels- soprano

Jasmine Rodriguez-organizer

Sierra Segal- arranger

McKaylee Todd - soprano

Sierra Segal's fresh arrangement of Aundra Day's inspirational and moving pop anthem highlight's 'getting through tough times with hope and love." Segal turns Day's song into a soaring duet surrounded by treble voices urging us to have the courage to 'rise up.'

Elise Daniels; see above for bio

Jasmine Rodriguez is a second year Opera Performance major at ASU under the voice instruction of Stephanie Weiss. Jasmine received her bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance from Chapman University in Orange, CA. Roles performed include Rose (Street Scene), Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), and Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi).  She’s attended the Taos Opera Institute and the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Next summer she will be attending Seagle Music Colony, performing the roles of Laetitia (The Old Maid and the Thief) and covering the title role for the world premier of Harmony. Thanks to the Arizona Women’s Collaborative team for putting this show together! It’s an honor to create with you.

Sierra Segal (arranger, Rise Up) is a graduate student studying music education at Chapman University. She has taught and arranged a cappella music for several years, and founded an advocacy group called Queercappella. Representation in music is one of her main areas of focus. She also specializes in musical theater conducting, music directing, and choreography. Currently, she teaches choir at Dana Hills High School and resides in Orange, CA with her bearded dragon, Gogurt.

McKaylee Todd is an interdisciplinary artist from Roswell, NM. When it came to pursuing music, it was a challenge growing up in a small town known primarily for UFOs and green chile. Nevertheless, McKaylee placed singing at the center of her gaze. She is pursuing her M.M. in Opera Performance under the instruction of Stephanie Weiss, but also enjoys singing various styles including folk-rock, pop, and jazz. McKaylee is delighted to perform in her second AWC Concert. In whatever she performs, McKaylee strives to share stories that frame the human experience, spread laughter, and showcase fearless expression. 

Top Row: Jasmine Rodriguez, Laura McCauley, Hannah Cummiskey, Karen Kelly

2nd Row: Yijeong Yun, McKaylee Todd, Elise Daniels, Teresa Murphy

3rd Row: Micaela Rebb, Haley McHardy, Amanda Stone, Sam Davalos

4th Row: Melanie Holm, Molly Cox



Kelli Shill
Teresa Murphy
Jenny Madruga Chavez
Stephanie Weiss- AWC Arizona State University Faculty Advisor
Stephanie Sadownik-AWC Artistic Director & Co-Founder

Kelli Shill is a first year Master's student in Opera Performance at Arizona State University, where she studies with Carole FitzPatrick. She holds a B.M. in Voice Performance from ASU. Kelli has admired the work put forward by the Arizona Women's Collaborative over the last 2 cycles, and she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in this organization as a member of the leadership team for Cycle 3. She would like to thank the participants in this year's program for their diligence and ingenuity in creating these works during a challenging time. 

Teresa Murphy- see bio above

Jenny Madruga Chavez- see bio above

Stephanie Weiss, mezzo-soprano, was a regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and is a regular guest at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Her roles include Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Klementia (Sancta Susanna), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Grimgerde (Die Walküre), Marianne Leitmetzerin (Der Rosenkavalier), Giannetta (L’elisir d’amore), Aufseherin (Elektra), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana), Venus (Tannhäuser), and Johanna (Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna).  She has performed at Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin Philharmonic, Oper Frankfurt, Konzerttheater Bern, Oper Dortmund, Oper Köln, Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, Oper Leipzig, Opera Orchestra of New York, and San Diego Opera. Concert appearances include Mozart Requiem, Beethoven Symphony 9, Wesendonck Lieder, Mahler Symphony 4, and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.

Along with operatic and orchestral concert repertoire, Dr. Weiss is an avid performer of art song and new music.  She has performed recitals in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia, singing the music of award-winning American and German living composers. With her ‘duo au courant’ partner, pianist Dr. Christina Wright-Ivanova, she has sung the world premieres of several song cycles, including Jonathan Stark’s “Passageway”, and Daron Hagen’s “Jaik’s Songs”. In 2019, the duo released their debut CD of the songs of Daron Hagen on Albany Records. 

Dr. Weiss, currently Assistant Professor of Voice at Arizona State University, holds degrees from New England Conservatory (B.M. voice), Tufts University (B.S. biology and drama), University of Missouri-Kansas City (M.M.), Mannes College of Music (Prof. Studies Dipl.), and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (D.M.A.), where she was previously Assistant Professor of Voice.  In the summer, she serves on the faculty at AIMS in Graz (Austria).

Stephanie Sadownik, mezzo-soprano, is a versatile performer, stage director, educator and producer. Ms. Sadownik has performed regularly throughout the Southwest and Los Angeles region. She has been an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera, PORTopera and a three-time Opera Fellow awardee for the Aspen Opera Center. She has earned praise for her portrayals of Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Madame Flora (The Medium), La Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Arnalta (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Samira (Ghosts of Versailles). She has performed under the batons of Marin Alsop, Michael Christie, Jane Glover, Stephen Lord and Robert Spano and has worked with directors such as Ed Berkley, Garnett Bruce, Ken Cazan, Nick Olcott and Leon Major. 

In addition to performing, Dr. Sadownik is a passionate director and producer. Directing credits include Trouble in Tahiti, an original adaptation of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and a staged version of Dominick Argento’s Pulitzer Prize winning song cycle From the Diaries of Virginia Woolf with Duo au courant, a new work reading of Laura Kaminsky’s new operaHometown to the World and Kamala Sankaram’s The Infinite Energy of Ada Lovelace. In January of 2020, Dr. Sadownik professional debut as an assistant director with Arizona Opera on their production of La Bohéme. She is the proud co-founder and Artistic Director of the Arizona Women's Collaborative, an all-female and non-binary identifying new works initiative which has curated and premiered 17 new works over three cycles.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2006 and received her Master’s degree in Opera Performance from the Maryland Opera Studio at University of Maryland, College Park in 2009. She earned her D.M.A. in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University in 2020 with her thesis, The Lieder of Emilie Mayer, 1812-1883. Selected “re-introduced” lieder of Mayer will be performed by renowned soprano Golda Schultz in April 2021.

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