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Terry O'Connor, Director

Terry O'Connor has served Alameda's Sing-It-yourself Messiah (ASIYM) as director since 2006. He joined the organizing committee in 1998, during his 10th year as organist-choirmaster at Christ Episcopal Church in Alameda. He was previously organist-choirmaster at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, Oakland, and St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in El Cerrito. He was associate conductor with the East Bay Ebony Symphony. While attending UC Berkeley, he participated in and played for serveral choral chamber ensembles -- most notably the California Bach society of Berkeley and Palo Alto, under the direction of Edwin Flath. He is currently the Music Director at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

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Josh Cohen, Concertmaster

Josh Cohen has been involved with music in the San Francisco area for many years as violinist, bassist, concertmaster, conductor, board member and impresario. He has performed with regional groups including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the California Symphony, and Oakland Lyric Opera. He has also served on the boards of the Oakland Lyric Opera, the California Smphony, and ProMusica Alameda. Founding Musical Director and conductor of the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra. Josh also produces and performs chamber music concerts, directs opera and musical theater productions and continues to perform on violin and bass.

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Gesine Lohr, Harpsichord

(Kathy) Gesine Lohr studied with the late Eilleen Washington, who brought the first harpsicord to Califormia in the 1930's and was prominent in the early early-music renaissance. She then studied with Kathleen McIntosh and was coached by baroque flutist Stephen Schultz while part of Cal State Long Beach's 1980's early music program. Gesine also played in psychedelic rock blues groups, and played keybboard in Nancy Drew and the Clues, one of the first rock bands at the West Coast Womens' Music Festival. She has loved Handel's Messiah since singing 'He shall feed his flock' for Christmas Eve midnight services at St. George's-by-the-River Episcopal Church, in 1969.

David Howitt, Conductor

David has been the organist at St. Joseph's Basilica since 1985 and was appointed the music director in 1993. David attended San Francisco State University and earned a Bachelor of Music in organ and piano performance and a Master of Arts in music composition. He has taught elementary and middle school music and (occasionally) mathematics for many years and hopes to continue for at least a few more years. By then his children's college tuition might just be paid off!

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Michael Moran, Conductor

Michael serves as the Director of Music Ministries at Christ Episcopal Church in Alameda as well as the Organist for the two Wednesday services at First Church of Christ, Scientist in Oakland. In addition to giving concerts and playing for musicals and operas, he is also completing a collection of original hymn preludes for organ as well as a dramatic musical based on "Don Quixote". Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master's degree in Piano with a Minor in Organ/Choral Conducting from Eastern Illinois University under the tutelage of Dr. Herman Taylor. Michael also plays and conducts with the Alameda based Virago Theatre.

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Barbara Acostat, Soprano

Barbara Acosta was raised in Alameda, and attended Porter Elementary and Alameda High Schools, as did her parents. She began her musical training at Porter School by studying the flute, and later the piccolo. In high school, she studied piano and voice with the late Elizabeth Curtis. She has been a member or the Distaff Singers since 1980, the Alameda Adult School Chorus since 1991, and the choir at First Presbyterian Church since 1992, where she performed the role of the mother in Menotti 's "Amahl and the Night Visitors", directed by the late Bonnie Horlbeck. She performed in several productions of "Amahl" at the Dean Lesher Center for Performing Arts in Walnut Creek.

She has participated in the Holiday Home Tour, Memorial Day Ceremonies, the Mayor's Fourth of July Parade, Alameda Community Band and several musicals at Encinal High School. She is a continuing supporter of the Encinal High School Music Boosters. Barbara is an honor graduate of Diablo Valley College, where she received her AA degree in Liberal Studies while working full time. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Armand, and they have three daughters and sons-in-law, five grandsons and one granddaughter. .

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Susan Thieme, Mezzo-soprano

Susan trained as a Studio Artist with the Knoxville Opera and as a Fellow with CoOPERAtive; she holds music degrees from Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts (B.M.) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (M.M.). With the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre she sang Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Florence Pike in Albert Herring, Giannetta in L'elisir d'amore, Mrs. Nolan in The Medium, La Zelatrice in Suor Angelica, and the title role in a workshop of Larry Delinger's new opera Medea.

As a concert soloist, Ms. Thieme sang Beethoven's Mass in C Major at the Westminster Summer Sing-In, Handel's Messiah with the University of Tennessee Symphony, J. S. Bach's Cantata No. 51 at Seattle Center's Winterfest, Clérambault's cantata Orphée at Cornish College of the Arts, and she sang works of Mozart with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and Clarence Brown Theatre in their joint production of Amadeus. A lover of song repertoire, Ms. Thieme studied Lieder in Austria under the tutelage of Wolfgang Lockemann, and has performed song cycles from Robert Schumann's Liederkreis Op. 39 to Ernst Bacon's Songs At Parting.

Ms. Thieme currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys performing locally with First Street Opera in San Jose and Opera On Tap San Francisco. .

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Eric Bertelsen, Tenor

Eric returns again to the Alameda Sing-It-Yourself Messiah. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in Theatre Arts, with an emphasis on design. He studied voice for 15 years with the late Elizabeth Ellen Curtis. Currently and for a number of years, he has been a Cantor at St. Joseph Basilica here in Alameda.

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Julio Ferrari, Bass

Julio Ferrari, baritone and 6th generation San Franciscan is very excited to be singing with Alameda Sing-It-Yourself Messiah. He has recently sung with the Bay Shore Lyric Opera for his first show of the 2016 season, and has also recently appeared in Verismo Opera's double bill in Gianni Schicchi as Gianni Schicchi and in Pagliacci as both Tonio and Silvio. Other collaborations with Verismo include Un Ballo in Maschera as Renato and Faust as Valentin. Julio rounded out the past season appearing with Phènix Opera Company as Ben in Menotti's The Telephone this October..

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| Home | About Us | Resources | Schedule | Contact |
Terry O'Connor
Josh Cohen
Gesine Lohr
David Howitt
Michael Moran
Barbara Acosta
Susan Thieme
Eric Bertelsen
Julio Ferrari