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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.

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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 Acosta, Soprano Soloist

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 of the Distaff Singers since 1980, the Alameda Community 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 and Veteran’s 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 graduated with Honors from Diablo Valley College while working full time. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Armand. They have three daughters and sons-in-law, five grandsons, two granddaughters, and another grandchild born this past summer.

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Liliane Cromer, Mezzo Soprano Soloist

Liliane is a native from France where she graduated from the Université des Sciences Humaines and the Conservatoire de Musique, both in Strasbourg, France. She continued her musical education in the United States and received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance at San Jose State University. A professor of music and voice, she is currently teaching voice at Santa Clara University.

With the Bay Shore Lyric Opera Company she made her directorial debut in a production of La Boheme at the Paul Masson Winery. She also had the pleasure of being an assistant to Madame Licia Albanese in Madama Butterfly. Other credits as director include Rigoletto, Hansel and Gretel and Amahl and the Night Visitors. As co-founder of the Bayshore lyric Children’s Opera Company she brings Opera to numerous schools in the Bay Area.

Ms. Cromer has performed in recital, Oratorio and Opera in Europe and North America. She had the honor to sing in New York at the Alice Tully Hall and in Jamaica in the Season of Excellence Series.

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Eric Bertelsen, Tenor Soloist

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 Soloist

Julio is a sixth generation San Franciscan and loves hiking and playing banjo and guitar. For ten years cantored at St. Monica’s Church in San Francisco and was featured in several concerts including Faure’s Requiem and Vaughn William’s Five Mystical Songs. Julio has performed with West Bay Opera,  Livermore Valley Opera, Lamplighters, Pocket Opera, and San Francisco Renaissance Voices, to name a few. Operatic highlights include Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, Count Almaviva in the Marriage of Figaro, Tonio in Pagliacci, and Gianni Schicchi. In 2017, Julio will appear in Werther and La Boheme with Verismo Opera.

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Jonathan Leavy, Bass Soloist

Jonathan is a Colorado kid who now works as a Chaplain. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from California State University and a Master of Divnity from Pacific School of Religion. He has performed at Walt Disney World, regional & dinner theaters, cruise ships and tours in Florida and New York for 12 years; highlights include Off –Broadway shows “Patience” & “HMS Pinafore” & “Pirates of Pennzance”.  He has toured with the Mantovani Orchestra as a vocalist and locally played Hanratty at Woodminster in “Catch Me if You Can.”

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Ron Cohen, Trumpet Soloist

For decades, Ron had a day job as a physicist, and crammed in as much music as he could during off hours.  Having retired from the day job in 2013, he has filled much of that time with performance (vocal as well as trumpet, renaissance cornetto, and recorder) and behind-the-scenes work with a number of musical groups, including Prometheus and Redwood Symphonies, Bay Area Choral Harmonies, Slavyanka, and Los Arribenos de San Francisco.   He is a founding member of the sackbut/cornetto ensemble Zinkbut

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| Home | About Us | Resources | Schedule | Contact |
Terry O'Connor
Josh Cohen
Gesine Lohr
David Howitt
Michael Moran
Barbara Acosta
Liliane Cromer
Eric Bertelsen
Julio Ferrari
Jonathan Leavy
Ron Cohen