Tawnee Lynn Lillo, French horn, is based in Los Angeles and is thrilled to be joining Cornerstone Chorale and Brass for her first tour. Receiving her formal training with a bachelor’s degree from University of Arizona under the late Keith Johnson in 2000 and a masters degree from USC with both Richard Todd and the late Vincent DeRosa in 2004, she now teaches horn as an adjunct professor at Pasadena City College and El Camino College, coaches the French horns of Pasadena Youth Orchestra, consults for The Horn Guys and has a very active freelance lifestyle. Ms. Lillo has hired musicians for several live shows/tours/artists, plays in many different groups ranging in classical, jazz, pop, rock, hip hop and even her own trio, Triple Play. She also loves performing musicals, opera, vocalists, playing with her colleagues and spending time with her family consisting of 9 musical nieces and nephews. Something near and dear to her heart is social justice, and being a positive influence to people all around the world through the power of music and her singing dog, Booker. You can find more about Tawnee’s adventurous musical life at www.tawneelynnmusic.com.
GERARD AHLGREN, trumpet, is based in Minneapolis. He received his formal education from McNally Smith College of Music completing his undergrad studies in 2009 and returning to complete Masters in Performance in 2016. Gerard plays in many different groups ranging in classical, jazz, pop, and Latin. He is a strong lead player, soloist, and also great in supporting parts as well. In addition to his interest in many genres of music, Gerard also enjoys musical theater both as a musician and as a patron. Starting a Tower of Power tribute band is Gerard’s most recent project and he hopes to continue cultivating this new venture as a bandleader and soloist. (tour 1)
Zoe is a singer, actor, and music teacher. She attended Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University where she received her bachelor’s degree in voice performance, followed by her master’s degree in voice performance from Towson University. She enjoys performing in a variety of styles from musical theater to opera, cabarets, choral music, new music, and anything else she can get her hands on! Most recently, she has had the pleasure of performing in The Winter Park Playhouse’s New Musical Festival and in The Cradle Will Rock (Yasha) with Theatre 2020. Zoe was also a company member with StillPointe Theatre (Baltimore). There she won many accolades for her performances in Grey Gardens (Big Edie), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Johanna), and the U.S premier of Vanishing Point (Agatha Christie). She has also enjoyed working with American Opera Theater, The Avanti Orchestra, The Capital Fringe Festival, Bel Cantanti Opera, Silver Finch Arts Collective, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and The Young Victorian Opera Theater, to name a few. When she isn’t performing she loves teaching and sharing her love of music. www.zoekanter.com, @zoe.kanter
Zachary is a singer/dancer/actor currently based in New York City and is excited to be joining the Cornerstone Chorale and Brass! Originally from Illinois, he grew up surrounded by music and worked in worship ministries at Willow Creek Community Church including on staff as the Youth Interim Worship Leader. He studied musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and has been working professionally since he graduated. He was most recently seen in the P.J. track in Sophisticated Ladies at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. Endless thanks to God, family, friends, and teachers for their love and support!
Kimberly is honored to be performing on her 5th national tour with the Cornerstone Chorale & Brass and is excited to celebrate the 500th performance in St. Louis! Kim is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in music performance and music education, where she was a member of the madrigal ensemble performing at the reconstructed St. Mary’s City celebrating the 350th state anniversary of the founding of Maryland.
Caleb is extremely excited to be joining the Cornerstone Chorale and Brass. Having spent his formative years excelling in all things “chorus”, including performing with Governor’s School of NC, Mars Hill Select Choir, NC All-State Choir, and Wingate University Select Choir, he’s thrilled to be back in the “chorus”. He is a recent cum laude graduate of Western Carolina University with a BFA in musical theater. He has appeared in multiple regional productions, his favorites being; “Crutchie ” in the Opera House Theatre Company’s production of Newsies!, “Chip” in Lees-McRae Summer Theatre’s production of Spelling Bee, and “Julius/Eddie” in Gothic Performing Arts’ original production of Tree of Life.
Melvin, born in Puerto Rico, began his professional singing and acting career with the Centro de Adiestramiento en Bellas Artes de Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (CABA) and has since been part of many productions from Opera to Musical Theatre in the US and abroad. After finishing his Music Studies at the Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini in Mayaguez he continued his training in vocal performance at the Interamerican University later transferring to the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. While in college Melvin was a part of the Opera de Puerto Rico chorus where he participated in many opera productions and concerts. After moving to New York City in 2017 Melvin has worked as a singer/cantor for many churches, opera and musical theater companies around the city. In 2022 Melvin was a soloist with the Choral Art Society”s “Oratorio di Noel”. Some awards include: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions District First Place (2019), NATS NYC District Competition First Place (2019). Melvin is now shifting his career more towards the path of education working with the Harmony Program in New York City.
David served in the U.S. Navy as a musician from 2003 – 2017. He was featured as a euphonium and trombone soloist with navy band Northeast, Naval Forces Europe Band in Naples, Italy and Navy Band Great Lakes, IL. David was stationed in Naples, Italy from 2008 to 2012. Toured 28 countries between Europe and Africa in various ensembles such as the Brass Quintet, Ceremonial and Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band.
Amy is thrilled to be singing on her first tour with Cornerstone Chorale and Brass. Lawrence is a light lyric soprano with a voice that “…peals out tireless top notes” [The Boston Globe]. At the age of 12, she sang her first operatic role with Los Angeles Opera and at age 18 she performed at the Hollywood Bowl, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Disney Concert Hall.
Kassidy is a Philadelphia based actor/singer that has just graduated from DeSales University (PA) with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in theater along with a minor in music. Kassidy was born into an extremely musical family and has always surrounded herself with music; whether that be through school choirs, church service solo’s, or singing with her dad and uncle’s rock band.
George was raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and is currently an actor, director and vocalist in the Chicagoland area. He is a graduate of the acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University where he teaches acting to BFA and MFA candidates. Recent roles: Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew, Lionel Moreno in The Secret of My Success, and a surgeon on season 10 of NBC’s “Chicago PD.”
Simon, bass and contra-bass trombone, is from Cincinnati Ohio. He is currently attending the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music pursuing his undergraduate degree in trombone performance. He can be heard on CCMs new CD aspirations. Simon has also competed in the 2022 Jack Rudin Jazz championship hosted by Jazz at Lincoln Center, and was part of the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2019 tour to Sao Paulo Brazil.
Kian is an actor and singer living in Los Angeles, CA. He began his singing career at the American Boychoir School, where he sang locally and toured around the country and abroad singing hundreds of concerts annually. He continued singing throughout high school and into the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami where he earned a degree in music theory in composition. During his time there and in the years following his graduation, he has performed extensively in musicals, plays, opera, and various choirs and vocal groups until he moved to Los Angeles.
Dominique is a singer, actor who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She recently appeared as Renita in a workshop presentation of Love is Afoot at Miller Center for the Arts in Reading, PA, and Raina in a staged reading of Riverbend at the Dramatist Guild of America in NYC. She has a BA degree in music performance and journalism from Murray State University (KY) and attended the American Musical Dramatic Academy in NYC. Dominique has performed with Opera Memphis, Playhouse on the Square, Theatre Memphis, and Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis and other regional venues. NYC performances include Narrator in Character Rewind with WinceyCo, Ms. Sheree Davon in Being Too Much Into Yourself with Nia Theatrical Productions, Favorite roles include: Nettie in The Color Purple. Little Inez in Hairspray, Harlem Ensemble in Ragtime the Musical, and Crystal (Urchin) in Little Shop of Horrors. In her spare time, she writes for her blog bydominiqueduarte.com. Dominique is super excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with the Cornerstone Chorale and Brass for their 2023 tour.
Anita was born in the Philippines to missionary parents and began work as a church musician as a teenager. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and continued her work as organist and accompanist until 2003 when she began a career as a Foreign Service Officer and diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, serving in Washington D.C. and U.S. embassies and consulates around the world including Seoul, Jerusalem, and Tallinn (Estonia). Married for 42 years, Anita is the mother of three, grandmother of four and enjoys birding, sewing and cooking. Now retired from the Foreign Service and living in College Park, Maryland, she is back to making music, happy to be on her first tour with the Cornerstone Chorale.
Patrick is an itinerant actor and singer who goes where the road takes him. He received his BFA in musical theater from SUNY Fredonia. Some of his favorite roles include Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Lurch in Addams Family, and ensemble in Mamma Mia. Performing has allowed him to visit some incredibly beautiful places in this world, most notably Alaska; where Patrick is a crowd favorite at the Music of Denali. When not on stage he has had the honor of being a realtor, HVAC technician, security officer, a waiter, but never a Harlem Globetrotter. He just wants to read. (tour 1)
Diontae is excited to be making his tour debut with The Cornerstone Chorale. He has lent his voice to Musicals, Opera, Concerts and film. He has performed in Regional Theatres and was a part of two Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) and a concert tour of Ireland in 2019 with the Auburn University Chamber Choir under the baton of Dr. William Powell and Dr. Rosephanye Dunn-Powell. Diontae holds a BA in music and a BFA in musical theater from Auburn University (2019). He is currently pursuing a master's degree in developmental psychology from Liberty University. Diontae is a full time audiobook narrator working with Penguin Random House, Tantor Audio, Audible and Sound Understanding. He also loves playing video games and watching anime! He gives thanks to his mother and father, voice teachers and of course to Dr. Bruce Vantine and his team for the opportunity to perform with them! Follow him on social media or visit his website to keep up with him.
William Bennett was a choral scholar at Oxford University, where he received a First Class Bachelor and Masters, before becoming a chorister in London. William then received his MA Acting, training in both London and NYC. He has performed in 70+ productions, with recent musical/opera credits including Jason Scott (Nicky and the Angels, Los Angeles), Radovan (Libuse, London), Pluto (L’Anima Del Filosolo, London), Marius (Les Miserables, York) and recent film credits including ‘The Decisive Moment’ (San Francisco), ‘The Clownfish’, ‘Friday Dispatch’, ‘Good News’ (Los Angeles), ‘Beans on Toast’, ‘Every Waking Moment’ (London), which premiered at the BFI 2023. This is (incredibly!) William’s first time visiting the Midwest. He is excited and enthused to be part of this dynamic and talented group.
Carle was born in Chapel Hill, NC and currently resides in Riverdale, Ga. After 1 year as a voice major at the NC School of the Performing Arts, he transferred to and graduated from Howard University with a BFA in Theatre (’84). He has been acting since 1975. In 2021 alone, he was cast in 12 film projects, 1 TV series, a Moderna commercial and stage productions of Driving Miss Daisy, Ain’t Misbehavin’, was featured in a production of “Jukebox Giants” at the Strand Theatre in Marietta, Ga. in August of 2021 (a part that was specifically written for him) and the world premier of Greenwood in Charlotte, NC. Carle is a classically trained singer and has performed Off Broadway as well as opera at the John F. Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, and Carnegie Hall. He sang backup for Aretha Franklin, with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, and has sung the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden on multiple occasions. He was awarded the L. A. Critics award for Best Performance in a Musical for his portrayal of Bert Williams in “Williams and Walker”. In 2022 he played the role of “The Wiz”. He starred in the film “Apple Core”,…
Dot is a graduate of Valparaiso University with a bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in music. At Valpo, she sang in the University and Chamber Choirs under the direction of Dr. Larry Fleming with whom she performed on a European tour participating in the International Church Music Festival.
KIRA ALVAREZ, mezzo soprano, is thrilled to be singing for the fifth year with Cornerstone! As a classically trained singer, Kira has lent her vocals to numerous stage shows, concert and recordings. She has toured through dozens of cities across the U.S. and Europe and has sung in notable places such as Notre Dame in Paris, France, and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy. Locally, you may find Kira singing crunchy harmonies with her Andrews Sisters Swing Band called The Swing Tones that performs for all kinds of events throughout Los Angeles. Upon returning home from the Cornerstone tour, she will be jumping head first into the Holiday Season with her caroling company, The Holiday Carolers. Kira holds a BA in theater performance and a minor in vocal performance from Chapman University. Outside of singing, Kira is an avid traveler and ice cream enthusiast! She is also a huge animal lover and enjoys hanging out with all sorts of furry friends. www.KiraAlvarez.com IG: @KiraAlvarezSings
Laura Saylor is a multi-faceted freelance trumpeter and music educator based in Kansas City, KS. She has performed in national tours and presented educational chamber music clinics, masterclasses, and recitals throughout the Midwest and New Mexico. Saylor can be heard performing throughout the region with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Fountain City Brass Band, Music Theater Heritage, The Crossroad Sound, Lost Wax, Patrick Lentz Entertainment, the KC Kumbiamberos, and in numerous independent classical music projects. She is the former principal solo cornetist of the Eastern Iowa Brass Band and was a founding member of the Tallgrass Brass Band and the Iowa-based funk band Motherlode. Past performing credits also include the Quincy Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Santa Fe Symphony, Brass Transit Authority, and Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx. Saylor completed a doctorate in Trumpet Performance and Pedagogy with a secondary concentration in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Iowa where she was a member of the Iowa Brass Quintet. During her time in Iowa, she also worked as a teaching artist at Coe College, Cornell College, and West Music. She recently recorded a solo trumpet album of contemporary American music for trumpet and piano.
Karen is a native of Belgium, WI, and earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal and instrumental music from The University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She has performed throughout the country and on cruise ships as a singer, actress and instrumentalist. She currently resides in Chicago, IL and spends much of her time performing as her alter ego, Mary Macaroni.
Talia Marie Aull is an Atlanta-based singer and actress, where she also teaches music to infants and toddlers with The Music Class. She is thrilled to be returning for her 6th tour with Cornerstone, with whom she has performed from coast to coast. She also sings around Atlanta with her acoustic band JTM (Atlanta Musicians Collective).
Bruce is the founder and conductor of The Cornerstone Chorale & Brass, a nationally recruited, paid professional touring ensemble, performing fine choral music augmented with narration. Cornerstone has presented 463 performances in the United States and Canada, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall in New York. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) where he studied under Paul J. Christiansen; a master’s degree from Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) where he worked with composers H. Owen Reed and Jere Hutcheson; and a doctorate in music from the University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana, where he studied with Harold Decker. His published pieces are performed nationwide. Vantine also is the conductor and artistic director of the Bel Canto Chorus of St. Louis, and director of the adult choir at The Lutheran Church of the Atonement in Florissant, Missouri. He served on the faculty of The University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) Department of Music from 1980 – 1993.
Cindy is a graduate of Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) where she sang in the Concordia Choir under the direction of Paul J. Christiansen She taught public school music in North Dakota and Minnesota, and was director of university events at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) for 34 years.