top of page

VOX Spotlight

Read about some of the wonderful people in VOX below! From singers, to Board members, to staff, these people make the organization what it is and we are so grateful to have them as part of the VOX family.

_DSC2413_edited.jpg

Caroline Diehl

Soprano 1 Caroline Diehl's love of music, and in particular her dedication to SSAA voices, has taken her all over the world - which makes VOX particularly lucky that she landed with us!

To learn why the performance is not necessarily Caroline's favorite part of the ensemble singing process, and how her dedication to social justice influences her day-to-day, read on!

Caroline Diehl

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I am a clinical psychologist and do a combination of research and clinical practice. My research focus is on improving mental health services for people with intersecting mental health and social needs, including unhoused Veterans and those impacted by the carceral system.


2. What drew you to singing with VOX?
I was looking for a musical family in LA, and one way I marked finishing grad school in 2023 was to finally carve out space for a new ensemble in my life. I used to direct and arrange music for SSAA groups and am passionate about amplifying appreciation for SSAA voices - not as an approximation or lesser version of SATB voices, but as their own unique, powerful, and valuable sound. After hearing one of VOX's concerts last year, I was really drawn to both their sound and their social justice mission.

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?
As an arranger, I have always treasured those rehearsals where enough note learning has happened that we can really put a new arrangement together for the first time, and it comes to life. It's magical to finally hear how your arrangement sounds outside your head and off the page!


4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?
I am super excited to perform at Carnegie Hall and to continue getting to know everyone in VOX as we share that experience!


5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

Right after I graduated from college, I went on a 2.5-month world tour with my a cappella group, Whim 'n Rhythm of Yale. We got to visit and perform in 11 different countries and visited every continent except Antarctica! It was an incredible experience, and we met so many kind and wonderful people - students, teachers, host families, and audience members - in each place we visited.

Casey Burgess

Casey Burgess

L.A. native Casey Burgess, has made music a part of her life for as long as she can remember. With her day job blending her love of music and her organizing skills, Casey loves the extra challenge that comes fro singing with VOX.

To learn which current artist Casey is hoping might try their hand at choral music songs, and which performance changed the course of her life, read on!

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)? 

I am the Director of Library Services at Musicians Institute. Basically, I manage and develop our musical collections, manage staff, and ensure our library functions for our music students. It suits me because I love being surrounded by music, but I'm also a huge nerd and love organizing things (e.g. don't get me started on spreadsheets...).

2. What drew you to singing with VOX? 

I've been singing since before I can remember and have been singing in choirs since I was 10. My parents always said that choir was my team sport, like soccer and softball were for my sisters. I grew up in LA but moved away for college and grad school, where I had school choirs I could join. So when I moved back in 2019, I knew I needed a choir that would fill that need for community in my life. VOX not only provided a community of like-minded, talented women, but always continues to challenge me to be a better musician and person every day.

3. What is your favorite memory of singing? 

Back in high school, I was singing with the National Children's Chorus. I was debating whether or not I wanted to study music in college. It was my passion, but can be difficult to make a career. We then performed Mahler's 8th Symphony with the LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel in 2012, which of course amassed 1000 musicians and over 800 singers from several choruses to perform. VOX may have even been there! I found myself surrounded by enormous talent and could physically feel the music reverberating in my body from the sheer volume of the final movement. The only way I could describe it was that it was a religious, intoxicating, and addictive experience. I knew that I couldn't NOT have music be the center of my life. That musical moment has shaped my life ever since.

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this season? 

I am always excited by the challenge that VOX provides me. I'm excited for our upcoming concert here and our performance at Carnegie Hall, not just for the beautiful music that should hopefully challenge our audience's perspective on works written for women's chorus and the complexities of womanhood in modern society, but also for the variety in style and emotional depth, which challenges my musicianship and emotive capabilities. This season has been sensational and I am looking forward to what VOX has in store for us next season!

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)? 

I'm a HUGE Swiftie! 2023 was a resurgence in my love for Taylor Swift (and girlhood in general!). I'm especially enjoying the lyricism and unhingedness of her newest album, The Tortured Poets Department. You'll often find me singing lyrics from various albums, humming while walking, or belting in my car to her songs. I truly think she is one of the most clever, savvy contemporary artists of our generation. I'd love to see her write or arrange something for women's chorus someday!

Mary Read

Mary Read will be a familiar face to any VOX concert goer, having been a part of the ensemble since the early days. A "fount of knowledge" who always teaches us something in rehearsals, Mary is thrilled to be fulfilling a lifelong dream of performing at Carnegie Hall this season!

To learn which songs get Mary "every time" and what she considers the ABC's of justice-based equality, read on...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I recently retired from my full-time academic position at Cal State Fullerton after 40 years on campus. It’s a big shift, yet I was ready. I kept my part-time private practice as an LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist), supporting folx in their life transitions and journeys of meaning-making. In partial retirement I’m traveling more, getting more quality time with my wonderful wife of 20 years, and attending more live concerts, etc. now that I don’t work every evening. 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX?

When Iris was first forming VOX, 3 friends saw the flyer in Sisterhood Bookstore (which I still miss!) and called me, because they knew I loved to sing. I have a performance degree in Voice (from way back before I got a Counseling Master’s and PhD) but had not been singing in a group for a few years at that point. I was hooked from the audition, and singing with my VOX sisters is the highlight of my week. The artistry and professionalism of Iris’ direction and programming, the beauty of Lisa’s playing, the varied repertoire, the activism inherent in ‘giving Women voice’ and affirming everyone’s worth & dignity – it’s a privilege to be a Voxxie, for sure. 

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing, either with VOX or just in general?

I recall singing at a “Lavender Graduation” (an annual ceremony to honor lgbtq+ students and to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to their universities) at UCLA years ago and one of the songs we sang had lyrics that made (and still make) me cry. It’s a parent telling their queer child “you can be anybody you want to be, you can love whomever you love…and know I will love you, still”. That song and “I Come from Good People” get me every time. Acceptance, Belonging, Celebration – the ABC’s for a joyful, justice-based equality.

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

It would certainly be accurate to say that I’m over-the-moon to be able to sing in Carnegie Hall this June. I’m also deeply excited about (*spoiler alert*) traveling to Arizona and Nevada to perform the Suffrage Cantata, hoping to help motivate voters to turn out on November 5th. When I think of how important this election is, and wonder help I can render, VOX Femina is saying “Sing”! I’m so grateful for that opportunity because that’s what I know and can do. I believe with all my soul that sharing love with others through singing MATTERS, produces change in both performers and audiences, and creates peace through universality – everyone sings in their own way. 

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

I turned 70 the day of our last concert (Mosaics from the Middle East) and can think of no finer way to usher in a new decade than singing with VOX. And to share it with [VOX singer] Helen Mendoza (a different milestone birthday but on the same day) – I’m just sayin’

IMG_2121.jpeg

Hillary Ngo

Hillary Ngo first joined VOX as our intern in the summer of 2021 as she was completing her degrees in Voice Performance and Choral Music Education at Cal State Long Beach. Two years later, she is back, but this time as singing member!

To learn what she is doing now and why our last concert was one of Hillary's favorite singing experiences, read on...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I’m a middle school music teacher, church music director, and freelance nail technician outside of VOX! 

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX (and why now)?

When I was an intern with VOX, I got to see firsthand all the amazing work VOX does to empower women and make beautiful, affirming music. I knew I wanted to sing with VOX one day, and after seeing them perform the Suffrage Cantata, I knew I had to audition as soon as I could!

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?

My favorite memory of singing is the entire experience of the recent Mosaics From the Middle East concert. It was an incredible program to sing, and I have never felt so connected to the music and to the people I was singing with.

 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

I’m most excited to travel to New York and sing at Carnegie for the first time with VOX! 

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)

I love Disneyland and traveling!

Raeanne Pfeifer
image.png

Raeanne Pfeifer

Raeanne has been with VOX since she graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, and over the years has grown so much with the group. The voice teacher and Disney lover is looking forward to performing at Carnegie Hall this June.

For more on Raeanne, read on...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

Outside of VOX, I am a General Manager for a movie theater in Lakewood. I have been in this industry for a while and I love it. When I’m not at the movie theater I am teaching voice. Outside of work and teaching you’ll find me at Disneyland. 

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX (and why now)?

When I first joined VOX I was graduating from Cal Poly Pomona and looking for a way to keep singing. I found Vox and I’ve been here ever since. Through the years the group has just gotten better making me be a better singer and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? 

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?

My favorite memory of singing would be at a VOX Cabaret. I was standing on stage singing about my “party dress” while my parents, grandparents, and now wife watched from the audience. It was such a fun night and one I will never forget. Outside of VOX my favorite memory singing would be singing/helping direct a youth theater group performing Grease. It was so much fun and the kids I that I spent time with singing and teaching were amazing. 

 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

For this season I am most excited for NY and Carnegie Hall. I’ve never been to NY and this is one experience I would never want to miss. 

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)

Outside of work, VOX, and teaching voice I love being able to spend time with my many nieces and nephews. They all have started to explore their musical abilities and watching them on stage brings me so much joy. 

image0 (1)_edited.jpg

Corina Mora

Corina Mora is new to VOX this season, but joins with a wealth of experience. When she's not helping to develop scripts for feature films or working as a voice over artist, she is busy chasing her almost-three year old around as a busy mom!

For more on Corina, including her connection to Pop Royalty, read on...

Corina Mora

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I do voiceover work and sing backup vocals with for Kidz Bop (with Jessica Rau, who is another VOX singer. I also love finding talented screenwriters and help with developing scripts for feature films with my husband who is a film producer. I am a mom to an almost “threenager” (woof!) and he keeps me on my toes 24/7. 

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX (and why now)?

I was in a choir (Los Robles Master Chorale) that sang with VOX the week before the world shut down in 2020. I remember everyone was so friendly and I kept VOX in the back of my mind as a choir to audition for in the future. Sadly, Los Robles did not continue post COVID so I auditioned for VOX in 2023 and was so happy I made the cut! I have been welcomed by so many lovely and talented people and it is a joy to sing with them under the direction of Dr. Iris Levine every week. 

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?

I participated in a summer musical theater program at NYU after high school, and Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga was in my class. I would go over to her parents apartment and sing songs around the piano with her. Stefani would sing her original songs, and you just knew (even as a teenager) that she was going to be famous. So…I guess you could say I used to sing with Lady Gaga. 

 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

Singing at Carnegie Hall, of course!

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)

I’m Mexican! Ok, half. Both of my parents were Spanish teachers and I was raised in both Mexico and the US. I only speak to my son in Spanish and have him in a Spanish immersion school because being bilingual is very important to me and has opened so many doors for me. Actually, the majority of the work that I do in voiceover and singing is in Spanish. 

Jolie Huges
image0_edited.jpg

Jolie Hughes

Jolie Hughes auditioned for VOX's 2018-2019 season and has loved singing in the ensemble ever since (although she claims her favorite VOX memory is actually not singing...) She grew up singing and playing piano with her two sisters and still teaches private piano lesson at her home now, which is mush easier since her recent retirement from full-time teaching!

Read on to learn about why first rehearsals are her favorites and why we should all learn to curtsy/bow in her presence...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (day job, etc.)

Enjoy retirement! I work as a sub for my teacher friends, teach piano at home, spend extended time at my mountain cabin in the summer, and escape on short trips with my partner Michael (but only Wednesday through Monday so I’m home for the Tuesday VOX rehearsals!) 

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX this season?

The music, the artistry, the wonderful people. This is my sixth year with VOX and from Fired Up! with Holly Near, to the Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci, The Suffrage Cantata, and the music I’m practicing right now, I’ve loved every minute! And yes, I’m super excited to perform in Carnegie Hall! 

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing (specifically with VOX, or more generally)?

My favorite VOX memory is not singing, but rather lip-synching while filming our first pandemic concert in fall 2020 near the fountain behind the Colburn school. It was the first time seeing Voxxies in person after months of zoom rehearsals and solo recordings at home. We were masked, distanced, dressed in our concert black, and ash was falling from the grey skies of nearby wildfires. Poignant, dramatic, joyful.

 

For singing memories, long ago it was playing the piano, singing, and dancing around the living room with my sisters. When I worked in advertising in New York, it was singing Gilbert & Sullivan with The Blue Hill Troupe. Most memorable would be singing God Bless America to open the Peninsula Music Fair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic three weeks after 9/11. My young children joined me on stage for that emotional moment.

 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

The first rehearsal of each concert when we get all new music to learn, to explore, to fall in love with. And yes, Carnegie Hall. I have family and friends in New York and Boston who will be there. They watch our concerts online, but for them to hear us live, in Carnegie Hall, will be wonderful.

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

I’m a Celery Princess; my grandfather was the Celery King of San Joaquin Valley. 

Brook Masters
image0.jpeg

Brook Masters

Brook Masters has been singing since she was very young and has carried that longtime love into her Vox membership. Brook is passionate about combining music and song with social justice efforts, and is looking forward to our trip to Carnegie Hall!

Read on to learn more about Brook's past singing experiences...

1. What do you do outside of Vox (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I work full-time at California State University at Channel Islands, as the Director of the Learning Resource Center and Academic Success Services. I am also an adjunct faculty member for California Lutheran University, in the Masters of Counseling program. Both roles allow me to work toward equitable access and outcomes for all students in higher education, and to advocate for educational justice for students from historically excluded populations. 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX (and why now)?

I recently returned to living in my hometown of Los Angeles for the first time since leaving for college many moons ago. I was eager to build my new community with folks with similar hearts and minds. Singing and performing in choral and theatrical ensembles have always been the best way for me to achieve this. When I came across VOX’s webpage, I was immediately drawn to the mission statement. And when I then watched a recording of VOX performing, I was blown away! The synthesis of social justice and musical excellence called to me so strongly that I couldn’t wait for the chance to audition!

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?

Oh my goodness! How do I pick just one? I cherish my early memories of singing with my father, who was a songwriter and musician, before he died when I was eleven. In my high school choir, I remember performing a composition in the South African language of Xhosa, right around the time when apartheid was coming to an end. Even then, music resonated with me as a vehicle for peace and healing and advocacy for change. Performing the musical Falsettos, in the role of Cordelia, during a run in Provincetown in the mid-1990s was another powerful experience. We were all raw with the still fresh grief of the AIDS epidemic, especially tangible in P-Town, and as we sang the final ensemble song during which one of the characters lays dying from the disease, I could feel the collective heartbreak of all of us in the theater. It was incredibly moving and therapeutic to sing that pain on behalf of our community. ​

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season? 

Oh, every rehearsal is utterly delightful and I am so thrilled to share this choir and the beautiful music we create through our performances. But when I discovered that VOX would be performing in NYC at Carnegie Hall, I was ecstatic! I lived in New York for several years and my last performance there was an off-Broadway run during the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath in the city. It will be an incredible opportunity to return to New York in this context of this musical joy. And in that legendary space??? A dream come true!

 

5. Anything else you would like to share (fun fact, etc.)?

I’m a proud mom to my 20-year old daughter who attends college at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, and I’m so excited for her to come see our concert in NYC in June! It’s turning into a multi-family vacation and a reunion extravaganza with my college classmates from The Boston Conservatory!

brianna.jpeg

Brianna Estrada

Singer Brianna Estrada has been with VOX since 2022, and is looking forward to more memories with the group in New York, where she has never been!

Read on to learn more about our future music teacher...

Brianna Estrada

1. What do you do outside of Vox (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I am actually student teaching this spring in Downey. I will be working with a high school choral program as well as a middle school band program. 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX (and why now)?

I wanted to sing with VOX this season because I had such a great experience last year. There was no question about coming back! [Originally]... I heard about VOX because Rhonda Dillon, who was my first ever voice teacher back when I was at Cerritos College. I found YouTube videos of VOX and decided I would audition.

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?

My favorite memory singing with VOX was during my first rehearsal back in 2022. I couldn't believe how amazing everyone sounded! My favorite memory of singing overall and one of the reasons that I decided to become a music teacher, was when I made CA All State Honor Choir my senior year of high school in 2015. I had a great experience performing and learning from my conductor that weekend. 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season? 

 I am super excited for our Mosaics concert because I am enjoying the music so much, but I am especially looking forward to our performance at Carnegie Hall in June. I have never been to New York before and am soooo excited!

 

5. Anything else you would like to share (fun fact, etc.)?

I love to go to Disneyland during my free time.

IMG_0708.jpeg

Suzy Brown

Suzy Brown has been singing with VOX since 2000, having moved to LA for a job promotion. Now retired from her fast-paced job as Controller at Center Theater Group, Suzy is making more time for creative pursuits and can't wait to travel more (starting with her trip to New York with VOX in June!)

To learn more about Suzy, including her secret to becoming a better sight reader (shhhh...), read on...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

After many years of jobs in the financial realm, both in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, I recently left my position as Controller of Center Theatre Group to take a breather.  Whether it’s temporary or permanent remains to be seen—but I’m enjoying my freedom for now.  Outside of VOX, I enjoy walking/hiking/running (getting in those 5000+ steps daily), am a voracious reader, spend a fair amount of time taming the succulents and other plants on my hillside, and have been working on a number of home improvement projects.  And of course I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my partner, Nellie.  Looking ahead, I’m ready to do some international traveling and get back to creative pursuits that have been shelved for far too long.

 

2. What drew you to sing with VOX and how long have you been singing with the group?

I was transferred from New York City to Los Angeles in 1999 for a job promotion within my Warner Music Group division.  Having sung in choruses for most of my teenage through adult life, I was looking to find the right fit with a chorus in Los Angeles.  One of the first choral performances that I saw after moving here was VOX‘s “Celebration of Women” concert in the summer of 1999.  During the next year, I went to quite a few choral performances, but there was something about VOX that drew me back--not the least of which was Dr. Iris Levine’s energy, commitment and professionalism.  I finally auditioned in the fall of 2000 and was thrilled to join the ensemble in that season.

 

All that to say I have been a proud member of VOX for over 23 years--which I now realize is likely the age of some of our newest singers.  It suddenly puts everything into perspective!

3. What is your favorite memory of singing (specifically with VOX, or more generally)?

There have been so many amazing moments during my time in VOX, but some of the most memorable have been during travels to festivals and conventions.  We were one of three women’s choirs featured at the Elektra Women’s Choir Tapestry International Festival in 2018, and had the opportunity to sing and spend time with choruses from Vancouver, Iceland, and Japan—a very enlightening experience.  But the memory that sticks with me most is the extended standing ovation that VOX received following our performance at the GALA Choruses International Festival in Montreal in 2004.  The ovation continued even as we exited into the resonant underground passages of the performance hall.  Talk about a rock star moment!

 

4.  What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

I believe that the culmination of this season, the trip to perform in NYC at Carnegie Hall, is the most exciting aspect for all singers this year, including myself.  Not only will we be representing VOX with the highest level of vocal performance, with the bar raised yet again, but will have a wonderful opportunity to bond as an ensemble.  


5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

Don’t tell anyone, but I sang Alto 2 (the lowest SSAA part) throughout high school.  I was kicked up to Soprano 2 in college, sang that part with the Houston Symphony Chorus, then somehow ascended to the Soprano 1 realm in the years following.  But I will always be an Alto 2 in my heart—and am a much better sight reader for it!

Suzy Brown
Saira Grewal.jpg

Saira Grewal

New singer Saira Grewal knows what it means to compete - the photo at left is her performing in the American Pops Orchestra's 2019 Next Gen competition, in which she was a top ten finalist. If that wasn't enough, she also grew up as a competetive dancer, studying everything from ballet to banghra!

To learn more about this fascinating new member of our ensemble, read on...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?  

I work as an accountant and in my free time I enjoy playing music with friends, exploring LA, going to concerts, and seeing comedy. I (recently) moved from San Francisco and before that I was in DC. I grew up in the Bay Area but I've always wanted to live in LA; I came for the culture, arts, food, and weather!

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX this season?

I recently moved to Los Angeles and I have been looking for community, specifically in spaces that emphasize the arts and importance of social justice. When I came upon Vox I was immediately entranced by the power of their voices and clear passion for what they were singing. 

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing (specifically with VOX, or more generally)?

One of my all-time favorite memories of singing was my high school choir & orchestra concert. The theme was Disney, and I was chosen to close out the entire concert with Let It Go from Frozen (it had just come out that year). It was one of the first times I felt truly emotionally connected to the music and I found my love for belting!

My favorite memory singing with Vox was our first Concert this season. Not only was it empowering singing with such a talented group in the grand First Congregational Church, but the support and encouragement I received from the other members made it extra special. 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

I am incredibly excited to go to Carnegie Hall. My family and friends will be attending the performance and my sister, who lives in Edinburgh and I only see once a year, will be coming as well. 

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

I can tap dance! Growing up I was a competition dancer, and studied ballet, jazz, tap, Bollywood, and Bhangra (traditional Punjabi folk dance). 

Saira Grewal
Sarah Dillon
2174A882-2133-4118-8E13-B69F87143EF0.jpeg

Sarah Dillon

Not only is Sarah Dillon new to VOX this season, but she's also brand new to LA, having moved this summer after her graduation from the University of Georgia!

Having sung throughout school, Sarah knew that one of the best ways to create a community was to join a choir, and we're so glad she did! To learn more about her interests, what she is looking forward to for the upcoming season, and why she treasures the collaboration of singing, read on...

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?

I am a Market Research Analyst who conducts research to create actionable insights for clients in the tech industry

2. What drew you to singing with VOX this season?

I recently moved to LA and was looking to find a choir community. I have been away from choir in the past few years, and wanted to find a way to rekindle my passion for music as well as find a community in my new city. I am grateful for VOX and am excited for the season ahead!

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?

One of my favorite memories of singing stems from one of my favorite components of singing: collaboration. I have loved being able to make music with people across the country and shape the music to tell intricate stories. As a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to travel with my choir to Italy to sing at the Vatican. I will always remember the beautiful resonance of the cathedral and the joy we all felt to sing in such a historic, noteworthy venue. I’m very grateful to have made these memories with incredible friends and I am excited for our June Carnegie Hall debut. I know it will be an unforgettable experience for all of us as we come together to conclude the 2023-2024 VOX season and enjoy the opportunity to embrace living in the moment to make beautiful music together. 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

I am so excited for our first concert. I am so grateful we had the opportunity to have a preview at the Immaculate Heart fundraising event. Being able to sing together as a strong group of women is very powerful and moving, and I’m excited to be able to bring our full set list together to share with our family and friends. 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

In high school I was a part of an A cappella ensemble that dressed as Dickens carolers during the holiday season. We would sing a variety of holiday music and travel throughout my hometown of Memphis, TN to spread holiday cheer!

Jessica Rau and family.jpg

Jessica Rau

Although Jessica may be new to VOX, she is certainly not new to singing! A professional voice actor, musician, and studio singer, she sang with the Los Robles Master Chorale for many years where she collaborated with VOX just prior to the pandemic.

As a life-long singer, it is impossible for her to have picked a favorite musical memory, but read on for what she loves about music and what she's looking forward to this season...

Jessica Rau

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.)?
I work as a voice actor and do studio singing for film & TV projects. I also work with Kidz Bop, arranging the backup vocals and directing some of the kids in their recording sessions.

2. What drew you to singing with VOX this season?
I first heard Vox Femina in early 2020 when Vox collaborated with Los Robles Master Chorale, where I sang for many years. The supportive culture of this group was apparent to me even in that short interaction, not to mention the musical excellence! Then my friend Corina (another new Vox Soprano) told me she was auditioning, and I decided to join her! I'm thrilled to join this wonderful group now for my first season!

3. What is your favorite memory of singing?
Impossible to answer (!), but I love how collaborative music is and how hearing a song can bring you back to a specific time and place. One of my favorite projects is a tradition I began in 2005, recording a holiday song/ Christmas carol every year to share with friends and family. Each year I collaborate with different musicians, and each song takes on a life of its own. Listening back each year to the accumulated carols is like a deep, cozy dive into the past.

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?
I mean, I've gotta say Carnegie Hall, right?! I had the once-in-a-lifetime experience singing there when I was a kid in children's chorus, but now I get to do it twice! I can't wait to travel with all of my new Vox friends and sing beautiful music on that iconic stage.

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?
Before I settled in LA, I lived in Seoul, South Korea for over six years! 

Headshot.jpg

Shannon Fish

While she may only have one season with VOX under her belt, Shannon Fish has been passionate about singing for her entire life. She finds meaning through the music and work that VOX produces, and is excited to be the current Singer Representative.

To learn more about her interests, what she is looking forward to for the upcoming season, and her "magical moment" with VOX, read on...

Shannon Fish
  1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your day job, etc.?)

I work for a non-profit architectural firm called MASS Design Group that promotes justice and human dignity through the built world. I am an Advancement Specialist so my world is in business development and project management. Outside of my day job, I play tennis - just started a new league so wish me luck on that! - and I love taking my black labradoodle on outdoor adventures.

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX and how long have you been a member?

I have been singing ever since before I could talk, or at least that's what my mom says (corny, I know). Singing has always been a part of my DNA and after coming out recently in the past few years, I was looking for a musical community to call home. I was drawn to VOX for how we celebrate our differences, lift up diversity, and meet a high caliber of excellence. I joined VOX in 2022 as a Soprano 1, and have been grateful to call it home ever since.

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX (or just of singing in general, if you haven't been with VOX for long...)?

An extremely special memory of mine was the magical moment leading up to our most recent concert, "And Justice For All." Standing backstage minutes before we go on, we spend time meeting in a circle with final words of encouragement from Iris and in this moment we share, "Who in the audience is listening today?" To which we hear how loved ones, partners, lifetime friends, new acquaintances, music professors from past lives, current students and parents watching virtually are all in the audience and came to hear the incredible pieces we came to share. This moment struck me as it reminded me not only are we doing this incredible feat of coming together over common love for music for ourselves, but we put in the dedication to making these pieces shine for others so that they could hear the important stories and topics we came to sing about. In this moment, I felt the energy of going on stage: the gitters, the excitement, the preparation, and the sisterhood. The moment we stepped on stage and sang our first note it all fell into place and we were off to the races, but for me it was all about that "moment of magic" seconds before.

 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this upcoming season?

Hands down, I am most excited to travel as a group to Manhattan and perform at Carnegie Hall. While I have had the opportunity to perform previously in high school, I expect the experience as an adult will feel completely new, vivacious and gratifying. Not only will singing in the renowned hall be incredible alone, but I also look forward to the moments of building community in the spaces between rehearsals and performing.

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

My dog's name is Nama so that when I tell her to stay I say, "Namasté." She is a fluffy black labradoodle who loves chasing squirrels and running on the beach.

Melina Durre
IMG_2519 2.jpg

Melina Durre

Another summer, another fantastic VOX intern! Thanks to a generous grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Arts & Culture, we are pleased to welcome Melina Durre to our team. 

Melina is a rising junior at Scripps College in Claremont, CA who is majoring in media studies. She will be working side by side with our administrative team through the spring of 2024, and we are sure that we will learn as much from her as she will from us!

Read on to learn more about what attracted her to working with VOX - and if you see her at our concerts, please give her a warm welcome.

1. What do you do outside of your internship with VOX?

Outside of my internship, I enjoy reading, watching sports, going to museums, and exploring the tidepools along the California coast. I also attend Scripps College in Claremont, where I serve as the Vice President of Student Activities, an Admissions Ambassador, and am involved in our Asian American Sponsor Program. 

 

2. What drew you to working with VOX?

I was especially drawn to Vox’s emphasis on social justice, especially the focus on women’s empowerment- I attend a women’s college and find that the values I have been strengthening during my time there are aligned with those of Vox. I also love music! 

 

3. What do you hope to gain from your internship or what are you excited about?

Working at Vox is hands-on and intimate- allowing me to learn at a quicker rate and gain valuable experiences. I’ve improved my communication skills, my organization, and my understanding of nonprofit work- especially its many benefits. 

 

4. What would you like to do in the future?

It’s a bit early to tell exactly what my path will be, but I am interested in utilizing my interest in the arts, media, and communications in the music or sports industry. 

selfie22.jpg

Abbey Thompson

VOX Femina is not the first women's choir that Soprano 2 Abbey Thompson has sung with and says that uniting voices with other women brings her joy that is unlike anything else she's ever felt.

To learn about her exciting choral reunion planned for this summer, why her first rehearsal with VOX is one of her favorite memories with the group, and why she's so excited about the June concert, read on...

Abbey Thompson

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your other work?)

I'm a librarian at Mount St. Mary's University-Los Angeles. While many of my past jobs were on the music & performing arts side of librarianship, now I'm working in more of a generalist/administrator role. I love working for a historic women's college, especially one with such a diverse student body - around 43% of our undergrads are women of color!

2. What drew you to singing with VOX and how long have you been a member?

I think that what drew me most to VOX is the fact that this isn't my first Women's Chorus experience! Many decades ago, before going off to college as a vocal performance major, I successfully auditioned to sing with an Women's Chorus at my local Junior College. It was my first non-high-school choral experience and it had a profound impact on me. The joy that I felt, when uniting voices with these other women, was unlike anything I'd ever felt. I think that's when I truly got hooked on choral singing. Fast forward many years - and many choirs! - later, and I found myself newly moved to Los Angeles and desperately needing a singing outlet of some kind, any kind. I started researching local choirs, hoping to be in the right season to audition, and the first one I stumbled upon, somehow, was VOX! All the wonderful memories from singing in that Women's Chorus came flooding back, and I thought to myself how great it would feel to sing with other talented women again. The more I read about VOX's mission and background, and the more videos I watched and listened to, the more in-love I felt with this group, and I knew I needed to do whatever it took to join. As luck would have it, auditions were only a few weeks away. One nerve-biting audition and several heart palpitations later, I got that happy call, asking me to join! It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. And so, that is how I joined VOX in the fall of 2019 - yes, just months before the pandemic! I only had one full concert with VOX before the shutdowns began, but it was more than enough to tell me I'd made the right choice. 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX?

As cheesy as it may sound, my favorite memory of singing with VOX was my very first rehearsal. I felt so awkward and out of place, didn't know a single person, but everyone was so kind and welcoming, so full of smiles for me and each other. I felt like I was joining the best family, ever. And then that first time we sang together, literally just the vocal warmups, in the small, church choir-room with lousy acoustics, the power of it sent tingles shooting up and down my spine. I've done a lot of choral singing, but I don't think I've ever sang among such a powerful and talented group of voices as these in VOX. Every single voice I could hear was utterly phenomenal. As I got to know my fellow singers more, it didn't surprise me to see just how many of us are professional singers, voice teachers, choral conductors... We've gone on to sing some incredible things in the years since then, but that first moment you hear VOX? It's utterly magical. We all know that when voices unite together, whether in song or in protest - or both! - that something new is created, something so much bigger and more profound than the mere sum of its parts. VOX's biggest strength is in finding that sacred space, where multiple voices and hearts unite as one, and gifting it entirely to our audiences.

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this season?

This season has been a wild ride, with so much variation in our musical choices. I can honestly say that this upcoming final concert is the one I'm most excited about! When we think about "protest" songs, we often think of the many iconic 1960's folk- and spiritual-tunes, but the truth is that protest songs can come in so many forms and from just about any era. As long as injustice has existed, humans have sung about it! I think this concert is brilliantly selected, mixing older tunes (some familiar, some not) with new anthems about and against the many injustices of our current time. I love that we're shining a light on so many young, Black, and female composers and poets, the women who are standing up to fight against the hurts of our world, not with violence but one note and one stanza at a time. This concert has so much power in it for us to unleash, and I cannot wait.

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

This July I'm heading up to Santa Barbara for 4 days to sing in a CHOIR REUNION! I went to UCSB for my undergrad years, during which I sang in their acclaimed Chamber Choir, directed by Michel Marc Gervais. He retired and moved home to his beloved Canada in 2016, but a number of us have stayed in contact over the decades, eventually forming a Facebook group to share pictures and memories, etc. Around 2 years ago someone suggested a wild idea, about how fun it would be to hold a reunion weekend, complete with singing some of our old favorites! There were a number of us who legitimately said we'd love to come back to Santa Barbara were this ever to happen, but Mr. Gervais himself was the deciding factor - once he committed to the idea (willing to fly down from Canada to conduct us all again!), we banded together and have made this dream a reality. At last count, there will be more than 75 singers attending, who span from across the 21 years of Mr. Gervais' tenure! It's going to be so fun to sing with old friends and new, reliving so many happy choral memories!  

Screenshot_20230405-130550.png

Missy Nieto

Singer Missy Nieto has worn many hats since joining VOX 14 seasons ago! As well as a singing in the Alto 2 section, and performing numerous amazing solos, she has also been our audition coordinator in the past, and is the producer for our annual Cabaret evening!

To learn about her self-adopted label of "HR Super Nerd," what VOX event has given her memories that are "best not printed," and how a challenge from VOX Founding Artistic Director Dr. Iris S. Levine compelled her commitment to VOX, read on...

Missy Nieto

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your other work?)

I'm a Senior HR Manager/Consultant for clients all over the US. I advise my clients from the Employer's perspective on how to protect their Company, operate within Employment law, and provide their employees with their rights. I am a SUPER HR NERD - So I love my job!

2. What drew you to singing with VOX and how long have you been a member?

Going through a tough personal time in 2007, I found VOX when looking for a choral community when I recalled how much I loved singing in a women's choir in college (University of Redlands). That same personal reason kept me out for another season, but in 2009, after a challenge to my commitment from Iris Levine, I auditioned and was accepted to VOX. This season concludes my 14th with the choir - looking forward to season 15!

 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX?  

The frenzy of organizing and working with the team for Los Angeles' First Women's March in 2017. I had the spark of an idea, and reached out to the fledgling Women's March organizers, and we made it happen! Also, the trip to Vancouver we took in 2018 has some amazing memories best not printed.... 

 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this season?

The upcoming concert is going to be absolutely special - you'll be surprised to hear us, I promise. But I'm so excited about our upcoming Cabernet Cabaret. For the last several years, I've been the producer of this extravaganza - usually held at the historic Catalina Jazz Club. It's so special to see our individual Voxxies break out of their shell, perform solos of their choosing, and wow not only the audience, and Iris, but their fellow singers. I implore you not to miss this event, happening on May 6, to hear a selection of Voxxies as you've never heard them - I promise a rousing good time!

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

Fun Fact - I bleed blue! Politics notwithstanding, I am a raging Los Angeles Dodgers fan. I rarely miss a televised game, and try to make it to the ballpark a few times a season. I love talking Dodgers, watching Dodgers, and often - dressing in Dodger Blue! #ITFDB  

66805897840--50971BF5-33DC-49BE-9FCD-BB08E398044C_edited.jpg

Eileen Dorn

Singer Eileen Dorn has been singing with VOX for over a decade! A former folk singer and lead singer of rock band Dog Party, Eileen says that it was the close-knit harmonic structure she missed after she finished touring that inspired her to audition.

Part of our Alto Two section, Eileen is a retired preschool teacher who now teaches Krav Maga kickboxing to adults - yes, the two essences really can co-exist in one person - and loves the process of rehearsing for a concert, saying her favorite memory with VOX was the magic of singing together for the first time after the pandemic!

To learn more about what Eileen is looking forward to this season with VOX, as well as her secret about the alto two section, read on...

Eileen Dorn

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your other work?)

I am a retired pre-k teacher who spent all her time teaching children to use their words and not their fists to solve problems. Now I am a Krav Maga based kickboxing instructor who tells grownups to absolutely use their fists! 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX and how long have you been a member?

I spent years singing in a folk duo (The Eves) and then as lead singer of a rock band (Dog Party) but when I stopped touring, I missed singing. I yearned for the close-knit harmonic structure of an SSAA group, and auditioned because I knew one of the singers. This was over 10 years ago! Basically I unknowingly stumbled into one of the most glorious musical experiences of my life. 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX?

Our concerts are always a highlight for me. But my favorite memories are our rehearsals, when we get to the honing process after the big picture is secured. My absolute favorite memory was our first concert after the pandemic. Not the concert per se, but the rehearsal when we stood on the steps of FCCLA shoulder to shoulder and sang "Sing Creations Music On" [by Stephen Paulus], and we had each other’s voices live, in our ears, and we could hear the glorious unified sound bouncing back at us. After being locked away in our homes, singing in closets for our virtual concerts, this was more precious than I think we all know. 

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this season?

I am looking forward to singing the great joy that is in Saunder Choi’s glorious ode to a recovering-from-the-pandemic Los Angeles, Our Streets, A Symphony Again (poetry by Brian Sonia-Wallace) Our whole upcoming concert promises to be fantastic but this piece resonates with me on every level. 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

Fun Fact: we second altos are secret divas who love to rumble in a register undetectable by the human ear.  

Laurel headshot squarejpg.jpg

Laurel Roberts-Meese

Singer and Board Representative Laurel Roberts-Meese joined VOX in 2021 after she moved to the LA mid-pandemic from the Bay Area.

Having been raised by two classical musicians, she notes that music was not an option in her house when growing up, but Laurel chose a very different professional path from her parents. This season, Laurel took the leap and got more deeply involved in VOX by becoming a Board representative for the singers, and we could not be more lucky to have her.

To learn more about what Laurel is looking forward to this season with VOX, as well as her advice for helping with mental health, read on...

Laurel Robets-Meese

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your other work?)

I help connect stressed out professionals to the best possible mental health therapist for them, whether that’s a therapist in my own practice, or someone in the community. Outside of work my biggest passion has always been musical theater, and I have a newfound interest in musical theater history. 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX and how long have you been a member?

Raised by two classical musicians who met at CalArts in the 70s, music was never optional in my house. I dabbled with a few instruments before I found the one I’d carried with me all along. I moved to LA mid-pandemic from the Bay Area and someone told me about Vox. I decided to audition and to this day feel like I tripped and fell into the most incredible mission-driven, high-calibre choir ever.

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX?

I loved singing the Suffrage Cantata last season, both at ACDA and in our concert. I felt so connected to and appreciative of our foremothers who sacrificed so much so our voices could be heard.

4. What are you most excited about for VOX this season?

Our upcoming concert, Made In LA, is a perfect blend of music that represents this city I’m getting to know. With songs in so many languages by such diverse composers, it truly feels like a choral poem about LA.

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

Singing is fantastic for your mental health! It uses both sides of the brain and challenges your language, tonal, and muscular systems at the same time. As a trauma specialist, I work with a lot of people who can be dissociative and struggle to emotionally regulate. Due to the way our brains work, you can’t be singing and dissociating at the same time. I’ve used singing in my professional work and for myself during difficult times. Try it, it works!

Lori Marie Rios.jpeg

Lori Marie Rios

Assistant Conductor Lori Marie Rios began singing with VOX during our 2017-2018 season. An invaluable member of staff, she leads our Music Education programs with the knowledge and passion that comes from many years as a educator of students of all ages.

To learn more about what Lori Marie is looking forward to this season with VOX, including some brand new programs we will be introducing this season, read on...

Lori Marie Rios

1. What do you do outside of VOX (your other job, etc.)? I am Professor of Choral/Voice Studies at College of the Canyons. I teach Chamber Singers/Just Jazz and Voices of the Canyons and administrate the Music 190 performance class for all music majors instrumental and vocal. . I also teach vocal development and private voice.

2. What drew you to singing with VOX? I have sung in a choir my whole life since the 1st grade. I love singing. I have known about VOX for a very long time and have known Iris for about 28 years. The time was never right but I decided to make time and asked her if I could come sing for VOX -she said of course! 

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX? My favorite memory would be singing at the American Choral Directors Association, Western Division Conference in March of 2022. There was something electric about the ensemble when we took the stage. We knew the 'Suffrage Cantata' (by composer Andrea Ramsey) so well that we were living, breathing, understanding, and communicating the story with such passion and conviction. We walked off knowing that we made an impact on the audience and each other. My life was changed in an instant. It was a proud moment for all of us. 

4. What are you most excited for this season with VOX? I love the process, musically and being together. We work hard. However, we still find time to enjoy the laughter, tears, and joy of being together as a group of women who have a common goal together. One week a song may sound very different than the next time we sing it. It grows and then blooms into a music-making journey that validates the musical process called rehearsal. Performance is where we get to communicate it to an audience. 

I am also really excited about our future Music Education programs. A grant from Chorus America using the Justice Choir Songbook starts this week! This is spearheaded by Emma Benatar who has written the curriculum for this program and we will be working to bring this program to students and schools that may not have music programs already.

We are also bringing back the Choral Scholars program for the first time since Covid. This program allows us to bring 4 or 5 current high school choral music students into the VOX environment. Those singers will work with me before rehearsals, attend all activities and practice with us for a concert session and then  perform in the last concert of our season! Many of those past choral scholars are at major universities studying voice and music education. As a music educator of 33 years, I am honored to work with these young musicians.

 

In April, we have our Concert for Youth, in which I have the pleasure to conduct! This is the first live Concert for Youth that we have done since Covid and I expect that we can pack out the house!! In the afternoon that day, we will be hosting an Invitation SSAA festival for High School Treble Voices. This is the grand premiere of the festival. Artistic Director, Iris Levine and I will be the adjudicators and clinicians for the festival, which is really exciting!   Being together as a community, the students and VOX  members making music together and encouraging all ages to be music makers - it just does not get better than that!

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)? I love bread! with real butter!! I hate broccoli. I love cooking my Dad's Mexican recipes, the enchiladas are to die for, and my mother's New York cheesecake recipe. I started coloring my hair when I found my first string of gray at the age of 30. I stopped during Covid...and it's colored again!! My hubby and I have a granddaughter, Meadow Moon who is 61/2 years old and I still call her baby girl - with her permission. 

Marcela Pan.jpg

Marcela Pan

Audience members will recognize VOX singer Marcela Pan not only from her 20 years singing with the ensemble, but also as the moderator of our pre-concert talks!

Marcela brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to VOX as both a musicologist and Music Library Manager at USC, as well as a trained opera singer. To learn more about what Marcela is looking forward to this season, as well as what VOX has meant to her in the past, read on...

Marcela Pan

1. What do you do outside of VOX (your other job, etc.)? I am a musicologist and work as the Music Library Manager at USC. I am also a trained opera singer and sing all over Southern California as a soloist.

2. What drew you to singing with VOX? I have always loved singing in choirs, and have been a choir member since I was a teenager. The experience of choral singing cannot be compared to any other singing experience. I have been with Vox for about 20 years.

3. What is your favorite memory of singing with VOX? There are many favorite experiences. Perhaps for being so close in time, I loved premiering The Leonardo Notebooks. I also love traveling with Vox, the most significant traveling experiences being when we traveled to Mexico and to Canada. The sisterhood we created with choirs and the cultural exchange that happened was something I will never forget.

4. What are you most excited for this season with VOX? I'm excited about the whole season! But what I love the most is being able to present new works to the audience. 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)? Not a fun fact, but for me it was tremendously important that Vox did not "stop" during the pandemic. We found a way, a new way, to make music together. The support I got from the group was perhaps what helped me get through that time.

cropped.jpg

Angelica Rowell

The VOX staff continues to grow with another wonderful addition! Angelica Rowell joins VOX as our new Social Media Coordinator and as a new singer as well. With experience as a Content Producer, a screen writer, and an activist, among (many) other things, Angelica is a "modern day Renaissance Woman" that we are thrilled to have on our team.

Read on to learn more...

Angelica Rowell

1. What do you do outside of VOX (i.e. what is your other work?)

I do about a million things! It's one of the reasons I like to call myself a 'modern day renaissance woman'. But right now I'm currently working as a Content Producer for a social media ad agency, serving as Vox's Social Media Coordinator, and cultivating my screenwriting career. I also curate and lead workshop seminars titled, "The Evolution of Black Music" and "Arts for Activism".  

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX and why was now the right time?

I missed singing. The pandemic forced me to make a lot of music in solitude, or virtually, and I was craving the synergy that only singing in a choir can provide. 

 

3. What are you most excited about singing with VOX this season?

The music! Iris picks these incredibly moving pieces that not only touch your soul sonically, but poetically, and spiritually. I'm a sucker for crunchy, dissonant harmonies, and our first concert, 'No Place Like Home', features a lot of those! 

 

4. And what excites you about your new role as VOX's Social Media Coordinator?

I think just having the opportunity to help show the world who Vox is and what they stand for! I love how open, affirming, and equity based Vox Femina's mission statement is because it aligns with my own personal and artistic viewpoint. To show that through music to the Los Angeles community, as well as the world is something special. 

 

5. Anything else you want to share (a fun fact, etc.)?

I am an Annual Pass holder to Disneyland, I watch an unhealthy amount of reality TV, and I have a Pinterest board for everything! Oh, I also read tarot and oracle cards.

9bf07f_3e5138264ca94dd4891124f1a7a004e8~mv2.jpg

Emma Benatar

VOX is excited to welcome Emma Benatar as both a new singer this season and VOX's first Education Program Manager! With a wealth of both music education and choral conducting experience, and a BM in Music Education, with an emphasis in Choral and General Music, from San Jose State University, Emma will be a fantastic addition to the team.

Read on below to hear from her in her own words...

Emma Benatar
1. What do you do outside of VOX?

I teach elementary and middle school music in a tiny rural district in LA County. We've just started our first elementary and middle school choirs, and I love watching my students grow and change and discover just how much they are capable of!

 

2. What drew you to working and singing with VOX and why was now the right time?
I have been to many VOX concerts over the years - the director that inspired me to pursue music education, Lori Marie Rios, has sung in the group for years, and the first time I saw the group perform I thought, "I want to be a part of that". It's been about 8 years since then, and finally the stars aligned. I moved back to the LA area two years ago and this is the first time in a long time that I have had enough free time to make the commitment, and the courage to audition. 100% honesty, I've also been looking for a group of like-minded people to build friendships with and that's a huge part of why I auditioned - making friends in your thirties is hard, and I can think of no better place to do it!

While I was looking up audition information, I saw the post for the EMP position, and knew I had to apply. Not going to lie, I was a little terrified to do it. But I took a deep breath and jumped in anyway. I'm so glad that I did! I'm learning a ton, and the opportunity to use my skills to help build a program that will reach so many students, and share with them the opportunities I wish I had had is amazing. 

 
3. What are you excited about singing with VOX this season?
I don't think there is a specific piece that I'm most excited about - because I am LOVING the variety. I really love the challenge of the "Home in Me" set, because there is so much depth and storytelling happening - I feel like I'm on an adventure every time I dive in! But I also love the simplicity of "Crossing the Bar". Really leaning into those low alto foundations in "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is giving me life - it feels like coming home. 

My favorite part of the choral process is actually all the discovery that happens in rehearsals - I love the learning that is happening, from moment one. I came home from the last rehearsal all abuzz and inspired because we are actually making music, and starting to really play and create together. 

 
4. And what excites you about your new role as VOX's EPM?
I'm really excited about some programs we are building, in the hopes of bringing choral music to schools where students wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity. But mostly, I'm excited about what we're planning to DO with the programs. We're working to create spaces where young people can connect with their communities, have meaningful discussions about real life topics, dive into the context of the music they are experiencing, share their unique voices, and come to choral music in a really meaningful way. The work that VOX does to empower women's voices is incredibly powerful; I'm really excited to work with new voices and perspectives to discover what empowerment looks like for them. 

I joke that my life's goal is to take over the world through choral music, but really the goal is to change it. What could we create and accomplish if the world was more like a choir?

 
5. Anything else you want to share?
Sorry to disappoint, but no, I'm not related to Pat Benatar! I am, however, related to Jenny Lind, The Swedish Nightingale, who was rumoured to have had quite the affair with P.T. Barnum. 
VOX 2022 Intern Victoria Mitchell

Victoria Mitchell

VOX is thrilled to welcome intern Victoria Mitchell to the organization!

Victoria, who is Native American, grew up on the Quechan Indian Reservation in Arizona before moving to LA to attend college. Currently a Music Major at Santa Monica College, Victoria is a percussionist who specializes in the marimba thanks to her desire to show off as a child! 

While she hasn't decided if her path will lead her towards a career in music education or music therapy yet, it seems clear that Victoria has the talent and tenacity for either! To learn more about what drew Victoria to working with VOX and how she ended up with a dog named Happy, read on...

1. What do you do outside of your internship with VOX?

I am currently starting my second year at Santa Monica College as a music major, so I’m usually doing some form of studying or practicing. My main instrument is the marimba, but I also like to include snare, timpani, piano, and drumset into my practice regimen. In my free time I love to cook, bake, and spend time with family and friends! 

 

2. What drew you to working with VOX?

As someone who is passionate about the arts, I wanted to work within a creative organization. My professor sent me a flier about the VOX internship, and I knew it would be a perfect fit. Not only did it align with my future goals of working in musical ensembles, but was also an organization that made its mission of inclusivity extremely clear. Being any kind of minority in the arts is hard, and I admired every aspect of VOX’s mission. 

 

3. What made you decide to study percussion?

This is actually a funny story! I started playing piano around the age of 10, so I had already had the ability to read basic rhythms and follow a metronome. In 5th grade, the middle school band directors came to my school to enroll students in band and help them decide on an instrument. Since percussion was the only section you had to audition and have prior knowledge for, I thought it would be nice to show off… and I ended up being accepted! I was definitely a child full of personality.

 

4. What would you like to do in the future?

While I’m still deciding on a path, my current goal is to finish up my last year at Santa Monica College and then transfer to a university. I have always wanted to go into music education, but lately have been considering going into music therapy instead. Music has healed me in profound ways, and I am so excited to spread my knowledge to future generations!

 

5. Anything else you would like to share?

I’m incredibly passionate about animal welfare, which had led me to become a foster dog parent through the organization named A Wish For Animals. In the past 6 months, I’ve fostered around 10 dogs, which have all been adopted into their forever homes. I did recently fail at this whole fostering thing though… and ended up adopting our most recent foster dog, our lazy cocker spaniel named Happy :)

DB0B801B-919A-4765-BA94-11724F3E1426 (1).jpeg

Luka Schellenbach

Luka first heard VOX in 2000 when they moved to LA and was so impressed they asked to audition mid-season! 

As part of our 25th Anniversary Season, we asked Luka (among others) to reflect on their time with VOX, why it has been important to them, and what they are looking forward to in the future. Read on for more...

Luka Schellenbach

1. What do you do outside of VOX? I am a Senior Vice President at Creative Circle, which is a digital, creative, and marketing company that helps bring creative projects to life with staffing and consulting services. I live in Mount Washington with my three cats, Fizz, Cooper and Mittens; and our pandemic puppers, Mochi. My pronouns are they/them and I identify as non-binary. 

 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX in the first place and how did you hear about it? 

I first heard of Vox in 2000 right after my move to Los Angeles. I had been singing in the Stonewall Chorale in NYC and knew I wanted to continue singing. My girlfriend at the time (Suzy Brown, Soprano in Vox) and I went to see a concert and were so amazed we asked if we could audition mid-season! 

 

3. What do you remember from your first year singing with the ensemble? Or what is your favorite memory?  I remember how amazing it was to sing and work under Iris’ direction! Her energy and joy was, and still is, addictive. Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Iris knows you will no doubt be a better singer and musician because of it. 

There are so many memorable events from traveling to Mexico, to singing with Holly Near and performing at the ACDA, but I think the most memorable was our trip to sing in Vancouver at the Electra Women’s Choir Tapestry International festival. Every three years, they invite three women’s choirs to come and sing and share each other’s music and culture. Vox was a guest in 2018, along with Kvennakór Gardabæjar, a women’s choir from Iceland, and Frisches Ei (団員募集中!), a women’s choir from Japan. This was an amazing opportunity to learn from each other and it was a powerful feeling standing on stage with so many singers! It was truly a life-changing experience.

 

4. What would you like to do with VOX in the future (sing at the inauguration of the first female president, for example!)? It’s been a rough couple of years for singing ensembles. We persevered by attending Zoom rehearsals, recording our parts for a “music video” style concert we produced instead of a live concert, and continuing Vox traditions like singing Happy Birthday to our singers who were celebrating each week even though it sounded pretty awful on Zoom. We had fun, we made music, and the community really came together to help each other through the isolation and grief. But there’s nothing that compares to singing together in the same room, breathing at the same time, and feeling the music as a collective body. We’re finally back, singing with masks, vaxed and boosted, but live and in person! I hope we don’t have to go through anything like this again, and I hope that we never take for granted a rehearsal, or a moment where we can be together singing and bringing joy, love, and power to our audience. 

 

As for the future, I would like to see us travel and sing with other choirs in other parts of the country. Maybe even in the towns that don’t have a choice of loving supportive choirs, reaching out of our bubble to experience a different reality with and for our fellow citizens. 

And yes, singing at the inauguration of the first woman president would be major.

32892552_10155518814128030_7104611596827099136_n (2).jpg

Laurie Fox

Laurie is a longtime singer with Vox, having fallen in love with us nearly 25 years ago at a concert in Barnsdall Art Park. The geology-lover looks back on her time here with fondness and looks forward to the future!

To learn about what keeps our senior singer coming back year after year, read on for more...

Laurie Fox

1. What do you do outside of VOX? 

I have been gratefully retired for almost 4 years now and am really enjoying being able to sleep in more often! I am very active in my church, West Hollywood United Church of Christ, where I’ve been a member for the past 32 years, and in the Association of 48 UCC churches around LA, where I’ve served for the past 8 years. I love spending time with my kids, Damien & Andrew Rozendal, and their wives and my two grandchildren, Autry (14) and Redmond (6). Many of the Voxxies know Andrew, who’s been coming to our concerts faithfully for the 23 years that I’ve been part of the group. I’m also close to my 3 younger sisters, who live back in Michigan & New York, and spend delightful weeks with them a couple of times a year.


 

2. What drew you to singing with VOX in the first place and how did you hear about it? 

I had heard about Vox through the Gay Men’s Chorus (although unfortunately I was NOT in the audience for that first historic concert with the guys) and through the Christopher Street West Gay Pride Festival, but the first concert I attended was in June 1999 at Barnsdall Art Park.

I was impressed by the way these women took the stage, but the very first note brought tears to my eyes with its beauty and I knew right then that I wanted to sing with them. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

3. What do you remember from your first year singing with the ensemble? Or what is your favorite memory?

My first year in Vox was quite momentous. It was our first time to sing for the American Choral Directors Association, and it was also Iris’ first time to bring any group to ACDA.  She made it very clear to us from the outset that we had to be top-notch, as her reputation (which was considerable, even 23 years ago) was on the line. In response, we worked our tails off.  We learned that music inside out, upside down & backwards and we were prepared to shine. Iris had warned us that this was a pretty conservative group and they hardly ever gave standing ovations, so we were prepared for a somewhat muted reception that spring afternoon at Loyola Marymount. Well… we knocked their socks off! When we finished singing, MANY of those erudite choral directors did, in fact, give us a standing ovation, which brought many of us to tears. But we made Iris proud and that was the real victory.
But that wasn’t all!  

 

It was also our first year to travel.  That summer we went up to San Jose to the GALA (Gay And Lesbian Association of) Choruses Festival, which was an entirely different atmosphere from ACDA. The culture of this group included giving EVERY group a standing ovation, just for being brave enough to get up on the stage & sing.  Well… from the very first note (which was memorable in itself) we had them enraptured.  We didn’t just get a standing ovation at the end of our set - we got one after each song we sang! We were the last group to perform on that concert, and as we were leaving the stage, we got mobbed by the adoring crowd, led by all the GMCLA guys, who had placed themselves right in the front rows, where we could see them. I don’t remember another time when I was so overcome with joy, excitement, relief & pride.  For the rest of the week, many of us were wearing our Vox t-shirts and everywhere we went, it was like we were rock stars! Total strangers would come up to us on the street and tell us how much they had enjoyed our singing. Now, THAT was fun!


4. What is it that keeps you coming back?

For 23 years now, I have kept coming back because I am so honored to have the opportunity to sing under “Dean Levine” (as she is affectionately known) with a truly amazing collection of singers who, together, form a group that actually is top-notch, well-respected and able to hold our own among the great choruses of this diverse city. I keep coming back because Vox is an important part of my family.  I keep coming back because I love to sing and I can’t think of any other group I would rather sing with. I keep coming back because we have an important mission and there’s still a LOT of work to be done. I keep coming back because I can - and I am so grateful to be a small part of this amazing organization.


 

5. What would you like to do with VOX in the future?

Top of the list is definitely traveling to Iceland to sing again with the Gardabaer Women’s Choir, with whom we first sang in May, 2018 at the Tapestry Women's Choir Festival in Vancouver. I’m really looking forward to seeing them in their own surroundings and having more time to get to know these wonderful women.


 

6. Anything else you would like to share?

Fun Facts:~ I am the oldest singer in the group (only by one month, though). I distinctly remember the time when, as I was helping with auditions several years ago, I was chatting with one of our prospective singers and realized that she wasn’t even born yet when I started singing with Vox. I was delighted. I just love that we can all be so different in so many ways and still honor, respect and enjoy each other enough to make beautiful music together.~ I love following the growth of the three free-flying flocks of California Condors (Central CA, Southern CA and AZ/UT/Grand Canyon) and am eagerly anticipating the new flock that the Yurok tribe will be establishing in Northern CA in the next couple of months.~ I am fascinated by geology and dream of traveling to Washington state to see first hand the still-visible scars of the mammoth Ice Age Floods that ripped up the landscape there 15,000 years ago.

IMG_7681_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Joan Potter

Former Board Chair Joan Potter shares with us her love for Vox and her experience working behind the scenes!

Read on for more...

Joan Potter

Friends can lead you along paths you might miss, and that was my experience with Vox Femina back in 2001.  Bettie Teel was asked to be on the Vox Board by Stacy Poston, the co-founder.  Bettie declined, but put forward my name as a recent retiree who might have both the time and interest.  I did have both and was delighted to be asked.  (Thankfully, Bettie joined the board a year later and was the asset they knew she would be.)

Twenty years ago the operation was run mostly by volunteers, and those volunteers were the board members.  We did have the services of an office manager, but most of the tasks so ably performed today by Rebecca Wink and Joanna Mitchell  were done by amateurs.  It was challenging and rewarding; we bonded like family, worked together and felt appreciated.  I look back on that time very fondly.

Who, but the singers and Iris and Lisa Edwards get to witness a concert being born?  Well, I did. I sat in on Tuesday night rehearsals and watched miracles as the music went from its first run through to dress rehearsal, then the big nights (back then, sometimes more than one.)  That was a gift that has never been duplicated and never will.

By the way, the photo shows me as I appear 90% of the time.  I do enjoy being out in the yard.

IMG_20200830_121109918_edited_edited.jpg

Chris Fox

Production Manager Chris Fox is an integral part of every single one of our concerts and beyond.

Read on to learn more about our multi-talented member of our Vox family...

Chris Fox

1. What is your role at VOX and how long have you been with the organization?

I am the Production Coordinator and I have been with VOX since 2013 (9 years)

2. What do you do outside of VOX?

I am a Production Manager and Assistant Director for independent filmmakers here in Los Angeles and I assist the Los Angeles Master Chorale with their high school education outreach programs. When I am not on a film set or a concert stage, I teach set management and assistant directing at the Los Angeles Film School.

3. What is your favorite memory of working with VOX?

I believe it was my second season with VOX before a concert at Zipper. I was going around making sure everything was running smoothly and the signers were gathering in a circle before going on stage. Realizing what they were about to do, I wanted to give them their privacy, so I started to walk away. One of the singers grabbed my hand and said, "Where are you going? You're one of us!" At that moment I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.

4. Is there anything you would like to do with VOX in the future, or that you would like to see VOX do?

I would love to see VOX continue to grow. VOX not only helps give women a voice in LA, but all over the world. The transition to virtual concerts during the pandemic has given VOX such a big outreach, thanks to technology and I want to see that continue and expand!

 

5. Anything else you would like to share (fun fact, etc.)?

Even though I am never on stage and the audience may have no idea who I am, Iris and the singers have always made me feel like I was a part of the VOX family. I have worked with other groups that treat the production manager as a personal assistant and VOX has never done that for a second. They have always embraced me with open and loving arms for who I am and respected what I do; that is rare in this industry! I hope they know just how special they are.

Iris at Disney Hall.JPG

Dr. Iris Levine

Founding Artistic Director Dr. Iris Levine has had a long and illustrious career in higher education, currently serving as the Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Science at Cal Poly Pomona. With Vox, Dr. Levine has created a group that seeks to lead and inspire change within our communities and beyond. 

Read on to learn what Vox means to her...

Dr. Iris Levine

1. What is your "other" job outside of VOX?

I have had an extraordinary career at Cal Poly Pomona University. Over 32 years, I have served as faculty and department chair in the music department, Associate Dean and then Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences. I have also served in a “double Dean” role adding Interim Dean of the College of Education and Integrative Studies. Last summer, the President asked me to serve as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. It was one of my greatest honors to serve the University in that manner, as I oversaw the leadership in all of Academic Affairs, including eight distinct colleges, the Arabian Horse Center, Enrollment Management, Office of Student Success, Office of Faculty Affairs and much more! As of April 1, I completed my service as Provost and am now serving as the Special Assistant to the President, completing various projects for CPP’s President, Soraya M. Coley.

2. What, or who, inspired you to start VOX?

Jon Bailey - He was the Artistic Director for the Gay Mens Chorus of Los Angeles and was interested in having a women’s chorus in Los Angeles that would mirror GMCLA. We had many, many conversations about this before he and I came to the same conclusion about who VOX would be. He told me that VOX would change my life and he was correct!

 

3. What do you remember from the first year?

First auditions - I was blown away by some of the voices that came to sing with us. They were all asked to sing something a cappella (voice only - no accompaniment). One singer came in and sang a full Handel aria! First rehearsal - the sound was SOOOOO beautiful that I nearly wept. I knew that this was going to be something special. First performance - 19 singers stood on the stage of the Alex Theatre with 200 GMCLA men behind us - literally creating a physical and emotional support to us. We rocked the house and got a standing ovation each night! First VOX concert - our first concert was given in what was a former furniture store and what would become MCCLA. We made posters and flyers to promote the concert and before we could even get them mailed out, the concert was sold out! We had to add a second night and adjust all the flyers and posters.

 

4. What are your favorite memories from the past 25 years?

Oh, there are so many wonderful memories… the relationships built, the music made, the community impact, the national impact on the choral field. Wow.. I’m not sure how to identify favorite memories, but I’ll give it a try. First ACDA performance when we definitely made a positive impact on the choral community, yet we witnessed people leaving the hall because we represented the gay and lesbian community. First GALA performance when we were the “talk of the town” for our outstanding, memorable performance. Singing Mahler 8 with the LA Philharmonic under Maestro Dudamel’s baton. Singing at the first Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles. In 2008, singing at many lesbian weddings when we finally won the right to marriage equality! Singing the National Anthem at LA Sparks games (bringing my love for basketball and VOX together!) Commissioning new works that speak to women’s stories. Performing "The Notebooks of Leonardo” by Jocelyn Hagen - an incredible multi-media work that opened my eyes to so many future possibilities. Singing “One with the Wind” at the Tapestry International Festival in Vancouver with choirs from Japan, Iceland and Vancouver (Elektra). Sustaining VOX during the pandemic through our film production of Suffrage Cantata. These are things I am most proud of, and I’m sure I left out a gazillion other memories!

5. What would you like to see VOX do in the future?

Travel! It has been a while since we took to the road or flight to bring our music to other communities. Imagine the impact we would have with a road trip singing Suffrage Cantata before the November elections. Or, imagine the impact it would have on our singers and other communities to bring our music to another country, where we collaborate with local women’s choirs. I would love to see VOX commit to a “regular” travel calendar.

6. Anything else you would like to add, or anything people would find surprising to learn about you?

People talk about how much I have given to VOX, but I want people to know how much VOX has given to me. When you make music with others, you open your heart and soul to each other - I have benefitted from making music with hundreds of Voxxies along the way and numerous guest artists. Because of VOX, I have served women’s choral music as a clinician, a guest conductor, a scholar, a board member, a commissioner and an arranger. VOX and I continue to strive to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

bottom of page