Friends of Music Presents the Bolton Guitar Quartet

Processed with Rookie Cam

Nicholas Epple, Grace Sheppard, Bin Hu, Misael Barraza Díaz

On Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. in the Church, St. Philip’s Friends of Music presents the Bolton Guitar Quartet.

Presenting a showcase of musical treasures from the traditional Spanish repertoire for guitar, this concert features four competition winners studying under University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music Professor Tom Patterson: Misael Barraza (Mexico), Nicholas Epple (South Korea), Bin Hu (China), and Grace Sheppard (U.S.A.). Not only will the audience listen to artists from different parts of the world playing as one; this thrilling debut performance offers a combination of ensemble settings.

The suggested concert admission is $20 per person. The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events. For more information click here.

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our solar parking structure on the east side. The Friends of Music phone number is (520) 222-7277.

Additional Information:
Misael Barraza is one of the most talented Mexican guitarists of his generation. Born in Hermosillo, Mexico, in 1990, Misael began his guitar studies at age eleven; and one year later was invited to join the classical guitar ensemble “Staccato” at the University of Sonora, with whom he recorded a CD in 2005 entitled “Aire Latino.” In 2008, Misael was accepted at the University of Arizona to study classical guitar performance with Professor Thomas Patterson.

Misael graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Master Guitarra Alicante, where he studied with world renowned musicians such as David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, Ignacio Rodes, Paul O’dette, Hopkinson Smith, Fabio Zanon, Roberto Aussell, and Shin Ishi Fukuda. Misael holds both a Master’s degree from the Master Guitarra Alicante (Spain) and a second Master’s degree from the University of Arizona (U.S.). Misael was presented as the guest guitarist in the “Gala Importantes” in Alicante, Spain — an annual event attended by the most important figures in Spain. Misael was also the featured solo guitarist for the World Premiere of “Passionately, Piazzolla!” — a collaboration between Tucson Desert Song Festival, Ballet Tucson and the Tucson Guitar Society. Misael has been awarded first place at numerous international and local competitions, most recently first place at the “David Russell Bach Prize”, the “Indiana International Guitar Competition”, and the “Montreal International Guitar Competition.” In March 2015, he was awarded second place at the Culiacán International Guitar Competition, the largest guitar competition in México. Misael is pursuing his Doctorate in Musical Arts at the University of Arizona.

Nicholas Epple, born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in Bozeman Montana, has played music since the age of 5 when he began learning the violin.  He was self-taught on the guitar until receiving formal training during his Bachelor’s degree at Montana State University, graduating with highest honors, studying both classical guitar and violin.  During his time at MSU, Nicholas studied under Michael Videon (guitar), and Angella Ahn (violin), of the internationally renowned Ahn Trio.  In 2010, Nicholas spent the summer in Siena, Italy, where he studied the guitar with Dario Vannini.  Nicholas was awarded his Master’s in Guitar Performance from the University of Arizona in the spring of 2015, studying under Tom Patterson and artists in residency, David Russell, Odair Assad, and Sergio Assad.  He has continued his studies in this program currently pursuing his DMA.  This last summer, Nicholas was awarded a scholarship to study in Volterra, Italy with Antigoni Goni and Rene Izuierdo.  Nicholas has been a finalist in the David Russell Bach Prize and the Douglas Sholin memorial competition.  Nicholas has taken master classes from Christopher Parkening, Paul O’Dette, Denis Azabagic, Pavel Steidl, and Judicaël Perroy.

Bin Hu was born in 1987 in Tianjin, a city near Beijing in China. He began his guitar study under Zhiwei Li and Jiajiong Li, who are, among others, the leading guitar educators in China. In 2005, he was admitted to the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre for his bachelor studies. Since then, he started his 10-year experiences studying abroad. During that time, he has visited 9 European countries and the United States — attending master classes with world renown guitarists such as David Russell, Sergio Assad, Leo Brouwer, Manuel Barrueco, Ricardo Gallén, Timo Korhonen and Thomas Müller-Pering. In 2002, he completed his Master Degree at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg under Professor Marco Tamayo with the best grade.

Bin has been awarded a great number of top prizes in various guitar competitions around the world, including 2nd prize in the VII Guitar Competition of Nordic Countries and Baltic Academies, 3rd prize in the IV Annual Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, 2nd prize in the 2014 Sholin Memorial Guitar Competition and 1st prize in the Tucson Flamenco Festival VI Guitar Competition. He was also selected as one of the finalists in the First David Russell Bach Prize. His exquisite performing style and flawless technique have earned him the highest praise from audience and critics. “Hu played with a commanding technique and stoicism, captivating the audience with his pensive interpretations. Hu managed to convey a meditative aura underscored with shades and hints of tastefully applied power and delicacy.” — a concert review by Adam Brown from Indiana University.

As one of the most active guitarists of his generation in China, his performances have taken him throughout Europe, the United States and China. He was featured as soloist in various symphony orchestras and collaborated with conductors such as Jorma Panula. With the Pärnu City Symphony Orchestra (Estonia), he gave the world premiere of the guitar concerto Dos mundos written by Spanish composer Jorge Rodriguez-Caballero in 2008. As chamber musician, he also works on the enlargement of repertoire by arranging works of other instruments. In 2013, his arrangement of the Ouverture de I Masnadieri by Giuseppe Verdi was recorded in a CD dedicated to Verdi’s 200 years anniversary.

Bin Hu is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Arizona, where he also serves as the teaching assistant in Bolton Guitar Studies Program under Pofessor Thomas Patterson. He is invited regularly to perform at festivals, give master classes and judge guitar competitions. In 2014, he was selected by the GFA committee and featured in the GFA Regional Symposium Showcase Concert in Phoenix. As one of the pioneer classical guitar researchers in China nowadays, he has received numerous invitations around China to give lectures. In June 2015, he was invited to give a lecture at Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Shandong International Forum of Classical Guitar Elites. His workshop “Baroque style and performance practice” aims on the comprehension of Baroque common performance practice and its influences on Classical Style. His 2015 concert tour in China took place in 9 cities and provinces. Several local music periodicals have written reviews on his activities.

Grace Sheppard began her study of the classical guitar at age 6. Grace has placed two years consecutively in the Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Competition. Grace is distinguished by the fact that she is the only American female to win first place in the youth division. At the age of fourteen and in her very first guitar competition, Grace won the 2013 Guitar Foundation of America International Youth Division Competition, held in Louisville, Kentucky. The following year, she placed second as a fifteen year-old in the 15-18 year old division. This highly talented guitarist also took gold medals in the youth division of the 2013 and the 2014 annual Tucson Flamenco Festival.

Grace regularly performs at the Tucson Guitar Society’s “Guitar In The Woods” and at the University of Arizona’s Guitar Area Recitals. She has an active YouTube Channel, with over 100,000 views. Grace regularly contributes to the Tucson community with volunteer concerts for various local charities, nursing homes and for children autism programs.  In addition to solo classical guitar repertoire, Grace has performed chamber music works for multiple guitars and guitar and harp. She studies annually in master classes with acclaimed classical guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, and David Russell. Grace currently studies with Professor Tom Patterson, Director of the Bolton Classical Guitar Studies Program at the University of Arizona. Grace is a sophomore at Catalina Foothills High School and also enjoys singing, drawing and being a big sister to triplet siblings.

Amahl and the Night Visitors

It takes a village to raise an opera — in this case the village of St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church. On January 9, 2016, parishioners with professional credentials in voice, instrumental playing, conducting, stage management, and executive production enable the wider Tucson community to experience Gian Carlo Menotti’s one-act work Amahl and the Night Visitors.

To cast the title role of Amahl, Woosug Kang, director of music at St. Philip’s, approached Julian Ackerley, the director of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, who had the perfect boy for Amahl among his choristers: Liam Boyd. Pierre Isaac, also a Boys Chorus member, is the understudy.

Amahl with Background 1

In this event, Kang will make his operatic conducting debut. Juan Aguirre is the stage director. Dianne Iauco, whose credits include Principal Artist at New York City Opera, will portray the Mother — and role she has sung on numerous occasions.

Resources and talent for the production, including costuming and equipment preparation, comes from the St. Nicholas Choir and their parents. The set design stems in part from the 2014 production, in which director/stage designer David Johnston transformed the St. Philip’s Church environment into an operatic stage and set with suggestive period realism. The Church space will be transformed into the barren cottage where most of the story action takes place.

The remaining principal roles will be performed by professional singers who are also members of the church. The Three Kings have a splendidly matched blend, with each singer’s actual personality well suited to his operatic part. Tenor Matthew Holter is known for his sense of comedy. In his hands the hard-of-hearing King Kaspar delivers the comedic flair the role deserves. Baritone Larry Alexander’s artistic sensitivity highlights the compassionate side of King Melchior, and bass Arizeder Urreiztieta’s stentorian delivery underscores the dignified and mysterious King Balthazar. Daniel Rosenberg, a talented student who has rapidly grown through the ranks of St. Philip’s youth choir, sings the role of the Page. Chorus roles will be filled by members of St. Philip’s adult choirs and St. Nicholas Choir members, directed by Anne Boyer Cotten. Choreographers and dancers will be announced at a later date.

Kings 1

Performances are January 9, 2016, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Premium seating is $50, general admission $25 and students $10. Sponsorships are available for higher levels of support (click here or call 520-222-7277). Proceeds will support the St. Philip’s child and teen choristers’ residency at England’s Worcester Cathedral in July 2016 as well as instrumental and choral training during the school year.

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under the solar parking structure on the east side. The Friends of Music phone number is (520) 222-7277.


The Amahl Story and Background

The opera (in English) was originally commissioned by NBC and first performed by the NBC Opera Theater on December 24, 1951, in New York City at Rockefeller Center. The composer had trouble settling on a subject for the opera, but took his inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch’s The Adoration of the Magi at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America, yet Menotti wrote Amahl with the stage in mind. Amahl was seen on 35 NBC affiliates coast-to-coast, the largest network hookup for an opera broadcast to that date. An estimated 5 million viewers saw the live broadcast — the largest audience ever to see a televised opera.

The thread of Amahl has wound through St. Philip’s since a first production by then-Music Director Stephen Anderson in 1979. Later music directors and professional musicians in the parish wished to perform it again, but not until Kang’s tenure did the complete mix of time, talent, treasure, advocacy and generosity appear to bring Amahl back to St. Philip’s in 2014. Kang’s arrival at St. Philips two years earlier marked a renewed focus in children’s choir programs and a new effort to elevate the quality of the adult choral programs.

Early in 2013 Dianne Iauco, a longtime parishioner and operatic professional, envisioned collaboration between the adult and children’s choirs that could make Amahl possible at St. Philip’s again. After hearing Iauco’s formal proposal, St. Philip’s Friends of Music committed to a full-blown, professional production of Amahl that would not only provide a festive, high-quality musical event but also offer a gift to the larger Tucson community —especially those who may never have experienced the excitement of a live, vocal drama. The production would draw upon the abundance of professional musicians at St. Philip’s In The Hills and other professionals to perform, direct, and stage-manage.

Amahl is a 50-minute work that for many years has been the most frequently performed opera in the U.S. While usually presented before Christmas, it is actually about the gifts of Epiphany and the revealing of the Holy Child to the world.

The opera is set in the Holy Land at the time of the birth of Christ. Amahl is a 10-year-old shepherd who is crippled and must walk with the aid of a crutch which he made. His widowed mother was forced to sell their sheep and they now live in abject poverty. One star-filled winter evening, three Magi appear at their door, seeking shelter for the night before they continue their journey.

The kings enter bearing gold, frankincense, and presumably myrrh. The slightly loony king Kaspar has his box of precious stones, beads, and a special treat for Amahl: black, sweet licorice. While Amahl is fetching the neighbors and some firewood, Melchior asks Amahl’s mother if she has seen “a child whose eyes are sad and whose hands are those of the poor, as poor he was born.” Melchior is, of course, speaking of the Holy Child, but the Mother, who responds that she does indeed know such a child, is instead speaking of her own son.

Neighbors arrive to share what little food they have, offer a dance for entertainment, then leave. While Amahl, the kings, and their page sleep, the mother reflects on the kings’ gold and all that she could do for her son with just one gold coin. “If I take some they will never miss it,” she sings, before stealing a coin. The Page awakens, confiscates the coin, and seizes the Mother. The Kings, transformed by Amahl’s pleas for mercy for his mother, inspire Melchior’s message, which is at the heart of this drama:

Oh, woman, you may keep the gold.
The Child we seek doesn’t need our gold.
On love alone he will build His kingdom,
His pierced hand will hold no scepter,
His haloed head will bear no crown,
His might will not be built on your toil.
Swifter than lightning He will soon walk among us.
He will bring us new life and receive our death.
And the keys to His city belong to the poor.

The widow responds:

Oh, no — wait — take back your gold!
For such a King I have waited all my life
And if I weren’t so poor I would send a gift of my own to such a child.

With childlike innocence and generosity Amahl responds to the King’s pardon and his mother’s impulse by offering his crutch as a gift to the Child. Without thinking, he lifts the crutch, and at this moment — after these transformative acts of forgiveness, faith and sacrifice — Amahl is spontaneously healed of his lameness. At the Kings’ insistence Amahl obtains his mother’s permission to travel with them to find the Christ Child to express his gratitude. Melchior instructs the Page to give the Mother the coin for her to keep; his realization that the Christ Child didn’t need his gold has also made him realize that the Mother does.

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Advent at St. Philip’s

Advent is often described as a season of waiting. Advent waiting is not passive, because this is a time of year pregnant with anticipation!

St. Philip’s has many special services and other events during Advent! Click here for a schedule in pdf form.

Advent kicks off with the annual Advent Festival of Lights Service, on Tuesday, December 1, at 7:00 p.m. This annual candlelit service seeks to illuminate the feminine face of God, with a focus this year on Advent, wisdom, and change. The service will feature readings, prayers, instrumental music, and congregational singing. Following the service, there will be reception with cookies and coffee in the Murphey Gallery at St. Philip’s. A freewill offering will benefit Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse. Emerge! provides domestic abuse crisis intervention and housing, prevention and education, and support and advocacy services to women and children. Emerge! is the largest domestic abuse shelter and provider of domestic abuse prevention programs in Southern Arizona.

The service is followed by cookies and coffee in the Murphey Gallery. The public is cordially invited to attend.


First Sunday Music, on Sunday, December 6, at the 9 and 11:15 a.m. services is entitled “Welcoming Advent with Masters of the Baroque” with St. Philip’s adult and youth choirs and chamber orchestra. Cantata BWV 61, Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland, by Johann Sebastian Bach and Magnificat by Antonio Vivaldi will be used as a part of the liturgy.

Cantata 61 will begin our worship service with the serious and majestic tone of the Advent season. The famous opening movement combines orchestra in “French overture” style with other movements with soloists depicting the idea of longing for the coming of baby Jesus. “Magnificat,” a hymn of praise by Mary when she visits her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, is set to music by Antonio Vivaldi. Movements from the Magnificat will bring a jubilant tone to the conclusion of our service in the midst of our Advent season.

choir pic 14

Beginning on December 6 at 10:15 a.m. in the Murphey Gallery, Dr. Kevin Lane Justus leads a three-part lecture series entitled “Tapestry of Stars—A Renaissance Advent.” Topics are: WONDERMENT: Giotto’s Arena Chapel and the Life of Christ—The New Language of Medieval Spiritualism (December 6); KNOWLEDGE:  Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks  and The Last Supper—God Is in the Details and the Manifestation of Faith (December 13); and MYSTICISM: Tintoretto’s Scuola Grande di San Rocco—The Glory and Tragedy of Advent; The Intensity of Faith (TBA in January). There is no charge for this series.

On Sunday, December 20, at 4 p.m., the St. Nicholas Choir and Schola Cantorum will lead Solemn Choral Evensong. The service is preceded by a short organ concert, presented by Sara Tobe, Director of Music at First United Methodist Church, Tucson. The choirs will lead us through the rarely heard liturgy from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with Canticle by Sir Hugh Blair and magnificent anthem, “Evening Hymn” by B. Gardiner. Our youth in these choirs will be traveling to the UK next summer to be the resident choir at Worcester Cathedral.

A special reception follows the service, to celebrate the generous culture of philanthropic giving that exists at St. Philip’s.  There will be wine, soft drinks and food.  Carols will be sung by members of our youth choirs

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under the solar parking structure on the east side. The office phone number is 299-6421.

The Kirking o’ the Tartans

bagpipes processionThe “Kirking o’ the Tartans” will be celebrated at St. Philip’s In The Hills Episcopal Church on Sunday, November 20, at the 9 and 11:15 a.m. services. The Tucson Highlanders, a pipe band dedicated to the music of the great Highland bagpipes and Scottish-style drumming, will head the procession to and from the church on that day.

Scottish and nae-Scottish parishioners and visitors are encouraged to wear their tartans to this service. They will be invited forward at the conclusion of the service to have their tartans blessed.

tartan blessing

Kirking o’ the Tartans is said to have originated during the 18th century, when the English rulers attempted to subdue rebellious Scottish people by prohibiting them from wearing tartans, symbols of their clans and family solidarity. Some hid wee bits of their tartans under their clothes and had them blessed at church. However apocryphal this tale, St. Philip’s uses this occasion to celebrate the Scottish heritage of the Episcopal Church. The Scottish Episcopal Church is important in our history because it is independent of the Church of England. This allowed the consecration of the first Episcopal bishop in the fledgling United States, Samuel Seabury, in 1784, because it took place in Scotland and thus he did not have to swear allegiance to the British crown. As a result, the Communion rite adopted by the Episcopal Church in 1790 was closely based on the Scottish liturgy, rather than the English.

The public is cordially invited to attend. A freewill offering will be collected.


St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our solar parking structure on the east side. The office phone number is 299-6421.

Hymn Festival and Ice Cream Social

choir fundraising ukWhat’s your favorite hymn? Come and enjoy a fun afternoon with your friends on Sunday afternoon, November 15, at 2 p.m.  Jim Marr will emcee this afternoon of favorite hymns, chosen by you. Schola Cantorum and St. Nicholas youth will sing anthems, Woosug Kang and Jeffrey Campbell will play organ accompaniment and solos, and you will join in four-part harmony often embellished with special descants. You can pick up the list of 30 hymns and buy voting points to choose your favorites on Sunday mornings at the St. Nicholas Youth/UK Residency table in Perry Garden at St. Philip’s.

Have you always wanted to write new words to your favorite hymn tune? Do it now! Choose any hymn in the 1982 Hymnal and create a new verse. Find more information on the verse-writing contest at the UK Residency table.

An Ice Cream Social in the Gallery will conclude the hour of joyful singing. Tickets are $20/person and are available at coffee hour on Sunday mornings or at the door.

The Hymn Festival is a benefit for the July 2016 UK Residency at Worcester Cathedral in England. Your donation supports sending 23 St. Nicholas youth to sing daily Evensong and Sunday Eucharist services for a week. The invitation to serve as the Choir in Residence at the cathedral is a huge honor and privilege and reflects the high level of St. Philip’s youth-oriented music programs. The residency will be a strong sign of sharing our gifts on a global level, and is an amazing growth opportunity. The residency not only will instill in the youth strong leadership skills and a profound sense of accomplishment, but also will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

hymn sing

Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonenses


On Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Church, St. Philip’s Friends of Music presents Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonenses.

Representing five generations in North America, Ronstadt Generations continues the family’s musical traditions with Michael J. Ronstadt (younger brother of Linda) and his sons, Michael G. and Petie. Multi-instrumentalists and solo performers in their own right, they present an exciting repertoire that preserves the traditional Southwestern and Mexican songs of their heritage while offering innovative original material. New compositions place them on the cutting edge of multiple, blended genres, stretching the boundaries of folk, blues, jazz and beyond. Rich harmonies sung in English and Spanish are accompanied by outstanding cello and guitars. Individually and together, Stateside and across the pond, the trio’s worldwide touring and recording credits include such diverse artists as Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Dixie Hummingbirds, David Bromberg, Nydia Rojas, Tish Hinojosa, Muriel Anderson, and Mariachi Vargas, to name a few.

In 2012 three veteran musicians – Alex Flores, Sam Eagon and Aaron Emery – came on board with versatile talents to form the six-piece ensemble Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonenses (the Tucsonans). First performing with Ronstadt Generations at a local Tucson gig, the sextet cemented the relationship with the recording Prelude. Alex, Sam and Aaron bring to the table a variety of experience and influences. Playing tenor saxophone, bass and drums, respectively, they add a colorful dimension to an already powerful presentation that respects tradition while exploring innovation. Enjoy a fascinating musical journey with Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonenses.

“The Ronstadts preserve & redefine a century-plus family tradition, integral to the diverse tapestry of American music.” ­Stephanie P Ledgin, author, Discovering Folk Music

The suggested concert admission is $20 per person. The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events. For more information see

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our solar parking structure on the east side. The Friends of Music phone number is (520) 222-7277.

St. Philip’s Musical Menu Concert

menu final

On Saturday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the Bloom Music Center, St. Philip’s Friends of Music is proud to introduce to Tucson a fresh idea of enjoying a concert! St. Philip’s Musical Menu Concert includes violinist Ben Nisbet and seven highly accomplished chamber musicians. Your ticket will have a number. If your number is drawn, you may choose what you’d like to hear from a musical menu that lists pieces by composers ranging from Mozart and Mendelssohn to Franck, Bernstein, and several outstanding contemporary composers. A semi-round setting at St. Philip’s Bloom Music Center will create a relaxed and intimate atmosphere of musicmaking.

Admission is $25 per person. To purchase tickets click here.

The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events. For more information click here  or call 520.222.7277

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot. The Bloom Music Center is to your right as you come down the breezeway from the north parking lot. The Friends of Music phone number is (520) 222-7277.



Violist Candice Amato enjoys a versatile career as a chamber musician, recitalist, and orchestral player. A newly appointed member of the Tucson Symphony, she will also join the St. Andrew’s Bach Society and True Concord Voices and Orchestra for the 2015-2016 season. She recently spent two summer seasons performing in the opera orchestra of the Castleton Festival under the direction of the late Maestro Lorin Maazel. A passionate supporter of music by composers of the current generation, she has performed with composers and conductors Robert Morris, Steve Reich, Chen Yi, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, among others. She recorded an album of music by Michael Tenzer with the highly acclaimed Ossia New Music Ensemble, released by New World Records. In addition to performing in concert halls, Candice is dedicated to bringing music to the public in nontraditional venues, including hospitals, schools, women’s shelters, and health care centers for the homeless. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Tucson chapter of “If Music Be the Food,” a concert series created by Carol Rodland in Rochester, N.Y. to benefit the hungry in communities around the country. Candice received a BM from the Eastman School of Music and a MM from the Peabody Conservatory. She plays on a viola made in 1878 by Georges Chanot I.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Erika Burkhart enjoys an active career singing and teaching in Tucson. As a concert artist, she has appeared with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in Bach’s Magnificat and Vivaldi’s Gloria, and with the True Concord Voices and Orchestra (previously Tucson Chamber Artists) in repertoire ranging from Bach’s Mass in B minor to the world premiere of Paulus’ Prayers and Remembrances. Erika’s opera credits have included Carolina in Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segretto, Sarah Good in Ward’s The Crucible, Rose Maurrant in Street Scene, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She has spent two seasons as a Tucson Teaching Artist with Arizona Opera, performing educational shows in schools across Southern Arizona, and is a music director at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Erika is a dynamic performer, enjoying everything from Baroque oratorio and Romantic opera to contemporary art song and improvisation. Erika completed her Bachelor’s at the University of Arizona, where she was involved with the university’s Opera Theater and Arizona Choir, as well as other ensembles. She has won the Southern Arizona Opera Guild’s “Quest for the Best” competition, the Amelia Rieman Opera Competition, and the Arizona District Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition.

Freelance percussionist Paul Gibson performs with many of Tucson’s most prestigious musical organizations including the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Chamber Artists (now True Concord Voices and Orchestra), and Artifact Dance Project. He can be heard regularly at Lonely Street Productions showcase concerts throughout Arizona and with Michael P. & the Gullywashers. Additionally, Paul is Lead Drummer of Tucson & District Pipe Band and is a member of the Los Angeles Scottish Pipe Band, one of only two Grade One bagpipe bands in the United States. He has performed in Carnegie Hall in New York City with the Tucson Philharmonia Orchestra and traveled on two international tours of China with Artifact Dance Project. Paul received a master’s degree in percussion performance from Rowan University and holds a bachelor’s degree in music from The University of North Texas.

A native of Oakland, California, cellist Ian Jones attended UCLA and Indiana University, continuing at IU for studies with Eric Kim and Janos Starker. For the 2006-07 concert season, Ian joined the cello section of Honolulu Symphony. In 2008 his string quartet was awarded the school-funded Kuttner Quartet fellowship at IU. He has benefited from close collaboration and coaching with Indiana faculty members including Atar Arad, Alexander Kerr, Paul Biss and Yael Weiss, and has collaborated onstage with Joshua Bell and members of the Orion Quartet among others. Ian joined the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in 2011, where he was recently appointed Assistant Principal cello. He earned his master’s degree in performance in 2013, studying with Mark Votapek. For the past three years he has appeared in the Breckenridge Music Festival’s Winter Concert Series, and for the summer of 2014 joined the BMF for their regular summer concert season. An avid tennis player, Ian competes in local USTA leagues in Tucson and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alexander Lipay has been principal flute of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra since 2006, holding the same position with True Concord Voices and Orchestra and St. Andrew’s Bach Society Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as guest principal flute with the San Diego Symphony and the Seattle Symphony. He also served as principal flute of the Tucson Chamber Artists and the Sunriver Music Festival. Lipay has performed as a soloist with the Tucson Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Hermitage Orchestra, Tucson Chamber Artists and Arizona Chamber Orchestra. He has also appeared as a soloist at many music festivals including the prestigious International Festival “Musical Olympus” in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the International Music Festival in Moulin d’Ande, France. He was the 1st prize winner of several competitions held in the U.S., including the MTNA Young Artist National Woodwind Competition in 2004. Mr. Lipay holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, where he graduated with two majors: flute and piano.

Bulgarian pianist Elena Miraztchiyska completed her Master of Music Degree at the Yale School of Music and is currently a freelance pianist and piano teacher in Tucson. Miraztchiyska made her solo debut with the Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra in her home country at the age of 12 and since then she has performed as a concerto soloist with the Varna Philharmonic Orchestra, Arizona Symphony Orchestra, and the UNLV Symphony and Chamber orchestras. She has appeared in solo recitals in Bulgaria, Poland, Japan, Canada and the United States. Miraztchiyska is also a winner of numerous national and international competitions including the Grand Prize (a Steinway Model M grand piano) of the MTNA National Young Artist Competition in Toronto, Canada. Recent collaborative appearances have included recitals with the principal bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Markey, and the principal bassoonist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Robert Williams.

Benjamin Nisbet maintains a diverse performance schedule as a violinist. He holds a B.M. from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Marilyn McDonald, and a Masters of Music from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Mark Rush. He has been a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra since 2006. He is a co-founder and music director of Artifact Dance Project, a professional dance company with multiple international tours to its credit. Ben serves as Concertmaster of True Concord Voices and Orchestra, and in that role, he appeared on that group’s debut recording for Reference Records as well as at their recent debut at Lincoln Center. In addition to True Concord, Mr. Nisbet has several recording credits to his name; including recently released albums by Ryanhood, Sweet Ghosts, Hello Dollface, Katie Haverly, Naim Amor, and many more. Ben also serves as the director of the St. Andrew’s Bach Society, one of Tucson’s most successful and longstanding summer concert series. Ben remains active in music education in the Tucson Community by teaching privately as well as in public schools, such as Tucson High School. He coaches the local youth orchestra, Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra, and for nine years has served as a faculty member for Tucson Junior Strings’ Chamber Music in the Mountains. Since 2009, Mr. Nisbet has played on a violin crafted in 1920 by Ole Bryant.

A Tucson native, Joseph Rousos-Hammond began playing the violin in his elementary school orchestra program and participated in Tucson Junior Strings and the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra. He attended Indiana University where he received a Bachelor of Music with Distinction, and went on to complete a Master of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts. Rousos-Hammond is currently Principal Second Violin of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and a member of the TSO String Quartet. He has participated in festivals including the National Repertory Orchestra, Pacific Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, and the Indiana University Summer Music Festival. He also performs with True Concord Voices and Orchestra, St. Andrew’s Bach Society, and in various other chamber concerts and solo recitals.

Summer Sizzlers: The LoBros

lobros croppedSt. Philip’s Friends of Music closes its Summer Sizzler concert series presenting The LoBros on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Church. The LoBros band is built around two musically talented brothers, Salvador and Christian Lopez, affectionately known as The LoBros. As artists, the brothers compose pieces that defy the usual musical categories, combining music from a variety of styles and genres including classical, Latin, jazz and traditions from around the world to create a uniquely original musical experience. A trombone-led band, this music is sure to get your blood pumping! The lineup consists of Salvador Lopez, trombone; Christian Lopez, bass trombone; Brian Hicks, tenor sax; Joaquin Zamudio, bass; Richard Katz, keys; and Adam Ackermann, drums.

The suggested concert admission is $20 per person. The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events.

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under the solar parking structure on the east side. For more information click here or call (520) 222-7277.



Recently called the “kings of edutainment,” The LoBros combine high-energy entertainment with effective education as they elucidate key elements of their music. With several music diplomas in the group, including two masters degrees and one doctorate, The LoBros are well versed in all things music and bring their passion to the stage. Featuring melodies and harmonies inspired by some of classical music’s greatest masters, including Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Chopin, and Brahms, the incomparable synergy of this horn-led band makes for an unforgettable afternoon.

Friends of Music Summer Concert: Weiss/Soflin Saxophone/Percussion Duo

Weiss Soflin Duo bwOn Sunday, August 16, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Church, St. Philip’s Friends of Music presents the Weiss/Soflin Duo: Michael Weiss, saxophonist and Elizabeth Soflin, percussionist.

Formed in 2012, the Weiss/Soflin Duo is dedicated to exploring the wide variety of music available for percussion and saxophone, ranging from soft lyricism to unrelenting ferocity. This concert will feature music for four types of saxophone — soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone — and a plethora of percussion instruments. The program will include works spanning many musical styles: North Indian raga, contemporary classical music, jazz and pop-influenced works. Also included on the program is a world premiere of a new piece for saxophone and percussion duo by up-and-coming composer and University of Arizona alum Frederick Evans.

The suggested concert admission is $20 per person. The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events.

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our solar parking structure on the east side. For more information click here or call (520) 222-7277.

Weiss Soflin Duo


Elizabeth Soflin’s past performances have included appearances as a soloist and ensemble member at venues around the United States, Canada, China, and Europe. An avid performer of contemporary solo and chamber works for percussion, her recent collaborations with composers have included an adaptation of Christopher Adlerâs’ I Want to Believe, the premiere of Matthew Burtner’s Six EcoAcoustic Extensions, and private study with Stuart Saunders Smith. Before beginning DMA studies at the UA, Elizabeth earned a master’s degree in percussion from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She also holds a Bachelor degree in Percussion Performance from Central Michigan University. In 2015 she appeared in solo recital at the Tucson Museum of Art as part of the museum’s START program for young professionals in the arts, and as a solo guest artist at Northern Arizona University. She is currently the assistant band director/percussion specialist at Pusch Ridge Christian Academy in Oro Valley and works as a freelance musician in the Tucson area.

Michael Weiss is a saxophonist originally from Chicago, now working out of Tucson. He is versed on the alto, tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones — as well as flute and clarinet — in the jazz, classical, salsa and rock idioms. Classical saxophone has always been the backbone of Michael’s studies. While becoming familiar with the standard solo repertoire, he has also had the opportunity to premiere ensemble pieces like David Maslanka’s 9th Symphony and to perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. Michael holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Kelland Thomas

Friends of Music Summer Sizzlers: Titan Valley Warheads

TWV LAS LOMAS for TiffOn Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Church, St. Philip’s Friends of Music presents Titan Valley Warheads.

Known for their tight harmonies and instrumental skills, the Titan Valley Warheads have been voted Best Bluegrass Band by the Tucson Area Music Awards, won the prestigious “Best Band” title at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and performed for appreciative crowds at Tucson Bluegrass Festival, Prescott Bluegrass Festival, Tucson Folk Festival and Flagstaff ‘s Pickin’ in the Pines Festival. The band currently consists of Gary Kuitert (mandolin), Earl Edmonson (guitar), Ed Davenport (bass), Andy McCune (banjo) and Tom Rhodes (fiddle).

The suggested concert admission is $20 per person. The mission of Friends of Music is to enrich the musical experience of the parish and community through events such as concerts, outreach, education, scholarships, commissions, and support of special musical events.

St. Philip’s is located at 4440 N. Campbell Avenue at River Road. Ample parking is available in the north parking lot or under our solar parking structure on the east side. For more information see the Friends of Music web site or call (520) 222-7277.


The Titan Valley Warheads have been on the Tucson music scene since the group formed in 1981. The focus of the group began as a bluegrass band with Ed Davenport, Gary Kuitert and Ricky Lee Phelps as the primary singers with Martin Sinclair and Don Johnson adding fiddle and banjo to the mix. Ricky left to join the Kentucky Headhunters in Nashville and the Warheads began playing out in Tucson at Al Smith’s Pub. Through the years there have been some personnel changes but four of the current members have been performing together for over 20 years.

The Warheads have always tried to use the experience of their musicians to form the basis for their music particularly if it takes them beyond bluegrass. It is the fusion of those different kinds of music that keeps the band fresh and interesting. The current band members come from bluegrass, blues, rock, do wop, country, folk, and swing. All these influences are melded together into a show that gives the listener a wide variety of musical interpretations arranged for the instrumentation of these experienced musicians. Each show is built for the listening audience so each is different than the last show. A Duke Ellington tune “a la bluegrass” may be followed by one by Flatt and Scruggs then an a Capella song by the Fleetwoods followed by a bluegrass version of the Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses” and a version of Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds done in the style of the Sons of the Pioneers.

The program will be announced from the stage. Stop by for an afternoon of fun supporting live music in the Tucson summer with the Titan Valley Warheads.