Current Cast, Consort & Crew Bios
In addition to his directoral expertise, Kelly Morris was head of publications at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, from 1976 to 2011. He has edited and overseen the publication of all printed materials of the Museum in that time, including the publishing of more than 125 catalogues and books, including works co-published with Abrams, Hudson Hills, Rizzoli, Yale University Press, University of Washington Press, and University Press of Mississippi.
Link to Interview with Kelly Morris about this production.
Music Director Kevin Culver is the Choir Master of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. In 1976 Kevin co-founded the Atlanta Singers, an internationally acclaimed group which he led for fifteen years. He is known for his collaboration with various theatrical groups in Atlanta. In May of 2003, Culver co-created the Archdiocesan Festival Choir of Atlanta which is comprised of auditioned singers from more than thirty parishes throughout the Archdiocese. Culver and Morris have teamed up to bring ancient music to rapt audiences for several decades.
Morris-Culver Sacred Music-Drama Collaborations in addition
2008: Via Crucis with Cathedral of Christ the King Choir (music by Franz Liszt)
2006—2007: Visions of the Cross with Cathedral of Christ the King Choir
2003: Miserere, with Cathedral of Christ the King Choir (featuring Barber's Agnus Dei)
2002: Miserere, with Cathedral of Christ the King Choir (featuring Allegri's Miserere)
2001: Mother of Sorrows, with music by John Tavener and Arvo Pärt
1999—2000: Ordo Virtutum by Hildegard von Bingen
1996—97, and 2010: Pilgrim Trail (14th-century Spanish music and puppet drama), with Cathedral of Christ the King Choir
1995: Te Deum by Arvo Pärt, with Cathedral of Christ the King Choir
1991—92: Requiem Mysticam, with the Atlanta Singers (meditation on St. Teresa of Avila, with Victoria's Requiem)
1990: Stabat Mater by Arvo Pärt, with the Atlanta Singers
1984—86: Ordo Virtutum by Hildegard von Bingen (12th-century musical morality play)
Counter-tenor Adrin Akins holds a Bachelor's Degree from Columbus
State University, and played French Horn with the Lagrange Symphony Orchestra
for several seasons. He has sung with many church choirs, including guest solo performances
with the Chorus Peregrines based in Dalton, Georgia, and the Decatur First
United Methodist Church. He is a member of the St. Bartholomew's Choir, where
he also plays Celtic harp. Adrin is working toward a Master's Degree in Music
Education with a concentration in Music Therapy from UGA. This is Adrin's fourth
year in The Play of Herod.
Nancy J. Bryant, mezzo-soprano, is a staff singer at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, and a member of the Atlanta Schola Cantorum. She has held staff positions at The Temple, Grace Methodist, and St. Luke's Episcopal, and has sung at other churches and synagogues in the Atlanta area. A graduate of Wellesley College, she pursued advanced vocal studies at Boston University, Mannes College of Music, and Queens College. She participated in the Harrower Summer Opera Workshop at Georgia State University, the Aspen Music School opera program, and the Phyllis Curtin Seminar for Singers at Tanglewood. Nancy studied with Irene Harrower. She is married to composer Curtis Bryant. By day, Nancy is a web manager at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is her second year in The Play of Herod.
Anne Carroll recently graduated with a BS is Chemistry from Emory University, and is currently working there in the lab of her favorite chemistry professor. She has been a member of the Herod cast for seven years, and has loved it for much longer. She is currently singing with the St. Bartholomew's Church Choir, under Brad Hughley. She also does a lot of social dancing. This is her first year in the ranks of the Angels/Innocents.
Lisa is a choreographer at Sugarloaf Performing Arts, St. Thomas More School, and St. Thomas More
theater ministry. She currently cantors and sings with the St. Thomas More choir under Mozelle Cole. She
holds a B.A. in humanities with an emphasis in music from Hendrix College. In addition to the solace found in singing sacred music, Lisa also enjoys performing in musical theater. This is her second year performing in The Play of Herod.
Tenor Eric Dickerson finds his greatest joy in singing, and
has sung with choral groups large and small. Currently, his primary music outlets
are the Cathedral Choir at St. Philip and OurSong - where he also serves on
the Board of Directors. He holds a degree in Organ Performance from Piedmont
College, where he studied with Dr. James Melichamp, but has come back to his
first love of vocal performance. Eric rejoins the cast this year as one of
King Herod's Scribes/Henchmen.
Baritone Barton Gilleland joined the Herod cast last year in the title role. A versatile dramatic actor and singer, he is often seen on the operatic and oratorio stages, most recently as a regular with the Gwinnett Symphony, and as a soloist in collaborations with William Fred Scott. Mr. Gilleland is also a staff singer at Northwest Presbyterian Church. Other notable appearances in past seasons have included The Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Stanley Kowalski (A Streetcar Named Desire), Guglielmo (Cosí fan Tutte), John Proctor (The Crucible), title roles in Rigoletto and Don Giovanni, Horace Tabor (The Ballad of Baby Doe), and Marcello (La Boheme). Recent oratorio appearances have included Carmina Burana, Brahms’ Deutsches Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and the Mozart Requiem. Mr. Gilleland’s engagements have sent him to Europe, South America, Mexico, Canada, and throughout the whole of the United States.
Mr. Gilleland completed his undergraduate training in both Voice and Conducting at Baylor University, and his Master’s tuition is from The Ohio State University in Vocal Pedagogy. When not on stage, he works as an operations and business development manager.
Eliza Guinn is currently a sophomore at DeKalb School of the Arts, where she studies acting and plays in the orchestra.
She studies voice with Wanda Yang Temko and has been playing the harp for 5 years. Her most current performances include
Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson and William Berney (musician), and Requiem by Gabriel Faure. This is her first year in The Play of Herod.
Ian Kincaid joined the Herod cast in 1996, and has enjoyed playing the part of dutiful scribe and sword-wielding henchman ever since. Ian sings with the Christ the King Cathedral Choir and has also sung with the Schola Cantorum. When not slaughtering innocents at the dictate of a paranoid autocracy, he makes a living doing interactive design, animation & medical illustration.
A recent graduate of Centre College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Elizabeth McConnaughey studied voice with AdrianaLia Moutz during her undergraduate years. Elizabeth has trained extensively through the Royal School of Church Music courses. She was a featured soloist in Handel's L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, ed Il Moderato performed at the 2009 American Handel Festival. In 2010 she sang the role of Belinda in production of Dido and Aeneas, and she was selected as a winner of Centre's Concerto Competition. In Summer of 2011, Elizabeth studied voice with Patricia Wise in Salzburg through the University of Miami's Frost School of Music "Summer in Salzburg" program. She currently studies with Dr. Wanda Yang Temko and holds a staff singer position at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Atlanta. This is her first year in the Play of Herod.
Sue Reynolds has sung in various choral groups including the
Bristol (UK) Bach Choir, Renaissance & 20th century polyphony & Latin chant
in Toronto, Canada, the Atlanta Schola Cantorum and Atlanta Choral Artists,
and she has been a staff singer at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church
since 2004. Sue has participated in The Play of Herod since about 1993
as an Angel/Innocent. This is her second year in the Shepherd role.
James Robinson, baritone, received his B.M. degree with double majors in Voice Performance and Music History and Literature from Georgia State University in Atlanta where he studied voice with the late Pete Harrower. He received his M.M. degree from Florida State University also with majors in Voice Performance and Music History and Literature where he studied with Betty Jane Grimm. Currently, Jim is a student of Irene Callaway Harrower.
Robinson has devoted recitals to the music of J. S. Bach, George Frederick Handel, Peter Cornelius and other baroque, classical and romantic period composers. In 1980, he inaugurated Georgia Public Television's Opus series with a performance of Franz Schubert's Winterreise. Jim recently appeared in recital at Saint Peter's Church in New York City where he premiered The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a song cycle by Atlanta Composer Curtis Bryant. Read more here (pdf). Jim has portrayed Herod's Arminger in the Atlanta Camerata production since 1975.
Jennie performed in The Play of Herod from 1983-1995 and again from
2000-present, and she sang with the Atlanta Schola Cantorum from 1983-1996. Husband Bill Levisay serves as the house manager for Herod performances.
Peyton Sammons is a high school sophomore and is very active in the Bellissima and Bel Canto select choruses at her school and with GMEA and Atlanta Public Schools Honor Choruses. She is also a member of Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde under the direction of Paige Mathis. She has appeared in numerous musical and theatrical roles, including a performance as Ariel in an Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern production of "The Tempest." She has sung works by Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Pachelbel, and Mendelssohn under Dr. William Baker, and appeared as a guest performer in programs at area churches. She is a student of Dr. Phillip Rogers, and has sung under Christian Schoen and Dr. Wanda Yang Temko. This is Peyton's third year in The Play of Herod.
Bass/Baritone Philip Sasse was one of the Magi in Herod from 1993-1999, and again
since the show's reincarnation in 2004. Philip has been a member of the professional
music staff at Atlanta's Cathedral of Christ the King as a staff singer/soloist/cantor
since 1986, and over the years has performed with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta
Symphony, The Atlanta Singers, The Colson Chorale, and other area choral groups.
A Research Engineer by day, his other claims to fame include eighteen US patents
and a successful three-day stint on the game show Jeopardy!
Chrissy Spencer, soprano, can regularly be heard with the St. Bartholomew's Compline Schola. She is a founding member of the Atlanta-based Uncommon Practice and sings with Atlanta's Schola Cantorum. She plays viola da gamba and organizes workshops at the regional and national level to promote performance on viols and other early instruments. After completing her doctorate in Genetics at the University of Georgia, she left the area and has recently returned to Georgia as a faculty member in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech. This is her first appearance in the Play of Herod.
Natalie Spruell is a high school sophomore at DeKalb School of the Arts and sings with the DSA show choir, Highleit, as well as the Concert Chorus under Jeffrey Funderburk. She studies vocal performance with Dr. Wanda Yang Temko and has been a three-time participant in GMEA All State Chorus and two-time participant in the Spivey Hall High School Honor Choir. Since 2006 she has been a member of Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde, under the direction of Paige Mathis, and has toured nationally and internationally with the group. Most recently, Natalie attended Europa Cantat Junior 6 in Estonia and worked under the direction of Estonian conductor, Tõnu Kaljuste. This is her first appearance in The Play of Herod.
A New Jersey transplant, Kevin has been interested in music
of all types for as long as he can remember. He has spent many years playing
in alternative rock and jazz bands and has kept his hand in musical projects
with friends in Atlanta as well as back north. Kevin has been a member of the
bass section in the St Thomas More choir for the last 14 years. By day, Kevin
manages the facilities at the High Museum of Art. This is Kevin's
third year performing in Herod.
Greg Sterchi has sung with the Atlanta Opera Chorus for 19 seasons, with the Michael O'Neal Chamber Singers, and the Atlanta Choral Guild. Greg has been a staff singer at Covenant Presbyterian Church for 20 years. Greg is a Licensed Professional Counselor and works as a Clinical Team Leader for one of Grady Memorial Hospital's Out-patient Mental Health Programs. This is Greg's first year in the Play of Herod.
Soprano Soprano Wanda Yang Temko holds a doctorate in performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana along with degrees from Georgia State University and Emory University. Acclaimed for performances on operatic and concert stages, she has performed as a guest soloist with area ensembles such as Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, New Trinity Baroque, and the Michael O'Neal Singers while maintaining a career as a professional chorister singing with the Cathedral of St. Philip and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus. A multi-faceted performer, she spent seven years as classical music host on WABE, 90.1 FM. Dr. Yang Temko is also an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and College Music Society, and serves as board President of Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde, Vice-President of Atlanta Early Music Alliance, and board member of Festival Singers of Atlanta.
Wimberly Grace Thomas, Soprano, earned her B.A. in Music: Vocal Emphasis at the University of Southern Mississippi, M.A. in Musicology and Historical Performance at the University of Wales, Bangor, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of Georgia. She sings with the Atlanta Schola Cantorum and the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd choir, Covington. During her years in Mississippi and Wales, Thomas sang with Mississippi Opera, Southern Opera and Musical Theater Company, Bangor Baroque Opera, The Mississippi Chorus, Swansea Philharmonic Choir, Hattiesburg Choral Union, Southern Chorale, and the Royal School of Church Music. In addition to singing, Thomas has also found her creative voice in handbells. As a member of the internationally acclaimed handbell choir, Carillon, she performed in the United Kingdom and Czech Republic, in addition to tours throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. She has recently joined the Atlanta Concert Ringers and is active with Handbell Musicians of America. This is her first year in the Play of Herod.
John Yntema performed in The Play of Herod from 1985-1999 and rejoined the cast in 2009. He has sung with the several church choirs (currently with the Epiphany Episcopal church), with the Atlanta Schola Cantorum for several years in the 1980's, with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus (1992-1993) and with Just Voices (2003-2008).
Pat DeWitt holds a BA in music concentrating in organ from the University of Florida, and master's and Ph.D. degrees in musicology from the University of Michigan. Fascinated by early music since grad school, where she learned recorders and viola da gamba, she has organized and directed several early music groups in Rome, Georgia. Presently she is organist/choirmaster at the Church of the Transfiguration in Rome. Her co-authored article (with John Haines) on a late 13th century writer on music, Johannes de Grocheio, has been accepted by Early Music History, a prominent refereed journal. Pat is Assistant Vice President for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at Shorter University. This is Pat's seventh year performing in the Herod Consort.
Historical harpist Paula Fagerberg appears regularly as a soloist, lecturer, chamber musician, and a continuo player at university concert halls and early music festivals in the United States and beyond. As a grad student at Indiana University's Early Music Institute, Paula studied the art of continuo with lutenist Nigel North and historical harps with Andrew Lawrence-King; she also holds a B.Mus. in historical harp performance from Clayton College and State University, where she was named a Spivey Scholar and awarded the honor of The University System of Georgia Outstanding Scholar for her graduating class. Paula has concertized in Europe and the Americas, and has appeared in Atlanta with New Trinity Baroque and the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra as well as Atlanta Schola Cantorum. This will be Paula's fourth year performing with the Herod Consort.
Susan Whaley has played cello in Symphonies throughout the Southeast, including the Columbus and Chattanooga Symphonies. On her viola da gamba, Susan has performed with Ritornello Baroque Ensemble since its debut in 2000 as well as various other ensembles. She teaches music at the Atlanta Speech School and holds degrees in music education from Georgia State University and the University of Georgia. Susan studied cello with Eugene Eicher and later privately with Martha Gerschefski and performed in masterclasses for Dimitry Markevitch, Margaret Rowell, and Janos Starker. Her viola da gamba teachers include Martha Bishop, Wendy Gillespie, and Alison Crum and Gail Ann Schoeder. She is the current president of the Atlanta Early Music Alliance and is one of the leadership team of the Appalachian South region of the Viola da Gamba Society of America.
What would an evening at The Play of Herod be without cider, cookies, and
carols after the show, sung by the audience and cast together? We have Rob
and Kate Anderson & family to thank for having the cider heated to the
perfect temperature - it takes the length of the show to make it so - and the
cookies arrayed to please the palate.
Fu'ad Ashkar, a former member of the Magi trio, has crafted costumes for The Play of Herod for many years, building on the excellent work by theatrical costumer Judy Winograd. Former Angel/Innocent Karen Morris serves as the costume wrangler during the production. And where would the cast get light at crucial moments if not for the timely assistance of Ayako Ichidawa, who joined the production team in 2004.
Paul Clifton is a second generation member of the Herod crew who has run the right follow spot since 2007. In his spare time, he is a PhD student at Georgia Tech in Digital Media and another one of those crazy cyclists.
The gentle authority at the door who makes sure the cast members' entrances are not interrupted by late-arriving audience members is Bill Levisay. He also makes sure that any audience members' special needs are accommodated.
Bill Scott controls the stage lights. Bill has been associated with The Play of Herod since its second year in the old Seed & Feed Theatre downtown. Over the years he has performed a variety of services from projecting the translation slides to running spotlights to driving the truck. Bill also has a long history as a trumpet player with the band Kelly started, the Marching Abominable. During the day Bill is an information specialist.
Spotlight specialist Henry Slack began assisting set-up for The Play of Herod in the 1970's, ran lights in the '80's and '90's, and rejoined the lighting crew for Herod in 2008. Henry also ran a followspot for the recent Atlanta Camerata production of The Pilgrim Trail. Like Bill Scott, Henry has been part of the Marching Abominable since it started. Henry's day job is as an indoor air expert for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ellen Wilson has run the translation slides for the past several years. Ellen is in her 6th year as an alto member of both Cathedral Choir and the Schola at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip. She has also sung with Atlanta Schola Cantorum since 2003. By day, Ellen works for Verizon Business.
Cary Cleaver was one of two perpetual Herod cast members,
the other being Butch Spivey as King Herod; both retired in 2009. Though she
started out in the ranks of the Angels, she is best known as a Shepherd. She
photographed and/or performed in almost all of the plays produced by Kelly's Seed & Feed Theater, and has sung with the Atlanta Schola
Cantorum and the Con Spirito Vocal Ensemble. From 1980 to 1996, Cary was the director of Georgia's
artists-in-education program, and recently retired from consulting in the field
of community arts development and artists in education. She exhibits her hand-colored
photography with pARTicular