Music Director, Flatirons Community Orchestra
Dr. J. Arturo Gonzalez was born in Mexico City, Mexico. His initial musical training was as a participant in El Sistema Mexico; he was part of the orchestras and a fellow in the Conducting program. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Piano performance and Orchestral Conducting from the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in Mexico City, he moved to the United States to pursue a Masters in Sacred Music/Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He received his Doctoral degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. During his time at the University of Colorado he was assistant conductor of the CU opera and became one of eight semi-finalists in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conducting competition, the only CU student to ever achieve this recognition. He has been the music director of El Paso Association for the Performing Arts, Ballet/Theater of the Border, East Central Summer Productions, Midwest Lyric Opera, Colorado Light Opera, Boulder Opera and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and has conducted choirs, orchestras, opera, and musicals in Mexico, Central America, the US, and Spain. He continues to be in demand as a guest conductor and conducting clinician with orchestras in North and Central America.
Artistic Director, Arvada Chorale
Marla is a graduate of the Choral Conducting Master’s Program at the University of Northern Colorado and has been involved in many forms of music from an early age. While a student of Dr. Galen Darrough at UNC, Marla was able to integrate the early music education she experienced within her very musical family with her passionate approach to teaching and choral conducting. As Artistic Director of the Arvada Chorale, Marla brings more than 20 years of leadership and conducting experience to the podium and encourages musicians and non-musicians alike to explore the deeper meaning of the art they present to their audience. She believes that choral music speaks to the conscious and subconscious human experience in a more profound way than almost any other art form. She also believes the choral arts offer a direct path to community energy, and that the choral arts are accessible to nearly every person no matter their level of expertise.
In 2005, Marla formed a women’s chamber ensemble dedicated to the synergy of music, passion and excellence. Since Safonia’s inception, they have performed throughout the Denver Metro area.
Chorale Accompanist and Organist
Chappell Kingsland has been the Arvada Chorale’s Accompanist and Composer since 2013. He studied Composition and Organ Performance at the Eastman School of Music (BM) and Composition at the Jacobs School of Music (MM, DM). His compositions have won awards from several national organizations. He teaches Aural Skills, Music Theory and Piano Class at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. He also maintains a private teaching studio for piano and composition students. Chappell is the founder of Wild Beautiful Music, producing concerts and recordings in many genres. The label has released two albums: Rock Piano Solos and Christmas Hygge. Strings of Brigid (with his wife Jennifer, the singing harpist) has released ten Celtic and Christmas songs on streaming platforms and music videos on YouTube. The Wild Beautiful Orchestra has given concerts ranging from Led Zeppelin covers to Halloween festivals, with several unique performances coming up from January-June 2022, including collaborations with young musicians and a dance company. Chappell will play a Piano Christmas program on Dec. 22 in Denver. Visit wildbeautifulmusic.com to follow these exciting musical happenings!
Classical Soprano Christiana Danaé holds both a Performance Certificate and a Master of Music degree from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, also recieving the prestigious Newman Fellowship. Christiana completed her undergraduate degree in Voice Performance and Biblical Studies at Gordon College in New England.
Christiana’s roles include Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Adele in Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Suor Genevieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and Yum-Yum in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. She has been a featured soloist with the York (PA) Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Golan, the Boulder Symphony Orchestra, Denver Philharmonic Orchestra, Boulder Concert Band, Thornton Concert Band, The Spirituals Project, and The Bennie Williams Spiritual Voices and Opera Theatre of the Rockies.
Christiana has been a 3-time finalist in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition and received the Pikes Peak Opera League Career Advancement Award in 2019. With her drive for social justice, Christiana performed a recital celebrating the Juneteenth holiday titled “Juneteenth: Sounds of Freedom,” influenced by the Black experience. She maintains a private voice studio and teaches at Community College of Aurora. In November 2021, Christiana and her husband welcomed their first child and are happily adjusting to their new lives as parents.
Mezzo Soprano Soloist
Sarah Barber has performed with many notable companies, including Central City Opera, West Bay Opera, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Tucson Symphony, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Colorado Music Festival, and the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. Favorite operatic appearances include the title role in Carmen, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, La Principessa in Suor Angelica, Augusta Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, and the Old Prioress in Dialogues of the Carmelites. Her extensive concert work includes Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony, Duruflé's Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Respighi’s Il Tramonto. A champion of new music, Sarah has premiered several song cycles and new operas. Sarah holds a MM degree from the University of Colorado Boulder, a BME from the University of Northern Iowa, and has won numerous awards and vocal competitions. Also an awarded music educator, Ms. Barber performs and tours regularly as a Teaching Artist with Central City Opera and has served on the voice faculties of CU Boulder, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado State University, Denver School of the Arts, and Front Range Community College. Full calendar available at www.sarahbarber.com.
Pablo Romero is originally from Ecuador, where he studied music at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory. He continued his studies in art and music at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Coming to Colorado to continue his vocal training, Mr. Romero graduated from Colorado State University with a Masters in Vocal Performance in 2015.
A featured guest soloist at Arias At Avo’s, presented by the Opera Fort Collins Guild, he has also sung with the Loveland Friends of Chamber Music and has performed roles with Opera Fort Collins, The Opera Theatre of the Rockies and Loveland Opera. His past roles include Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Nemorino in L’Elisir D’Amore. He made his debut with the Opera Theatre of the Rockies in 2010 as the Priest and Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte, and has performed the roles of Count Danilo (Merry Widow), Prunier (La Rondine), Hindley (Wuthering Heights) and the title role in Faust in selected scenes for the Opera Theater of the Rockies’ summer festival. Mr. Romero’s recent roles include the title role in Idomeneo, Don José in Carmen and Manrico in Il Trovatore. He is based in Colorado, where he is active in recital and concert performances with Opera on Tap and Art Song Colorado and is a Central City Opera Touring Artist.
Timothy Kennedy is a Stage Director, Choral Conductor, Music Director, Performer, Playwright and Teaching Artist. Kennedy’s varied international performance career includes musical theater, operatic, and concert performances. He has performed with Pensacola Opera, Loveland Opera, New Opera Festival di Roma, Mobile Opera, Natchez Opera, Mac-Haydn Theatre, The Depot Theatre, Southern Colorado Repertory Theater, Spotlight Theater, Equinox Theater, Vintage Theater, and Candlelight Dinner Playhouse. In concert, Kennedy has performed with the Colorado Symphony, Shreveport Summer Music Festival, and High Point University and has sung the Brahms’ Requiem with the Arvada Chorale as well as the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah for First Baptist Church in New York City. He also performed as the baritone soloist in Haydn’s Paukenmesse in Austria on the Graz Music Festival and the Linz Choral Festival and sang Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Copland’s Old American Songs with the Amarillo Symphony. He has performed in recitals with the Shreveport Summer Music Festival and at High Point University. Kennedy also serves at the Director of Worship and Music Arts at Arvada United Methodist Church and as the Artistic Director of Loveland Opera Theatre.