Members | Vox Nova

Current roster of Vox Nova


Christine jarquio nichols

Christine Jarquio Nichols is an active music educator, singer, conductor, and pianist in Columbia. She is in her fifth year of teaching middle school vocal music, with which she is completely in love. Christine co-directs the Columbia Public Schools 5th Grade Honors Choir, directs and accompanies various ensembles with the Columbia Youth Choirs, and maintains a private voice studio. She is a frequent vocal concert soloist in the mid-Missouri area. Her most memorable operatic role was singing the sassy Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Last year, she performed the role of Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel and Gretel with her own middle school students singing in the children’s chorus! Christine enjoys singing in professional choral ensembles Prometheus and Vox Nova. She holds a dual M.M. in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting, and a B.S. in Vocal Music Education, both from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Robert battle

Robert Battle, originally from St. Louis, is glad to be returning for his third season with Vox Nova. He received his undergrad in Choral Music Education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he sang in a number of choral ensembles including the Heritage Chorale. Battle is the Artistic Director of the Columbia Public Schools 5th Grade Honors Choir and member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Barbershop Harmony Society. He is also certified to teach in New York State and is a fitness trainer for Les Mills BodyJam dance classes. An active voice teacher and advocate for equal arts opportunities in urban areas, Battle spends most of his off time dancing, gardening, running, cooking, or catching up on short stories mostly written by David Sedaris. Battle is working on his graduate studies in Public Administration with an emphasis in Non-Profit Arts Management.

Emily mcdaniel

Emily Bennett has performed the roles of Morgana (Alcina), Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Miss Pinkerton (The Old Maid and the Thief), Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), and chorus roles with Michigan Opera Theatre and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. As a concert soloist, she has performed with the Missouri Civic Orchestra and Choral Union, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, the Rackham Symphony Choir, and the Tallahassee Community Chorus, performing: Bach’s B Minor Mass, St. John’s Passion, and Magnificat, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasia, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem and Missa brevis in F, Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. Ms. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Missouri and a Master of Music from Florida State University studying vocal performance with Ann Harrell and Stanford Olsen respectively, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas, under Joyce Castle.

Betsy bledsoe

Betsy Jane Bledsoe, Kansas City native, graduated from the University of Missouri (BM) and Michigan State University (MM). Studying vocal performance, she performed several operatic roles, including Serpetta in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and was a winner of the 2012 Missouri NATS competition. Betsy can be seen performing and directing music theater in the Kansas City area. Her favorite roles include Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady, Luisa from The Fantasticks, and Kate Monster from Avenue Q. An accomplished saxophonist, Betsy is a founding member of the Missing Pearl Saxophone Quartet and has performed in the band for shows at Musical Theater Heritage in Crown Center. In between music gigs Betsy directs and arranges music for the Asbury United Methodist Handbell Choir and works as a pharmacy technician at Children's Mercy Hospital.

Jake clifford

Jacob Clifford graduated from the University of Missouri with a Classics degree. During his time at MU, Mr. Clifford was highly involved in several of the choral ensembles, performing with University Singers, Chamber Singers, and Mizzou’s male a cappella ensemble, Add 9. He made his opera debut with Show-Me Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, singing the role of Sarastro. He has been a soloist for Columbia Chorale, and received vocal instruction from Christine Seitz. Jake and his wife, Karen, live in Columbia with their son Calvin, who was born in April.

Rachel naughtin

Rachel Naughtin believes that teaching and performing go hand in hand. Since moving to Lawrence, Kansas, in 2013, Rachel has become an active performer and educator in the area. She currently teaches elementary general music and musical theatre classes in Lawrence while continuing to pursue a performance career and maintain a thriving private voice studio. Rachel has sung with Te Deum Chamber Choir, Lawrence Opera Theatre, Kansas City Opera Institute, and the Kansas City Chorale. In 2013, Rachel completed a M.M. in Vocal Performance at the University of Missouri. There, she had a voice teaching assistantship and performed the role of Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, among other roles. Rachel earned her B.M. with majors in Vocal Performance & Choral/General Music Education from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music (2011). She has performed repertoire spanning five-centuries and welcomes the opportunity to explore new music.

Lacey gladden

Lacey Gladden, Fayette native, is in her fourth year of teaching K-12 Vocal Music in the Glasgow and New Franklin school districts. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Central Methodist University as well as a Master’s degree in Voice from the University of Kansas. She enjoys teaching private voice, flute, and piano to students in central Missouri. Lacey has been a featured soloist on several concerts and recitals throughout her career, and has performed many roles with the Opera Theatre at Central Methodist University and the University of Kansas, including Pamina in The Magic Flute, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Patience in Patience, Lucy in The Telephone, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Mariane in Tartuffe, Rapunzel in Into the Woods, April in Company, Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro,and Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. Outside of teaching and singing, her most important job is being a mom to Clay David.

Hugh naughtin

Hugh Naughtin has a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he studied with Patrice Michaels. Since graduating in 2007, Hugh has sung in the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Grant Park Chorus, and the Chicago-based a cappella ensemble Bella Voce. He is currently in his 9th season with the Grammy Award-winning Kansas City Chorale. He works at the University of Kansas at the Center for Public Partnerships and Research. Hugh resides in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife and fellow Vox-er, Rachel Naughtin.

Brian parrish

Brian Parrish serves as Director of Choirs and Jazz Bands at Parkway West High School. In addition, he conducts the Young Men’s Chorus at The St. Louis Children’s Choirs and is the musical director for Vocal Edge, St. Louis’ premier vocal band. Brian is an active clinician and guest conductor for festivals and honor choirs. His dynamic and engaging style ensures a valuable and memorable experience for his students and audiences. Brian sings tenor with Pro-Arte Saint Louis early music vocal ensemble, and has been a guest tenor and bass for various choral projects. He is also an accomplished pianist and accompanist. Brian taught Chorus and Conducting at Maryville University and served as the Director of Music Ministries at New Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Charles. He received a B.M.E. from Millikin University and graduated from University of Missouri with a M.M. in Choral Conducting.

Catherine sandstedt

Catherine Sandstedt is soon to finish her M.M. in Vocal Performance at Stony Brook University, where she studies voice with Brenda Harris. Catherine has really enjoyed her time at Stony Brook so far, namely performing the role of Mélisande in the adaptation of Debussy’s opera Impressions de Pelléas. In addition, she has performed with the University Orchestra as a soloist for Handel’s Messiah; performed a duet from Derrick Wang’s new opera Scalia/Ginsburg, with the composer himself playing the piano; and performed the premiere of Nathan Heidelberger’s work, “Come il vento tra queste piante” with the Contemporary Chamber Players. Catherine has also had great pleasure singing with the Marble Church Choir in New York City. She performed Le nozze di Figaro (Susanna) and The Crucible (Mary Warren) while at the University of Missouri; as well as Almirena in Handel’s Rinaldo while at Opera NEO’s 2015 summer program.

Ian meyer

Ian Meyer comes from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he teaches music at Sunrise Elementary. Originally from Missouri, he received a Bachelor's in Vocal Music Education and a Piano Pedagogy Certificate from the University of Missouri, where he was an active member of the University Singers, the Show-Me Opera, and performed with the Missouri Symphony as well as local chamber group Exit 128 to premier new music. Previous instruction has been with Steven Tharp, Dr. Natalia Bolshakova, and Dr. Paola Savvidou. His opera credits include Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Basillio (Le nozze di Figaro), John (Hatrack), and Dr. Blind (Die Fledermaus). He attended the Amherst Early Music Festival in New London, Connecticut, in 2015 and can be heard as the tenor soloist on The St. Lawrence Psalter by Wolfgang Reisinger. As a soloist and ensemble member, Ian has performed with the Jefferson City Symphony, early music group Pro-Arte of Saint Louis, and he maintains active membership in Vox Nova

Mickey miller

Mickey Miller is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. She recently completed her M.M. from Louisiana State University and earned her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia. Currently based in Louisiana, she performs regularly in concert, operatic, and recital settings. During her time at LSU, Miller performed several leading roles including Countess Almaviva, Anne Truelove, Yum-Yum, and Johanna (Sweeney Todd). As a resident artist with Opera Louisiane, she was involved in regular performances and outreach. In addition to her operatic work, Miller enjoys regular chamber and choral collaboration. She enthusiastically champions new works: recent performances include premieres of Nelson’s “The wanderer speaks to the moon” for soprano and chorus, Mitchell’s “Sleep Songs,” and Constantidines' "Mutability.” She can be seen this April as Baroness Angelina in Dinos Constantidines' opera Rosanna. Mickey serves as a marketing associate with Opera Louisiane and maintains a private voice studio.

Nollie moore

Nollie Moore is director of the Columbia College Music Program has been director of the Jane Froman Singers since 1999. He holds both a B.S. and a M.M. in Music Education from the University of Missouri. Under his leadership, the Jane Froman Singers have established a tradition of successful collaborations with mid-Missouri arts organizations in acclaimed performances. Concert tours have taken members to New York City’s Carnegie Hall; the great cathedrals of Scotland, England, Austria, Ireland, Italy; and concert halls in China. Away from campus, Moore is active as a professional tenor singing regularly with the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, for which he has sung leading roles in Die Fledermaus, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and Carmen. He also maintains a private voice studio. Nollie lives in Columbia with Julia, his wife of 27 years. They have two sons, Logan and Carter, both studying Music Education at Columbia College.

Jonathan ray   color

Jonathan Ray hails from Russellville, Arkansas. He recently completed his doctoral studies at Louisiana State University. He holds the M.M. in Vocal Performance from UNC-Greensboro (2014) and the B.M.E. from Arkansas Tech University (2010). He has appeared with such companies as the Kansas City Lyric Opera, the Missouri Symphony, Opera in the Rock, St. Petersburg Opera, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Opera in the Ozarks, and Greensboro Opera. His numerous operatic credits include the leading roles in La Traviata, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L’Italiana in Algeri, Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, L’elisir d’amore, Albert Herring, and Candide. He has also performed leading roles in musicals such as Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, and Hairspray. Currently, Dr. Ray is the tenor Apprentice Artist with the Kansas City Lyric Opera and is also a professor of music at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS.

Jared smith

Jared Smith is a second-year graduate student at the University of Missouri studying Music Education. As part of his assistantship, Jared works with Marching Mizzou and the concert bands, assists with the basic the conducting course, and performs and recruits with the Mizzou Brass Quintet. Prior to returning to the University to pursue a Master of Music degree, Jared taught for six years as an elementary music specialist for Columbia Public Schools and received his Bachelor of Music Education degree, also from the University of Missouri. Outside of Vox Nova, Jared plays bass trombone in the Columbia Jazz Orchestra and the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. He can be seen performing around Columbia and St. Louis in local band Saint Gnome, as well as other local ensembles throughout the Mid-Missouri area.

Jeremy wagner

Jeremy Wagner is a senior pursuing degrees in both Vocal Performance and Vocal Music Education at the University of Missouri (Columbia) under the tutelage of Steven Tharp. He recently performed in the vocal competition hosted by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and took second place. Jeremy will be singing the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte in March 2018, following a series of successful performances with the Show-Me Opera Workshop and Missouri Symphony Society. Jeremy was recently the Music Director at First Christian Church in Centralia, Missouri for the past three years and now performs at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia, Missouri. He is the President of the Student Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association at the University of Missouri and the President of the Music Student Advisory Council.

Logan contreras

Logan Contreras is a native of Fort Collins, Colorado. Upcoming performances include the alto soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Donald and Karen Bailey Choral Festival. Operatic performances this season have included the Witch (Hänsel und Gretel), Eduige (Rodelinda), and selections as Octavian from Der Rosenkavalier. Prior performances have included Mrs. Herring (Albert Herring), Mrs. Grose cover (Turn of the Screw), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Mercedes and Carmen cover (Carmen), La tasse, La chatte, L'écureuil (L’enfant et les Sortileges), Alma March (Little Women), Serse (Serse), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). Ms. Contreras holds a B.M. from the University of Northern Colorado and a M.M. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is currently pursuing a D.M.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she has held a GTA since 2014, and serves as adjunct voice faculty at Rockhurst University in Kansas City.

Jordan walker

Jordan Blane Walker attended both Evangel University for his degree in Music Education (BM) and the University of Missouri where he worked on a M.M. in Choral Conducting with Dr. R. Paul Crabb. An active chorister and director, Mr. Walker has performed with and directed/assistant directed numerous choral ensembles including Vox Nova, the church choirs of First Presbyterian Church of Columbia and First Presbyterian Church in Fulton, and University Singers (UM). Mr. Walker has also performed the role of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Barnaby Tucker in Hello, Dolly!, and Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He is currently an elementary music specialist in the Columbia Public School District and looks forward to fostering a culture of choral singing among younger singers, as well as nurturing a mindset of critical thinking, self-dependency, competence, and self-efficacy with students living in poverty.

Christina ray

Christina Ray is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at University of Missouri-Kansas City with Dr. Aidan Soder. She made her debut with UMKC Opera as Hänsel this fall in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. Ms. Ray completed a M.M. at Louisiana State University, and also holds a B.M. from the University of Missouri. She has portrayed several leading roles, including Zosha in Part One of Jake Heggie's Out of Darkness, Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri, The Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, Katisha in The Mikado, and Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict. Ms. Ray has also participated in past summer with programs such as Opera in the Ozarks and Opera Academy of California, where she portrayed title roles in La cenerentola and Il Giasone. She was a recipient of the 2016 Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, in the Little Rock, AR district.

Dj jordan   color

Darrell J. Jordan has been praised for his “shining, beautiful voice” (Broadway World), and has been called “the star of the show” (Columbia Heart Beat). He holds a B.A. in both Psychology and Music and a M.M. in Voice Performance from the University of Missouri. He is currently pursuing his D.M.A. in Voice Performance at the University of Washington under the tutelage of Dr. Kari Ragan. Recent solo concert engagements have been with Amherst Early Music Festival, the Odyssey Chamber Music Series, Rolla Choral Arts Society, Choral Arts Alliance of Missouri, the Missouri Symphony, the Southside Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Toledo Symphony. Opera credits include Winter Opera Saint Louis, St. Louis Opera Collective, Haymarket Opera Company, Gateway Opera, the Institute for 17th Century Music, the Show-Me Opera, Lawrence Opera Theatre, the Puget Sound Concert Opera, and Operamuse, in addition to Seattle Opera's teaching artist roster. He can be heard as the baritone soloist on The St. Lawrence Psalter by Wolfgang Reisinger.