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Photo of Queen Esther

Queen Esther

One of country and Americana music’s most fascinating artists, Queen Esther’s range stretches far and wide creatively. Bold and outspoken, sweet and generous in spirit, her music shines a light on violence against Black Americans, her passion for country music, and the myths that have haunted the South since long before the Civil War. She’s a vocalist, songwriter, lyricist, musician, solo performer, playwright, librettist, essayist, actor, TED speaker and producer.…

Photo of Mara Kaye

Mara Kaye

Faculty

Referred to by Jazz Lives as “one of New York’s great gifts to the world,” blues and jazz vocalist Mara Kaye is “like some lost pocket of the blues that had never been explored in the old days, all wrapped up in a ball of 21st-century Brooklyn-bred attitude.” For over a decade she has traveled internationally and throughout the US, sharing legendary stages with champions of the genre, singing beloved songs of the past with a deep passion and respect for its original storytellers.

Photo of Bridge Hill Kennedy

Bridge Hill Kennedy

Faculty

Dr. Kennedy (he/him/his), attended his first Sacred Harp singing in June of 2002. This life changing event came about when he was invited to accompany his sister-in-law to a singing for a commissioned painting (“All Day Singing and Dinner on the Grounds” by Bethanne Hill, 2003, commissioned by Max Berueffy).

Photo of Caleb Klauder

Caleb Klauder

Faculty

Raised on Orcas Island, WA, then on to college and the 30 years to follow in Oregon, and then back to Washington again, Caleb is a true north-westerner. Yet
his maternal family roots lay in East Tennessee. These deep family roots contribute to his music through old memories, bringing you the strong singing and spirited attitude that gives his music a cutting and sweet edge. Caleb has written many songs, some that are performed by others and some that are becoming standards at jam sessions in the bluegrass scenes across the US, Canada, and in Europe.

Photo of Grace Love

Grace Love

Faculty

Singer songwriter Grace Love is the Olympic Peninsula’s shining jewel of grit, beauty and power – think Etta James and Betty Wright meet Mahalia Jackson. She grew up in Tacoma, just a stone’s throw from Seattle, which infused her R&B melodies with fortitude and grunge.

Photo of Max Malone

Max Malone

A life in music is practically unavoidable when you’re born into a family of musicians. Max Malone was weaned on country music in the rural wilds of Ontario, through both the radio and his mother’s work as a background vocalist on the Tommy Hunter show. By the age of twelve he was performing as a singer and bassist with his family band on a weekly gig in Toronto’s Cabbagetown.…

Photo of Khari Wendell McClelland

Khari Wendell McClelland

Faculty

Khari Wendell McClelland is a diversely talented and ever-evolving artist. Originally from Detroit, Khari has become a darling on the Canadian music scene with reviewers lauding his performances as a clever mix of soul and gospel. Khari’s songwriting crosses genres and generations, joyfully invoking the spirit of his ancestors who straddled the US-Canadian border in efforts to escape slavery and discrimination.

Tim McNalley

Photo of Karla Mundy

Karla Mundy

Karla Mundy is a vibrant, soulful and diverse vocalist, pianist, arranger and choir leader. She grew up outside Calgary, Alberta and from a young age, was extremely passionate about piano, singing and dancing. She studied piano from the age of seven onwards, sang at all times and was introduced to many styles of music through her study of jazz, modern, flamenco, African and Latin dance as a teenager.…

Photo of Johnny Nicholas

Johnny Nicholas

Faculty

Time is a river and you can never step in the same river twice. It’s all gonna change, but what came before shapes what comes after. There are certain people who seem to be in both places at once. Johnny Nicholas has played music and rambled with some of the most original and artistically powerful individuals of the American 20th century.

Photo of Dawn Pemberton

Dawn Pemberton

Dawn Pemberton has deep musical roots that take her powerful voice from gospel and soul to jazz, funk and world music. She has become a staple of the Vancouver music scene and can often be found tearin’ it up as a vocalist, teacher, facilitator, choir director and “go to girl” for live performances and studio sessions.…

Photo of Karin Plato

Karin Plato

Canadian vocalist and composer Karin Plato came to jazz almost by accident. The music she heard in her formative years was the rock and pop music of the day and the classical music she studied from a young age. She didn’t get the “jazz bug” until she was in her early 30’s and that’s when her music career really began when she made the move from central Canada to the West Coast.

Photo of Pharis Romero

Pharis Romero

Artistic Director, Voice Works

Pharis has been singing and playing music her whole life. An early student of classical and country, she grew up performing with her family’s band and learning the songs and stories that made her want to dig deeper. These days she performs mostly with her husband Jason, and is equally at home disappearing into an old-time jam as she is singing on stage or teaching the joy of song and sound.

Photo of The Chapin Sisters

The Chapin Sisters

The Chapin Sisters carry on a proud family musical legacy: Father Tom Chapin is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, legendary late uncle Harry Chapin was an artist and activist best known for his #1 hit “Cat’s in the Cradle”, and grandfather Jim Chapin literally wrote the book on how to play the drumkit. For nearly 20 years these masters of blood harmony have garnered critical acclaim by forging a distinctive musical imprint by blending dynamically complex vocal harmonies and folk-influenced melodies with dark, wryly sarcastic lyrical content.…

Photo of Moira Smiley

Moira Smiley

Faculty

Her clarion voice and joyous, embodied performances have carried Moira and her songs around the planet and inspired millions of harmony singers to sing her songs. She’s immersed herself in early American, Irish and East European vocal traditions and seeks to honor the many powerful, cultural roles of singing beyond stage and microphone

Photo of Miss Tess

Miss Tess

Miss Tess has always been known for creating an eclectic array of vintage blues, country, and jazz sounds. Currently residing in Nashville, she finds no shortage of inspiration in the roots scene there. However varied Tess’ music can be, front and center sits her voice that has been described as “alternately seductive and sexy, and a pure joy to listen to” (Pop Matters).…

Photo of Yoseff Tucker

Yoseff Tucker

Yoseff’s early life exposure to traditional bluegrass and American roots music came courtesy of his grandfather who moved to Central California from the Ozarks in the early 20th century. His first guitar came to him while he was still in diapers and an appreciation for music laid a great foundation in his life.

Photo of Melody Walker

Melody Walker

Melody Walker is a songwriter, producer, performer, and fervent believer that songs can change the world. Best known for her writing with Molly Tuttle, Sierra Ferrell, Della Mae and her own band Front Country, Melody’s post-pandemic recalibration has found her setting real roots down in her home of Nashville, co-writing with her talented neighbors, and hosting her weekly writers’ round, Writers’ Kitchen.…

Photo of Eli West

Eli West

Faculty

It’s always illuminating to ask an artist how they understand music, but Eli West’s perspective is nothing short of ground-breaking. A trained designer, he sees music architecturally, visualizing his compositions spatially. It’s a highly unusual way to think about music, tied to his verdant natural world of the Pacific Northwest.

Photo of Reeb Willms

Reeb Willms

Faculty

Reeb Willms has been singing and playing guitar since 2001 and is widely regarded as one of the best rhythm guitar players in old time music. She hails from the windswept Central Washington farmlands of Douglas County, and was heavily influenced as a child by her musical father and uncles, who performed locally as the Willms Brothers. Her warm, tender vocals and driving rhythms are a living testament to this musical tradition, which she brought to the stage in her early 20s.