King's Counterpoint Vocalist Biographies
Biographies of our Principal Vocalists can be found by clicking on the links provided
David E. A. Acres, Musical Director & Countertenor - ♪ Founding Member
Judith Acres, Executive Director, Principal Soprano & Section Leader - ♪ Founding Member
Thomas Bracewell, Baritone
Tom Bracewell enjoys singing early chamber music, symphonic music, light opera and barbershop. He has performed in vocal ensembles and choruses in several states and the UK, including Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chamber Singers, CSO Chorus, Charleston Opera, Washington Chorus and Cathedral Choral Society. He has sung for Spoleto Festival events, CSO Masterworks concerts and in choral concert series at Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and at Washington National Cathedral. He has also sung in church choirs including Grace Church Cathedral Choir. On the lighter side, Tom once sang a barbershop ensemble in the British Association of Barbershop Signers in Cambridge, England, and in an American ensemble that performed concerts at Disney World. Tom is an engineering graduate of MIT and works in technology development for the US Navy. He lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife Jacki.
Ian Crane, Bass
Ian Crane is the vocal instructor at Cuyahoga Falls High School. Previously, he spent five years teaching bagpipes at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Ian has been performing with Quire Cleveland since its founding, and regularly performs with The King’s Counterpoint, based in Charleston, SC. Ian also performs as a vocalist/instrumentalist with Apollo’s Fire, including their 2018 UK/Ireland tour. Ian participated in the 2019 Amherst Early Music Festival’s Ensemble Singing Intensive. He holds a Bachelor’s in music education from Cleveland State University and a Master’s in conducting from Kent State University.
Tricia Crane, Soprano
Biographical information coming soon!
John Cunningham, Principal Tenor & Countertenor - ♪ Founding Member
Monica Hammonds, Contralto
Contralto Monica Hammonds is sought after for her warm, rich tone and impeccable musicality. She was delighted to make her debut with Rina Lucas and Earth Angels at the televised Spot Light Awards honoring the Emanuel Nine in November.
Comfortable in multiple genres spanning a vast repertoire, she has excelled in performing with diverse singing groups such as Lowcountry Voices, the choir at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue during High Holy Days, and her own church choir at Church of the Holy Communion. Monica auditioned and was accepted into Lowcountry Voices (LCV) in 2014. Having been a soloist and ensemblist, she sings with both the Mass Choir and the separately auditioned Concert Choir. Monica has also performed chorally alongside her LCV colleagues with the N. Charleston Pops Orchestra in “Broadway Rocks” and “The Legend of Zelda”, and has travelled with LCV to Bermuda, New York, New Jersey and Toronto, Canada.
Born in Washington, DC, Monica has been singing since her youth, attending Ashley Hall in Charleston, SC where her love of music began while singing in the Red Choir. In her junior and senior years, she performed in three musicals with the Charleston Opera Company – “My Fair Lady,” “South Pacific,” and “Mame.” After graduating from Howard University with a degree in Communications, Monica worked at W*USA-TV in Washington, DC. The highlight of her time there was winning an Emmy Award for a Public Service Campaign that she co-produced. Monica returned to Charleston with her loving husband, John, in 2009 where she owns and operates her travel agency, Hammonds Travel.
Aimee Herring, Alto
Aimee has resided in the Charleston area for the past ten years, and works in the field of education. Her true love for vocal music began in early adolescence when she heard music from the Renaissance performed by a small ensemble, and she has been singing with choruses, church choirs, and ensemble groups since. Aimee sang with the Christopher Wren Singers at the College of William & Mary, and has enjoyed performing with the Charleston Renaissance Ensemble, the Vocal Arts Ensemble, and the choir of the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul here in Charleston. Instruction under Sam Sheffer has played a key part in her development as a vocalist.
Jillian Hethcox, Soprano - Biographical information coming soon!
John Hethcox, Tenor
John Hethcox has lived and worked in Charleston since 2004. He has sung in choirs at St. Paul's, Summerville, Grace Episcopal, and St. Philip's Church. In previous years John also sang wth Vox Aeterna and Lux Aeterna.
John lives in Mt. Pleasant with his wife, Jolene. Two of their three children are also members of The King's Countpoint. John is employed as Director of Software Development and Integration at local defense contractor Mission Solutions Group. He holds a BS and MS in Computer Science from UCF and an MBA from Wingate University.
Jolene Hethcox, Alto
Jolene Hethcox has been the Assistant Director of Music at St. Philip's Church since 2007. She holds degrees from the University of Central Florida (BA Mus) and the University of Utah (MM) and is currently working on a DSM from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She has directed the children's choirs of St. Philip's on European tours to England, Italy, Austria, and Spain. This is her first season with Kings' Counterpoint.
Lauren Holzer, Mezzo-Soprano
Lauren Pashke Holzer, mezzo-soprano, received her BA in Music at the College of Charleston and her MA in Arts Administration from Florida State University, College of Music. Lauren studied vocal performance with Deanna McBroom and performed various opera roles at CofC including the role of Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and Madam Flora in The Medium. In the College of Charleston Concert Choir, Lauren served as alto section leader and participated in the Regional ACDA Conference performances in Nashville, TN in 2004 and the National ACDA Conference performances in Los Angeles in 2005. At Florida State University Lauren continued to study voice with David Okerlund.
Lauren has held various administrative positions at arts organizations including the Winston-Salem Symphony, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and Eastern Music Festival. With a passion for music, Lauren continues to sing in numerous choirs and has been a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus, The Winston-Salem Symphony Symphony Chorale, the Grace Church Cathedral Choir, the College of Charleston Madrigal Singers and is currently on staff at St. Phillips Church Choir. Lauren currently works with nonprofits at Blackbaud as a Solutions Engineer and resides in Charleston, SC with her husband Adam.
Walter Kaufmann, Tenor - ♪ Founding Member
From youth choirs to community musical theater productions, Walter "Wally" Kaufmann learned early in life that singing would always play a big part in his artistic expression.
Wally began singing in adult church choir with his father in 1978, and has sung in choirs ever since. Prior to moving to the Charleston area in 1992, Wally sang with the choirs of both Spring Valley Presbyterian Church and Shandon UMC in Columbia, and for the past twenty-plus years has enjoyed singing with the Bethel UMC Chancel Choir under the direction of Gregory H. Jones.
Wally lives with his wife, Parker, and their sons Cade and Kirk in Mount Pleasant, where he is a partner in a guardianship and fiduciary business, Kaufmann and Associates, LLC. He is also a lawyer, licensed since 1991. Wally is an active member of, and serves on the executive board of, the East Cooper Outboard Motor Club, an organization which supports many local humanitarian charities with financial contributions exceeding twenty thousand dollars annually. Wally's twin, Paul, is an artist and actor who lives in Columbia -- and Paul can out-sing Wally any day! Wally is grateful to be singing with The King's Counterpoint, and thanks David and Judith for allowing him to be a part of this great group of singers!
Mark Lazzaro, Baritone
Mark has been a choral singer since 2000 when he joined the chancel choir of James Island Presbyterian Church. He still sings with JIPC and in 2014 also joined the choir of Circular Congregation Church. Since 2003 Mark has been a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber choir, singing a variety of large orchestral masterworks and smaller chamber pieces. He has sung many times in Spoleto in the combined chorus of the CSOC and the Westminster choir and has sung in Piccolo Spoleto with the CSO. Mark has sung many times in the Montreat Worship and Music festival in the full chorus and the select adult chamber choir. He has performed with the Taylor Festival Choir as a guest singer. In real life, Mark is a Biology Professor at the College of Charleston and is a member of the Intelligent Design Barbershop Quartet, a group of five biology and chemistry faculty. Mark is thrilled to be a part of the King's Counterpoint!
Brianna Lombino, Soprano
Brianna Lombino graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. There, she studied under Eric Johnson and was a member and soloist for their Oratorio society, Opera Workshop, Hendricks Chapel Choir, Baroque Ensemble, and Contemporary Ensemble. While in Syracuse, she also was apart of Syracuse Opera where she performed in their opera chorus for Eugene Onegin. She has traveled as a chorus member and soloist to Canada, Italy, Germany, France, England, and all over New Jersey, DC, and the Syracuse. Brianna recently moved to the Charleston area where she is thrilled to join The Kings Counterpoint.
Jill McMillan, Soprano
Jill McMillan resides in Murrells Inlet, SC with her husband and two dogs. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Fort Hays State University. Jill teaches first grade in Hemingway, SC, where she is also a leader of the primary grades choir. She often uses her singing voice to engage the students in her classroom. Jill grew up as a Royal School of Church Music vocalist for her home church, and attended the annual Royal School of Church Music convention at Grace Church in Charleston as a child. She was very active in her high school's Show Choir, performing musical theater pieces as well as sacred classical. Jill's most treasured memory as a vocalist is when she played the role of Peter Pan and got to fly across the stage! She is a new member who greatly looks forward to sharing a love for music with the community and other vocalists in the King's Counterpoint.
Sarah Matijasic, Soprano
Sarah Matijasic is a new Charlestonian by way of Ohio, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Charlottesville, VA. For the past 5 years, Sarah has worked in the world of Sacred and Classical music. She is thrilled to be a new member of The King's Counterpoint. She studied Vocal Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music and has been singing, teaching and traveling ever since. Sarah is currently a staff soprano at The Cathedral of St. John The Baptist.
Norma Melendez, Soprano - ♪ Founding Member
Norma Melendez is a music teacher at Flowertown Elementary in Summerville, S.C. She has performed with the Singers of Summerville community choir and Palmetto Bronze handbell ensemble in Summerville. Mrs. Melendez received her Bachelor’s degree in music from the College of Charleston. She is currently a staff singer at The Cathedral Church of St. Luke & St. Paul in Charleston, SC.
Prior to living in Summerville, Mrs. Melendez directed children and adult vocal choirs in Florida and Puerto Rico. She performed with Coro Sinfonico de Puerto Rico and Cantas de Camara, choral ensembles based in San Juan. Mrs. Melendez has conducted children's handbell choirs in Wilmington, NC, Miami, FL, and most recently the choirs at Rollings Middle School of the Arts.
Elizabeth Miller, Principal Alto - ♪ Founding Member
Karl Peterson, Baritone
Karl Peterson is a recent transplant to Charleston from New York City, where he lived for more than thirty years. While there, he attained a BA in Music Performance (with honors) from Wagner College and an MA in Musicology from Columbia University. He was engaged in legal support work, as a proofreader, word processor and paralegal for several of New York City’s largest law firms. He also followed his passion for early music, singing with ensembles such as the Queens College Vocal Ensemble, Canticum Novum, Cappella Oratoriana, New York Continuo Collective, Canby Singers and Russian Chamber Chorus of New York.
In recent years, food writing has become the focus of Karl’s professional efforts. He is a contributor to both the Oxford Companion to Cheese and Savoring Gotham, encyclopedic books published by Oxford University Press, and is the owner and blogger of the Dairy Free Traveler. While living in New York, he met his wife Therese, and the two are very thrilled to now be living in Charleston. In addition to his appearances with King’s Counterpoint, Karl may also be found at Old St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church where he is a new member of the Parish Choir.
Shaffer Ripley, Soprano - ♪ Founding Member
Shaffer Ripley is so grateful to have been a member of The King's Counterpoint since its inaugural performance in December, 2014. Born and raised on Charleston, SC, Shaffer enjoys spending time with her friends and family, singing, theatre, running, and photography. Outside of The King's Counterpoint, she also sings in the chancel choir of her home church, Bethel United Methodist. Shaffer is a 2014 graduate from The College of Charleston, majoring in Theatre, and enjoys performing as often s possible, most recently in the shows "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Sweeney Todd" with the Flowertown Players. She currently works as the Media Clerk at Carolina Park Elementary in Mt. Pleasant, SC, and is also pursuing her Masters in Library and Information Science through the University of South Carolina. She is thankful for the places music has taken her, ad looks forward to continuing that in the future.
John Schroeder, Bass - ♪ Founding Member
John has been a choral singer for more than 25 years with Episcopal churches in NJ, TX and Charleston. He has been a singer for Grace Episcopal Church since 2004, including 10 years as a section leader. In addition, he has been a member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus since 2003, singing a wide variety of large scale symphonic and chamber choral works. John was president of the CSOC for two years. In real life, John runs the email systems for the College of Charleston. He is thrilled to be a part of the King's Counterpoint!
Brian Shepherd, Principal Bass & Section Leader - ♪ Founding Member
Paul Thomas, Assistant Director - ♪ Founding Member
Lisa Van Bergen, Alto
Lisa Van Bergen (alto) grew up in Atlanta, GA, in a home filled with music. She started studying piano at age 7, and starting in choirs soon after. She cam to The College of Charleston in 1985, and joined the madrigal Singers. She is thrilled to be back singing with her former schoolmates in The King's Counterpoint. Lisa has a Master's Degree in Counseling from The Citadel, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and has spent her career in the social services. She now runs Professional Nonprofit Solutions, providing consulting and grand writing services, as well as being a staff therapist at Lowcountry Pastoral Counseling Center. She is married to Doug Murphy and has two daughters, Constance and Chloe.
Elizabeth Wallis, Alto - Biographical information coming soon!