James Richardson, baritone, is currently assistant professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University where he teaches voice and conducts ChoirWithoutBorders. Mr. Richardson holds his master of music degree from The Peabody Conservatory of Music of The Johns Hopkins University where he graduated Pi Kappa Lambda and was awarded the Annie Wentz Prize in Voice. He is also a first and second place winner in the NATS mid-south auditions and a four-time semifinalist. While in the studio of Marianna Busching and under the coaching of John Shirley-Quirk, he performed numerous opera roles ranging from early works such as Bacchus in Purcell’s Timon of Athens to 20th century opera including Bartly in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea and the Vicar in Britten’s Albert Herring. His work with master teachers includes Martin Isepp, William Stone, William Sharp, and Vinson Cole. Equally at home in the world of oratorio, Mr. Richardson’s performance in Judas Maccabaeus was described by the Baltimore Sun as “polished, richly laden with vivid tempos and dynamic phrasing.” More recently, at Westminster Choir College he performed Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs; and he toured throughout Ukraine as a soloist with Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church Choir and Westminster Brass. As a regular recitalist and art song enthusiast, repertoire from the past couple seasons includes cycles by Brahms, Schumann, Spohr, Holst, Finzi, Hoiby and Kohn; not to mention solo Bach cantatas Amore traditore and Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen. In February he partnered with pianist and composer James Clemens in a program featuring Clemens’ Lessons: A Song Cycle for My Daughter. Mr. Richardson is also a frequent soloist with the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival where he has sung the Mass in B Minor; the part of Schlendrian, the disapproving father in the Coffee Cantata; and the Count from The Marriage of Figaro.
Mr. Fast, a member of the Eastern Mennonite University music faculty since 1975, is currently a part-time teacher of organ and piano. He also teaches in the Preparatory Program at EMU. In addition to his work in the music department, Mr. Fast is the managing editor for the EMU Undergraduate Catalog.
An active church musician and accompanist, Mr. Fast is currently organist at Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA. Previously Mr. Fast was organist for several churches in the local area. He frequently serves as accompanist for various Shenandoah Valley choral ensembles. Currently he is the accompanist for the Preparatory Choir in the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir organization.
Mr. Fast’s undergraduate degree in Music was from Bethel College, Kansas. He received the Master of Music degree from Indiana University, where he also received the Performer’s Certificate in Organ Performance.
Violinist Joan Griffing is the concertmaster of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival Orchestra and the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the Virginia Symphony. Griffing earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from Indiana University, and her D.M.A. in violin performance from The Ohio State University. In the spring of 1999, she premiered a violin concerto written for her by Terry Vosbein, composer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University. She has performed as concertmaster with the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Austria and Italy as well as with the Coronado, Grand Teton, Norfolk, and Spoleto festivals in this country. Her recent international appearances include a three-week tour of Taiwan in 2004 with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra; a series of guest recitals and master classes in the state of São Paulo, Brazil in May of 2006; a presentation at the International Viola Congress in Adelaide, Australia in June of 2007; and a series of chamber music recitals and master classes in the northeastern part of Brazil in August of 2007 and November of 2008. In the fall of 2012, she spent five months in New Zealand, collaborating with artists at the University of Otago in Dunedin and studying the role of music in peace and conflict issues.
Dr Griffing is a founding member of and tours regularly with the chamber music group Musica Harmonia, formed to promote peace and cultural understanding through musical collaboration. The group will be recording a CD of chamber music by Gwyneth Walker in June 2014. The CD will include two works composed specifically for Musica Harmonia. Dr. Griffing and cellist Beth Vanderborgh gave the North American premiere of Double Concerto for Violin and Cello by New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie in June 2012. Joan was an Artist-in-Residence at the Brush Creek Arts Foundation in Wyoming in May 2012. Recent solo performances include solo violinist in Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with The Dance Theater of Harlem and the Rockbridge Symphony in May 2014.
Sharon Miller is the Administrative Director of the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music Program which currently serves nearly 400 students from 5 Virginia counties and West Virginia. She has a studio of violin and viola students and teaches Suzuki Pedagogy courses through the Preparatory Music Program and at workshops and summer Suzuki Institutes throughout the United States. Ms. Miller taught music education courses at Eastern Mennonite University from 1989-2014.
Ms. Miller received her M.Ed. (music) from Towson State University and M.M. (Suzuki Pedagogy) from East Carolina University. She is a registered Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has taught at Institutes and workshops around the United States. As a performer, she plays violin with the University Shenandoah Symphony, the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival and the Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra. She also performs viola with several chamber ensembles.
Ms. Miller has presented research papers on the topic of music reading at the International Suzuki Research Symposium in 1999 and 2001.
Volunteer work includes being a greeter and participating in worship at her church, and assisting clients at Patchwork Pantry.
Before coming to EMU in 1989, she taught strings and orchestra for 11 years in Baltimore and was the music department chair at Arlington Baptist School.
Kenneth Nafziger was a post-doctoral conducting student with Helmuth Rilling in Stuttgart-Germany. In addition to his EMU course load, he is artistic director and conductor of the annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival (Harrisonburg, Va.), and of the Winchester Musica Viva (in Winchester, Va.). This season, he concluded his 16-year position as conductor and music director of Voce Chamber Singers (in Reston, Va.) Between 1999 and 2003, he made numerous trips to Cuba, where he was a guest orchestral and choral conductor, taught courses and workshops, and led EMU Chamber Singers. He was music editor of ‘Hymnal: A Worship Book’ (1992), editor of its accompaniment handbook, and assistant to the editor of ‘Sing the Journey’ (2005) and ‘Sing the Story’ (2007). He is active in the United States and Canada as a guest conductor, workshop leader and clinician. He co-authored a book ‘Singing, a Mennonite Voice’, which was released in 2001.
Pianist Anne Waltner has performed on four continents in numerous solo and collaborative roles. Currently assistant professor of music at Eastern Mennonite University, Anne is regarded both as a demanding teacher and a highly artistic performer. At EMU she coordinates the music theory sequence, the collaborative piano program, and teaches studio piano. She graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and an Artist Diploma in collaborative piano, where she studied with Anita Pontremoli and Olga Radosavljevich. Anne received her Masters and Bachelor degrees in solo piano performance from Chicago College of Performing Arts with Ludmila Lazar, and Goshen (IN) College with Marvin Blickenstaff, respectively. Learn more at “www.awaltner.com”.
Mary Kay Adams, Bach Festival executive director and principal flutist, is currently principal flutist in the Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra, where she was previously principal cellist. She has played flute in the Roanoke Symphony and cello in the Fort Smith (Arkansas) Symphony. Active as a soloist and chamber musician on both flute and cello, she has performed at conventions of the National Flute Association and Music Educators National Conference. Her Bachelor of Music degree is from the University of North Texas in both flute and cello performance and her Master of Music is from UNT in flute performance. A member of the music faculty at Eastern Mennonite University, Adams has played in the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival for every one of its twenty seasons.
She has held previous positions as the assistant director of the Honors Program at James Madison University; a music faculty member at JMU, Bridgewater College, Mary Baldwin College, Washington and Lee University, Liberty University, and Arkansas Tech University; a flute and cello instructor in the Preparatory Music Program at EMU; and a free-lance performer and teacher in the Dallas metropolitan area.
Hunsberger, a 2002 EMU graduate from Davidsville, Pa., fills many positions at EMU, held together by his work in Lehman Auditorium as Facilities Technician. He is the Residence Director for Parkwood Apartments where he has lived as Apartment Manager for several years. He serves as Seminary Music Coordinator, assisting with chapel and other worship services at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and assists Dr. Ken J. Nafziger in directing the Chamber Singers. In the summers, he serves as Summer Programs Coordinator in the Auxiliary Services office.
During his student days at EMU, Hunsberger helped plan chapel worship experiences, led music, sang in choirs and in the ‘Full Table’ men’s a capella group that he co-founded, and assisted the campus pastors. From 2003-2011, he co-managed and directed a local independent male a capella ensemble, ‘Sons of the Day’.
Cindy began working for the music department in August of 2001. In her free time, she enjoys golfing and reading. Cindy lives near Singers Glen, Va., with her husband David and their son Ethan.