About Our Members

George Arthur — When George was an undergraduate at UNM he was an active member of the University Chorus. After 50 years living in Connecticut he has returned full circle to Albuquerque and singing under the direction of the former music director of that same group.

Bill Artman — I began singing in a Men’s Glee Club at St Bonaventure University (in western New York), 50 years ago.  SPEBSQSA, Mannergesangverein in Landstuhl 1966, numerous church choirs, the UNM University Chorus, and Bob Boughton’s Madrigal  Singers bring the total number of groups I have sung in to 10.  I am so pleased to once again sing for M.r Brad  Elllingboe in Coro Lux!   I recently received a new aortic valve donated to me from a Mexican Fighting Bull.  As a result, I find I feel more aggressive towards Swedes and Norwegians now.  Love to sing, ride motorcycles, and all the other activities which help you gain weight.

Alfredo Beltran is a lyric baritone and freelance musician currently based in Albuquerque. He is a recent graduate of the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of  Missouri-Kansas City, where he received a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance,  studying under baritone Dale Morehouse. Before that, he received a Bachelor of Music  Degree in Voice Performance from UNM, where he studied with baritone Michael Hix. His  prior choral experiences include singing in the UNM Concert Choir under Bradley Ellingboe, Quintessence under Matthew Greer, the UMKC Conservatory Singers under Dr.  Robert Bode, and the Kansas City Symphony Chorus under Charles Bruffy. He is also currently a choral intern and assistant conductor at First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, working with Dr. James Yeager.

Elysia Bennett is an Albuquerque native who studied at UNM and received her degree in Vocal Performance in 2012. Aside from teaching voice at NDI-Highland and the Little Guitar School, Elysia loves to adventure with her husband Gerald and their son Atlas.

Gerald Bennett – Greetings! You can call me “g”. I have had varied and somewhat related musical experiences, but suffice it to say, “I did things… now I’m here.” During my lengthy pursuit for papers proving I can do music, I lost my passion for doing so! What you’re seeing here is an attempt to reinvigorate the once cherished passion to ‘phonate on a properly shaped vowel.’ See what I mean? Enjoy the show!

Bill Biffle has recently retired, which allows him to spend his time now on the things that matter most to him: family (wife, daughters and grandchildren), playing golf, trumpet, and singing (in about that order of importance).

Lillian Biffle, a degreed musician, is a golfer, knitter, mother of two and grandmother of five.  With Coro Lux, Lillian Biffle returns to her roots as a choral soprano – an activity at which she excelled before the other things got in the way.

Jan Bowers is a middle aged, widowed, white woman, doing her best to keep all of her balls in the air! Including golf balls! Managing her commercial rental property and providing for her retired racehorses keeps her occupied most of the time. Jan is blessed with a wide network of friends, and cultivating those friendships is very important to her! She loves entertaining and is fortunate enough to take a couple of trips a year. Jan is involved in her church life as a part of the “Visual Choir” and the Chancel Choir. She has sung for many years in choirs under the waving arms of Brad Ellingboe. Very excited to be a part of this new ensemble, Coro Lux!

Rebecca Brunette graduated from UNM’s music program in 2015 with a focus in opera performance. During an average week you can find her in a choir, on a mountain, or possibly under a pile of books. If you find her elsewhere, you will have seven years of good luck.

Linda Buffett – I spent my childhood in a divided home:  Mom couldn’t sing at all, but Dad certainly could.   He taught my brother and me to sing harmonies to his tenor, especially around a bonfire on the beach on a summer’s evening. I joined a  church choir in third grade and kept singing in choirs, ensembles and musicals  until I finished college. For a while, family activities took over,  but about 25 years ago I found music again. Singing with Brad Ellingboe I have had wonderful experiences, including singing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center,  and in venues in Rome, Edinburgh, Budapest,  Bratislava, Prague, London and Bath Abbey. I love the joy that comes from rehearsing and performing wonderful music, and singing in Coro Lux presents a new and greater challenge.

Paul Bushnell — Paul owns and operates assisted living facilities in Albuquerque because his CD’s didn’t sell. He has sung low bass for a long time and once… just once,…one time…he’d like to sing the melody!

Bryan Butler has sung in church, school, community, and professional choirs since a very young age. He is a staff astronomer at the Very Large Array and has been in New Mexico for more than 20 years. He has sung locally with Quodlibet, Polyphony, and Quintessence, and is happy to be singing with Coro Lux now.

Carolyn Callaway rediscovered the joy of singing a few years ago when kind friends invited her to a Messiah Sing.  She is thrilled to be singing this year with Coro Lux.

Jonathan Davidson, tenor, is the current director of choirs and performing arts at Mountain View Middle School in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Jonathan enjoys singing a variety of styles from opera all the way to Lady Gaga. He has a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Eastern Oregon University and a Masters from UNM in Vocal Performance and Choral Conducting. Basically, I love to sing high and wave my arms!

Martin Doviak started singing and strumming publicly as a Peter Yarrow wannabe in his teenage years, which led directly into wailing Bob Dylan songs in college, while also singing and dancing as a Princeton Triangle Club chorister. In more recent years, he has been seen and heard singing with the University Chorus, Albuquerque Festival Singers, New Mexico Symphonic Chorus, Quintessence, and Coro Lux. When not singing and dressed all in black, he can be found more colorfully and casually attired on local tennis courts, ski slopes, or public parks with his two dogs trying to avoid Animal Control officers.

Elizabeth Dwyer swears she came out of the womb singing alto because she heard her family singing and alto was the only voice they were missing. She lives with her cat, Sebastian, named after Johann Sebastian Bach, who adopted her on her 45th wedding anniversary.  After 40 years of working in the people businesses of Social Work and Government, she loves waking up to the melodies of the birds in her backyard wildlife habitat.

Karen Ellingboe wishes to abstain from listing anything here in a public way, as she is currently in the witness protection program, having served time in several of the conductor’s previous ensembles.

Kit Ersfeld — While pursuing a busy career in healthcare management, Kit began singing as a tool for stress reduction. She enjoyed it so much, she continued for the next decade, right into retirement!  Kit now sings with multiple groups and spends time visiting her 3 children and 1 grandchild.

Ennio Fermo — I am Italian and started singing at 1994 with a choir in my home town of Trieste. I have three grown children, who live there. My daughter will be a mother next March, making me a grandfather for the first time.  Most importantly, I found a great person and we married here at ABQ five years ago.  She is the light of my life.  My job is restoring furniture — I like giving it new life.

Amanda Flippo has always had a deep love of music, and singing in particular. Thanks to a string of wonderful music teachers in her life, her love of music grew and she decided to pursue a degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. She has been teaching elementary music in New Mexico ever since, first at a K-6 school in Santa Fe and now as an itinerant music teacher here in Albuquerque. When she isn’t making music with children at work, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and son.

Vicki Hontas is a retired ER and critical care nurse who manages to stay busy playing cello in four orchestras along with several chamber music groups. She sang 2nd alto with Brad for the last 20 years, first with the University Chorus and is now thrilled to be singing at present with Coro Lux. Besides singing and playing the cello, she plays classical guitar, enjoys square dancing, does genealogy research, scrapbooking and is currently writing a family history book.

Rebecca Jackson – My Papaw aptly named me “High-C” when I was 3. I have been singing ever since. I am a graduate of Texas Tech with a degree in vocal performance. I am currently in a group of former Texas Tech choir members who meet every six months in Texas to perform various works – the Ken Davis Chorale. I have been a voice teacher, a lead singer in a rock band, have always sung at church wherever we live, and currently teach elementary choir at Oak Grove Classical Academy. Although, my favorite job is taking care of my three kids.  I’ve been married to my husband, Richard (Albuquerque native), for 20 years. We’ve been in Albuquerque for 8 years and love skiing, hiking, and exploring the area as a family. I’m very excited to be joining locals in making beautiful music together.

Emily Jones returned to singing in 2012 after a hiatus of over 10 years. She currently studies with Jacqueline Zander-Wall and has sung locally with the Madrigals Singers of Albuquerque and the UNM University Chorus, among others. This is her first season with Coro Lux.

Kim Kraut was raised in a musical family so it came as no surprise when she chose to pursue music as a career. To that end, she sang professional opera for more than 15 years all across the country. She also started a music learning-track business 25 years ago and continues to provide quality learning tracks for women’s a cappella music. In her spare time, she traveled the world as a vocal coach and conducting coach and conducted numerous small ensembles across the country. She is now enjoying a return to singing, her most favorite thing!

Martin Kroebel – My name is Martin Karl Ernst Kroebel, and I’m a naturalized citizen, born in Mainz, Germany, and raised in Grants, New Mexico. I started singing at the age of 13 at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, in Grants. While attending Richland Junior College, in Dallas, I studied music and participated in the Choir. In 1983 I transferred to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls. There, I studied under the direction of Mr. Jim Bell, and later Mr. Larry Brandenburg. At graduation, I received the Honors Convocation Achievement award from the Fine Arts Department. Later I attended East Texas State University (now part of Texas A&M) in Commerce, Texas. I continued to study music, and had the opportunity to perform with the ETSU Concert Choir at Carnegie Hall in 1994. I’ve sung with various community choirs, churches, and also participated at the NM State Fair Karaoke competition. Lately I’ve sung with the UNM Chorus at Popejoy Hall, and again at Carnegie Hall. And more recently, with ABQ Coro Lux, I had the opportunity to perform Rutter’s “Requiem,” conducted by the composer in the Santa Croce Basilica of Florence, Italy.

Jane Lawrence – In the midst of a rewarding career as a pastel and oil painter, music has proved to be an avenue for great expansion of artistic dimensions.  Wherever choral music with Brad Ellingboe has taken me, New York, London, Budapest, Prague, or Bath I also find and enjoy artwork of the Great Masters.  A musical and visual high point for me was singing Star Song in Bath Abbey — the joy of the sound, and the vision of the sunlight, suddenly on cue, illuminating the vaulted ceiling.  A moment of bliss. I paint under my given name, Jane Maclean.

Jeff Lawrence — For many years I have been singing in various choirs and choruses, the UNM University Chorus included. As a physicist, I retired from Sandia Labs a little over a decade ago. But I have continued with music, along with my wife, Jane, singing with Coro Lux. However, I have also kept working as a consultant, mainly with three colleagues, on a large book describing the history of one of the “niche” areas of physics from the Labs. The 700-page book was finally published last year—probably the last item my name will ever be on as an author. I view my physics as a serving of a piece of special cake, which can be very good, and usually filling. But as we all know, the cake really needs good frosting to make it a truly great dessert—just as in life, music is the “frosting” that is needed on the “cake of life.”

Shelly Ley is back in New Mexico after 10 years in New York. She always tries to live in states that are New. Shelly sang with Brad in a choir about 15 years ago, and when he saw her at the Flying Star unexpectedly this summer, he made her promise she would sing with him again– this time in a new chorus. While in New York Shelly sang with the New York City Master Chorale, helped start a new music charter school, and later had her own music education business in the Hudson Valley. Being back in New Mexico not only gives Shelly a chance to reunite with former choir directors, but also lets her work with the best Fine Arts team as an APS music teacher!

Duncan MacIvor is an instructional coach for Elementary Literacy at Mission Achievement and Success Charter School. But before his life took a sharp turn towards the world of education, he achieved a Bachelors in Music Theory and Composition from UNM. He began studying piano when he was 5, but he was thoroughly unaware of any singing acumen he possessed until he entered the University and was required to join a choir…. That choir was UNM’s Dolce Suono, but soon, he was placed in Bradley Ellingboe’s Concert Choir, tackling repertoire such as Duruflé’s Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson’s Mass, and his personal favorite, Herbert Howells’s Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing. Since then, music has been relegated to more of a hobby, having pursued a different career path, but no matter where he goes, he will always be twiddling his fingers on an imaginary keyboard and always humming a radiant tune–a tune as threadbare as “That Old Red Shawl.” Hats off to you if you understood that reference.

Joe Mitchell started his musical career in Belen, New Mexico playing the trumpet in 6th grade. This led to high school marching band, choir, talent shows, and musicals. While pursuing his Bachelor of Music Education at UNM, he sang with the Men’s Chorus, Dolce Suono, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Opera Studio. He graduated in 2017 and is now the middle school Choir and Exploratory Music teacher at Tres Volcanes Community Collaborative School. Joe believes everyone’s lives should be filled with musical experiences, and is excited to share some of those experiences with Coro Lux!

Lori Nash has been singing since I was five years old, first at home in Minnesota, and later here in ABQ. I am a widow of three years, have two wonderful daughters and their spouses. Since retiring from Medical Technology, I stay busy with my bridge groups, book club, knitting scarves for cancer patients, and playing scrabble with my three sisters! I also love being on the board of Coro Lux!

Neal Ohle – this converted Tuba player found his voice at UNM. Being around music his whole life, he loves to be apart of any ensemble. He can’t wait to be a part of such a wonderful group this coming year!

Vinnessa Martinez Ohle – Well… I really started my musical career as a babe. My first words were “la la la”! In the real world, I started singing in the middle school choir in Belen. What an awkward time in our lives right??? Well good thing I had singing. I continued to be actively involved in choir and music throughout high school and into college. I attended UNM and sang in the Concert Choir since freshman year under Brad. I currently teach in Los Lunas Public Schools as an Elementary General Music Teacher. I now subject my students to the world of singing. It’s good for them! I am so excited to be singing in a choir again!

Hal Ratcliff, tenor, is back again after a short hiatus. Hal has sung most of his life and continues to do so…with a vengeance! Currently, in addition to Coro Lux, Hal sings in The New Mexichords chorus, and in an active senior Barbershop Quartet, called ABQ. All ensembles rehearse on the same evening, so it is sometimes a frantic musical juggline act just to get it all in!

Ildy Rolfs — It’s a long way from my Hungarian family roots…to being born in Germany…to growing up in Virginia, adding a BA in French to my language repertoire…to becoming a proud New Mexican! An avocational singer for over 30 years: church choirs, University Chorus, UNM Opera Studio Chorus, women’s singing group, and now Coro Lux! What a journey, and one I treasure! If Music is the universal language then Singing is one of the dialects!!! Let us continue to raise our voices in song!!!

Chester Sakura — I am 74 years old and have sung with Brad for 20 years or maybe more. At my age I can’t remember how long. Ha Ha I am a retired doctor who still like golf, tennis and skiing.

Mitchell Sances is an Albuquerque transplant from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Besides working on a PhD in Linguistics, he is very passionate about singing and music in general. In his extremely limited free time, Mitchell enjoys creative writing and hopes to make it a side career in the future.

Ellysia Schwebach is 20 years old with a passion for singing. This is her first season with Coro Lux. She has been studying voice privately for 4 years and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. She was also recently accepted into the UNM Opera Theatre. In her free time Ellysia enjoys being with family and friends, baking, working with livestock and of course singing!

Sue Spaven — Music came into my life with classical piano lessons, playing in the high school band and singing in my church choir.  After a career as a computer scientist, I was drawn back to my musical roots, playing keyboards and vibes in jazz and church bands, learning ballet and modern dance, and singing with the Quintessence summer festivals and the Laughing Spirit and Frabjous Day choirs.

Lynn Spray — Before coming to Coro Lux Lynn enjoyed singing in the University Chorus for over 20 years. She is devoted to her family and has one son and two daughters along with being blessed with four beautiful grandchildren. On most days you’ll find her entertaining close friends or gardening. She also keeps busy as a professional Massage Therapist.

Peter Stoll first sang in a chorus in first grade, for a room full of school principals, and has seldom stopped since. When he got to MIT in 1967, John Oliver was the assistant Glee Club director, which eventually got him into a couple of years with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and a summer job at Tanglewood. Though distracted from music by decades of design engineering and other gainful employment with Intel, he has sung with Quintessence, de Profundis, and Canticum Novum.

Kristin Thelander is excited to begin a new musical chapter as a member of Coro Lux.  She returned to ABQ after retiring from the University of Iowa as horn professor and Director of the School of Music.  She and her husband Wayne have been dear friends with the Ellingboes since she taught at UNM in the 80s.  As a St. Olaf grad, she appreciates great choral music and singing, but hasn’t been a member of a choir since she was 18!

Wayne Thelander was a school orchestra director for 40 years before retiring and returning to his native ABQ.  As a double bass player, he has been a member of NMSO, Santa Fe Symphony, and Cedar Rapids (IA) Symphony.  At St. Olaf he sang for two years in the men’s chorus, and now he looks forward to singing again with Coro Lux.

Antoinette Utsinger is a life-long resident of ABQ and has sung with Brad for about 16 years. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do two of my greatest passions…work with animals (I own a pet-care business), and sing! (Sometimes even singing to the animals!)

Jamie Villanueva — I grew up as one of those “California Girls” when the Beach Boys were still performing in my local supermarket parking lot!  I studied education and music at a UCLA and soon began singing “I Get Around” as I explored the Southwest making a career as a special educator.  A few times the universe said “Woudn’t It Be Nice” to have “Fun Fun Fun” and I also found myself teaching music and theater to children. Loving the “Good Vibrations”, I continued singing here in Albuquerque with Westside Concert Chorale, Albuquerque Civic Chorus, Quintessence Summer Festival Chorus, and now, Coro Lux.   “God Only Knows” how grateful I am to my incredible mother, a gifted pianist, accompanist and singer, for instilling in me the love of choral music!

Krista Vrapi has been singing her whole life, but mostly Disney songs,  hence she started her own company Singing Princess Parties. Now she can pretend to be a  princess on other days besides Halloween. When she is not singing Disney songs, she puts her vocal performance degree to good use singing for Coro Lux.  Though Colorado State University awarded her a Bachelor’s degree, what she was really after was an MRS degree, which she promptly got at the end of the summer she graduated. The Mrs. degree produced 3 young kids (and counting) whom she loves to homeschool. When she isn’t homeschooling or singing for Coro Lux, you can find her crafting away which is sure to solicit an “oh great, another project” look from her husband’s adoring face.

Anna Wilkerson — Anna’s love for choral music began in high school during a Texas All-State choir performance of Durufle’s Requiem. Since that downbeat, her desire to sit and sing among peers has been a constant presence in her life. Anna went on to receive her Bachelors in Vocal Performance from Texas Tech University, where she sang under the direction of Ken Davis. She also holds a Bachelors in Science for Biology. She then moved to Baltimore and spent time singing in the Baltimore Symphonic Chorus, and finally back to Texas, singing once again under the direction of Ken Davis in the Ken Davis Chorale, where she is a frequent soloist. Anna spent two years sharing her love of of music as a music director for Whites Chapel Methodist Church in Southlake, Texas. She has also led a jazz and blues band for several years. You can find Anna on the musical theater stage as well, most recently as a pirate in Peter Pan. Aargh!

Vicky Wood is an elementary music teacher with Albuquerque Public Schools. She originally hails from Maryland but has been living in Albuquerque for over ten years and has no plans to leave. She is Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator for Coro Lux as well as Treasurer for New Mexico AOSA, so it’s a good thing she has summers off to regain her sanity! During her free time, she prefers to either travel the world or hang out at home with her cats.