SHA APPENZELLER is in his eleventh season with the Chorale. Sha received a degree in music education from The University of Northern Iowa and pursued a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He has performed numerous opera and musical theater roles with San Antonio Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of the Rockies’ Vocal Arts Symposium, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, and Opera Colorado. Sha’s concert performances include Haydn’s The Creation, Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, and Mozart’s Solemn Vespers. He has worked for USAA for 17 years and is currently a claim litigation manager.
CALEB FRENCH returns for his fourth year with the Phoenix Chorale. He holds a master’s degree in Church Music from Bob Jones University, with an emphasis in voice, conducting, and composition. He participated as an understudy and soloist in BJU’s prize-winning opera productions and sang for five years in the University Chorale under Dr. Warren Cook. Caleb currently resides as Director of Music at Arrowhead Christian Academy, where he directs all seven of its graded choirs and vocal ensembles. He acts as an adjunct vocal coach, choral clinician, and church music instructor here in Phoenix and in Sonora, Mexico; he is also a published choral composer with Beckenhorst Press. Caleb and his wife Heidi are members of Northwest Valley Baptist Church, where Caleb serves as Director of Worship and conductor of the church’s forty-five member volunteer choir. Heidi and Caleb have one daughter, Charlotte, who turns two this season.
CHRISTOPHER HERRERA is in his sixth season with the Chorale. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice from California State University, Northridge. He moved to Arizona in 2003 to attend The University of Arizona where he received a Master of Music degree in Voice and is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts. Professionally, he has sung with the Arizona Opera chorus for eleven years and has also performed several roles with the company. He has also been a featured soloist with The Phoenix Symphony, Catalina Chamber Orchestra and Phoenix Opera. This season he is excited to join Phoenix’s Solis Camerata for the first time. Christopher has held faculty positions at Grand Canyon University, Arizona Christian University, & Glendale Community College. He is currently in his first year teaching at North Phoenix Preparatory Academy.
JOSHUA HILLMANN is in his fifteenth season with the Chorale. Joshua holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance, both from ASU, and the Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Kansas. He has won many awards as a pianist, including “Most Outstanding Arizona Pianist” at the 4th USASU Bösendorfer International Piano Competition. Joshua has also collaborated with many other professional choirs as a singer or pianist, including Grammy-nominated Seraphic Fire, Grammy-nominated True Concord: Voices and Orchestra, Anúna, Spire Chamber Ensemble, and Grammy-winning Kansas City Chorale. He’s been a featured soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Bach Festival, Anúna, and with ensembles and choirs at ASU and KU. Joshua holds a piano faculty position at Grand Canyon University, is a staff musician at Saint Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church, and also teaches piano privately at Hillmann Piano Studio in Chandler.
TOBY VAUGHN KIDD – received his B.M. and M.M. degrees in Vocal Performance from Northern Arizona University, under the vocal instruction of Dr. Judith Cloud. As a student, he performed regularly in both solo and ensemble settings and founded a Student NATS chapter, serving as president for two years. Since making his professional debut as a concert soloist with Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra in their performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Toby has regularly been sought after as a performer throughout the Southwest and remains active in arts leadership and higher education. Toby is involved with many organizations, notably Arizona Opera Chorus, ArtSong Rising, is a founding artist of Helios: a modern renaissance, and is thrilled to return for his sixth season with the Phoenix Chorale. Recent recordings include the 2015 Grammy award-winning Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil (soloist) and Nils Lofgren’s 2019 album Blue with Lou (backup vocalist).
JASON RAETZ is excited to be singing in his third season with the Chorale. He earned a B.M. in Music Education from Western Michigan University and an M.M. in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University. A native of Phoenix, Jason grew up singing and learning music in the Phoenix Boys Choir and has gone on to perform as a soloist with the Flagstaff Master Chorale, Early Music Michigan and is currently in his third season with Helios: a modern Renaissance. He has taught music at several schools around the valley and was a director with the Phoenix Boys Choir. Currently, Jason is directing two choirs at Arizona School for the Arts.
DAVID TOPPING has sung with the Chorale for over twenty-five years, including when it was the Phoenix Bach Choir and the Bach and Madrigal Society. He has degrees in choral music from Cal. State Fullerton and ASU. He has made many solo appearances with choral ensembles in Arizona and California, as well as with The Phoenix Symphony and the Arizona Bach Festival. After teaching choral music in both California and Arizona, he helped create ChoralNet (the first website for choir directors) and is on the boards of the Arizona chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Arizona Bach Festival. When he’s not singing, David has a technology-consulting business, helping churches and other nonprofits with websites and digital communications. He lives in Tempe with his wife Jody (the pastor of Song of Life United Methodist Church in Queen Creek) and has two grown children, Ryan and Erika.