Meet Chorale's B Minor Soloists

Chicago Chorale has a roster of outstanding soloists for its upcoming  performance of the Mass in B Minor, March 26: Chelsea ShephardMichigan native Chelsea Shephard, soprano, recently gave an “exquisite” NYC recital debut, garnering praise for her “beautiful, lyric instrument” and “flawless legato” (Opera News). This season includes Ms. Shephard’s Carnegie Hall debut with Cecilia Chorus of New York for a World Premiere by Syrian composer Zaid Jabri and Brahms Requiem, joining Lyric Opera of Chicago’s roster for Das Rheingold, and return engagements with the Madison Bach Musicians. Past season highlights include: Beth/Little Women, Calisto/La Calisto, Pamina/Die Zauberflöte, Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro, Lauretta/Gianni Schicchi, Lisa/The Land of Smiles, Emily Webb/Our Town, and Poppea/L’incoronazione di Poppea with companies such as Madison Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Haymarket Opera Company, and Caramoor International Music Festival. Ms. Shephard’s accolades include: Education Grant/Metropolitan Opera National Council (2016), Finalist/Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center (2015), First Place/Madison Early Music Festival Handel Aria Competition (2014), and Finalist/Jensen Foundation Competition in NYC (2014).

Chelsea holds degrees from DePaul University and Rice University.

Angela SmuckerMezzo-soprano Angela Young Smucker has earned praise for her “luscious” voice (Chicago Tribune) and "powerful stage presence" (The Plain Dealer). Her performances in concert, stage, and chamber works have made her a highly versatile and sought-after artist. Highlights of the 2016-17 season include performances with Haymarket Opera Company, Bach Collegium San Diego, Chicago A Cappella, Seraphic Fire, and newly-founded Third Coast Baroque. Ms. Smucker has also been a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, Oregon Bach Festival, Bella Voce, and Les Délices. Radio and television appearances include Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, WFMT’s Impromptu and Live from WFMT, and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

Currently pursuing her doctoral studies at Northwestern University, Ms. Smucker holds degrees from the University of Minnesota and Valparaiso University – where she also served as instructor of voice for seven years. She is a NATS Intern Program alumna, former Virginia Best Adams Fellow (Carmel Bach Festival), and serves as Executive Director of Third Coast Baroque.

Steven SophA "superb vocal soloist" (The Washington Post) possessing a "sweetly soaring tenor" (The Dallas Morning News) of "impressive clarity and color" (The New York Times), tenor Steven Soph performs throughout North America and Europe. Recent seasons' highlights include appearances with The Cleveland Orchestra in an all-Handel program led by Ton Koopman; the New World Symphony and Seraphic Fire in Reich's Desert Music; Symphony Orchestra Augusta in Bach's B minor Mass; San Diego's Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra in Mozart's "Orphanage" Mass and Mass in C minor; Voices of Ascension in Bach's Magnificat and St. Matthew Passion; the Master Chorale of South Florida in Mozart's Requiem and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass; Colorado Bach Ensemble in Bach's St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion; Texas Choral Consort in Haydn's Creation; and the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra in Handel's Messiah.

Described as an Evangelist “first-class across the board,” (Chicago Classical Review) Steven performed with the Chicago Chorale in Bach's St. John Passion and St. Matthew Passion, at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and with the Concord Chorale in the St. John Passion.

Steven holds degrees from the University of North Texas and Yale School of Music, where he studied with renowned tenor James Taylor.

Ryan de RyckeRyan de Ryke (baritone) is an artist whose versatility and unique musical presence have made him increasingly in demand on both sides of the Atlantic. He has performed at many of the leading international music festivals including the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals in the UK and the summer festival at Aix-en-Provence in France garnering significant acclaim as both a recitalist and singing actor.

Ryan studied at the Peabody Conservatory with John Shirley Quirk, the Royal Academy of Music in London with Ian Partridge, and at the National Conservatory of Luxembourg with Georges Backes. His is also an alumnus of the Britten-Pears Institute in the UK and the Schubert Institute in Austria where he worked with great artists of the song world such as Elly Ameling, Wolfgang Holzmair, Julius Drake, Rudolf Jansen, and Helmut Deutsch.

Ryan can often be seen collaborating with Haymarket Opera Chicago where he performed title role in Telemann’s Pimpinone, voted one of Chicago’s top 5 performances of 2013, and last season played the role of Sancho Panza in Don Quichotte.