Graduate Students

Tom Informal PhotoThomas Almli
Thomas Almli is currently pursuing a DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington. Thomas has been Director of Choral Music Activities at Bellevue College since 2002 and is the current Chairman of the Music Department. In addition to directing the vocal jazz ensemble “Celebration”, Mr. Almli directs The BC Concert Choir and Chamber Choir, teaches Music Theory, History of Jazz, History of Rock and Roll, and is active as a private voice and piano instructor.

Prior to Bellevue College, Mr. Almli was the Director of Choral Activities at Pierce College in Tacoma, WA. In his five years at Pierce College, he established highly acclaimed and award winning concert choirs and vocal jazz ensembles, while giving multiple IAJE and MENC performances.

Mr. Almli attended Pacific Lutheran University and Luther College for undergraduate studies (BAE Music), and the University of Washington for graduate school (MEd).

Mr. Almli has been involved with multiple prestigious opera companies including Dorian Opera Theater and the Seattle Opera Company. Thomas continues to perform as a vocal jazz artist, as well as in opera and musical theater productions. Thomas is a sought after clinician, adjudicator, arranger, and composer. He is an active member of ADCA, WMEA, NAfME, NCCO, JEN and NATS.

MiriamAndersonMiriam Anderson
Miriam Anderson is a second-year choral conducting masters student from the San Francisco bay area. She completed her undergraduate studies in music and peace and conflict studies at UC Berkeley in 2011. In addition to studying conducting, Miriam enjoys singing with several UW choral ensembles as well as playing timpani in professional and community orchestras.


Matthew Blegen

Matthew Blegen
Matthew used to make his living singing the praises of others: first as an ad creative on Madison Avenue, and later as a public relations and marketing executive on the West Coast. Today, Matthew is in the third year of work on his Doctor of Musical Arts in choral conducting, having completed his Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the UW in 2006 studying with tenor Vinson Cole. Currently he is the founder and artistic director of Red Thread Chorale Arts, a south sound non-profit that supports several choral ensembles, including the Olympia Gay Men’s Choir which Matthew founded and conducts. He is also the founder of the Anna’s Bay Center for Music where he served as Artistic Director for eight years and led the Anna’s Bay Chorale in performances both locally and nationally. As a soloist he has been heard most recently with the Bremerton and Olympia Symphony Orchestras, and in 2012 Matthew was awarded Mason County Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 “Citizen of the Year Award” for his work enriching children’s musical opportunities in severely underserved rural areas. At the University of Washington he serves as Assistant Conductor of the University Chorale, and his dissertation research focuses on the power of choral singing to build community educationally, economically and civically.

Elisabeth Cherland

Elisabeth Cherland is a choir director, singer, violinist, and music educator originally from Saskatchewan, Canada. She comes to the Choral Conducting DMA program at UW most recently from Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center near Chelan, WA where she was the Village Musician for two years. Prior to that Elisabeth taught choir and band at the High School and Middle School level in Custer and Rapid City, South Dakota for 7 years, and was an Associate Director of the Rapid City Children’s Chorus for a year. She received her MMEd from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, and her BA in Music and English from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. She served as soprano section leader for both the Rockefeller Chapel Choir in Chicago under the direction of Randi Ellefson and James Kallembach, and the Concordia Choir where she studied with René Clausen. Elisabeth spends much of her time away from UW with her partner, Kent, and their two sons, Elijah and Leif. She loves to knit, run around Green Lake, and enjoy the sun when it’s available.


Leann Conley-Holcom
Leann Conley-Holcom is a doctoral student and teaching assistant in choral conducting at the University of Washington. She conducts the Concert Choir of the Tacoma Youth Chorus and is active as a soprano soloist and professional chorister, performing often with the Tucson Chamber Artists, Berwick Chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival, and Vox Humana Dallas. Recent solo singing engagements include appearances with the Coeur D’Alene Symphony, Flagstaff Symphony, and most recently, with the New York City Chamber Orchestra in her solo debut at Carnegie Hall. Prior to coming to UW, Leann spent several years teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Chabot College and Associate Music Director at the Grammy-award-winning Pacific Boychoir Academy. She holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Northern Arizona University, where she led the University Singers and taught voice, and a bachelor’s degree in voice from Pacific Lutheran University.

Steve Danielson
Steve Danielson was the director of choirs at Germantown High School from 2005-2016. He earned a BA in Music from Brigham Young University and an MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Memphis. He directed four choirs: GHS Chorus I, Women’s Chorus, Chorale, and Chamber Choir. In addition to the auditioned choruses, he also sponsored four clubs: Tri-M Music Honor Society; Tempo Club, a classical music exposure club; A Ca-Fellas, a male a cappella group; and A Ca-Bellas, a female a cappella group. He has been musical director for 15 shows at the Poplar Pike Playhouse as well as one at the Harrell Theater. He has been nominated 4 times for Outstanding Musical Direction from the Orpheum High School Musical Theater Awards, which he won in 2010 for his work on Parade. He also wrote, directed and starred in the original musical Here to Stay: the Joseph Stay Story. Many of his choral works are available at Steve and his wife, Angi, have seven children.

Ryan Ellis UWRyan Ellis
Ryan Ellis is currently working on a DMA in choral conducting at UW. He has served a Teaching Assistant in both the Music and English Departments, and led a class on writing about music. Ryan is also the Music Director at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Bellevue, WA, and Conductor of Choral Sounds Northwest. Prior to studying here, Ryan conducted the Bermuda Chamber Choir and Bermuda Festival Orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music in organ performance and composition from Louisiana State University and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Massachusetts.


Elizabeth MacIsaac
Elizabeth hails from Victoria, Canada, where she was trained both as a pianist and vocalist. A deep affinity for early music  took Elizabeth to England and then France, where she worked as a soloist and taught school choirs. Upon her return to Canada, she taught at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and Brentwood College, and founded several choirs and chamber groups, including Ensemble Laude, Continuum Consort and Raincoast Voices. While primarily involved in early music as a singer, Elizabeth’s groups have had the joy of commissioning numerous new compositions. Elizabeth is in her third year of the DMA Conducting program.

imageRyan Mullaney
A native of Western Maryland, Ryan Mullaney is the co-founder and artistic director of Mountainside Baroque, an early music collective based in Cumberland, MD. Previously, Mullaney served as Director of Music at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Parish in Cumberland, and is an immediate past board member of the Allegany Arts Council. He resides in Seattle, where he is a third-year DMA student in conducting at the University of Washington where he has led the UW Opera Chorus, Men’s Glee Club, World Voices Ensemble, Campus Philharmonia Orchestra and currently serving as Assistant Conductor of the UW Chamber Singers. Additional engagements for remainder of 2016 season include a program of Handel’s Chandos Anthem, Music of Herbert Howells with UW Chamber Singers, and the Annual Festival of Lessons & Carols with his chamber choir, the Scholars of St. Cecilia. Mullaney holds degrees from Temple University (M. M. in Conducting), and Towson University (B. M. Voice).

Brenda Mohr UWBrenda Mohr
Brenda Mohr is currently completing a doctorate in choral conducting. Before coming to Seattle in 2013 she taught elementary and high school choral music for almost thirty years in Southern California. She also conducted community children’s choirs, adult church choirs, and served as a church organist. Brenda has been active as a choral festival adjudicator and clinician throughout her career. She holds a Master of Music Degree in choral conducting from California State University at Northridge and a Bachelor of Music Education from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California.

Jeremy Morada1Jeremy Morada
Jeremy Morada is currently working on a DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington.  Prior to moving to Seattle, he taught for a total of seven years from grades 3-12, with the last four years at Loma Linda Academy.  Additionally, Jeremy produced his own album entitled “Watch Ye Saints”, sang as a bass section leader in adult church/community choirs, conducted adult church choirs, travels as a singing evangelist, loves singing in contemporary a cappella groups, and enjoys composing and arranging. He holds a Master of Music Degree in Choral Conducting at California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor of Music Education at La Sierra University, Riverside, California.  You may spot him simply by finding the short, bald, Filipino guy.

Sarah Riskind

Sarah Riskind is a doctoral choral conducting student at the University of Washington, where she researches choral improvisation, Judeo-Spanish music, and Renaissance polyphony. A composer of sacred Jewish and secular choral music, she recently premiered her Oz Cantata for chorus, soloists, and string quartet with the UW Recital Choir (recordings at Ms. Riskind is the Music Director at Magnolia United Church of Christ and has been a musical scholarly writing instructor, Jewish Studies Fellow, and Choral and Music History Teaching Assistant at UW. Previously, she conducted church, community, and children’s choirs and taught music at the German International School of Boston. Informed by her work on faculty at The Walden School, an inspiring summer program for creative musicians, she advocates for developing choral singers’ musicianship and improvisational skills. She received her M.M. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and her B.A. from Williams College.

Jennifer Rodgers
Jennifer Rodgers is coming to the doctoral program from 20 years as a freelance singer, teacher, and conductor in the Washington, DC area.  She has a passion for finding out what music can do out in the world – from stretching our individual boundaries, to creating effective community partnerships, to singing our way to new perspectives on global needs.  She understands that some focusing of this passion will be required for her doctoral study, but she likes plenty of options!  Moving to a beautiful new place and having the opportunity to deeply pursue her passion at this level is a grand adventure and a dream come true.

Gerrit Scheepers
A native of South Africa, Gerrit Scheepers is the founding artistic director and conductor of Armonia Chamber Singers, an adult mixed chamber chorus based in Pretoria, South Africa. Gerrit has held choir director positions at both a middle- and high school for four years before relocating to the United States in 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Music (University of Pretoria) and a Master of Music (Missouri State University) in choral conducting studying under Dr. Cameron LaBarr. He currently resides in Seattle, where he is a first-year DMA student in choral conducting at the University of Washington and is currently serving as one of the assistant conductors of University of Washington Chorale under the leadership of Dr. Giselle Wyers. He has a keen interest in Music History, loves hiking and traveling the world.

MegStohlmannMeg Stohlmann
Meg Stohlmann is a DMA candidate in choral conducting at the University of Washington where she conducts the University Singers. She is also the director of music at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church. Originally from Santa Rosa, California, Meg spent the past 6 years teaching choir and guitar at the middle and high school level in Lexington, KY and leading the Danville Children’s Choir. She earned her Masters degree in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting from the University of Kentucky in 2009. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Meg also served on active duty in the Air Force for 5 years in Arizona, Korea and Germany. She separated from the military in 2004 to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in Music Education, which she completed in 2006 at Sonoma State University. Meg’s lifelong love of choral music began as a charter member of the Santa Rosa Children’s Chorus where she sang for over 10 years and credits with her decision to make music education her career.

David Wimett
David Wimett is currently in his second year as a Masters Student of Choral Conducting at the University of Washington. He received his Bachelors of Choral Music Education from Northern Arizona University under the direction of Dr. Edith Copley. Until his recent move to the Pacific Northwest, David performed with the Grammy Award Winning Phoenix Chorale under the direction of Charles Bruffy, and he currently sings with the Tacoma Symphony Chorus. Over the past few years David has taught multiple choral programs for schools throughout Arizona and Washington. He is also currently an active member of ACDA, NCCO, MENC and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.