Graduate Students

Tom Informal PhotoThomas 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.


Molly Barnes holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal performance from Pacific Lutheran University and works in greater Seattle-Tacoma area as a soprano, church musician, conductor and musical theater director. Molly is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Music Education with an emphasis in choral conducting.


Joel Bevington graduated in May 2007 from Emory University/Candler School of Theology with a Master of Music in Organ and where he served as the Cannon Chapel Organist and the Music Director. His Bachelor of Music in organ degree is from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music where he also studied choral music and conducting. He served for seven years as Director of Music Ministry at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church in New Orleans. He is from Albany, Oregon, where his parents, both teachers and musicians, live.


Alonso Brizuela is pursuing an Masters of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington. Since his graduation from Pacific Lutheran University in 2014 (BME), Alonso taught choir and guitar for two years at Ridgeline Middle School in Yelm, WA, and is currently in his second year conducting the Men’s Choir with Tacoma Youth Chorus in Tacoma, WA.

Mr. Brizuela is an active member of the choral community in the Tacoma area singing in PLU’s Choral Union, and a member of local ACDA, WMEA, and NAfME chapters.

Elisabeth Cherland is a conductor, singer, song leader, violinist, music educator, and Lutheran church musician originally from Saskatchewan, Canada. She comes to the UW Choral Conducting DMA program from Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center near Chelan, WA where she was the Village Musician for two years. Prior to Holden, 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. 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’s research interests include feminist scholarship, hymnody, song leading, and narrative inquiry. 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.

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.

For more information about his conducting pursuits as well as his compositions, visit his website at Many of his choral works are also available at

Steve and his wife, Angi, have seven children and live in Lacey.

Anna Frisch is currently pursuing an MM in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington. She received her undergraduate degree and teaching certification in Music Education from Gonzaga University in Spokane.

Prior to her studies at University of Washington, Anna was the Director of Choral Activities at the Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale, Arizona. During her years at Notre Dame Preparatory, she established the school’s first concert choir and chorus ensembles. Her groups participated and were highly ranked in local and out of state Heritage Festivals and invitationals. Anna additionally served as the music director for Notre Dame Preparatory’s spring musicals.

Anna enjoys traveling, running, and eating delicious food prepared by others in her free time.

This last academic year, Ben Luedcke was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Monmouth College where he conducted the Monmouth Chorale and Chamber Choir, and taught music theory and voice.  Ben has also served as faculty at Grinnell College, where he conducted both the Grinnell Singers and the Grinnell Oratorio Society, and taught an introduction to music theory and voice.  Ben is currently the director of Voces Aestatis, a Wisconsin-based professional choir that specializes in the a cappella repertoire of the sixteenth century.  Additionally, he is the founder and artistic director of Madison Summer Choir, a large chorus that performs choral orchestral works each summer.

Ben completed his Master of Arts in choral conducting at the University of Iowa and begins his Doctor of Musical Arts this fall at University of Washington.  For five years Ben was the founder and conductor of UW Men’s Choir at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is excited to have the opportunity to be one of the conductors of the UW Men’s Glee.


Frederick Bayani Mabalot is an American composer and choral conductor from Los Angeles, California. He is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington School of Music. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree in composition at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Australia where he graduated with First Class Honours. At Sydney Conservatorium, Frederick studied composition with Dr. Michael Smetanin, Dr. Matthew Hindson, and Dr. Paul Stanhope, voice with Anke Höppner, and choral conducting with Dr. Neil McEwan. He assisted Dr. McEwan as choir manager and conductor for both the Conservatorium Chamber Choir and Large Concert Choir, and was guest conductor for the highly acclaimed Christ Church Saint Laurence Church Choir Sydney in McEwan’s absence.

Frederick completed a Master of Music degree in composition at The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen where he studied with internationally renowned Danish composers Hans Abrahamsen, Niels Rosing-Schow, and Jeppe Just Christensen, voice with Helene Gjerris and Jan Lund, and conducting with Jørgen Fuglebaek. Frederick holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from California State University in Northridge where he studied voice with Dr. David Scott, piano with Charles Fierro and Dr. Jeanine Jacobson, choral conducting with Dr. Paul Smith, and orchestral conducting with Professor Gary Pratt.

He has been a member of numerous collegiate and professional choral ensembles and has worked and performed as a choral conductor in the United States and overseas.He has held several choral conducting, organist, and accompanist positions for various churches within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is currently the Director of Music and Liturgy at Church of the Assumption in Bellingham, Washington, and the conductor and co-founder of Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium Voices. Frederick’s website:

Elizabeth Nice holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an Emphasis in Vocal Performance from California State University, Chico. She served as Director of Music, Choir Director, and Cantor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Chico, California from 2011 to 2016. She has been a Choral Scholar at St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church, Chico, CA; St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, Chico, CA; and currently Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church in Seattle, WA. She was Assistant Director and Vocal Coach for the Notre Dame School Elementary and Junior High Choirs. Recipient of numerous scholarships and Young Artist Awards for voice, Elizabeth is pleased to be making the transition from soprano to conductor.

Lígia Pucci is  from São Paulo, Brazil. She began her music studies at the São Paulo State Conservatory under the tutelage of Daniel Matos. Ms. Pucci is a recent graduate Teaching Fellow with a Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, where she studied in-depth pedagogy with Dr. Samuel Holland, and Dr. Catherine Lysinger, and piano performance with Dr. Lysinger.

Ms. Pucci has participated in numerous masterclasses and festivals, the most recent ones being Brancaleoni Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy, Houston International Piano Festival, Festival de Musica de Santa Catarina, among others.

As a conductor, Ms. Pucci has participated in masterclasses, with James Jordan, Bruce Chamberlain, and Elizabeth Schauer. Ms. Pucci served as the Assistant Conductor for the Florida Gulf Coast University Choirs,  Music Director at the Estero United Methodist Church, and Assistant Music Director at Lamb of God Lutheran-Episcopal Church, Music Director at the Florida Repertory Theatre, where she directed music for three consecutive seasons.

Lígia is highly passionate about performing as well as teaching, and believes firmly that every great teacher should be a good performer. In addition to extensive teaching experience, Ms. Pucci’s collaborative experience is extensive, and her most recent projects include the performance of new works with Duo Scordatura, Syzygy (contemporary music ensemble at SMU). She is currently pursuing a degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington in Seattle.

If Ms. Pucci is not teaching, practicing or at school, you can find her learning new recipes, trying every coffeeshop in sight, and spending time with her loved ones.

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 is a second year doctoral student.  She comes to the program from 20 years as a freelance singer, voice teacher, and conductor in the Washington, DC area.  Much of her work is focused on adult avocational singers and lifelong singing pedagogy.  On the east coast, she was the Artistic Director of the Vienna Choral Society and the Director of Music for the UU Congregation of Rockville, as well as a private voice teacher.

She is the founder and executive director of Plunge! Cabaret, a non-profit theater that works to creatively unite higher education and community service organizations. Jennifer holds a B.Mus. in vocal performance from Ithaca College and an M.M. in Opera Theater from the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland.  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.

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.

Meg Stohlmann is a DMA candidate in choral conducting at the University of Washington where she has conducted the University Singers and Men’s Glee Club. She is also the director of music at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church and a Teaching Artist with Seattle Opera. Originally from Santa Rosa, California, Meg taught choir and guitar at the middle and high school level in Lexington, KY and conducted 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