CHRISTINE JARQUIO NICHOLS
Christine Jarquio Nichols is an active music educator, singer, conductor, and pianist in Columbia. She is in her sixth year of teaching middle school choral music, with which she is completely in love. Christine is the Artistic Director of the Columbia Public Schools 5th Grade Honors Choir; directs and accompanies various ensembles with the Columbia Youth Choirs; music directs shows with the University of Missouri's Summer Repertory Theatre (theatre.missouri.edu); and maintains a small private voice studio. She is a frequent vocal concert soloist in the mid-Missouri area. Her most memorable operatic role was singing the sassy Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. She has also performed the role of Hänsel in Humperdinck’s Hänsel and Gretel with her own middle school students singing in the children’s chorus! Christine enjoys singing in professional choral ensembles Prometheus (www.prometheusmusic.org), Pro-Arte Saint Louis (www.proartestl.org), and Vox Nova. She holds a dual M.M. in Voice Performance and Choral Conducting and a B.S. in Vocal Music Education from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Christina Ray is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at University of Missouri-Kansas City with Dr. Aidan Soder. She made her debut with UMKC Opera as Hänsel this fall in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. Ms. Ray completed a M.M. at Louisiana State University, and also holds a B.M. from the University of Missouri. She has portrayed several leading roles, including Zosha in Part One of Jake Heggie's Out of Darkness, Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri, The Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, Katisha in The Mikado, and Béatrice in Béatrice et Bénédict. Ms. Ray has also participated in past summer with programs such as Opera in the Ozarks and Opera Academy of California, where she portrayed title roles in La cenerentola and Il Giasone. She was a recipient of the 2016 Encouragement Award at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, in the Little Rock, AR district.
Betsy Jane Bledsoe
Betsy Jane Bledsoe graduated from the University of Missouri (BM) and Michigan State University (MM) in vocal performance. During her collegiate years she performed several operatic and musical theater roles, including Serpetta in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera, Franca Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza, The Moon in Caroline, or Change, and Luisa in MSU's Summer Circle Theater's The Fantasticks. She was also a winner of the 2012 Missouri NATS graduate division competition. A native and resident of Kansas City, Betsy has fallen in love with the local musical theater scene. Her favorite past roles include Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), Guenevere (Camelot), Cinderella (Into the Woods), and Kate Monster (Avenue Q). In February 2018 Betsy made her debut as music director and conductor for Olathe Civic Theatre Association’s Sunday in the Park with George by Stephen Sondheim. An accomplished saxophonist at Mizzou, Betsy founded the Missing Pearl Saxophone Quartet in 2016 and has performed in the orchestra for shows at Musical Theater Heritage in Crown Center. In July 2019 Betsy will star as Marian Paroo in The Music Man at Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park. Fall 2019 she is excited to be part of Landlocked Opera’s inaugural season as music director for Beatrice et Benedict, an opera comique by Hector Berlioz based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. In between all the music gigs Betsy directs and arranges music for the Asbury United Methodist Handbell Choir, works as a pharmacy technician at Children's Mercy Hospital, and geeks out playing Dungeons & Dragons. She has been a member of Vox Nova since 2015.
Mickey Miller performs regularly in operatic, choral, and chamber settings. Recent solo performances include Yotam Haber's "Scene X from The Voice Imitator", Mozart’s Requiem, Dinos Constatidines’ Rosanna, and Nico Muhly’s "Object Songs." Previous operatic roles include Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Anne Truelove (The Rake’s Progress), Yum-Yum (The Mikado), Johanna (Sweeney Todd), Geraldine (A Hand of Bridge), and Abigail Williams (The Crucible). This season, she joins her friends in Vox Nova (Missouri) and Red Shift Choir (Baton Rouge) for a series of contemporary choral works. In October, Miller revisits the role of Baroness Angelina (Rosanna) in recital at Carnegie Hall. Mickey holds a B.M. from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an M.M. from Louisiana State University, and begins Bowling Green State University’s Doctorate in Contemporary Music this August.
Rachel Gerlt graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2008, and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the same University in 2010. During that time, she was very active in the choral and opera programs at MU. She has been a music educator in the public school system in rural Mid-Missouri for 9 years now. She spent seven of those years teaching middle and high school choir at Eldon R-1 School District and is now teaching K-12 vocal music in her hometown of Russellville, Missouri. In addition to teaching she has had multiple opportunities to sing and direct with churches and community groups in the Mid-Missouri area.