Accomplished musicians to perform Sunday at First Congregational Church of Tonganoxie
The First Congregational Church of Tonganoxie is hosting a Christmas concert featuring a trio of accomplished musicians.
The concert, which the community is invited to attend, will be 7 p.m. Sunday at the church, 303. E. Fourth St. The concert will consist of traditional Advent lessons and the music of Handel’s “Messiah” performed by concert pianist Ellen Sommer and friends Anthony Rohr and Jayne Siemens.
Here is a closer look at who will be performing Sunday in Tonganoxie:
From Dickinson, N.D., Rohr currently is pursuing his master’s in vocal performance at the Kansas University. There, he studies with John Stephens. Recently, Anthony was seen singing the role of Basilio in KU’s production of “The Marriage of Figaro.” He also sang with the chorus in “Silent Night” for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, was Jean Val Jean in “Les Miserables” during his undergraduate career and presently enjoys his teaching role as a graduate teaching assistant at KU. Anthony’s future engagements include KU’s upcoming operas, “Comedy on a Bridge” and “Mr. Petitpois Buys a Castle.”
Next fall, he will be fulfilling two new dreams by writing music for and directing a musical to be used as a community education event. The show reveals the compelling history of social support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in North Dakota.
A soprano, Siemens first garnered attention at age 5 as the best squirrel in the Wichita Children’s Theater improvisational class where she also made her professional stage debut in fourth grade as Little Boy Blue with actress Helen Hayes. She discovered her singing voice that same year, which led to the Interlochen Academy of the Arts in high school, a scholarship to the University of Michigan and a master’s in opera from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where she was a Fulbright Scholar.
She performed leading roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and has sung with the Greater Miamia Opera, Bern Switzerland Stadtheater and the South Bank Theater in London. She also performed with some of the most prestigious singers in the opera business, such as Kiri te Kanawa and Samuel Ramey.
Jayne will be performing at the Second Thursday Recital Series at Village Presbyterian Church and the Lunch and Listen series at Venue Visitation in 2016. When not warbling to the howling obbligato of her Welsh Corgi Quinnie, Siemens is president and founder of Venice Communications, Inc., an integrated marketing, visual storytelling, public relations and social media company.
She is also a board member of the Folly Theater.
Sommer is a much sought-after collaborative pianist, chamber musician and vocal coach. She performs extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Central America, South America and Asia.
Her most recent engagements have included concerts and master classes at the University of Costa Rica. She is a founding member of Allegresse, a trio composed of Margaret Marco, oboe, and Anne Gnojek, flute. Allegresse recently performed at the International Double Reed conference in Tokyo, August 2015.
In addition to recitals and tours, Sommer serves as a pianist for regional, national and international competitions and festivals, as well as recital series and radio broadcasts. Additionally, she coaches and performs at the Sound Encounters Suzuki Strings camp and the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program in Ottawa, as well as the Omaha Conservatory of Music Summer Institute. Most recently, she was hired as the collaborative piano coordinator at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Sommer has participated in several professional recordings, including four under the auspices of Potenza Records. In addition to recordings, Sommer performed the music of American composer, Bryan Kip Haaheim for the Showtime movie, “Fall From Grace.”
From 1994-2004, she was on the keyboard and voice faculty at Missouri Western University where her students received high honors in state and regional competitions. Currently Sommer is a lecturer in Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music at KU. She performs regularly with members of the KU music faculty on recitals and concert tours. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Missouri Western University, Sommer has studied with Richard Cass, Jerry L. Anderson, Pia Sebastiani, Rita Sloan, and Robert Koenig.