Meet the Mendelssohn!

The 2019-2020 Mendelssohn Choir is made up of 140 unique, talented, and brilliant individuals.  Check back here often for profiles of our fascinating singers!

+Colin Farley, Tenor

Full Name: Colin Farley 

Neighborhood of Residence: Brookline 

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? Singing with my church choir and working at The Cheesecake Factory 

Number of Years with MCP: 7th season currently… 6 in the Core 

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: Carnegie Hall in NYC at the end of my first season 

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? Working with Stewart Copeland! 

What has surprised you most about participating in MCP? The last few seasons have been very creative with regards to programming, and it is exciting to see what fun new project we are taking on each season!

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? My earliest clear memory of singing was in 5th grade… I was offered a solo in the chorus concert and I turned it down because I didn’t want to miss recess in order to practice. 

What’s always in your refrigerator? Fruits, veggies, eggs, and cottage cheese. I try to force myself to eat healthy, but occasionally adult beverages will sneak their way into the fridge, as well. 

Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? I have a beautiful cat named Fancy… she is a rescue, so we aren’t sure of her breed. She couldn’t be more perfect, though! 

What’s on your bucket list? The Masters Tournament is always right around/on my birthday. I would love to get down there for a weekend and watch the tournament as a birthday gift to myself!

+David C. Bodette, Bass

Full Name: David (Dave) Cassidy Bodette – Cassidy is my grandmother’s maiden name.  I am often asked whether my parents were fans of the Partridge Family, and my mother gets super-irritated by the question.

Neighborhood of Residence: Strip District

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? My job as counsel for rue21 keeps me busy, but when I am not there or with MCP, I am trying new restaurants, watching soccer and hanging out with friends in the Strip District and beyond.

Number of Years with MCP: 9

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: Being at NYC Carnegie Hall in May 2014 with the PSO – especially Bruckner’s “Ave Maria” to begin the performance.

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season?   Catching up with all my friends – and making new ones – after returning from a 2-year hiatus in the Washington DC area.

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music?  Channel 35 XMU or Channel 36 AltNation on SiriusXM

What is your current favorite band or artist? Leon Bridges

What’s the best restaurant in Pittsburgh? (1) Legume/Butterjoint (2) Twisted Frenchman (3) Altius (4) Morcilla (5) Bar Marco – there are also a few new ones that I haven’t tried yet since I have returned.

What’s always in your refrigerator? Clamato, and other assorted Bloody Mary ingredients.

What is your hidden talent? I have been told that I do an “alright-alright-alright” Matthew McConaughey impression.  

+Timothy Heavner, Pianist

Full Name: Timothy Heavner

Neighborhood of Residence: Baden, PA

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? Teaching, cooking, driving my kids to their activities, practicing, and more music stuff

Number of Years with MCP: Seven

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: The first time I ever heard the PSO: Maestro Honeck gave a massive downbeat like the blow of Thor’s hammer, this incredible orchestra sitting right in front of me emitted a HUGE sound unlike anything I’ve ever heard before in my entire life, the choir roared with the first earth-shattering chord of “O Fortuna,” and I stopped breathing and thought I had died and gone to choral heaven; even my goosebumps had goosebumps!

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? Fidelio and working with Stewart Copeland

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? Jazz

What’s your pre-show ritual? I like to be alone with my own thoughts before I go on stage

Who is your biggest fan? My mom

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? I had never sung until I was a senior in high school. Our choir teacher asked if I would like to join choir “as their accompanist.” I signed up, but most of the music was a cappella so I started singing instead, and I’ve never stopped.

What’s the best restaurant in Pittsburgh? Waffles Incaffeinated

What’s your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors? Waffles Incaffeinated

What’s always in your refrigerator? Cream for my coffee, sour cream for everything else

What always brings a smile to your face? The sound of kids singing

Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? Two sweet little puppies: Wampa, a Westie, and Lucy, a small, brown cockapoo.

What is your hidden talent? Cooking is my creative outlet!

What is your most prized possession? A personal note to a much younger and cheekier me, written on a yellow stickie by Sir Georg Solti

Of what accomplishment are you most proud? Raising two wonderful sons

What’s on your bucket list? Seeing as much of the world as possible

+Daniel Banko-Ferran, Bass

Full Name: Daniel Joseph Banko-Ferran

Neighborhood of Residence: Shadyside

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I am in my first year of a PhD program at Pitt, so mostly studying at the moment!

Number of Years with MCP: 1 (this is my first year!)

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: The annual retreat was terrific. Everyone was approachable and friendly.

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I always love singing Beethoven, so I am looking forward to singing Fidelio. I have never sung it before.

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music?I like listening to dance and pop music to relax after a long day of studying!

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? Bouncing on my parent’s bed listening to Madonna’s “Frozen” as a baby!

What’s your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors? When my friends visit for the first time, I plan to take them to Southside so they can experience the amazing bar scene in Pittsburgh.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud? Singing in Carnegie Hall in high school as a choir member for a world premiere of a piece called Flowers over the Graves of War. I was interviewed by a local TV news station!

What’s on your bucket list? To visit Japan and New Zealand, and to run a marathon.

+Holly M. Furman, Soprano

Full Name: Holly M. Furman

Neighborhood of Residence: Butler, PA

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? Teaching voice and piano lessons, reading, and hanging out with my husband and dog

Number of Years with MCP: 5

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: I really enjoyed our production a few years ago of Bach’s St. John Passion, as well as our more recent production of Steve Hackman’s The Times They Are A’ Changin’, music inspired by Bob Dylan.

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I am really excited to be a part of Satan’s Fall in February. I’m curious to see how Stewart Copeland brings to life Milton’s Paradise Lost.

What is your current favorite song to sing along to? Obviously it’s Country Roads performed by John Denver.

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? My first singing performance was at the second grade talent show. My mom braided by hair and put it up on the top of my head, made me wear a floral dress, and I sang Edelweiss. I’m pretty sure that was my peak performance even now. 🙂

What’s always in your refrigerator? I LOVE La Croix.

Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? My dog Frisk is a mini dachshund/terrier mix. Weighing in at a whopping 7.25 pounds, she is the terror of the neighborhood.

What is your hidden talent? I can do 3 tricks with a fire hula hoop without getting burnt.

+Christopher L. Bartley, Bass

Full Name: Christopher L Bartley – I go by Chris

Neighborhood of Residence: Greensburg PA

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I run the music program at Pitt-Greensburg, directing two choirs, teaching music history, and overseeing music in our musical productions, and running our endowed concert series. Come check us out!

Number of Years with MCP: Rookie

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: Only a month in! But, after so many years of attending PSO and MCP concerts, of participating in backstage tours with students, it was a special thrill to finally be on stage when we had our Heinz Hall rehearsal with the orchestra and Maestro Honeck.

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? Missa Solemnis

Who is your biggest fan? Mom, of course!

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? I don’t know about first, but I can say for certain most important. I was a graduate student in Sociology at Chapel Hill, singing with the Carolina Choir and the Chamber Singers. We had the opportunity to join the Wheeling Symphony in a performance of Verdi Requiem under Rachel Worby. Fall of 1999, I believe? Bringing that work to life was the most affecting music experience of my life. Afterwards, at dinner, I said to my family there: “I’m doing the wrong thing: I should be making music.” I left my program to re-devote myself to choral music and conducting, and entered music school in AZ. I get to do what I do now because of that performance.

What’s the best restaurant in Pittsburgh? There’s more to Western PA than just the city: J Corks or Sun Dawg Café in Greensburg. Pickled Chef, Latrobe.

What’s always in your refrigerator? Home brews.

What is your hidden talent? I know some good chip tricks, but to see them, you’re going to have to play poker with me.

What is your most prized possession? I have a church pew that served as a hallway bench in my family’s house. With everyone growing up and moving on, and with parents moving around, it lived in dank storage for a while, and was in pretty bad shape when recovered. But I had it restored, and it now sits proudly in my living room. If I can take only one thing with me from my house, I’m strapping it to my back.

+Lauren Corcoran Emrich, Soprano

Full Name: Lauren Corcoran Emrich

Neighborhood of Residence: Coraopolis

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I manage PYCO School of Music & Music Store in the North Hills. Come visit me! I also teach voice lessons and actively sing with Coraopolis United Methodist Church and with other companies. I then spend as much time as I can with my husband Shane, my dog Wesson, and my family. 

Number of Years with MCP: This is my first year! 

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: I’m sure I will gather many memorable moments as we move into the season, but it was wonderful to be welcomed into this talented family of singers at retreat. 

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I’m very excited to be singing Stewart Copeland’s Satan’s Fall

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? I listen to top 40 and to my friends’ music! Check out Zealyn and Kirsten and the Pretty People.

Who is your biggest fan? Absolutely my parents! They have been to so many of my performances and supported my singing ever since I can remember. 

What’s the best restaurant in Pittsburgh? Franklin Inn. The BEST Mexican food and Margaritas in Pittsburgh. 

What’s always in your refrigerator? Cheese!

Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? Shane and I have an adorable beabull (1/8 beagle and 7/8 bulldog) named Wesson! He’s two and a half and has an Instagram @wessonthebeabull.

+Johanna Knapic, Alto

Full Name: Johanna Knapic

Neighborhood of Residence: Mt. Lebanon

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I manage Airbnb’s for a realty startup on the North Side!

Number of Years with MCP: First year

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: Going to the first rehearsal/retreat and immediately feeling welcomed because everyone is so kind

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? Singing at Heinz Hall with all of these amazing musicians!

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? Tough one. I’d say my favorite genre to listen to is indie/alt rock, and my favorite genre to sing is jazz.

What has surprised you most about participating in MCP? The humility. All singers and staff are exceptionally talented, skilled, and dedicated. They are incredible musicians and people, yet they never take it for granted.

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? Singing Jesus Loves Me at my grandma’s church

What’s always in your refrigerator? Eggs from my parents’ chickens

What always brings a smile to your face? Driving through the Fort Pitt tunnel every morning to see the beautiful city of Pittsburgh!

+Joseph Rogers, Tenor

Full Name: Joseph Rogers

Neighborhood of Residence: Squirrel Hill

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? Hiking, Road trips, Live Music

Number of Years with MCP: 0 (My first season!)

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: The cookout at MaryColleen’s house.

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I’m looking forward to exploring genres of music I haven’t performed and making some friends along the way.

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? Indie folk

What is your current favorite band or artist? Maggie Rogers

What about post-show? What do you do to celebrate/unwind? Eat lots of pizza!

What’s your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors? Randyland

Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)?

What’s on your bucket list? Visiting every state in the U.S.

+Troy Dinga, Baritone

Full Name: Troy Matthew Dinga

Neighborhood of Residence: Ford City, PA

What do you spend your time doing when you’re not singing with the choir? I’m currently working on finishing my senior comprehensive project/thesis to receive a BA in Music from Allegheny College. In the meantime, I try to be on or beside the stage as often as I can and often work with the Armstrong Community Theater (ACT) as both a performer and production team member. In my free time, I’ve been working on clearing out junk at home, visiting any number of close friends who’ve moved into Pittsburgh after school, and playing D&D and other RPGs with some of those same people online. 

Number of Years with MCP: This season will be my first year! 

Most Memorable Moment with MCP: So far, it has to be standing with a group of singers at MaryColleen’s house as part of the half that tried their best to follow whatever standards Matt found to play on the piano. 

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming (2019-2020) MCP season? I cannot wait to begin working on Satan’s Fall. The work sounds fascinating as a performer and getting to work with Stewart Copeland in person on his own work is an incredible opportunity for any musician.

Other than classical, what is your favorite genre of music? I adore listening to different interpretations of folk music and sea shanties. 

What is your current favorite song to sing along to? “Sailor Song” by Autoheart

What is your first memory of singing or connecting with a song? While I’ve felt genuinely emotional in performances prior to this instance, I remember being particularly moved while performing the song “On the Death of a Friend” by Steven Sametz, the guest director for that PMEA All-State Chorus concert. The combination of the simple but earnest text and excellent emotional sensitivity in the music itself was a powerful reminder of why I never want to lose the love I have for vocal music. 

What always brings a smile to your face? Anytime I finish a show or a concert and I get to speak with people who found themselves genuinely invested in the performance one way or another, that enthusiasm and gratitude is a gift and chance to smile without reservation that I’ll never take for granted. 

Do you have any pets? What type of animal is/are they, and what is/are their name(s)? The pet is not mine, directly, but I often help to watch and take care of my girlfriend’s dog, Boulette (“Meatball” in French). She’s a beautiful, brown pitbull and labrador mix with just the saddest amber eyes you ever did see (Boulette, not my girlfriend).