Marlon Hurst, Artistic Director
Marlon Hurst has been the Artistic Director of the Kentucky Bach Choir since the fall of 2009. A native of London, Kentucky, Marlon holds a bachelor's degree in sacred music from Cumberland College (KY) (1990) where he was a student of Dr. Joe Tarry, and a master of music in choral conducting from the University of Tennessee (1992) where he studied with Dr. David Stutzenberger. From 1997-2002, he was the Director of Music at Conyers Presbyterian Church (GA). While in the Atlanta area, he sang with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus, and in 2002 was a member of the professional chorus, the Atlanta Singers. Through the Carnegie Hall Conductor's Workshop, he has sung under the baton of Helmut Rilling, André Previn and Sir Neville Marriner. Since 2003, Marlon has lived in Kentucky where he is the Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian Church of Lexington. He is also currently serving as the President of the Board of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians.
John Linker, Accompanist
A native of Princeton, Illinois, John received a Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) in 1997 where he studied organ with Robert Reeves and Richard Hoskins, and a Master of Music degree from the Chicago Musical College (Roosevelt University) in 2003, an organ and harpsichord student of David Schrader. He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati (College-Conservatory of Music) where he studied organ with Roberta Gary and conducting with Stephen Coker and Earl Rivers. Since 2001 Linker has been Organist/Choirmaster of the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) in Lexington, Kentucky, where he leads a vibrant choir program of professional and volunteer singers of trebles and adults. In addition to liturgical work and teaching, Linker keeps busy as a recitalist and chamber musician, making numerous tours in the United States and abroad. He is an active member of the Association of Anglican Musicians, the American Guild of Organists (former Dean of the Lexington Chapter), the Organ Historical Society, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity. Linker is married to Lexington native Molly McCann Linker, and both are proud parents to a daughter named Lila and guardians to felines Nigel, Pierre, and Tom. www.johnlinker.com
J. Richard Young, Assistant Conductor, has studied, and is very active with a concert schedual in early music. He is currently completing studies for a Masters in choral conducting at Eastern Kentucky. J. Young also has an active performance schedule as an orchestral timpanist.
Richard Sowers, Founder
Richard Sowers is Director of Music Ministries for Williamsburg UMC in VA. He has served Southern Hills UMC, Christ Episcopal in Bowling Green and Abington Presbyterian near Philadelphia where he was conductor of Abington Symphony Orchestra. During his ten years as Director of Choral Activities at Lindsey Wilson College he was Music Director of Louisville Chorus and founder of Columbia Choral Society. He sang in 17 productions with Kentucky Opera Association, was an associate and artistic director for regional opera companies throughout the US, sang with Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Louisville Bach Society, won the Metropolitan Opera District Auditions, and for 4 seasons performed the title role in “The Stephen Foster Story” in Bardstown , KY . He holds degrees from University of Louisville Music School, attended Indiana University in opera and did his doctoral studies in conducting at College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. Sowers attributes his deep love of Bach to teacher-mentors Fletcher Smith, Gerhard Herz, Melvin Dickinson, Alan Harler, Julius Herford, John Alexander, John Wustman, Robert Shaw, Earl Rivers and Teri Murai.
Roberta Chase-Borgatti has a Bachelor's of Music from Boston University, as well as other advanced degrees in business and anthropology/linguistics. She has sung semi-professionally for many years in small and large choral ensembles and as a soloist, in music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century. She also sings with Musick's Company and in the choir at St Michael's Episcopal Church, both in Lexington. Roberta moved to the Bluegrass from Boston in 2007 and runs a software company with her husband, Steve Borgatti, a professor at UK. They live in Nicholasville with their two retrievers, George and Molly.
Kathi Fleming teaches elementary school music in Nicholasville, KY. She received her Bachelor's degree in Music Education from the University of Louisville in 1994. At U of L she sang in the Concert Choir, the University Singers, and was also a member of the Kentucky Opera Chorus. She received her Masters Degree in Music Education from Georgetown College, and has also received National Board Certification in music. A member of First Presbyterian Church, she sings in the Chancel Choir and the Chamber choir, and directs one of the children's choirs.
Emi Lee Hart is a native of Virginia and recently received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Kentucky in 2013. She received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA in 2007. Emi is a soprano and has performed in over thirteen operas/musicals across the United States and in Italy. Her most recent performance showed her in the role of Madame Giry from The Phantom of the Opera with the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. She performed lead roles in HMS Pinafore, Albert Herring, The Tender Land, The Medium, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Die Fledermaus. Emi currently works as the Assistant Program Director of UKOT's Academy for Creative Excellence. She also maintains a private voice studio in Lexington and is a section leader in the First Presbyterian Church Choir of Lexington.
Tiffany Marsh has been choral director at Western Hills High School in Frankfort since 2004, where she also enjoys teaching AP Music Theory, piano keyboarding classes, and arts and humanities. In addition she has served as music department head and SBDM council member. In 2011 she earned her National Board Teaching Certification. Tiffany's other professional responsibilities have included: KMEA District 7 Choral Chair, newsletter editor of KYACDA's The Kenductor, and Kentucky Ambassadors of Music program staff member. Tiffany received her Bachelor of Music Education degree in voice and piano and Master of Music Performance in Choral Conducting, at the University of Louisville School of Music, studying primarily with Dr. Kent Hatteberg. While at UofL Tiffany was fortunate to sing with the Collegiate Chorale, Cardinal Singers and Early Music Ensemble. Since living in the Lexington area, she has also had the opportunity to sing with the early music group Musick's Company. Tiffany is originally from Southern Indiana, but now resides in Midway with her husband Ryan and dog Cosmo.
Susan Carey is a charter member of the Lexington Bach Choir and has been active in the Bluegrass area music scene as a vocalist and accompanist since moving to Lexington. She studied vocal performance and music education at the University of Michigan, Anderson University and Transylvania University. Over the last 35 years she has performed with both students and faculty in concerts and recitals at Transylvania University, University of Kentucky, Bluegrass area high schools, KMEA choral events, the Georgetown Choral Society, Lexington Singers and Musick's Company. She has served as organist/pianist at several area churches and enjoys joining young musicians weekly as accompanist for the Firebird Chamber Ensemble, an group of mostly flutes for beginning ensemble players of all ages.
Shaunita Phillips is a Visiting Professor of Voice at Centre College in Danville, Ky., and maintains a private voice studio at the Danville Community Arts Center. She is also the soprano soloist/section leader at St. John's Episcopal Church in Versailles, KY. Before moving back to her hometown two years ago, she was a voice instructor at Pellissippi State Community College and Carson Newman College near Knoxville, where she also served as vocal coach of the Lyric Theatre and director of the Opera Workshop. She received her B.M. degree in Voice from the University of Kentucky, where she received the Ralph McCracken Award in Music Performance, and her M.M. in Voice from the University of Tennessee. She also did post-graduate work at the University of Memphis, where she was awarded a Höhenberg-Scheidt Young Artist Fellowship, and at Shenandoah Conservatory where she studied commercial vocal pedagogy. She has also served on the voice faculties of Trevecca Nazarene University and Centre College, and has taught with Hartt School of Music's Community Division, the largest of its kind, instructing in voice and musical theatre. She is a member of NATS, Pi Kappa Lambda, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Phi Eta Sigma.
Ms. Phillips remains an active soloist, and has performed regionally in almost every genre. In addition to opera, oratorio, and musical theatre, she is very experienced in popular music styles, and has sung in radio commercials, in the independent film Into Thy Narrow Bed, and in Nashville studio recordings. Most recently, she was seen as the alto soloist in The Presbyterian Church's performance of The Messiah and at Norton Center for the Arts in Richard Ford's Bolts of Melody, where she sang the part of Emily Dickinson. She currently studies with Dennis Bender at the University of Kentucky.
Stephanie Rose, MD, MPH, is an internist and clinical researcher in obesity at the University of Kentucky. As an undergraduate at the University of Louisville (UofL) she majored in Spanish and Music with an emphasis in voice. She participated in several choral ensembles while at UofL including Collegiate Chorale, University Singers, and Collegium Musicum, an early music ensemble, and had roles in several operas. While at UofL, she and colleagues formed an early music ensemble called the Renoque Consort where she acted as lead singer and played soprano and alto recorder during performances that included the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. She has sung semi-professionally for years both in solo and ensemble settings including the Kentucky Opera Chorus, Farmington Historical Home in Louisville, and the Back Bay Chorale in Boston, Ma. She has performed as section leader and cantor at many churches and weddings, and continues to perform in these roles, as well as to participate in choral opportunities.
Originally from Dallas, mezzo-soprano Melissa Snow-Groves grew up in Louisville, KY. Since winning a full-tuition scholarship in the 2009 Alltech Competition, Melissa has been a recurrent soloist with the Kentucky Bach Choir, with concerts broadcast on WEKU radio. Her operatic credits with UK Opera Theatre include Stephano in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus and Second Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. She has also performed the role of the Mother in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as appearances with both Kentucky Opera and Cincinnati Opera. She appears regularly as soloist with the UK Chorale, most recently in Mozart's Missa Brevis in D Major. Ms. Snow-Groves studies with Cynthia Lawrence while pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree at UK.
Nancy Vickers works as a National Program Administrator at The Council of State Governments. She has a Ph.D. in religious education, and a Master's degree in Christian Education with a Church Music Conducting minor. She studied voice privately, and has sung in ensembles and church choirs for many years, as well as the Birmingham (AL) Symphony Chorus.
J. Richard Young has studied, and is very active with a concert schedual in early music. He is currently completing studies for a Masters in choral conducting at Eastern Kentucky. J. Young also has an active performance schedule as an orchestral timpanist.
Tom Drury is originally from Harrodsburg, KY but now resides in Lexington. He has been singing myriad styles of music since childhood. Fortune gave him the opportunity to have studied voice under both Phyllis Jenness and Everett McCorvey while at the University of Kentucky. He was also a fixture for many years in the choir at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. When not working for the United States Postal Service, he enjoys engaging in random number generation and spirited conversation.
Matt Gabbard holds degrees in music (vocal performance) from Georgetown College and from the University of Louisville (choral conducting). While at UofL, he studied under Dr. Kent Hatteberg, and sang in the Collegiate Chorale, which performed at the inauguration of president George W. Bush in 2001. Matt served as minister of music at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Jasper, IN, and First Baptist Church in Huntingburg, IN. He currently fills his days caring for his son at home, and working as a part-time certified flight instructor. He and his wife, Christi, also have two children.
Josh Hamilton, a native of Lexington, is a graduate of Lafayette High School. While at LHS he was active in the choir and band programs; both of which have a reputation of being among the finest in the state. Josh later attended the University of Louisville where he received his B.M. in Music Education and his M.M. in Choral Conducting while studying with Dr. Kent Hatteberg. During his time at U of L, Josh was a member of the University’s Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers. Through membership in these ensembles, he was afforded the great opportunity to perform throughout the United States and the world. These opportunities led to performances at numerous ACDA regional and national conferences, along with appearances at various international chamber choir competitions. In addition to these credits at U of L, Josh has served several churches in the Louisville area as a tenor section leader. He also performed with groups in the Louisville area including the Louisville Choral Arts Society, Kentucky Vocal Union, and is currently singing with the newly formed Louisville Chamber Choir. Josh holds professional affiliations with the ACDA, KMEA, Barbershop Harmony Society, and the Phi Mu Alpha National Music Fraternity. Josh currently resides in Lexington, where he is in his first year as the choir director at Tates Creek Middle School.
Pyoung Kim, a native of South Korea, was an accomplished singer and choral conductor before arriving in the U.S. in 2005. He earned a Bachelors degree in Choral Conducting at Presbyterian College of Theological Seminary in Korea. Since coming to the U.S., Mr. Kim earned a Music Masters degree in Choral Conducting and has pursued doctoral studies at the University of Washington. He has founded and directed many community choirs including Seattle Children's and Youth choir in Seattle area, Jung-An Women's Choir in Bay Area, CA. As a soloist, he also has performed with various groups such as Tacoma Symphony and Chorus, and Kentucky Bach Choir. Now, he is directing Concert Choir, Conducting Class, and Voice studio at Kentucky Christian University. Prior to joining to KCU, Mr. Kim also taught voice students as a visiting vocal clinician at Morehead State University and conducted Morehead State Men's Chorus. Now, Mr. Kim is directing Harrodsburg Christian Church choir as a music director.
Carl Wagoner is currently the Pastor of Victory Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lexington, where he has served since 2001. Throughout his career, he has been an active student, teacher and performer of "classical" choral music. He studied voice under Phyllis Jenness at the University of Kentucky from 1977-1982. He also studied with Melissa Baber and Randall Black. While at the University he also sang in the University Chorus, Choristers and Chorale, as well as the Collegium Musicum. Upon receiving his BA in voice in 1982 he pursued a Master's Degree in Conducting under the supervision of Sara Holroyd and Philip Miller. During this study he was acting Director of Choral Activities at the University for 1 year. His Thesis work included a presentation of Bach's Cantata 106 Gottes Zeit ist die Allerbeste Zeit. He received the MM Degree in December of 1983. Since 1983 he has served as Minister of Music at North Middletown Christian Church (DOC), 1st Presbyterian Church, Mt. Sterling KY, and Lafayette Christian Church (DOC), in Lexington. From 2005-2009 he served as Music Director and Adjunct Professor of Church Music at Lexington Theological Seminary.
Tenor Whit Whitaker, a native of Detroit, MI who now resides in Lexington, KY, earned his Bachelor's of Music degree from the University of Kentucky, where he studied voice under acclaimed voice teacher Dr. Everett McCorvey, Director of Opera Studies and founder of the internationally known American Spiritual Ensemble, and Prof. Emeritus Phyllis Jenness who was founding Director of Opera of Central Kentucky and former Director of the world-traveled Lexington Singers. He had the privilege of studying voice with his first teacher, composer and conductor, Charles Lloyd, Jr., who is at present, Director of Voice and Choral Studies at Southern University at Baton Rouge, while attending Kentucky State University; and after transferring to the University of Kentucky he also received vocal coaching from accompanists/coaches Prof. Cliff Jackson, noted accompanist for opera soprano Kathleen Battle and composer/accompanist Dr. Tedrin Blair Lindsey.
Mr. Whitaker began his journey into music at age 8 when he began playing violin, but did not begin singing until he was 15. He has performed in England, Spain, France, and Canada as well as throughout the United States as a soloist of Negro Spirituals, Anglican Church music and Broadway show tunes as well as a member of many choral ensembles, including the American Spiritual Ensemble, The Lexington Singers, The Lexington Bach Choir, New Voices Vocal Jazz Ensemble, The Brazeal Dennard Chorale, and The Good Shepherd Canterbury and Parish Choirs. He has also played many regional and local stages performing musical theatre, plays, and operas, garnering such roles as Sportin' Life (Porgy & Bess), The King of Siam (The King and I), Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote (Don Quixote), Fred Graham/Pertruchio (Kiss Me Kate), Judas (Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell), Man 1 and choreographer (Ain't Misbehavin'), Tom Robinson (To Kill a Mockingbird), George Murchison (A Raisin in the Sun), Private CJ Memphis (A Soldier's Story), Godfrey Crump (Crumbs from the Table of Joy), Bardolfo (Falstaff), Mr. Kofner (The Consul) and Betto (Gianni Schicchi). Mr. Whitaker makes frequent guest appearances as a solo a concert soloist with his musical partner Diana Hallman. He continues to tour nationally and internationally with the American Spiritual Ensemble, of which he is a charter member since 1997 and performs with the Lexington Singers and the Kentucky Bach Choir of which he has been a proud to be a member since 2007
Christopher Baker is originally from the "Kentucki-ana" area around Louisville, Kentucky. Since joining the Kentucky Bach Choir's talented ranks in the Spring of 2010, he has been frequently called upon as a bass soloist. Christopher recently completed his master's degree in vocal performance from the University of Kentucky. With UK Opera Theater, his mainstage operatic roles have included Thomas Lincoln and James Rutledge in the world premiere of River of Time, Benoit and Alcindoro in La Bohème, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Tobias in the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri's Hotel Casablanca, Zuniga in Carmen, and the Marquis D'Obigny in La Traviata. With the Kentucky Symphony, Mr. Baker has sung the role of Count Ceprano in Rigoletto and Kentucky Opera he has performed the roles of Ambrogio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Captain Petrovich in Eugene Onegin, and Uncle Yakuside in Madama Butterfly. In addition to his opera credits, he has performed the role of Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar with Music Theatre of Louisville. Christopher is currently bass soloist and section leader at First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky under the direction of Marlon Hurst.
Richard Dirksen's career began in 1956 as treble soloist of the Washington Cathedral Choir and continued as bass soloist from 1969-88. Over the years he performed as guest artist with choral societies in Washington, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Venice, (IT), and other cities. Often featured as Christus in the Bach Passions, his extensive solo repertoire includes the works of Bach, Verdi, Brahms, Faure, Durufle, Schuetz, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Monteverdi, and others. He was in world premieres of Bernstein's MASS, Menotti's The Egg, and Brubeck's Light in the Wilderness, and, in 2008, performed the title role in Britten's Noye's Fludde with Bruce Neswick in Atlanta. His chamber repertoire spans Josquin and Byrd to contemporary premieres by Bayolo and Curillo at the National Gallery of Art (2010). Solo recitals include Schubert's Winterreise, Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death, and Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs, and he is featured on recordings of the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Cathedral Choral Society, and the Cathedral Choir. Mr. Dirksen was appointed Ringing Master of Washington Cathedral's ring of 10 English peal bells in 1965, and taught change ringing there until his recent retirement to Lexington, KY.
Ryan Marsh is a native of Floyd Knobs, Indiana. He attended the University of Louisville School of Music from 1997 to 2003 where he earned the Bachelor of Music Education degree in piano and voice, and Master of Music Performance in Choral Conducting. His primary choral conducting study was with Dr. Kent Hatteberg. While at UofL he sang in the Collegiate Chorale and Cardinal Singers . Ryan has also studied with Dr. Jefferson Johnson at the University of Kentucky. He received National Board Certification for teaching in 2011. Ryan has an interest in choral music on the international scene and has attended and sung in international choral competitions. He has also served as an adjudicator for Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) contests and festivals on several occasions. Ryan is a staff member of the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music European program representing the Central Kentucky region. Ryan has served as District 7 All-State Chorus Chair, and most recently ended a two-year term as Kentucky Music Educator Association State Choral Division Chair in which he also served on the state board of directors, executive committee and festival commission. Ryan is proud to direct the Lafayette Chorale, Singers, Madrigals, and Men's Chorus. He also teaches AP Music Theory for the Lafayette School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) music majors, Introduction to Music Technology, and serves as music department chair. And in 2005 Ryan led Lafayette through the process of becoming a nationally recognized Grammy Signature School.
KBC Alumni Singers
Jung Jin Baek
Dr. John W. Campbell
Jeff Jones, alumnus Accompanist and Assistant Conductor
Board of Directors
John Christopher, Vice President
Nancy J. Vickers, Secretary
Rod Brotherton, Treasurer
Members at large:
Ben Arnold, Richard Dirksen, Pamela Jenkins, William James Marshall, Audrey Rooney, Dan Rowland, Meg Saunders, Denise Smith