Featured Artists

Halley Gilbert, Soprano


Critically-acclaimed soprano Halley Gilbert, a resident of Nutley, New Jersey, has established herself as a vocal and dramatic force to be reckoned with. As the saucy comedienne in Utopia Opera’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos, James Jorden of the New York Observer wrote, “Stealing the show was Halley Gilbert as Zerbinetta, flinging out crystalline trills, arpeggios, staccati, and roulades with an almost lazy insouciance. The warmth and depth of her soprano illuminated the character’s simpler, more lyric lines that in many performances get lost in the shuffle.” She has performed multiple leading roles with Bronx Opera, including Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Constanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Birdie in Regina, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, Violetta in La Traviata, and Lucy in the US premiere of Kirke Mechem’s The Rivals. 

A fan of performing new works, Halley premiered as the soprano soloist in Rautavaara’s Vigilia with the Great Music in a Great Space concert series, David Gilbert’s Toward the One (Greenwich Symphony), and Three Songs of Youth (Eastman School of Music), and many more. Other roles include Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Cunégonde in Candide, Gilda in Rigoletto, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Le feu in L’enfant et les sortileges, Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe,Marzelline in Fidelio, and Frasquita in Carmen. She performed with companies including New Jersey State Repertory Opera, Opera Company of Brooklyn, New York Lyric Opera Theatre, and Opera for Humanity.  

Halley is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where her roles included Female Chorus in Rape of Lucretia, Arminda in La finta giardiniera, and La Fée in Cendrillon. She has made solo concert appearances with the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City), Great Music in a Great Space concert series, Pensacola Symphony, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Music at Christ Church Oyster Bay, and Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Her diverse repertoire includes Mahler’s Second Symphony, Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, Mozart’s Requiem, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor

Halley has enjoyed considerable success in competition, placing first in the Jenny Lind Competition, the Opera Idol Competition New York City, the Steinway Hall Vocal Competition, and Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, she is an alumna of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Manhattan School of Music’s Preparatory Division, and New York University’s Deutsches Haus.

Heather Houchens, Director, Greenspun Junior High School

Barry Isbell, Palo Verde High School, Director

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MOSTLY MOZART Masterworks Concert

Amy Cofield, Soprano


Amy Cofield is a highly sought-after performer and teacher. Praised by the New York Times for her “lovely, rich tone,” Ms. Cofield has performed to critical acclaim across the U.S. and in Italy, France, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, England, Santo Domingo, Guam, Taiwan and Japan. Highly regarded for her technical facility, beauty of interpretation and an arresting presence, her recent debuts included performances of Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 as well as Opera concerts: A Grand Night For Grand Opera with Space Coast Symphony (FL), Bach’s B Minor Mass and Handel’s Messiah with the Brevard Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, a return to Annapolis Chorale and Chamber Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah and a debut with Opera Orlando performing the role of Minnie. Requiem. Ms. Cofield has performed as a frequent soloist with the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society!

Exsultate Jubilate by Mozart
Eric Eichorst, Accompanist
June, 30, 2021

Chi’il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine by Puccini
Jean Black – Pianist
(Indian River City United Methodist Church in Titusville, FL, Nov. 28, 2020)

Hear ye Israel! from Elijah
(SNMAS Masterworks Concert at Artemus Ham Concert Hall, Nov. 27, 2016)

Laudamus te from Grand Mass in C Minor by Mozart
(SNMAS Masterworks Concert at Artemus Ham Concert Hall, Nov. 29, 2015)

Valeria Sokolova Ore, Mezzo Soprano


Valeria Sokolova Ore is a native of Ekaterinburg, Russia. She has performed as a choir master and has also been a member of the following choirs in Ekaterinburg: the Municipal Choir, Ascension, Choral, and jazz-ensemble – Ekaterina that have toured the former Soviet Union, Germany, and France. Ms. Sokolova Ore has performed the roles of Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana, Ellen in Three Sisters Who are Not Sisters, and the Sorceress/Spirit in Dido and Aeneas. She has been a soloist of the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society and performs with the Gateway Arts Foundation in Las Vegas. Ms. Sokolova Ore was First Prize winner for the 2021 Spring Music and Second Prize Winner for the 2021 Baroque Music at the Charleston International Music Competition. Valeria Sokolova resides in Las Vegas Nevada, where she performs as both a collaborative pianist and a singer. She is currently pursuing a DMA at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, School of Music. For more information, please visit her website: www.uralmezzo.com.

Stariy Muzh (Old Husband) by A. Verstovsky
Philip Fortenberry – Pianist
Doctorate Chamber Recital at Dr. Rando-Grillot Recital Hall, Dec. 8, 2019

Ride on, King Jesus! by F. H. Johnson
Philip Fortenberry – Pianist
Doctorate Chamber Recital at Dr. Rando-Grillot Recital Hall, Dec. 8, 2019

Gloria (Excerpt) from Harmoniemesse by Joseph Haydn
SNMAS Masterworks Concert at Artemus Ham Concert Hall, Nov. 2, 2014

Wohl euch, ihr auserwählten Seelen (Excerpt) from Cantata 34
O Ewiges, Feuer, O Ursprung der Liebe” by J.S. Bach
SNMAS Masterworks Concert at Artemus Ham Concert Hall, Nov. 10, 2013

Marco Valera, Tenor


Marco Varela started his classical vocal studies at Televisa Studios in Mexico City, where he was born. Mr. Varela pursued a degree in business management at UNLV while under a music scholarship. Shortly after graduation, he began his professional opera career with the Seattle Opera Company. Mr. Varela produced a collection of arias in his “Trilogia” recording on CD and continues to perform throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. He is an active member of both the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). He leads an active performing schedule singing in private events, local opera companies, and fundraisers. In addition, he supports many non-profit organizations. Mr. Valera sings with the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Chorus when they perform with Andrea Bocelli at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He often provides the tenor solos in Mr. Bocelli’s stead during the practice rehearsals and final dress rehearsal. Mr. Varela has also performed for international diplomats and on live television.

Carnell Johnson, Baritone

Carnell Johnson was born and raised in Las Vegas Nevada. He graduated from Green Valley High School in 2000 where he was awarded the “Performing Arts Student of the Year.” He earned his Bachelors of Music Education with a vocal emphasis (including classical opera training) from UNLV in 2006. He has performed in various operas such as Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, Madame Butterfly, and Carmen. His musical credits include Ragtime (with San Diego Musical Theatre), Tarzan: The Musical, Smokey Joe’s Café, Once on This Island, Les Misérables, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Putting It Together, and Hair: The Musical. His most recent career path has led him to be the Premier National Anthem singer for the Vegas Golden Knights where he is known as “Vegas Golden Pipes.” He’s also sung the National Anthem for the Las Vegas Raiders (the first to sing at Allegiant Stadium), the Las Vegas Aces, the Las Vegas Aviators, Vegas Lights FC, and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Carnell also performed as a singing gondolier at the Venetian for many years. He continues to sing at other various venues in Las Vegas entertaining people of all ages


Martha Gronemeier, Violinist

Eric Eichorst Accompanist


Martha Gronemeier has an active career, which includes performing, private teaching and string sectional coaching. Martha received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Northern Illinois University, where she studied with members of the Vermeer quartet. She then earned her Masters of Music in violin performance from the University of Arizona. In addition to maintaining a large private lesson studio, Martha has taught both Middle School and High School orchestras as a long-term substitute, as well as coaching string sectionals in public schools and for area youth orchestras. Additionally, Martha spent 11 years as adjunct music faculty at UNLV teaching such classes as Music Appreciation, Ear Training and Music Fundamentals. Martha’s performing experiences have been quite diverse, as far as genre and types of groups, and include venues in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. She has also performed with many stars on the Las Vegas Strip. Martha’s TV and DVD credits include the PBS special “Hitman,” “David Foster and Friends,” “Sarah Brightman‘s Harem Tour, Live from Las Vegas,” Academy of Country Music award shows, a Merle Haggard television Special, and Jerry Lewis MDA telethons. Martha is currently Associate Concertmaster of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Concertmaster of the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society Orchestra.

Eric Eichorst teaches elementary music at Louis Wiener Elementary school and holds a master’s degree in piano performance at the University of South Dakota. He has been a staff accompanist at the Interlochen summers arts campus. He is in his 12th season as the Musical Arts Society accompanist.

Adoration by Borowski
(Rando Hall, June 16, 2021)

Ave Maria by Bach-Gounod
(Rando Hall, June 16, 2021)

Ashokan Farewell by Jay Unger
(Rando Hall, June 16, 2021)

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Athena Mertes, Soprano

Michael Polutnik, Director, Desert Oasis High School

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