This year has seen much growth within our various music ministries. Our youth singers, choristers, consort, and bell choir all got off to a wonderful start in September and the Choir of St. Gregory’s saw the addition of four new section leaders. We are gearing up for the Christmas season and are in preparation for Advent morning worship services, concerts, carol services, and Christmas Eve with many extra rehearsals scheduled over the next several weeks. If you’ve ever thought of joining one of our choirs, now is the time! If you are musically inclined and have experience singing or playing an instrument, we’d love to have you!

I’m very pleased to introduce our new choral section leaders, Catherine Gaines, Soprano; Paulina Arango, Alto; Bryan Ijames, Tenor; Chase Wheeler, Bass/Baritone. They are a tremendous blessing and asset to the choir and you will be hearing them quite a bit during the coming seasons of Advent and Christmas as they will be singing solos and various acapella motets during services and concerts. They are enjoying visiting with all of you after services each Sunday during coffee hour, and, so that you may get to know them and better appreciate their fine talents and beautiful voices, here is a little information about each of them.

Catherine Gaines hails from Kansas City, MO and received her Bachelor of Opera Performance Degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Catherine performed on Broadway in the role of Jenny Lind in Barnum; National Tours and Regional Theatres of many musicals and has sung in Choirs throughout the United States (her first long-term professional job was at the age of 15 as Soprano Soloist with the Westport Methodist Church in Kansas City). She performed on board several Cruise Lines as a Featured Guest Entertainer, where she met her Italian husband, Carlo.

Catherine currently is performing with the Master Chorale of South Florida and contracts the Guest Entertainers for both Regent and Oceania Cruise Lines. She spends her summers performing and working in Italy. Catherine states that she “is thrilled to be part of such a warm, talented and caring choir at St. Gregory’s.”

Bryan Anthony Ijames, a native of North Carolina, recently finished his first year of teaching having relocated to Florida from Richmond, Kentucky. Bryan is pleased to join the Performing Arts Faculty at Park Vista Community High School as the Director of Choirs. He completed his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at Eastern Kentucky University located in Richmond, Kentucky where he studied private conducting, choral literature, and rehearsal techniques under composer, conductor, scholar, Richard Waters in 2014. Bryan completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music at High Point University in 2012 and during his time in High Point he was the conductor of the Genesis Gospel Choir, a student lead organization established out of the chapel. Bryan is also an avid church musician completing one year at Frirst United Methodist Church of New Smyrna Beach. He has performed as tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Bryan is an active member of American Choral Directors Association, National Association of Music Education and its affiliates: Florida Music Education Association and Florida Vocal Association. Bryan states that he “enjoys the difficulty and quality of the music the choir sings” and loves being with everyone at St. Gregory’s.

Paulina Arango comes to St. Gregory’s by way of Columbia, South America. A student at FAU, she studies music and voice and performs with several ensembles including the Madrigal Singers. She has appeared in numerous FAU productions and enjoys singing around the region. When not in school or singing at St. Gregory’s, Paula enjoys reading a good book and dancing. She says she is “having a wonderful time at St. Gregory’s!”

Chase Wheeler is a lyric baritone born and raised in South Florida. He graduated with a Vocal Performance degree at Florida Atlantic University and works as a freelance classical singer as well as a private studio teacher in voice, piano, guitar, trumpet, oboe, flute, and clarinet. Chase intends on continuing his education to graduate level in the near future. A former Junior Olympian, Chase enjoys swimming and is also an amateur chef, cooking all types of cuisine. He says that he “loves to sing at St. Gregory’s and is enjoying being with all the wonderful people in the choir!”