2015-2016 Student Bios

Aaron Agulay, baritone


After undergraduate study in his native Canada, Aaron Agulay did an Artist’s Diploma at the Oberlin Conservatory studying with Richard Miller. He then attended the University of Maryland for his Masters degree, and in the Opera Studio there, he sang the roles of Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) , Marquis de la Force (Dialogues des Carmelites) , Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin) . He was a participant in the Gerdine Young Artist program of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. There he sang as Mr. Lindquist in “A Little Night Music ” directed by American fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi . At the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts he sang John Brooke in Little Women by John Adamo . He was baritone soloist in ” The Wound-Dresser ” by John Adams under the composer’s leadership.  He was a Young Artist in the Bonfils-Stanton Apprentice Artist Program at the Central City Opera, where he sang Traveler (Curlew River) , John/Tom (Face on the Barroom Floor) , Elder Ott ( Susannah ) and Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor) . He participated in a  master class with Marilyn Horne at Carnegie Hall in 2008, he was winner of the Annapolis Opera Competition in 2009 , and was awarded the audience prize. At the Opera House Zurich, he performed as Larkens ( La Fanciulla del West) , madrigalist ( Gesualdo ) , Silvano ( Un Ballo in Maschera ) , Leuthold ( Guillaume Tell) , Coryphée ( Le Comte Ory ) , Christiano ( Poliuto ) and as Willhelm  ( Les contes d’ Hoffmann ). He was Masetto with the Don Giovanni cast of Theater Magdeburg in the historic spa facilities and Goethe – Theater Bad Lauchstaedt . He played the role of Dandini ( La Cenerentola ) and the lead role as Leif in ” The Rage of Life ” an opera by Igor and Elena Kats- Chernin Bauersima the season 2012/2013 Stadttheater Bern . In 2013, he was Papageno in the JMU Opera Theater production of Die Zauberflöte, and will appear as Marcello in this year’s production of La bohème. Aaron is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at JMU.


Randall Criswell Ball, tenor

Randall BallBorn in Texas, Randall Criswell Ball began his vocal career at Baylor University to study with master voice teacher Dr. John Van Cura. There he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Vocal Performance. At Baylor, he performed the roles of Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro), Le Chevalier (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), and Ferrando (Così fan tutte). He also successfully created the role of P.T. Barnum in the 2004 World Premier of Libby Larson’s Barnum’s Bird. In the autumn of 2004, Mr. Ball joined the Boston University Opera Institute where he sang the roles of Bill (A Hand of Bridge) Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Il Podesta (La Finta Giardiniera), Joe/Charlie (Youkalli/Mahagonny) Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), and Arkady (A Month in the Country). In 2006, he performed as a soloist at Boston Lyric Opera’s annual Opera Gala. Mr. Ball won first place in the 2002 TEXOMA NATS Graduate Men division, as well as the Baylor Opera’s Most Valuable Member in both 2003 and 2004. He was a finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition in 2006, and semi-finalist in the Michael Ballam Concorso Lirico International Opera Competition in 2009.o joined several opera companies for their summer festival seasons. In the summers of 2005, 2006, and 2009 he sang with Utah Festival Opera in Logan, Utah. As a Festival Artist, he covered the roles of Rodolfo (La bohéme), Judge Danforth (The Crucible), Turiddu (Cavalleria rusticana), and Canio (Pagliacci). He was also chosen as the tenor soloist for Haydn’s The Creation in 2005. In the summer of 2003, Mr. Ball joined Santa Fe Opera’s Apprentice Program for Singers, where he covered the roles of Ványa Kudryás (Kátya Kabanová) and Achille (Le Belle Hélène). During the summer of 2002, Mr. Ball sang with Opera North’s Apprentice Program, where he sang the role of Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea). Mr. Ball was a member of the International Opera Studio at the Zürich Opernhaus from the autumn of 2006 untill the summer of 2008. In his time there he performed many leading and supporting roles such as Captain Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera, Tamino in the Die Zauberflöte and made his Zürich Opernhaus debut in Busoni’s Doktor Faust. During his time in Switzerland, Mr. Ball performed over 250 performances in opera, musical theatre, and concert repertoire. In the autumn of 2009, Mr. Ball started his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree (DMA) at James Madison University where he portrayed the role of Don José in Bizet’s Carmen, and studies with Prof. Kevin McMillan. Other roles performed with JMU Opera include Basilio (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Alfred (Die Fledermaus). Mr. Ball sang the famous cycle Die schöne Müllerin by Schubert for his first Doctoral Recital in the spring of 2010. Randall is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at JMU.


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Andrew Bawden, baritone

Originally from Springfield, Illinois, Andrew Bawden is a Bronze Tablet Scholar and graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his opera performances included roles in Die Zauberflöte, La Traviata, the Impresario, Gianni Schicchi, Madame Butterfly, and Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti. Following his undergraduate vocal training, Bawden completed a three-year certification program under Joan and Alex Murray to teach the Alexander Technique. He has given master classes and informational presentations about the Alexander Technique at Shenandoah University, Black Hills State Institute of the Arts (with soprano Johanna Meier), Nazareth College, and the Eastman School of Music. In his recent home in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, he was a professional chorister with Washington National Opera at the Ken nedy Center and a frequent solo oratorio performer. His solo oratorio engagements included multiple performances of the Duruflé Requiem and Händel’s Messiah, as well as the Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Brahms’ A German Requiem. He also debuted with Opera Vivente of Baltimore as Ceprano in an innovative production of Rigoletto. Bawden completed his graduate studies in voice performance at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where in December, 2006 he made his solo debut in the Eastman Theatre as the bass soloist for the Mozart Mass in c minor (version completed by Robert Levin) with the musicologist in attendance. At Eastman he performed the role of Le Roy in Lully’s Thesée under Grammy nominee lutenist, Paul O’Dette, and sang the role of Count Carl-Magnus in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.  Other engagements at Eastman included solos from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Hans Sachs in a performance of excerpts of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. While attending Eastman, Bawden was the first-place award winner and audience favorite award winner of the Rochester Classical Idol Vocal Competition, and as a result performed as a guest soloist with the Rochester Oratorio Society.  He has also been a semi-finalist in the national Orpheus Voice Competition held in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Other solo opera appearances include Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Top in The Tender Land with Mercury Opera (Rochester), as well as Morales in Carmen at the Ash Lawn Opera Festival.  Bawden was recently a resident artist with Tri-Cities Opera of Binghamton, NY where he sang many roles: Marullo in Rigoletto, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Bob in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief, Valentin in Faust, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Cesare Angelotti in Tosca, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, and  Belcore in L’elisir d’amore.  He recently performed Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (Cambridge, NY). Earlier in 2012, he achieved 2nd place in The American Prize in Vocal Performance—Friedrich & Virginia Schorr Memorial Awards—college/university art song division. Bawden, who also won The American Prize—Chicago Opera Award earlier this spring, was selected from scores of applications reviewed from all across the United States. Currently he is a Doctoral candidate in the School of Music at James Madison University, where he has performed the role of Falke in Die Fledermaus, the  role of Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’amore, and as the baritone soloist in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. He performed the role of Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the James Madison University Opera Theater. Andrew is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at JMU.

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 Jordan Robert Davidson, tenor

Jordan DavidsonHailing from Northern New York, Jordan Robert Davidson is a tenor whose abilities exceed the limitations set by any one setting or genre. He has been and will continue to pursue opportunities in musical theatre, opera, concert, and recital. Known for his kind-hearted nature, beautiful tone, unbelievable stage presence, and his ability to truly “bring a character to life”; Jordan commands any performance by meeting the challenges set before him with a strong work ethic and determination. Mr. Davidson holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education and Performance Certificate from the Crane School of Music and the State University of New York at Potsdam. He is currently a candidate for the M.M. in Vocal Performance at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia with a Full In-state Graduate Assistantship (studying under the Grammy-award winning baritone, Kevin McMillan). While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Jordan competed in several competitions. Placing first, for three consecutive years, at the NATS Regional Competition in both classical voice and musical theatre. Mr. Davidson has also taken first place at the Civic Morning Musicals Competition held at Onondaga Community College; competing against singers attending competitive music programs throughout New York State. Fluent in both classical and the contemporary commercial repertoire, Mr. Davidson has participated in a nine-week summer program with the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, Massachusetts performing in ten musical theatre shows. In addition to Jordan’s summer engagement, he has had the opportunity of producing and performing in two Broadway Cabarets in which one was taken to New York City and performed at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre on Christopher Street. Taking the stage as Gabey, in Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town, provided Jordan with the opportunity to sing for Lisa Vroman, a world-renowned “crossover” soprano, who not only graduated from the Crane School of Music but also grew up in Northern New York. Other master classes include internationally acclaimed soprano, Christine Brewer, Rossini tenor, Lawrence Brownlee, and Metropolitan Opera star, mezzo-soprano, Stephanie Blythe, with whom Jordan had the unique opportunity to perform with in recital. Past performance credits include: Florville (Il signor Bruschino), Max Scruples (The Impressario), King Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Andrew Carnes (Oklahoma!), Editor (Wonderful Town), Conductor (On The Twentieth Century), Harrison Howell (Kiss Me Kate), Toison (The Vagabond King), Tantinnan (Call Me Madam), Tenor Trio (Sweeney Todd), Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), Gabey (On The Town), Albert (Albert Herring), Dema (L’Egisto). This summer, Jordan Robert lived in Saratoga Springs, NY performing on the Roster of the 2013 Studio Artist Program with Opera Saratoga. Jordan will be singing in the Chorus for Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, as well as performing in recitals and master classes in the surrounding community. Jordan is a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at JMU.

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Erik Grendahl, baritone

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Baritone Erik Grendahl graduated from Bluestone High School in Skipwith, Virginia in 2012. Before attending JMU, Erik performed in several musical theatre productions playing roles such as Curly in Oklahoma!; Harold Hill  in The Music Man; Kenickie in Grease; Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie; Oliver Warbucks in Annie; The Beast in Beauty and the Beast; and Young Ebenezer in Scrooge the Musical.

Since joining the JMU School of Music in the fall of 2012, Erik has been in several JMU Opera Theatre productions such as L’elisir d’amore and Die Zauberflöte. He has portrayed the Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance, and Captain Corcoran in H.M.S Pinafore.

Other opera roles include Antonio and Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, and Dunois in the Philadelphia premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans. In the 2014 summer Erik competed and won the national round of the NATS Auditions for lower collegiate males.

Erik is currently a Senior pursuing a degree in vocal performance.



Nelia Maurizi, soprano


Nelia Maurizi, soprano, is a Sophomore Vocal Music Education major at James Madison University. She previously attended W. T. Woodson in Fairfax, Virginia where she sang in the Select Vocal Ensemble and Select Women’s Ensemble as well as the all female acapella group, The Pitch Pipes. In her senior year, Nelia sang in the 2012 VMEA Honors Choir directed by Dr. Kevin Fenton from Florida State University. Nelia is a current member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) at JMU and the University Women’s Chorus. Nelia is currently a Junior pursuing a degree in Music Education.



 Zoe-Elizabeth McCray , soprano



Zoe-Elizabeth McCray is a Senior soprano vocal performance major at James Madison University. Her previous singing credits include Godspell (“Bless the Lord” soloist), Seussical (Sour Kangaroo), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Rona), All Shook Up (Sylvia u/s and featured soloist), Die Zauberflöte (chorus), H.M.S. Pinafore (chorus), and Così fan tutte (Fiordiligi). Zoe has been a member of the University Women’s Chorus, Treble Chamber Choir, JMU Masterworks Chorale and The Madison Singers. She has been Music Director of Note-Oriety, James Madison’s premiere all-female acappella group. Most recently, she sang in the Vivaldi – Dixit Dominus and Bach – Matthäuspassion at the 2014 Staunton Music Festival.




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Katharine Procell, soprano

Senior, Katharine Procell (soprano) is a vocal performance major at JMU. She has appeared in productions of La bohème -Puccini, Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Cleopatra) – HandelCosì fan tutte (Despina) – Mozart, H.M.S. Pinafore –Sullivan, and Die Zauberflöte (Zweiten Knabe) – Mozart. She recently made her debut with the JMU Symphony and Chorale, as soprano soloist in Carmina Burana. Katie has also played the cello for ten years and has played with the JMU Symphony Orchestra as well as other ensembles at JMU and in the community. She has sung with the JMU Masterworks Chorale and in other choirs in the Harrisonburg area. Most recently, she sang in the Vivaldi – Dixit Dominus and Bach – Matthäuspassion at the 2014 Staunton Music Festival.





Raiquan Thomas, bass

Raiquan Thomas

Raiquan Thomas, bass, attended Churchland High School and The Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts where he studied Vocal Music . He was the highest ranked Bass II in All-District Chorus. He performed in the choruses of the operas Hansel and Gretel – Humperdinck , The Mikado – Sullivan, Così fan tutte – Mozart , and Dido and Aeneas – Purcell . This past March he debuted in his first principal role as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte. He placed in the Omega Psi fraternity talent hunt . In his High school yearbook , he was voted “most talented”. He was awarded first place in the local and regional rounds of the Bland Scholarship Competition in 2013 and 2014 . He also was awarded first place in the 2014 Portsmouth Public Schools Soloist Competition and is a recipient of numerous scholarships: from the Scherzo Music Club, the Virginia Choral Society , the 200 + Men club, C.S Sherwood III, the Beazley Foundation, A.J Lancaster, James Madison University , and the Hampton Roads Choir Directors/Organist’s Guild. He has been recognized by many city officials of Portsmouth ,Va , including the Mayor and he was featured in a newspaper article which made the front page of the Virginia Pilot entitled “Songs of Success”. Raiquan is a Sophomore Voice Major in Performance  at JMU.




Kyle Yampiro, baritone


Kyle Yampiro is a graduate student at James Madison University, pursuing a DMA degree in Vocal Performance. He recently completed his Bachelor’s in Applied Voice at the University of Delaware, where he was very active in many musical areas. At JMU, he completed his Master’s degree, and has performed the roles of Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) and Siméon (Debussy’s L’enfant Prodigue) with JMU Opera Theater. He has also appeared as a featured soloist in the Chamber Orchestra and University Choirs’ performance of Weber’s Mass in G, Op. 78. This November, he will be performing the roles of Gabriel von Eisenstein and Frank in the mainstage production of Die Fledermaus. He is currently studying voice with Prof. Kevin McMillan. At Delaware, Kyle was an active member of UD Opera Theatre, both as a performer and student production assistant. He performed the roles of Dick McGann (Street Scene), Major-General Stanley (The Pirates of Penzance), Antonio (The Marriage of Figaro), and Sid (Albert Herring) and served as Assistant Stage Manager for Cosí fan tutte, Assistant Director for The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Publicity Director for The Marriage of Figaro. He was a member of the award-winning UD Chorale under the direction of Dr. Paul Head, which included a tour of Chinese universities in Shanghai and Beijing as well as a performance of Mozart’s Requiem with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Kyle was an active member and musical director of Vocal Point, one of UD’s premier co-ed a cappella groups. He also performed in various instrumental ensembles, including Pep Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Ensemble II, and Delaware Steel, mostly on trombone. He studied voice and opera with Dr. Blake Smith. Kyle began with a strong background in musical theatre, performing various roles in high school, including Sergeant of Police (The Pirates of Penzance), The Baker (Into the Woods), and Curly (Oklahoma!).  He spent many summers performing with the Broadway Blockbusters theatre group and performed roles such as Doody (Grease), Sir Harry (Once Upon A Mattress), and Schlomo (Fame!). For the past two summers, he has been a member of the vocal company for College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, MA, a summer stock program where he performed numerous musical theatre and operetta roles, including Ko-Ko (The Mikado), Col. Pickering (My Fair Lady), Nathan Detroit (Guys and Dolls), The Usher (Trial By Jury), Judge Turpin (Sweeney Todd), Cosmo Constantine (Call Me Madam), and Padre (Man of La Mancha). For information on Kyle’s upcoming events, resumé, and contact information, please visit www.kyleyampiro.com.


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