• Mission statement: To enrich the lives of our singers, audiences, and communities and to sustain the tradition of the choral arts by presenting superior performances of sacred and secular music.
  • "We are blessed to have a director and an accompanist who are not only extremely talented at what they do, but also engender a love of fine music and instill that desire and dedication to giving our very best in each one of us."
    Betty Cunningham, alto
  • "The opportunity to be a part of this enthusiastic group of singers is a real joy! It has been said that "music washes away from the soul the dust of every-day life." If this is so, then making music with the chorale under the direction of Michael Main provides the polish and the shine."
    Ellen Adams, soprano
  • "An amateur singer my entire life, I have sung with various groups all over the U.S... I carefully researched several area choruses until I found just the "right" choral fit for me - the ACW. It is a tremendous JOY to be singing again with such a wonderful group, a superb director, and most capable accompanist. Hooray!"
    Barb Savidge, tenor

Testimonials

"The Arts Chorale of Winchester is a musical experience worthy of notice by all who love music in Winchester and beyond."
-Owen W. Lowe

"What a joyful time I'm having! Inspiring music, wonderful friendships, and a top-notch director and accompanist."
-Carole Pumphrey

"I have participated in church choirs all of my life with no formal training. Michael has taken my enjoyment and personal enrichment of music to new levels. He teaches us skills that carry over from season to season. It's hard work, but the results are a new high for me."
-Dave Thalman, baritone

Solo Quartet for Haydn’s Mass in Bb, “Theresienmesse”

Rachel Evangeline Barham, soprano
Shauna Kreidler Michels, mezzo-soprano
Steven Cramer, tenor
James Rogers, bass

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American soprano Rachel Evangeline Barham, whose singing has been described by The Washington Post as “superb,” is known for importing her keen sense of theatrical performance to the concert repertoire. In addition to her specialty in Baroque music (Poppea is a favorite role), Ms. Barham is sought after by composers due to her vocal versatility and sensitivity to text. She has received rave reviews for her chamber opera performances at the Capital Fringe Festival, starring as Cassie in Andrew Earle Simpson’s opera The Outcasts of Poker Flat (2012), where she “devoured her meaty role” (Robert Battey, The Washington Post); in 2010, she was chosen as a Fringe Favorite musical performer for her leading role as Sonia in Kyle Gullings’s opera Oblivion. She created the role of Mrs. Simpson in Maurice Saylor’s 2009 opera Unfinished Sermons (a parable for church performance) and also premiered Saylor’s controversial and award-winning song set Laudis Corona (composed for her).

Ms. Barham was chosen as one of The City Choir of Washington’s 2012 Young American Artists and received critical acclaim for her performances of Magnificat settings of Bach, Stanford, Mozart, and Berio (a Washington-area premiere); and has returned to The City Choir for a Handel program (2012) and Haydn’s Creation (2013). She performed tributes for the 300th anniversary of Buxtehude’s death at the 2007 American Guild of Organists’ Mid-Atlantic regional convention in Baltimore and on the Westminster Presbyterian Organ Concert Series in Charlottesville, Virginia. She has also made solo appearances at the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) and the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Concert and oratorio work includes Handel’s Brockes Passion, Carissimi’s Jephte; Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s Der Messias, Bach’s “Lutheran” Mass in F Major, BWV 233, and Reinhard Keiser’s St. Mark Passion with Cantate Chamber Singers; Bach’s Coffee Cantata at the Grace Church Bach Festival; Handel’s Messiah with the NIH Orchestra; and solo appearances with the Great Noise Ensemble in Steve Reich’s Tehillim, Armando Bayolo’s Towards Golgotha, and Louis Andriessen’s is for Man, Music, Mozart (as a “non-classical soprano”). A creative and innovative recitalist, she has performed frequently in the DC area as well as in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Hawaii.

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Shenandoah Conservatory alumna Shauna Kreidler Michels, noted for her “vocal energy, unfailing technique and expressive nuance,” is a sought-after soloist and consort singer in the

greater Washington, D.C. area.

Ms. Kreidler Michels has appeared as a soloist with the City Choir of Washington, the Washington Master Chorale, the Front Royal Oratorio Society, Baroque ensemble Three-Notch’d Road, the choir of Ascension and St. Agnes, the Shenandoah Arts Academy Chorale, Six Degree Singers, the Trinity Chamber Orchestra, and as a guest soloist at many regional establishments. She has performed withgroups ranging from the National Symphony Orchestra to the new-music powerhouse Great Noise Ensemble. Regional and world premiere performances include Louis Andriessen’s La Commedia, Tawnie Olson’s No Capacity to Consent, and Baltimore composer Joshua Bornfield’s Reconstruction and Beatis Videamus, as well as works by Lori Laitman, Jennifer Higdon, Robert Kyr, Donald McCullough, and Julian Wachner.

Oratorio solo credits include Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Carissimi’s Jepthe, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël, Verdi’s Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor, Kodaly’s Missa Brevis, Stravinsky’s Mass, Parker’s Melodious Accord, Rutter’s Magnificat, and Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion.

Currently, she is a founding member of the professional vocal ensembles Third Practice (D.C./Baltimore) and Church Circle Singers (Annapolis); an ensemble member and soloist with the Washington Master Chorale and the Washington Master Chorale Chamber Singers; and a staff soprano in the all-professional choir of St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church. She can be heard on recordings with the Washington Master Chorale (The Earth and I, This Endris Night), Washington Revels (Hard Times Come Again No More, Sing and Rejoice), and the choir of St. Stephen Martyr (O Crux Ave, Natalis Domini).

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Stephen Paul Cramer made his Broadway debut in 2000 in the New York production of Les Misérables, performing the role of Jean Valjean.  Before coming to Broadway, Stephen spent 3 years in the U.S. and Canadian national tours of Les Misérables.  During a six month stay in Toronto, he had the opportunity to work with Colm Wilkinson.  In 2007, Stephen sang the role of Tony in the 50th Anniversary salute to West Side Story produced by Signature Theatre, performed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Cramer repeated his performance of Jean Valjean in Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre’s production of Les Misérables.  Other regional theatre credits include, King Arthur in Spamalot, My Fair Lady at California Music Theatre, Down at the Old Bull and Bush at Arena Stage’s Old Vat, and playing Rev. Shaw Moore in Footloose at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre.  Other roles include Ralph in H.M.S. Pinafore, Tony in West Side Story, and Billy Bigelow in Carousel.

Mr. Cramer is a 6 time Helen Hayes Award nominee.  In 1994, he was honored with the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Interact Theatre at The Lansburg Theatre in Washington D.C.  Stephen is no stranger to oratorio and opera as well as musical theatre.  Classical roles include Alfredo in La Traviata, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, the tenor soloist in Bruckner’s Te Deum with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, and the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony for The Lawton Philharmonic in Oklahoma!

Stephen entertained national audiences portraying Santa at the National Christmas Tree Lighting in December 2008, and on the stage of the Kennedy Center in 2010 as The Dragon in John Rutter’s operetta, The Reluctant Dragon.

Stephen is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

James Rogers

Hailed by The Washington Post as a “superb soloist” with a “sensitively turned lyric baritone”, Washington, D.C.-based James Rogers has been active in genres ranging from Viennese operetta to classical Lieder to challenging new works of the 21st century.  He has created several opera roles in his career, including Howard Bright in Kyle Gullings’s Oblivion (2010 Capital Fringe),

Father/Narrator in Gregg Martin’s Life in Death (Kennedy Center Millenium Stage; 2009 Capital Fringe), Apollo in Andrew Simpson’s The Furies (2006, Catholic University – guest artist), Oakhurst in Simpson’s The Outcasts of Poker Flat (2012 Capital Fringe), and John Sloat in Damon Ferrante’s Super Double Lite (2004, SymphonySpace, New York).  Other opera roles include the title roles of Don Giovanni (Opera AACC) and Noye’s Fludde (Cantate Chamber Singers), Danilo Danilowitsch and Baron Mirko Zeta in The Merry Widow (Washington Savoyards, Opera AACC), Uberto in La serva padrona and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti (Inscape Chamber Orchestra), Albert inWerther (Opera Vivente), the Traveler in Curlew River (Cantate Chamber Singers), Lord Mountararat in Iolanthe, Captain Corcoran and Dick Deadeye in HMS Pinafore (Young Victorian Theatre Company), Escamillo in La tragédie de Carmen, Lescaut in Manon, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Music Master in Ariadne auf Naxos—the last four at the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Marianna Busching and Wayne Conner.

As an oratorio soloist, Mr. Rogers has performed such works as Messiah (Cantate Chamber Singers, the combined choirs of Hood College and the U. S. Naval Academy, Prince George’s Choral Society), The Creation, Dettingen Te Deum (The City Choir of Washington), Carmina Burana (World Bank/IMF Choral Society), J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (New Dominion Chorale) and Magnificat (Reston Chorale) and his cantata, BWV 56 “Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen”, as well as the Requiems of Brahms (Washington Summer Sings!) and Fauré (Annapolis Chorale, Library of Congress Chorale). In addition, he has appeared regularly with Urban Arias and on the pops series of the Annapolis Chorale. Between 2009 and 2012, he and a chamber group of other Peabody Conservatory alumni presented Ligeti’s Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia; New York’s 92nd Street Y; and Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, under the baton of Leon Fleisher.

As a member of the group Festa della Voce, he was heard in recital at such Washington-area venues as the Corcoran Gallery and the Embassies of Italy, Switzerland, and Canada. In solo recital, he has given world or North American premières of works by composers including Mikis Theodorakis, Paul Kletzki, Toby Twining, Richard Lake, and Benjamin CS Boyle.