Information About Our Singers

Dave Balzer – Tenor

Where were you before coming to AZ?  Minnesota for 41 years.  My wife and I are still snowbirds.

How did you become a singer?  I’ve sung in several church choirs.  I joined the Men’s Glee Club in college and toured around the country and in Europe. I joined the East Central Minnesota Community Chorale as an adult. After becoming a snowbird I joined the WVC in 2013.

What did you do before retirement?  I taught school in Minnesota. 

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group?  Verdi’s Requiem 

Charlene Bradley – Soprano

 Where were you before coming to AZ?   Southern California for 28 years.

How did you become a singer?   Sang in church choirs and musicals from the time I was a young child, in High School I was in choir and continuing on through my adult years in church choirs.

What did you do before retirement?  35 years as a Salvation Army Officer/Pastor. Ministry in Salvation Army churches, Youth Centers and at our Training College for Salvation Army officers.  I’m also a Registered Nurse.

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group?  I think it was “Cloudburst” by Eric Whitacre with WVC.

Gail Christianer – Alto

Where were you before coming to AZ?  Seattle for 20 years

How did you become a singer?  Sang with my Dad in church choir in high school and played flute; but didn’t make music again until after my husband’s death when I joined a community chorus to sing the Verdi Requiem and was hooked.

What did you do before retirement?  Technical Services Manager for research division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group? “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre with WVC

Miriam Dotson – Alto

Where were you before coming to AZ?  I was a lifetime Minnesotan.

How did you become a singer?  My mom was an accomplished musician and encouraged me from an early age to be involved in music.

What did you do before retirement?  I was a teacher for 37 years, teaching elementary, special education, and driver’s education.

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group?  We had such a strong high school choir and singing “Oh Day Full of Grace” was my favorite of all songs in all choirs.   It became a tradition for high school graduations.

Joanne Gorelick

Where were you before coming to AZ? Before moving to Phoenix in 2001, I grew up in Milwaukee, Wi.

How did you become a singer?  I always loved to sing. Studied piano from age 10 to 18. Began singing at age 13. Studied voice for many years with several different teachers in Milwaukee.  While in Milwaukee I sang with Skylight Opera Theatre ( El Capitan  by Gilbert & Sullivan & A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim), Milwaukee Opera Company, and The Bay Players. In total I have sung in over 60 musicals, Operas & Operettas. I LOVE Musical theatre of all kinds!! 

What did you do before retirement?  Way before retirement I taught Emotionally Disturbed children for 11 years in Milwaukee. Then became a Supervisor in Gift Registry at Marshall Fields. Once we moved to Phoenix, I got my Insurance Licenses and became a Corporate Trainer for AAA.  As a Corporate trainer I had to travel a lot which meant I was unable to do anything with my music.  Some years before I retired, I studied with Jerry Harkey and Ruth Koritan and got back to music.  Finally some friends mentioned WVC and how awesome they were,so I auditioned and here I am!! 

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.

Kathy Grenning – Soprano

Where were you before coming to AZ?  NW Suburbs of Chicago IL — Born and raised in Mt. Prospect, raised children in Schaumburg, empty nested in Spring Grove – moved to AZ last August.

How did you become a singer? Started in choirs – both school and church as a 7th grader.  Been at it ever since!

 What did you do before retirement?  Well, we aren’t really retired yet – wanted to get in place before that, so my husband is still working full time and I am working at a new part-time job.  But, in answer to the question – at one time or another I’ve been: a music teacher, stay-at-home mom, executive administrative assistant, customer service rep, and lots of volunteer activities

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group – Can’t answer that. I loved Durufle’s Requiem, Bach Mass in B Minor, Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Soulful Celebration, I could go on but there’s no point in that.  Right now I’d have to say I’m really enjoying learning the Poulenc and Lauridsen pieces!

Patti Grice – Soprano

Where were you before coming to AZ? Cincinnati for 8 yrs and before that South Bend, IN.

How did you become a singer? I have always sung as far back as I can remember.

What did you do before retirement? I was a Real Estate Broker in northern Indiana for 12 years. Prior to that I have been in retail management, and was a costumer & designer for musical theater and opera.

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group? Hum, Carmina Burana with The October Festival Choir in Cincinnati, or the Wagner chorus’ with a small opera company my husband and I started in South Bend, IN.

Stephen Miller – Tenor

 Where were you before coming to AZ?  We moved to AZ from northern Indiana in 1972 because since I was a young child I hated cold, snowy weather.

I had finished my masters degree in Social Work and was working in a small mental health clinic in Northeastern Indiana before moving to AZ in 1972. I worked for two mental health agencies here in Phoenix for 5 years before joining a small group of professionals in a private psychotherapy practice. I left private practice in 2002 and for the next 5 years worked for TriWest Healthcare Alliance managing inpatient mental health benefits for the military – active duty and retired.

How did you become a singer?  I heard about the WVC from my wife who was working with the staff at Desert Palms Presbyterian Church and attended one of the concerts the chorale did with the H.S. Choir in the spring of 2012. I had sung in choral groups since high school and was looking to join a group when we attended the concert. I decided that night I wanted to sing with a group of this quality and called Ken to audition which I did and joined that fall. This has been the most challenging and rewarding group with which I have ever sung. I’m so glad I made the decision to join.

Most interesting piece you’ve sung with a group?  Hayden’s Creation.