The Choir at Fort Street is under the direction of Marilyn Biery and sings for the 11:00 a.m. worship service from September through June. Rehearsals are on Sunday mornings from 9:30-10:30 in the choir loft. No audition is necessary, and new members are always welcome.
The Choir sings a variety of repertoire from Baroque to modern day. If schedules do not permit an ongoing commitment, members are welcome to sing for a particular time period, such as for Christmas or Easter. For further information, contact Marilyn Biery, Music Director/Organist.
Leslie Douglass Mason, soprano
Armed with a voice that has been described as a cannon, soprano Leslie Mason has been delighting audiences since 2007, when she completed her master’s degree in vocal performance at Bowling Green State University.
In 2005, she earned an undergraduate degree in vocal performance from Eastern Michigan University. Ms. Mason recently performed the roles of Micaela from Carmen and Lady Billows from Albert Herring with Opera MODO. Ms. Mason recently won the Opera MODO Detroit Aria Competition, including the Christ Church Detroit and Audience Choice prizes, and will be singing in Opera MODO’s upcoming production of Turn of the Screw as Miss Jessel, the dead governess. She is also on the voice faculty at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, teaches a private voice studio, performs classic jazz with her husband, Jesse, and is mother to four children who, according to Jesse, “have their mother’s pipes.”
Kaswanna Kanyinda, mezzo-soprano
Kaswanna Kanyinda received a Bachelor of Music degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where she filled various operatic roles, among them Annio in La Clemenza di Tito, Aunt Lou in Highway #1 USA, and Zita in Gianni Schicchi. As a member of the UNC music department she performed for many honored guests, including President Barack Obama, President Emeritus of UNC William C. Friday, and Joseph A. McNeil of the Greensboro Four. Ms Kanyinda graduated from University of Michigan in 2016; she pursued her master’s degree there under the tutelage of Professor Emeritus George Shirley and was involved in a workshop production of Dream of the Red Chamber by Bright Sheng and in the Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center, as well as performing leading roles in university opera productions. A successful 2017 competition season saw her placing third in the Heafner-William Competition and first in the Opera Guild of Charlotte Competition. She currently works in the Ann Arbor and Detroit area, under the mentorship of Dr. Louise Toppin, and is also the Treasurer of the National Association of Negro Musicians Collegiate Board.
Erika Thompson, mezzo-soprano
Erika Thompson is a private voice instructor who is starting her first year in the master’s program at U of M for vocal performance this fall. Erika received her bachelor’s degree in music from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Since moving to southeast Michigan, she has been involved in singing with organizations such as Detroit Opera MODO, Detroit Concert Choir, and UMS Choral Union. Erika has a passion for both the performance and teaching aspects of music and hopes to continue to pursue such opportunities throughout her professional career.
Bill Roberts, tenor
Bill Roberts coordinates regional activities for the Schiller Institute, an organization committed to fostering a dialogue of civilizations and a community of common destiny for the future of mankind. Over the years, this has afforded him the opportunity to study classical music and perform as both a chorister and soloist at concerts in Boston, Virginia and New York, singing the choral music of Bach, German lieder and spirituals. He recently had the honor of helping to organize, as well as sing in, four performances of Mozart’s Requiem in New York City, on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, “Dedicated to all the victims of 9/11 and its aftermath.” In addition to singing with the Fort Street Chorale, Bill currently co-directs the newly launched Detroit Schiller Institute Community Chorus, which rehearses and performs at the Verdi tuning of C=256 Hz.
Trevor Taylor Woods, tenor
Trevor Woods teaches strings, piano, and voice through several programs in the Metro Detroit area, including the Grosse Pointe Music Academy and the Weekend School of Music. A graduate of Wayne State University’s music department, he remained in the midtown area after college. This allowed him to continue as the Music Director of his college a cappella group Melodytroit, where he arranges, teaches and performs pop music for inner collegiate competition.
Kevin Thompson, bass
Kevin Thompson is a lyric bass, originally from Clarkston, MI. He received his bachelor’s degree in vocal music from Central Michigan University in 2015. While at CMU, Kevin sang the roles of Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance, and Jigger Craigin in Carousel. He is currently a first–year law student at Wayne State University and hopes to pursue a career in public defense after graduation.