Douglas Dodson
Fabiana Gonzalez
Tami Hayzlett
Elizabeth Johnson Knight
Laura Kuschel
Mandi Steele
Elsa Tapio
Debora Vogel
Cindy Moeller
Sara Staples
Douglas Dodson

Hailed as a “vivid countertenor” (The Wall Street Journal) with a voice that is “unusually sparkling” (The Kansas City Star), Douglas Dodson is making his mark on opera and concert stages throughout the United States in repertoire ranging from the baroque to the contemporary. In recent seasons, Mr. Dodson performed the role of The United Way in the American premiere of Tod Machover’s new opera Death and the Powers staged at the American Repertory Theatre and Chicago Opera Theatre, and sang Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Aldeburgh Music Festival as a member of the prestigious Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. Other recent engagements include two world premieres with Boston’s Guerilla Opera, Didymus in Handel’s Theodora at Music at Marsh Chapel (Boston), the alto and soprano II soloist in Bach’s Mass in B minor with Musica Sacra (Cambridge, MA). He also performs regularly with some of the nation’s finest professional choral ensembles, including the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus, Seraphic Fire, Skylark Vocal Ensemble and The South Dakota Chorale. Originally from Spearfish, South Dakota, he received his BA in Anthropology from University of South Dakota and his MM from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. 

Fabiana Gonzalez

Puerto Rican mezzo-soprano Fabiana González is quickly gaining attention throughout the United States for her “superb combination of tonal warmth and rhetorical directness” (San Francisco Chronicle). She received a Bachelor’s Degree from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico in 2008 where she studied with Elizabeth Pacheco. In 2011 she completed a Masters Degree in Early Music at Yale University under the tutelage of James Taylor. She currently is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree at the University of North Texas as a student of Stephen Austin. Ms. González is researching the mezzo-soprano lieder of Franz Lachner with the Bavarian repertoire and fortepiano specialist, Christoph Hammer in Augsburg, Germany. Recent highlights include performances with The Rose Ensemble in collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra and the alto solos of the Schumann Requiem with the Leopold Mozart Zentrum choir and orchestra. She recently toured Germany, Austria, and Croatia with the Fantasmi Ensemble. As a soloist she has performed with the Dallas Bach Society and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco. She has sung under the baton of Masaaki Suzuki, Andrew Megill, Dale Warland, Simon Halsey, James O'Donell, Simon Carrington, Henry Gibbons, James Richman, Richard Sparks, and Paul Leenhouts. She has performed in vocal ensembles such as Orfeón San Juan Bautista, the Yale Schola Cantorum, UNT Collegium Singers, the Choral Pickup, South Dakota Chorale and The Rose Ensemble.

Tami Hayzlett

Tami Hayzlett is a native of Beresford, SD. Tami graduated from Augustana College with degrees in Music, Special Education and Elementary Education. She and her husband, Jeff own The Hayzlett Group, a marketing consulting business based in New York, Los Angeles and Sioux Falls as well as Tall Grass Public Relations. Their work requires extensive travel, but Tami always enjoys coming home to friends and family in Sioux Falls. Past vocal experiences include St. Joseph Cathedral’s In Ecclesis (alto soloist), Dakota Vocal Works, Sioux Falls Master Singers, Augustana Concert Choir and various community events. She has served as Interim Director of Music Ministries at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and continues to be involved in church choirs, praise teams and small groups in Sioux Falls and New York. Tami is proud to be a founding singer of South Dakota Chorale.  

Elizabeth Johnson Knight

Elizabeth Knight enjoys a career that includes solo and choral singing. Some recent highlights include appearances as a guest soloist with the Duke Vespers Ensemble at Duke Chapel in North Carolina and at the Boston Early Music Festival fringe concert series. She will be featured this spring at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, IL as a guest soloist with the University of Illinois Chamber Singers under esteemed conductor Andrew Megill. She has been fortunate to sing in a variety of styles, from the role of the Old Prioress in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites to background vocals for the indie rock/hip-hop band Why? Her greatest love, however, is teaching. Elizabeth is currently on the faculty at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where she teaches private voice, diction, and vocal pedagogy. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband Mickel, son Walker, and dogs Dixie and Cleo. For more information please visit www.lizknightmezzo.com.

Laura Kuschel

Laura Ann Kuschel, mezzo-soprano, recently graduated from the University of South Dakota where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. Her recent roles include the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, the 3rd Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute as well as other opera scenes with the Sounds of South Dakota, and several solo opportunities in the USD Choral Department and around the region. Ms. Kuschel currently serves as the music coordinator at the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Vermillion, and is a member of several local groups—including the Cathedral Masterworks Choir at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls.   

Mandi Steele

Mandi Steele, mezzo-soprano, is currently in her final year as a graduate student studying Choral Music Education at the University of South Dakota. As a vocal performer, Mrs. Steele has been featured as a soloist in collaborative concerts, given solo roles in musical productions, and placed second in the 2015 South Dakota Graduate division of NATS. She premiered the compositions of a fellow graduate student in a new music concert and is a member of the University of South Dakota Chamber Singers. Mrs. Steele’s master’s project has been the founding of the Vermillion Children’s Choir in South Dakota. As a true believer in music’s positive impact on our children’s lives, Mrs. Steele organized a weekly music class for a school of special needs students in Nebraska, and as a private music instructor, has been teaching piano and voice for over nine years. Mrs. Steele received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Boise State University. Mandi and her husband, Jeremy, currently reside in Vermillion, SD with their five children.

Elsa Tapio

Elsa Tapio, a native South Dakotan, enjoys performing in various facets, from classical music, to musical theater and church music. She graduated with a Music Education degree from South Dakota State University and completed work towards a Masters of Music at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Elsa performed as a soloist with the South Dakota State University Symphonic Orchestra and was a soloist in Dakota Wesleyan University’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. She starred as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady along with performing in Le nozze di Figaro, Street Scene, Lakme, La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Dracula. Elsa currently, resides in Parkston, SD with her husband and five children. A former adjunct voice professor and private music instructor, she has turned her focus to her smaller classroom of five.

Debora Vogel

Debora Vogel is a teacher, singer, pianist, organist and church musician, and loves the variety of working in multiple music professions. She is currently adjunct professor of voice at Dordt College, has a private voice studio, and is also Worship Coordinator at Shalom Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls. She graduated from Dordt with a degree in Choral and Instrumental Music Education, and received her MM in Vocal Performance from the University of South Dakota, where she was a three-time winner of the annual concerto competition. In 1992 she represented South Dakota as a Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. As a soprano soloist, concert engagements have included Faure’s Requiem, Haydn’s Little Organ Mass, Mozart’s Requiem, Rutter’s Gloria and Requiem, Clerambault’s Orphee and Abraham, Bach’s BWV 199 Mein Herze schwimmt in Blute, Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra. She has also collaborated with Sounds of South Dakota in their production of Die Zauberflöte.

Cindy Moeller

Mezzo-soprano Cindy Moeller is an up-and-coming regional performer and recitalist. She holds a BMus from Iowa State University and a MMus from the University of Michigan. She has been seen in Amahl and the Night Visitors, as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof and most recently as a guest soloist with Sounds of South Dakota and soprano soloist with the Sioux County Oratorio Chorus. Ms. Moeller has also appeared in scenes from Così fan tutte and Carmen as well as the musicals Into the Woods, Brigadoon, and Oklahoma! and has sung roles with the Victor Herbert Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Previously adjunct faculty at Iowa State University, she now teaches vocal pedagogy, vocal literature, voice class, and private lessons at Northwestern College.

Sara Staples

Sara Staples, mezzo-soprano, is an active performer across North America specializing in opera, concert work and professional ensembles. She has performed the roles of Maria (The Sound of Music), La Suora Zelatrice (Suor Angelica), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Mercédès (Carmen), Doris Whithers (Mr. Moreover’s Magic), The Foreign Princess (Rusalka), Nancy (Albert Herring), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Hora (Egisto). Equally at home on the concert stage, Sara has been featured as the Mezzo-Soprano soloist with The Calgary Bach Society, Symphony of the Vines, Horizon Music Group, The South Dakota Chorale, Luminous Voices, Voicescapes and La VIe. Also an active recitalist, Ms. Staples has performed as a part of the Mountain View Connection Concert Series, The Paso Robles Paderewski Festival, The Sunday’s Live Concert series at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Casalmaggiore International Festival. Ms. Staples holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California.