M U S I C I A N S
Steven A. Woods
Steve has spent his career making and teaching music. As a school teacher, his students have ranged from pre-school to college; subjects taught have included choral, instrumental, general music, music theory, and music history. Additionally, he has directed many high school musicals.
As a choral director, Steve has directed church choirs in Jamestown and Fredonia, NY, and community and orchestra choruses in Jamestown, Murrysville, PA, and Erie, PA.
He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, and has participated in many conducting and singing workshops and classes, including ones with Philip Brunelle, Jane Marshall, Alice Parker, Gregg Smith, Ward Swingle, and Dale Warland.
Soprano & General Manager
Margaret is originally from Western NY and has lived in Erie since 2000. As one of ERS's original members, she joined in 2000 and performed in ERS's debut concert in June of 2001. She holds vocal performance degrees from both SUNY at Buffalo (BM) and Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (MM). She is equally comfortable as a soloist or ensemble singer, yet finds choral ensembles an absolute necessity for happiness. She leads a dual life as both singer and the group's manager/programmer. As a member of many fine choirs over the past 30 years, she has had the opportunity to travel around the world to Poland, Germany, Scotland, Wales, Austria, France, and England as well as sing services at historic venues like Canterbury Cathedral and Chichester Cathedrals in England, and the American Cathedral in Paris, France. Margaret enjoys spending time with her two children, cooking with her husband, singing in the shower, and drinking the occasional glass of cheap whiskey.
Christina Brice Dolanc
Christina, along with her husband, Chris, who is in the bass section of LECA, moved to Erie in 2014 from Northern California. She holds a BM (Missouri State University) and MM (Miami University, OH) both in violin performance. She performs with area professional symphonies, is adjunct Professor of violin & viola at Allegheny College, Personnel Manager & Head Librarian for the Erie Philharmonic, and coordinator of The Dolanc String Quartet, of which her husband is also the cellist. Christina has had extensive training in choral singing throughout her college degrees, was a founding member of The Vocal Art Ensemble in Davis, CA (2008), and is now very happy to be a part of LECA as of 2014. She has also become a well-known composer and arranger with over 100 works for string quartet and success in composing choral & orchestral works including several premieres, commissions, and competition winnings since 2012. In her “spare” time, Christina enjoys traveling, knitting, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Molly Dugan is a Learning Support teacher at Chestnut Hill Elementary School in the Millcreek Township School District. Molly graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Art degree in Elementary and Special Education from Mercyhurst College in 2004. She earned a Master of Science degree in Special Education from Mercyhurst in 2005. Molly is a life-long member of Luther Memorial Church where she is an active member of the choir, handbell choir, and concert committee. She studied voice with the late Charlotte Chaffee. Molly has been singing with the Erie Renaissance Singers since the fall of 2008.
Dana Kuhn is an instructor of vocal, general and instrumental music in the Northwestern School District. Dana also serves as director of Forte (a high school vocal ensemble) and an annual voice camp in her local community. When not teaching or making music, she enjoys kayaking, biking, and spending time with friends and family.
Karen’s interest in music bloomed in 2nd grade when she began piano lessons with the pastor’s wife, Louise Schmittle. She accompanied the chorus and numerous musicals throughout her career at Northwestern Junior and Senior High School. Karen is currently the piano accompanist for the Northwestern High School group known as Forte directed by fellow alto Dana Kuhn.
Having a pastor’s wife for a piano teacher was a true blessing. She opened many doors and opportunities to sing in choirs and play the church service. To this day, Karen is the choir director and plays the service at her church, Grace United Methodist Church, in Albion, PA.
Karen attended Clarion University of PA and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. During her four years at Clarion, she also maintained her love for singing by participating in the choir at the college. After college, she once again became active in her church music program and wanted to continue her piano lessons. She found a new friend and mentor living on a dirt road in Albion, Rebecca Ryan. Becky challenged and stretched her music abilities and they formed a lifelong friendship that is always surrounded by music and family. Working with Becky at Mercyhurst University, also allowed for more singing opportunities with the concert choir and travel. Karen has sung in Ireland, Italy, and Poland with the small ensemble of singers that take an annual trip to many wonderful venues.
Karen joined ERS in April of 2011 and collaborates with her sister in the alto section. She keeps busy working at the Edinboro University Campus Bookstore where she has been the textbook buyer for the last 17 years. During her down time she enjoys bicycling, walking, and spending time with family, friends and her furry friend Bella. Of course, music is always an integral part of all aspects of her life and continues to be a source of comfort and enjoyment.
Paula joined the Erie Renaissance Singers in early 2006 at the invitation of founder, Carolyn Brock. Her interest in music began when she was a small child and she joined her church's children's choir "The Gracenotes". Piano lessons and learning to play various instruments followed. She has sung in various church and university choirs throughout the years, but settled into a position with St. Paul's Cathedral Choir in Erie, PA in 2001. As a member of the Cathedral Choir, she has had the opportunity to travel abroad to sing in residence at Canterbury Cathedral as well as services at Chichester Cathedral, the American Cathedral in Paris and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Paula, originally from Albion, PA, earned her Bachelor of Arts in paralegal Studies from Gannon University and her Associate of Science in Accounting. She has been serving the Erie County Bar Association for over 20 years as an Administrator overseeing their financial, referral and publication departments.
Tenor (on leave)
Joe Braeger taught 6-12 vocal music for 33 years at Cassadaga Valley High School in Chautauqua County. In addition to directing 4 choruses, he directed 33 school musicals, taught music theory, and traveled extensively with the school's show choir. He graduated from Harborcreek High School, received his B.A. in Music Ed. from Edinboro University and received his masters degree in Music Ed. from SUNY Fredonia. He has also sung with Chautauqua Chamber Singers for more than 20 years and is currently the general manager of the Chautauqua County Community Music Project.
Compulsive violin lessons and grade school orchestra put Mozart and Bach in my head at an early age. Teenage serendipity placed me in a vocal environment where teenage singers were hip. Then, I was introduced to madrigal singing in high school. Wow! Bird and Morley.
College enhanced and refined all of this. I left music for medicine for over a decade, and then rediscovered the passion of choral music listening to the King's Singers in my car as I was returning from a weekend of Interventional Radiology procedures. I looked at giant cumolonimbus clouds and listened to English renaissance music. It was simultaneously breathtaking and overwhelming and I couldn't stand the beauty of it.
I was hooked again. Twenty years later I am still addicted to the sound of perfectly blended choral voices singing with artistry, expressivity, emotion, and passion. There is possibly no other greater art. I can listen with joy to perfectly tuned, perfectly voiced choral music again and again. The Erie Renaissance Singers is that voice.
Brian Kuzmin has been a member of the Erie Renaissance Singers since 2007. A native of Erie, Brian has been involved in music and theater from an early age. After graduating from McDowell High School, he went on to earn his BA in music from the University of Dayton. Trained as a tenor, Brian studied voice under the direction of Dr. Linda Snyder, John Wesley Wright, and Lee Hoffman. In addition to singing, he also studied piano, organ, and guitar.
Brian loves to perform with other musicians. He has enjoyed many musical opportunities around the Erie, Edinboro, and Dayton areas including musical theater, choral performances, and concerts.
Brian currently works as the Director of Music and Liturgy at Our Lady of Peace church where he oversees the music program, accompanies several ensembles, and dabbles in arranging and composition.
Brian Ripley is a professor of political science at Mercyhurst University, teaching mostly in the areas of international relations and comparative politics. Originally from Minnesota, Brian is a graduate of Macalester College (where he sang under conductor Dale Warland) and Ohio State. Brian has sung in a variety of ensembles over the years. He has three adult children. Brian is an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and a member of the Cathedral Choir.
Chris Dolanc is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Mercyhurst University, where he teaches courses in ecology, botany, and environmental science. He also carries out research on trees and forests, and is particularly interested in how climate drives tree growth and distribution. Despite the interest in science and nature, Chris grew up in a very musical family in Joplin, Missouri. His father was his high school orchestra director and his mother gave him voice and piano lessons. Chris is also a cellist (BM in Cello Performance) and met his wife Christina (soprano in ERS) as an undergraduate in the university symphony at Missouri State University. Together they have two daughters and have recently relocated to Erie from northern California where they maintained a string quartet that played for weddings and parties; they have begun performing in the Erie region as well.
Jonathan Gaber, baritone, began singing with the Lake Erie Choral Artists in 2021. He holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master's Degree in Engineering and Management from Case Western Reserve University. Jonathan is employed by Parker LORD as a Chemical Process Engineer. Jonathan's musical interests began with cello studies at the age of five. He played with the Erie Junior Philharmonic Orchestra and a string quartet throughout his high school years. Jonathan has been a member of the Luther Memorial handbell choir since moving to Erie from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jonathan began singing bass and tenor with the Luther Memorial Church choir in 2015.
Bass-baritone John K. Myers is an opera and concert singer in the Erie area. He is a founding member of the Erie Opera Theatre, as well as a frequent soloist with the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra, the Erie Chamber Orchestra, the Fredonia Chamber Players and the Bemus Point Pops Orchestra.
Mr. Myers is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. There he studied voice with baritone Todd Duncan and opera with Boris Goldovsky. While at Curtis, Mr. Myers also worked with maestro Leonard Bernstein and composer Gian Carlo Menotti.
In addition to stage work, Mr. Myers is also a well-known church soloist and cantor. He sings at St. Paul Episcopal Cathedral and Temple Anshe Hesed.
Mr. Myers has sung with the Erie Renaissance Singers since 2006.