2021 Being Brave


Vinroy D. Brown, Jr.


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Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. holds credits in conducting, sacred music and music education. He is a member of the conducting, organ and sacred music faculty at Westminster Choir College, where he conducts the Westminster Jubilee Singers and teaches African American Choral Literature. In addition to his responsibilities at Westminster, he is Lecturer of Music in the College of Communication & Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University where he developed coursework related to music and social justice. A church musician, he is director of music and worship arts at Elmwood United Presbyterian Church. Maintaining an active conducting schedule, he is founder and artistic director of Elmwood Concert Singers and is artistic director and conductor of Capital Singers of Trenton.

Recent seasons have included performances of Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor, Faure’s Requiem in D Minor, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert, Undine Smith Moore’s Scenes from the Life of a Martyr, Rosephanye Powell’s The Cry of Jeremiah Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. Ensembles under his direction have been featured in radio broadcast at Princeton Theological Seminary, performed at the historic Playhouse at Rodney Square and members of his ensembles at Carnegie Hall and at the Centennial Convention of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois. This season, he will lead Capital Singers of Trenton in performances of Handel’s

Messiah, Dove’s The Passing of the Year and a commissioned work by Richard M. Loatman to commemorate the ensemble’s fifteenth anniversary. In addition, the Westminster Jubilee Singers will perform Hall Johnson’s Son of Man as part of their twenty-fifth anniversary in addition to performances locally and in Wilmington, Delaware as part of the Bent But Not Broken Choral Festival.


As a clinician, Professor Brown has headlined the Voices United Choir Festival for the New Jersey chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the Harlem Classical Music Festival. He has presented for the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, New Jersey Education Association and music for Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Maryland Music Education Association Conferences. He has lectured at the University of Miami, Millikin University and the College of New Jersey. He will conduct the Morris Area High School Honor Choir this academic year. 

A noted baritone, Brown has sung on concert and opera stages across the country, as both soloist and chorister. Among his most notable engagements were the filmings of two PBS specials with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. He made his New York Lyric Opera Theatre debut at Carnegie Hall performing scenes from Massenet’s Manon and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. The world premiere of David Lang’s The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock marked his debut with the Mile-Long Opera Company and workshopped OMAR, a new opera on the life of Omar Ibn Said composed by Rhiannon Giddens with Spoleto Festival USA, and will serve as Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor for the 2022 premiere performances.


Professor Brown holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, National Alliance of Black School Educators, American Choral Directors Association, International Society for Black Musicians, National Collegiate Choral Organization and the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., for which he is Eastern Region Director and Chief Editor of EMERGENCE: Research & Performance Topics in Black Music, a scholarly publication which will be released in 2022. Brown is also a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, Inc. He holds the Master of Arts in Practical Theology degree from Regent University, and Bachelor of Music degrees in Sacred Music and Music Education from Westminster Choir College.


Silky Carter


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Known for her “soaring high notes,” soprano, Silky Marsharika Carter is versed in a range of repertoire that includes music from Bach, to Händel, to Gershwin and others. Ms. Carter is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, under the tutelage of Laura Brooks Rice and Margaret Cusack. She is currently a student at Teacher’s College of Columbia University. As a young artist, Silky attended the Florence Voice Seminar with Benita Valente, Sally Wolf and Martha Collins.


Lauded for her versatility of sound and performance, Ms. Carter has earned several awards to her name. Among her notable honors include the Classical Vocal Arts competition, (2nd Place- formerly the Leontyne Price Scholarship Awards) and the James T. Townsend Voice Competition (2nd Place). As a concert soloist, she was the soprano soloist in Ralph Vaughn Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Clara in a concert version of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, soprano soloist in Händel’s Messiah, Glenn Burleigh’s Let God Arise and other classical and contemporary works.

Recent opera credits include Ms.  Lyons with Trilogy: An Opera Company in Richard Thompson's The Mask in The Mirror and the world premiere of David Lang’s The Mile Long-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock with The Mile Long Opera. As a 

chorister, some of her musical experiences include performing with The New York Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra, and Korean Symphony Orchestra while she was a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir. Ms. Carter enjoys singing in community and semi-professional groups throughout the Eastern Region.


Silky is a dedicated full-time music educator in Irvington, New Jersey where she enjoys sharing the gift of music with elementary-aged students.


Arcia Stokes


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Arcia M. Stokes is an experienced music educator and vocalist with years of experience and expertise in singing, music education, vocal coaching and the construction and successful implementation of music programs within the charter school setting. She is a classically trained singer, and enjoys singing a variety of genres. Arcia graduated from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in 2012 with a bachelor's of arts in music degree, and later returned and graduated with a master’s degree in vocal performance and voice pedagogy. Since graduating, Arcia has worked and collaborated alongside established musicians and artists, such as Kathleen Battle, Erykah Badu, Morris Robinson, Eric Owens and a plethora of actors and influential performers. Arcia has performed at the MET, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kimmel Center, Kauffman Performing Arts Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and a plethora of other concert halls and venues. Currently Arcia is pursuing her doctorate at Rider University while simultaneously operating her business, Stokes Notes!


Mariel Johnson


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Mariel Johnson is a native of East Orange, New Jersey. She has received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Hampton University and a Master of Music in Voice Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College. Mariel Johnson passionately teaches Chorus at Orange Preparatory Academy where she works to provide children in the City of Orange with memorable experiences in music through their performances at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Center, multiple superior ranked performances at the High Note Festival and various community engagements.


As an Educator, she has been awarded multiple grants for her music program such as the Disney Musicals in Schools Program, the NJPAC Johnny Mercer Foundation Musical Theater Program, and received instruments and audio equipment from the Little Kids Rock Organization to increase her student’s access to a high quality music education. Mariel has been nominated as the Art Educators of New Jersey Teacher of the Year for the Orange Public Schools district. She also received two 2015 Orange Board of Education Superintendent’s Recognition Awards for excellence in the Arts  as well as the 2018 Orange Board of Education Superintendent’s Employee of the Year Award for Visual and Performing Arts.

Mariel Johnson is passionate about connecting with students as artists and individuals and she instills within them a work ethic that exceeds expectations. She longs to motivate young singers to achieve greatness. Mariel’s joy lies in the uplifting and nurturing of young minds. She has witnessed the positive impact that music education has had on students and she desires to share the joy and power that music brings all children near and far.


Gia Ware


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Gia Ware is a graduate of Montclair State University, with a B.F.A. in theatre. She's an international performer seen in off- Broadway, regional productions, and international tours around the world. Starting at the young age of 8, she got her start as a vocalist at the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night. Since perfecting her craft, she’s traveled the world singing and acting in various theatrical performances. Countries have included the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, France, Taiwan and more. Favorite show's include: National/international tour of Dreamgirls, Aida, and Little Shop of Horrors. In 2015 she starred in the revised production of Little Rock, leading to wining the 2015 Barrymore Award. As a vocalist she's been featured with VH1 events, Summerstage, and much more. Her self-produced animated series, “Gia’s World,” can be seen on YouTube. "To God be the glory, forever and ever... AMEN."


George Johnson III


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George Johnson, III, tenor, has been said to command the attention of audiences with his natural lyrical expressiveness and talent for bringing words to life on stage. He has performed with the  Festival of Italian Opera as Don Pelagio in La Canterina by Haydn, as Lucano in L’incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi, with Spoleto Festival USA as Omar (Cover) in Omar by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels, with Trilogy an Opera Company as Andy in Treemonisha by Joplin. Oratorio and Concert credits include works such as Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Passion, Vaughn-Williams’ Serenade to Music, R. Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee, Tod Machover’s Philadelphia Voices, and Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert. George is an alumnus of Hampton University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education (May 2012). He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where he earned his Master of Music degree (May 2019) and studied in the voice studio of Dr. Christopher Arneson.


Cyrus Fitzgerald


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Cyrus Fitzgerald is a New York-based baritone specializing in oratorio and concert work. After enjoying many years on local and regional stages, he now pursues a mastery of vocal pedagogy and enjoys teaching. Mr. Fitzgerald holds a bachelor of music degree from Westminster Choir College.


Asa Vaughn-Burnett


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Born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in a home filled with music, Asa developed his love for the art at a very early age. After recognizing her son had an extraordinary gift, his mother enrolled him in Newark Boys Chorus School, an elite private school dedicated to cultivating the voices of young men. Asa continued his musical and academic career at Arts High School, the first performing arts secondary school in the United States, where he studied vocal performance under Dr. Forderhase. Asa learned to sing in six languages, perfecting a wide variety of arias. His now-developed classical repertoire lead him to be accepted into the graduating class of 2012 at Westminster Choir College at Rider University, earning a bachelor’s degree in music under Julian Rodescu. While at Rider, Asa became a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. 


Currently, Asa performs throughout the holiday season while running a program that houses homeless young adults.