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vocal music 


Shelly Milam-RATLIFF
Department Chair

Soprano Shelly Milam-Ratliff has been an instructor in the Vocal Department for nearly a decade teaching  Applied Voice, Vocal Survey, Theory, Sight Singing, Diction, Opera Workshop, Studio Class, Acting and Art Song Literature.  She has programmed concerts and has directed Dido and Aeneas  and conducted The Magic Flute with the Vocal Department.  She attended James Madison University, and has performed both opera and musical theatre with a number of regional companies such as Tidewater Opera Initiative, Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera Virginia, and Opera Roanoke, and has performed with the  Virginia Arts Festival, and Virginia Chorale.  She has also been featured in a number of recitals in the area.  She has directed two productions for Tidewater Opera Initiative and has been associated with that company since its inception.  She maintains a private studio and lives in Chesapeake with her husband and three daughters.

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Suzanne Daniel

Suzanne Daniel joined the GSA faculty in January 2019 where she prepares the vocal ensembles and soloists, teaches Theory, and accompanies. Ms. Daniel is a multi-instrumentalist, and loves connecting to people through music. She is an active solo and collaborative performer throughout the region. After training in bassoon and woodwinds at East Carolina University and Ithaca College, Suzanne explored central Texas before returning to southeastern Virginia. Recent performances include solo bassoon and flute recitals at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, and the Williamsburg Governor’s Palace. You can also hear her as the principal bassoonist with the Virginia Wind Symphony and the Hampton Roads Philharmonic.

Suzanne teaches core music classes and accompanies at Christopher Newport University, applied woodwinds at Chowan University, and is the Organist/Director at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown. When not involved in the musical arts, you can find Suzanne at a sewing machine, refining her lettering skills, or exploring different parts of the world, bonus if there are koalas!

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Will Liverman

GSA alumnus, will take the position of part-time faculty member of the Vocal Music Department.  Called “one of the most versatile singing artists performing today” (Bachtrack), baritone Will Liverman continues to bring his compelling performances to audiences nationwide. Liverman is the recipient of the 2020 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, and additionally recently received a 2019 Richard Tucker Career Grant and Sphinx Medal of Excellence. In the 2020-2021 season, Liverman is scheduled to make his debut at LA Opera as Leporello in Don Giovanni, return to the Met Opera as the Hunter in Rusalka and appear in a solo recital at The Kennedy Center. In future seasons, he will debut at Austin Opera as the Count in Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Liverman’s recent engagements include starring as Papageno in the Met Opera’s holiday production of The Magic Flute, in addition to singing the role of Horemhab in the Met’s premiere of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten and appearing as Malcolm Fleet in Nico Muhly’s Marnie. He also recently appeared as Pantalone in The Love of Three Oranges at Opera Philadelphia, as Silvio in Pagliacci at Opera Colorado, as Schaunard in La bohème with Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera and Opera Philadelphia; and as The Pilot in The Little Prince with Tulsa Opera.

He holds his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College in Illinois.


adriane s. kerr

Adriane S. Kerr delights in both teaching and performing and is thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow through both activities. Ms. Kerr received degrees in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as the New England Conservatory, and has sung in a variety of venues, from opera houses to school cafeterias. She has sung with Virginia Opera, Berkshire Opera, Wildwood Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Tidewater Opera Initiative. She embarked upon her greatest adventure in 2012, when she began teaching at the Governor’s School for the Arts, of which she is a proud alumnae (Class of 1993), where she is an instructor of private voice, theory, and diction.

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Chrystal E. Williams

GSA alumnae, will take the position of part-time instructor for the vocal music department. She recently made her Metropolitan Opera Debut in Philip Glass’s Akhnaten.

A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, Chrystal E. Williams appears nationally and internationally in both opera and concert work. Recent engagements include Olga in Eugene Onegin with Northern Lights Festival, Rebecca Parker in Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD with English National Opera and Hackney Empire, a Philadelphia Orchestra debut under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the role of Publia in Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira and covering the role of Arsace at Caramoor, soloist in Petite Messe Solennelle with OperaDelaware and Coretta Scott King in Philip Glass’s Appomattox with Washington National Opera.

Other notable engagements include Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, Cairo Symphony, Dido and Aeneas with Birmingham Opera Company (UK), Portsmouth Community Concerts Series (VA), The Apollo Theater, Opera Philadelphia, Hänsel und Gretel with Knoxville Opera and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Sarasota Opera.

She has been honored by the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition, the International Belvedere Singing Competition, Giulio Gari International Music Competition, New England Region Finals of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Liederkranz Foundation and the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition.

Ms. Williams holds degrees in music from the Academy of Vocal Arts, Yale University and Carnegie Mellon.

Alan Fischer

Alan Fischer, After 25 years Alan has recently retired as the Chair of the Vocal Music Department.  He began his professional singing career at age of 6 as a soloist with the Metropolitan and New York City Opera Children's Choruses.  He graduated from The City College of the City of New York majoring in Psychology and Education, teaching public school for 11 years prior to returning to active performing. As a performer, he maintains over 50 character and supporting tenor roles in his repertoire and has performed with many American companies including San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, the Spoleto Festival, and Virginia Opera, as well as  in Europe.  He has directed productions for Intermountain Opera in Montana, Tidewater Opera Initiative, and has directed and conducted more than 33 opera productions at The Governor's School for the Arts. In 2004, he was recognized by the North Carolina School for the Arts as a Teacher of the Year for contributions to their School of Music, and in 2018, he was recognized as a “Super Teacher” by The Frost School of Music in Miami.

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Randall ball

Born in Texas, Dr. Ball began his vocal career at Baylor University, studying with master voice teacher Dr. John Van Cura, receiving his BM and MM in Vocal Performance.  Dr. Ball received a Performance Certificate from Boston University Opera Institute, and his DMA in Vocal Performance, Pedagogy and Literature from James Madison University.  During his time at JMU, Dr. Ball studied with world-renowned singer and pedagogue Kevin McMillan.  The title of Dr. Ball’s dissertation “The Development of a Fach System for the Tenor Oratorio Repertoire” is a comprehensive research document on delineating tenor voice types for over 180 roles in oratorio repertoire.  Dr. Ball has sung with many prestigious opera houses and theatres all over the world, including Ft. Worth Opera, Waco Lyric Opera, Opera North, Santa Fe Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opernhaus Zürich and the Luzerner Theater.  He has sung over 35 opera roles with the universities, opera houses and theatres listed above, and in Europe sang over 250 performances in opera, musical theatre, and concert repertoire.  Dr. Ball was an Adjunct Professor of Voice at the University of Virginia from 2012-2016 and is currently an Applied Music Specialist in Voice at Virginia Wesleyan University since 2018. He is also the Director of Traditional Worship and Arts at Great Bridge UMC in Chesapeake, VA. Dr. Ball is a current member of the Virginia Chorale, which is the premier professional vocal ensemble in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and frequently performs with many other arts organizations in the Hampton Roads area.

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hunter enoch

“Bass-baritone, Hunter Enoch is an active performer across the United States. This season Mr. Enoch will make his debut with Opera Theatre St. Louis as Scarpia in their production of Tosca, and debut as Jago in Otello with Pacific Northwest Opera. During the 2021-2022 season Mr. Enoch debuted as Germont with Pacific Northwest Opera, the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Mandarin in Turandot, and Flemish Deputy in Don Carlo with Maryland Lyric Opera. He performed Scarpia with Anchorage Opera, and Donner in Das Rheingold with Miami Music Festival. In the 2019-2020 season, Mr. Enoch returned to Washington National Opera as Montano in Otello, sang the role of Kurwenal in Act 2 ofTristan und Isolde with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda at both the Kennedy Center and at Lincoln Center, and sang Palémon in Thaïs with Maryland Lyric Opera. Mr. Enoch has appeared as a semifinalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and is the recipient of the Sullivan Foundation’s Career Development Award.”

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Dr. Tonya Holland joins GSA as Choral Director and Theory Instructor. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music Education in Choral Conducting (1992) and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Piano Performance, Pedagogy and Literature (2014), both from James Madison University. She is a Lifetime Certified Independent Music Teacher through Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), and has completed certifications with both Steinway and Kawai piano companies through her position as Piano Specialist with Schmitt Music, Denver, Colorado. Her students have spanned all ages from toddler to senior adult and all levels from beginner to advanced. 

Dr. Holland is currently the Director of Music Ministries at King’s Grant Presbyterian Church and teaching private piano lessons in Virginia Beach, VA. Before moving to Denver in 2020, she was an adjunct instructor at Bridgewater College and James Madison University, also accompanying the JMU Chorale, as well as accompanying and teaching theory musicianship for Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir in Harrisonburg, VA. She has conducted choral groups from children’s choirs to auditioned adults and been a coach to many students who have gone on to professional musical careers.  As a collaborative & solo pianist, singer, and conductor, her work spans the Western Classical Canon, Opera, Musical Theater, Traditional and Contemporary religious music, Popular, World Music and more. Dr. Holland is a proud mother to a creative daughter who is a film major at University of Denver, and an adventurous 4 year old hound-mix dog named Bongo. 

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