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James Lowe, conductor
Dr. Meg Stohlmann, chorale director
Spokane Symphony Chorale and Chamber Singers

Joel Cummings, Tenor
Nicole Sonbert, Alto
Charles Robert Stepehns, BassDawn Wolski, Soprano

The glorious holiday tradition of Handel’s Messiah returns to St. John’s Cathedral. Honor Handel’s most outstanding work with joyous refrains and exultant arias, including the iconic “Hallelujah” chorus, in this powerful presentation of the greatest story ever told.


Sinfonia (orchestra)
Comfort ye my people (tenor)
Ev’ry valley shall be exalted (air for tenor)
And the glory of the Lord (chorus)
Thus saith the Lord of hosts (accompanied recitative for bass)
But who may abide the day of His coming (soprano)
And He shall purify the sons of Levi (chorus)
Behold, a virgin shall conceive (alto)
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion (Air for alto and chorus)
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth (bass)
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (bass)
For unto us a child is born (chorus)
Pifa (“Pastoral Symphony”) ( orchestra)
There were shepherds abiding in the fields (secco recitative for
And lo, the angel of the Lord (accompanied recitative for soprano)
And the angel said unto them (secco recitative for soprano)
And suddenly there was with the angel (accompanied recitative for soprano)
Glory to God in the highest (chorus)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (soprano)
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened (secco recitative for alto)
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd (alto and soprano)
His yoke is easy (chorus)


Behold the Lamb of God (chorus)
He was despised and rejected of men (alto)
Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (chorus)
And with His stripes we are healed (chorus)
All we like sheep have gone astray (chorus)
All they that see Him laugh him to scorn (secco recitative for tenor)
He trusted in God that He would deliver Him (chorus)
Thy rebuke hath broken His heart (tenor or soprano)
Behold and see if there be any sorrow (tenor or soprano)
He was cut off (tenor)
But thou didst not leave His soul in hell (tenor)
Lift up your heads, O ye gates (chorus)
The Lord gave the word (chorus)
How beautiful are the feet (soprano)
Why do the nations so furiously rage together? (bass)
Let us break their bonds asunder (chorus)
He that dwelleth in heaven (tenor)
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron (tenor)
Hallelujah (chorus)

I know that my Redeemer liveth (soprano)
Since by man came death (chorus)
Behold, I tell you a mystery (bass)
The trumpet shall sound (bass)
Worthy is the Lamb (chorus)
Amen (chorus)


With ringing high notes and a strong stage presence, tenor Joel Cummings has thrilled audiences of all kinds from across the United States and Canada. Mr. Cummings has performed leading and supporting roles in regional opera houses across North America, including Central City Opera, Longwood Opera, Skagit Opera, Tacoma Opera, Vancouver (BC) Concert Opera Society, and the Astoria (OR) Music Festival . Role highlights include Rinuccio (Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi), Sam (Floyd’s Susannah), Ferrando (Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte), Tamino (Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte), Fenton (Verdi’s Falstaff), Egisto (Cavalli’s L’Egisto), Orpheus (Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld), Alfred (Strauss’ Die Fledermaus) and Arturo (Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor). Recently, Mr. Cummings has performed with Inland Northwest Opera at various venues around the Spokane Coeur d’Alene metro.

A frequent artist on the concert stage, Mr. Cummings sang as tenor soloist in Marsh’s The Song of Luke with the Cascade Symphony Orchestra in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Mr. Cummings was heard in Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Cantata 106 and Cantata 51, and Pergolesi’s Magnificat in various venues across the Seattle area. Other performances include Schubert’s Mass in G and Magnificat with the Everett Chorale and Orchestra, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Missa Brevis with the Whatcom Chorale and Sinfonia, and in Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA. He has graced Boston’s Jordan Hall, performing Stravinsky’s In Memoriam: Dylan Thomas with the New England Conservatory Contemporary Ensemble.

A graduate of New England Conservatory of Music (M.M.) and Pacific Lutheran University (B,M.), Mr. Cummings currently lives in Spokane Valley, with his wife and two daughters.


Dr. Nicole Sonbert, Mezzo-Soprano is recognized for work as a performer, clinician, guest presenter, adjudicator, and guest conductor. She has performed roles including Aunt Lou in Still’s Highway One, USA, Madame Flora in Menotti’s The Medium, Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, the Mother in Menotti’s The
Consul, the ghost mother in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, Buttercup in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, and Bloody Mary in Rodger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. She has also performed as the alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem in D minor, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor.

Dr. Sonbert is a graduate of University of Kentucky with a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance. Her research area encompasses Evaluating Appropriate Repertoire for Developing Singers: An African-American Art Song Anthology. Sonbert was previously the Youth & Family Programs Manager for
Seattle Opera and Director of the Community Music School at Appalachian State University, as well as a part of the voice faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Appalachian State University, and Lees-McRae College. She has also taught in several other training programs, with many of her students winning first place awards for NATS and concerto competitions. In 2006, she was the recipient of the “My Teacher, My Hero” award, honoring her as a teacher and mentor for young voices while teaching choir at E.B. Aycock Middle School. Dr. Sonbert is currently the Director of MusicFest Northwest and the Director of Voice at Eastern Washington University.


Charles Robert Stephens’s career spans a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. His performances show “a committed characterization and a voice of considerable beauty.” (Opera News) at the New York City Opera he sang the role of Professor Friedrich Bhaer in the New York premiere of Adamo’s Little Women, and was hailed by the New York Times as a “baritone of smooth distinction.” Since his debut as Marcello in La Bohème, Mr. Stephens’ New York City Opera roles include Frank in Die Tote Stadt, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and 43 performances as Germont in La Traviata on tour across the US.

Mr. Stephens has sung on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall in a variety of roles with the Oratorio Society of New York (St. Matthew Passion), the Masterworks Chorus (Messiah), and Musica Sacra (Lord Nelson Mass). Carnegie hall performances with opera orchestra of new york have included roles in Otello, Lucrezia Borgia, and Adriana Lecouvreur.

Mr. Stephens’ many operatic roles include Rigoletto (National Theater of Taiwan), Amonasro (El Paso Opera), Germont (Montevideo, Uruguay and Minnesota Opera), Rodrigo (Boston Bel Canto), Count Di Luna (Boston Bel Canto), Gianni Schicchi (Buffalo opera), Tonio ( Di Capo Opera), Enrico (Connecticut Opera), Sharpless (National Theater of Santo Domingo), the Barber in Figaro (Hawaii Opera) and many others, with leading opera companies throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Memorable engagements include the role of the blind tiresias in Niobe, Queen of Thebes with the Boston Early Music Festival, Scarpia in Tosca and Rigoletto in Spokane, Belcore, Sharpless and Escamillio with the Helena Symphony, Britten’s Cantata Misericordia in Tacoma and Seattle, Verdi’s Requiem in Philadelphia, Messiah with the Santa Fe Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony with the Tacoma Symphony, the high priest in Samson and Delilah in Birmingham and the Bach St. John Passion with Portland Baroque and the Northwest Sinfonietta.

Festival appearances include performances at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, the Methow Chamber Music Festival, the Spoletto Festival, Whidbey Island Music Festival and the Bellingham International Festival.

Mr. Stephens appeared on CUNY TV in New York City as a featured artist with “Regina Resnik Presents.”

Notable engagements include Elijah with Seattle Pro Musica and Portland Chamber Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Hartford Symphony, Haydn’s Creation with the North Carolina Symphony and opening night 2014 with the Seattle Symphony.

Mr. Stephens recently performed the Monteverdi Vespers with Pacific Musicworks, Messiah with Tacoma Symphony and Bellevue Ballet, Brahms Requiem in Missoula and Olympia, the title role in Rigoletto with Northwest Lyric Opera, Bach b minor Mass with Seattle Pro Musical, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War with the Northwest Sinfonietta and Don Alfonso in Cosi fan Tutte with City Opera Bellevue.


Opera News hailed Soprano Dawn Wolski as “exquisite” for her portrayal of Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia under the baton of the late Maestro Julius Rudel. She has performed over two dozen opera roles, multiple concert works, and has been featured in television programs in Europe, China, and throughout the United States. Signature operatic repertoire includes Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, Gilda in Rigoletto, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, and Cunegonde in Candide. On the concert stage, favorites are Bach’s “Jauchtzet Gott” (BWV 51) and “Wedding” Cantata (BWV 202); Mozart’s Coronation MassRequiem, and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore; Poulenc’s Gloria; Faure’s Requiem; Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem; Orff’s Carmina Burana; Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis; and Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, among others. Ms. Wolski can be heard and seen on the Spokane Symphony’s 2021 video recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, and will perform Mozart’s Exultate, Jubilate in Masterworks 9 later this season.

Career gems less known to her classical audiences include two enlistments in U.S. Army where she performed with the London Symphony, Boston Symphony, National Symphony, and the Cincinnati Symphony—sharing the stage with performers such as Julie Andrews, Wayne Brady, Wynonna Judd, Pam Tillis, Chris Isaak, as well as several U.S. presidents. She also spent three tours in China on prime television networks, singing both Western Classical selections and Chinese favorites. Projects closest to her heart, however, have included premiering works of living composers, as well as working in more intimate ensemble settings. She will be renewing her annual in-home recital series with Maestro Eckart Preu in May/June 2024.

Dawn holds a Master of Music Degree from Manhattan School of Music in NYC, and a BA in Music from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She currently serves on the Voice Faculty of Eastern Washington University.


Sopranos Altos Tenors Basses
Holly Chase Jessica Carlson Micah Blauer Brian Cheney
Lise Hafso-Marks Esther Kelley Trevor Bushnell Dan Eyestone
Brittany McEachran Gretchen Ramey Brendan McEachran Ryan Gunn
Kristen Nauditt Hannah Reiman Isaac Miller Kevin Jung
Jennifer Snow Michelle Scott Logan Shevalier Cole Reiman
Becky Soth Irene Supica Brian Soth Paul Steenblik
Allison Wagstaff Debbie Zimmerman Tom Williams Chuck Zimmerman

Ticket Information:

Tickets On Sale: Monday, August 14, 2023
Ticket Prices:
$13.50 – $32
Phone: 509-624-1200
Box Office: Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, 1001 West Sprague Avenue

Bag Policy

All bags (with the exception of clutches 6 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches) are subject to visual inspection by venue security.
Large bags are not allowed in The Fox, and must be checked in our Coat Check (located in the North Gallery) for the duration of the event.

Programs are subject to change

Cancelation Policy

All sales are final and nonrefundable.

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