Robert Seeley, Composer in Residence, Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. A California native, Robert was raised in a small town in the Mojave Desert. He received his formal education at California State University, Chico, where he received a B.A. (“With Distinction”) in music theory and composition. He is a former Composer in Residence for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus for which he composed NakedMan in 1996. He has also written for the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus,(Metamorphosis), Dallas Women’s Chorus (Only Human), New York City Gay Men’s Chorus (In This Heart of Mine), Turtle Creek Chorale (To a Dancing Star), Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington (This House Shall Stand: Songs of My Family), Seattle Men’s Chorus (Over the Skies of Yisrael) and the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus (BraveSouls and Dreamers). Much of his work has been done in collaboration with his partner, lyricist Robert Espindola.
Robert Espindola, Lyrist– is a professional educator and a minister. He graduated with honors from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa in 1975. After completing graduate studies in psychology at Illinois State and San Francisco State University, he taught in the California school system for twenty years. In 1992 he was honored as one of California’s distinguished educators. A strong advocate for teenagers living with HIV/AIDS, he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada, conducting workshops and seminars. He has been the keynote speaker at two National AIDS conferences, and served in 1993 as a delegate to the International Conference on AIDS in Yokohama, Japan.
Jennifer Gill, mezzo-soprano, made her main stage Portland Opera debut last season as Second Secretary to Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China. This season she performed the role of Minerva, goddess of war and wisdom in Portland Opera’s production of Il ritorni di Ulisse in patria. She has also performed as an Outreach Artist for Portland Opera singing Hansel in Hansel and Gretel. In 2004, Ms. Gill was a Finalist in the prestigious Eleanor Lieber Awards. In 2005, she was a Finalist and received the Marquis Award in the New York Classical Singer’s Vocal Competition as a Young Artist. Ms. Gill has recently performed the role of Angelina in Trial by Jury with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Pride/La Ciesca in Seven Deadly Sins & Gianni Schicchi with Opera Theater Oregon, Marian in Lakewood Theater’s production of The Music Man, Flora in La Traviata with Oregon Lyric Opera; Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Hata in The Bartered Bride and Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus with Indiana University Opera Theater. As a featured concert artist, Ms. Gill has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Portland Summer Festival, Astoria Performing Arts, Bravo Vancouver, Artcore Wyoming and Opera Plus! of Coeur D’Alene. Other oratorio credits include Handel’s Messiah with members of the Billings Montana Symphony, as well as the North Oregon Coast Symphony. Ms. Gill currently resides in Portland where she maintains a private voice studio in addition to her performance career.
Artistic Director Dr. Bob Mensel
Bob Mensel has been the Artistic Director of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus since 1993. Prior to moving to Portland, he was the conductor of the Salt Lake Men’s Choir and co-founder of the Salt Lake Choral Scholars. His earliest training was in his hometown of Washington, D.C. where he studied piano with Caryl Traten Fischer and sang with numerous school and honor choirs, including the University of Maryland Chorus. He first attended college at Brigham Young University but completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Utah where he received a degree in music history in 1989. In 1992 he graduated with a master’s degree in choral conducting from the University of Oregon and later returned to Eugene where he recently completed his Ph.D. in music history. His dissertation on new music written for gay, lesbian, and feminist choruses explores the communicative similarities among this new repertoire and coins the term “affinity music” to describe it.
Principal Accompanist Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes has been accompanying singers since his high school days in Seattle, Washington. He has toured nationally for Community Concerts, and tours internationally as the third member of the now infamous BoZoArtZ Duo. His mentors have been Dr. Alberton Rafols (University of Washington) and Dr. Edith Kilbuck (Lewis and Clark College). He received a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance-Accompaniment in 1986. He has also coached with Dalton Baldwin, Gwendolyn Koldofsky, and Jan Meyerowitz at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Barnes maintains long-time associations with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus (with whom he has appeared as vocal soloist and accordionist), Bravo Vancouver, Lewis and Clark College, Portland State University and with the Old Church Society, for whom he schedules their Sack Lunch Recitals. He is also the organist of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portland.