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Wedgwood Arts and St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
Voices of Fort Worth

A Choral Celebration

Celebrating 10 years of Performances
Sunday, May 21, 2023  ⬥ 7:30 PM


Weep, O Mine Eyes
John Bennett (1575-1614)

Probably Bennet’s most famous madrigal, this piece typifies the music of the Renaissance period, particularly of the secular madrigals which ranged from festive to serious in character.


Selig sind die Toten

Heinrich Schütz (1586-1672)

The motet, which is sacred in nature, is another prominent a cappella genre from the Renaissance period, of which Schütz was a prolific composer.

Blessed are the faithful, who in the Lord departed, from henceforth.

Yea, the Lord saith: They rest now from all their labors,

And all their works do follow after them.


Cantate Domino

Timothy Brown (b. 1946)

This is a contemporary setting taken from the Latin vulgate of Psalm 95 and Psalm 9.

Sing unto the Lord a new song, sing and praise his name, for he hath done marvelous things.

I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart;  I will speak of thy marvelous works.



Daniel Elder (b. 1986)

Serenity seeks to inspire peace from within. It intimately explores two chief components of vocal music:  the sound of spoken word and the sound of music.  Carefully chosen alliterations and internal rhymes create pleasing chains of consonant and vowel sounds respectively.  Each stanza depicts poignant and specific sensations of beauty, and a call to listen to the relaxed body’s innate power.

Mary-Margaret Soknich, conductor


Jacob Narverud (b. 1986)

This beautiful poem by Sara Teasdale reminds us that life has many beautiful things to sell: music, the scent of pine trees in the rain, eyes that love you, holy thoughts that star the night – and that we should spend all we have in order to obtain them.


Kyle Pederson (b. 1971)

Stars was born out of a life-long fascination with the night sky, and the text is a meditation on the interconnectedness of creation.  The light from distant stars takes eons to reach our eyes, connecting us with an ancient past.  Since we are the “stuff of stars”, where will we cast our own light?  Whose world will we impact?

The Body of the Moon
Desmond Earley (b. 1974)

Commissioned to mark the occasion of the total solar eclipse in 2017, this cinematic selection was broadcast across the Pacific Northwest of the United States as millions experienced the totality of the solar eclipse. The eclipse is represented by the lyrical cello line as the choir gives voice to the words of Galileo Galilei: "Vedere il corpo della luna" - Behold the body of the moon! The bass drum represents the vastness of our solar system, and a lone vocal improvisation speaks to the personal experience of this magical moment. This piece beautifully captures the sense of awe in witnessing such a monumental occurrence

Behold, the body of the moon.

We are united by invisible ties.

[We had] perpetual twilight [and never darkness]


Jenny Kwak, cello

Christopher Nadeau, percussion

Kayla Noriega, soloist

The Island Itself

Sarah Quartel (b. 1982)

This is an homage to the island of Omey in County Galway, Ireland, done in a modern Celtic and contemporary a cappella style. With background harmonies that weave and flow around the melody, the vocal movement imitates a water current, carrying the listener through this lovely piece.



arr. By Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)

This haunting song by U2, as recorded on The King's Singers' Good Vibrations album, is a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King.

Julian Rodriguez, soloist



Lee R. Kesselman (b. 1951)

With a text deriving from the Latin and Hebrew phrases for "grant us peace" combined with a message from Pope John Paul II spoken in 1981 at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, this work reminds us of the destructive nature of war and the healing nature of peace-making.

War is the work of man.

War is the destruction of human life.

War is death.

Grant us peace.

Christopher Nadeau, percussion 

Mary Margaret Soknich, soloist

Music When Soft Voices Die

Taylor Scott Davis (b. 1980)

An exquisite setting of Percy Shelley's famous poem written for the vocal group Apollo5. The accessible dissonances enhance the beauty for both the choir and the listener.

Prayer of St. Patrick

Ross C. Bernhardt (b. 1964)

The beloved text attributed to St. Patrick is set imaginatively for SATB in special “surround sound” fashion with each section placed strategically to bathe the audience in the choral sonorities.

A Choral Fanfare
John Rutter (b. 1945)

A  dramatic and colorful setting of Psalm 81:3 and 4.

Dinah Menger, Guest Conductor

Canto Que Amabas

Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953)

Life of my life, what you loved I sing.

If you’re near, if you’re listening,

Think of me now in the evening:

Shadow in shadows, hear me sing.


Life of my life, I haven’t changed,

Not turned aside and not estranged.

Come to me as the shadows grow long,

Come, life of my life, if you know the song you used to know,

If you know my name

I and the songs are still the same.


Beyond time or place I keep the faith.

Follow a path or follow no path.

Never fearing the night, the wind, call to me, come to me, now at the end.

Walk with me, life of my life, my friend.


she took his hand

Nicholas Cline (b. 1985)

This contemplative work effectively highlights activism for immigration. The work reflects on the words of Emma Lozano, on the arrest of Chicago activist Elvira Arellano, quoted in The Washington Post on August 21, 2007. “They can’t hurt us, God is protecting us.  You just have to have faith and I will be fine and with you soon.”

Kristen Hoffman, soloist


Kwa wote upendo

Julian Philip Reisenthel (b. 1991)

Featuring text in English, Latin, and Swahili, Hebu Upendo expresses sentiments of love, joy, and peace in all three languages.

Peace of the Lord, thanks be to God.

Save our souls (God is my light),

When the world changes (the cross is my anchor)

When others doubt you (Lord, I believe)

I arise, thanks be to God.


Where charity and love are, God is there.

The love of Christ has gathered us into one.

Rejoice, and please Him, let us love!


Let us fear and let us love the living God.

Let us love each other with sincere hearts.


Where charity and love are, God is there.

Simultaneously, therefore, we are gathered into one congregation:

Lest we be divided in mind, let us beware.

Let evil impulses stop, cease strifes.

And in the midst of it be Christ our Lord.


(Joy, Amen, O Christ, Our God)

And may we with the blessed See

Christ our God, thy face in Glory.

Consumed by the greatest joy.

Infinite life, let us love!


Amanda Wise, soloist

Nelly Bly

Taylor Scott Davis (b. 1980)

This piece was originally a part of the Chanticleer Silver Jubilee Anthology. Scored for unaccompanied mixed divisi voices, this advanced arrangement is an exciting rendition of the original Stephen Foster song.

Dinah Menger, Guest Conductor

About Us

VOICES gave its premier performance on May 1, 2012 in conjunction with the Wesleyan Chorale in a concert presented in Martin Hall on the campus of Texas Wesleyan University. Both groups were conducted by Dr. Jerome M. Bierschenk, who was then the Director of Choral Activities at Texas Wesleyan University. Dr. Bierschenk continues to serve as the Artistic Director of VOICES.

VOICES is a consort of highly skilled singers whose vocal blend and exceptional reading skills and musicianship combine to create a unique presentation that spans every musical period from early Renaissance to the 21st century. Specializing in a cappella literature, the vocal chamber ensemble creates the full spectrum of vocal colors ranging from the most intense and dramatic dissonance to the most palliative and soothing consonance.

Meet the Singers


Caleb Bennetch, Bass Section Leader

Music Director

Martin United Methodist Church


Collin Boyd, Bass

Choir Director

Diamond Hill-Jarvis HS, Fort Worth ISD


Emily Davis, Alto

Founding Member

Youth and Children's Music Ministry and Youth Ministry Coordinator

Broadway Baptist Church


Ronald Gray, Tenor


First United Methodist Church of Azle

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Gabi Guest, Alto

Choir Director

Dieterich MS, Midlothian ISD


LeeAnn Hamilton, Soprano

Associate Choir Director

Joshua HS, Joshua ISD

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Joshua Hearon, Bass

Delivery Driver

Papa Johns


Kristen Hoffman, Soprano

Choir Director

Applied Learning Academy, Fort Worth ISD


Nathan Kasten, Bass

Founding Member

Operations Manager

Simba Industries


Aidan Kocur, Tenor

Administrative Assistant/Teacher

Fortress Youth Development Center


Ryan Maxey, Tenor Section Leader


Texas Wesleyan University

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Mike Needham, Bass

Choir Director

DATA at Adams MS, Grand Prairie ISD

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Michael Nguyen, Tenor

Choir Director

Monnig MS, Fort Worth ISD


Kayla Noriega, Alto Section Leader

Founding Member

Elementary Music Specialist

Dolores Huerta ES, Fort Worth ISD


Jillian Price, Alto

Elementary Music Specialist

Ashworth ES, Arlington ISD

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Julian Rodriguez, Tenor

Choir Director

Kirkpatrick MS, Fort Worth ISD


Meredith Sontag, Soprano

Choir Director

Covenant Christian Academy

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Aries Stewart, Soprano

Private Lesson Instructor

Creative Soul Music School


Avary Vaughn, Alto

Choir Director

Ed Willkie MS, Eagle-Mountain Saginaw ISD

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Chris Wilson, Tenor

Head Choir Director

Joshua HS, Joshua ISD

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Amanda Wise, Soprano

Licensing Team Lead

Cardinal Financial Company, LP

Meet our Guest Conductor


Dinah Menger

Dinah recently retired as the Director of Vocal and Elementary Music for the Fort Worth ISD,overseeing 134 music programs. Prior to her appointment in Fort Worth, Dinah served as conductor/lecturer at Baylor University from 2013-2015 and was the Choir Director at Arlington High School in Arlington, Texas from 1995-2013. Choirs under her direction performed at the 2005 and 2009 TMEA Conventions and the 2007 and 2013 national ACDA conventions, as well as several European performance opportunities. Dinah’s passion for public school education has led her to work in organizations that promote and support equitable fine arts programs for all teachers and their students. She has served in leadership roles in the Texas Music Educators Association, the UIL Prescribed Music Committee, and the Texas Music Adjudicators Association. She currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Texas Music Administrators Conference. Dinah received her BFA from the University of Arizona and her Masters in Conducting from Texas State University. Dinah is a frequent UIL judge, clinician, voice teacher/coach, teacher consultant, and professional development presenter. She and her husband, Christopher, are devoted to their 3 children and wonderful spouses, and 3 grandchildren who they spend as much time with as is humanly possible!

Meet the Directors


Dr. Jerome M. Bierschenk
Artistic Director and Founder

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Jerome M. Bierschenk has been a music educator in Texas for over 45 years. After earning a Bachelor degree in music education, Dr. Bierschenk started a teaching career in instrumental music education, and was a band director for 20 years. He taught in the Austin, Birdville and Weatherford school districts, and in Weatherford was the Director of Bands as well as the Coordinator of Music for the district. Bierschenk’s interest began to include voice and choral conducting, and after earning a master of music education degree and a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from the University of North Texas, he began his tenure as Artistic Director of the Texas Boys Choir and as the Director of Fine Arts for the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. With both extensive experience as a tenor soloist and as a trumpet player, he has performed solo tenor roles with Schola Cantorum of Fort Worth, the University of North Texas Choirs, as well as various other groups in the Fort Worth community. In 2021, he retired after serving as the chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Texas Wesleyan University.

Mary-Margaret Soknich
Associate Director and Soprano Section Leader

A founding member of Voices of Fort Worth, Mary-Margaret Soknich is the Director of Vocal Music at I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA in Fort Worth ISD. She holds a B.M. in Music Education from Texas Wesleyan University and a M.M. in Music Education from the University of North Texas. Mrs. Soknich has taught secondary choral music for twelve years, previously at Nolan Catholic High School. She has also directed and accompanied church choirs across the metroplex for fourteen years. Mrs. Soknich currently serves as the TMEA Region 5 Small-School Choir Coordinator.

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