Performers Archive

Documentary video produced by Edward Seaton

In Memoriam: Veronica McHale (1975-2009)

Veronica M McHale, 33, new to Handel Week, died suddenly August 26, 2009 of complications from sinus surgery. She sang as alto soloist in The Messiah in Handel Week 2009. She had a promising career and had sung with Union Avenue Opera, received the cover role of Dame Quickly in Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Falstaff, and was featured in the Classical Singer January 2008 issue.

Just before appearing with Handel Week, she had returned from performing Dame Quickly in a New York Opera Society production of Falstaff at the Municipal Theatre of Castres, in France. Other recent appearances were with the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, The Bel Canto Chorus, the Chamber singers of Algoma in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, and premiered the song cycle (Songs of Love and Transience) at the Chicago Cultural Center. All who performed with her, had her as a teacher, or knew her musically deeply mourn her passing.

Rosalind Lee, soprano

Rosalind Lee has been described as "a beautiful soprano with a glowing voice." She sang the Echo in "Flobt, mein Heiland" from Bach's Christmas Oratorio with Kathleen Battle and was the soprano soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria, both with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. She sang Beethoven's Ah! Perfido with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and has appeared as a soloist in Bach's Magnificat, Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass, Haydn's Paukenmesse, Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore, Orff's Carmina Burana, Schubert's Mass in G, and the Chicago premiere of Mollicone's Beatitude Mass. She has been featured with the Bach Week Festival, the Elgin Choral Union, the Handel Week Festival, the North Shore Choral Society, the Saint James Cathedral Concert Series, and the Windy City String Ensemble. She has sung in Haydn's Missa in Angustiis with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Bach's cantata Ich hatte viel Bekummernis with the Bach Week Festival, and Stradella's oratorio San Giovanni Battista with the Haymarket Opera Company, which she will repeat with the company on the island of Malta in 2017.

On the opera stage, Ms. Lee has appeared in La Purpura de la Rosa (Venus) with the Bloomington Early Music Festival, in the title role in Floyd's Susannah, in Argento's The Boor (Widow), and in Verdi's La Traviata (Annina) at Music by the Lake. She has also sung in the ensemble of many productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, including Berlioz's Les Troyens in 2016 and past productions of Carousel, The Sound of Music, and Porgy and Bess. She has sung with the Glimmerglass Festival, Light Opera Works, Main Street Opera, Indiana Opera Theater, Illinois Opera Theatre, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company.

Ms. Lee appears regularly with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Grant Park Festival Chorus, and the choruses of the Chicago Bach Project and Music of the Baroque. She was part of the Chicago Symphony Chorus on Chicago Symphony Orchestra's 2011 Grammy-winning recording of Verdi's Messa da Requiem, under the baton of Riccardo Muti, and also with them on the soundtrack of Dreamwork's film Lincoln.

Stuart Leitch, organist

Stuart Leitch is a pianist, organist, and teacher active in Michigan and Chicago. He studied with Arthur Dann at Oberlin College and privately with John Richardson, Gui Mombaerts, Dmitry Paperno, and Donald Walker.

From 1962 to 1965 he was a member of the ONCE group in Ann Arbor, whose concerts featured prominent avant-garde composers and performers from all over the world. Later in New York City he transcribed books of country blues and worked with The Children of Paradise, recording and creating film music. During his long career in Chicago he coached singers and worked with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago Opera Theater. He founded and directed Chamber Opera Chicago and served as staff accompanist at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

This is his third organ concerto performance in Handel Week. He is also active as a pianist, with performances in the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts and solo broadcasts by WFMT-FM. He played and recorded several new works by George Flynn and has performed twice as a featured pianist with Grand Rapids Ballet. He performs in the annual Schubertiade Chicago and is artistic advisor of Schubertiade Oak Park at Unity Temple. He also works as a music engraver, editor, and arranger for several composers, refining their music and publishing their scores.

Mr. Leitch is also the inventor and publisher of Deep Solitaire, a game application for Android phone and tablets. He lives in semiretirement near his family in Grand Rapids and plans to spend the rest of his life deepening his understanding of the musical art, for the glory of God and the refreshment of the human spirit.

Jake Barlow, countertenor

Countertenor Jake Barlow read for a degree as a choral scholar at Worcester College, University of Oxford. An alumnus of the Schola Cantorum of Oxford and Truro Cathedral, Cornwall, he is currently a choral scholar at Norwich Cathedral.

A two-time winner of the Douglas Steele Foundation award for musical development, he has soloed with the BBC Philharmonic, the Brook Street Band, the Amadeus Orchestra, Hieronymus, and the Ensemble OrQuestra. He has sung in Handel's Messiah, Bach's Magnificat, Johannes-Passion, and Mass in B minor, Mozart's Requiem, Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri, and Vivaldi's Stabat Mater at the Golowan Festival, Purcell's Come,Ye Sons of Art with Norwich Baroque, and Handel's Dixit Dominus with the Hastings Philharmonic Choir.

Mr. Barlow has appeared on the dramatic stage in Purcell's Fairy Queen, Handel's Theodora, and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas as part of the Woodhouse Opera Festival. More recently he had roles in Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream and Handel's Giulio Cesare with the Hoxton Opera Studio and the New London Opera Players. He has performed recitals in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Hungary, and in 2015 he released a solo album of English, French, and American art songs, Under the Greenwood Tree.

He currently studies voice with Colin Baldy. He holds (with distinction) the Licentiate Diploma of Trinity College, London, in music performance. He also holds a fellowship of the London College of Music. He has a teaching studio in Norwich and works as a specialist tutor in voice for the Wharf Academy and Norfolk County Music Hub.

Marcia Hustad, flutist

Marcia Hustad began flute studies at the age of eleven; her primary teachers have been Francis Fuge in Louisville, Kentucky, Russell Platz in Wheaton, Illinois, Fernand Caratge in Paris, France, and Greg Blackburn in Chicago. She received a bachelor's degree in music education with a concentration in flute from Wheaton College. After she earned a master's degree in management from Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University, she worked in banking and money market trading. Following several years of limited musical activity, she began performing again with her father, Don Hustad, in a number of flute and piano recitals in the United States and Norway.

Ms. Hustad has performed in many church, theater, and orchestral events. She has played in the Elmhurst College Philharmonic, the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest, the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, and the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra. She is a member of the Odyssey Woodwind Quintet and the West Suburban Flute Orchestra and has been a featured player with the Singing Men of Oak Brook.

Richard Yeo, cellist

Richard Yeo was born into a musical family; he began playing the piano at the age of six and took up the cello at age nine. He attended Indiana University, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree while studying with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Fritz Magg. He later received his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University, studying with Hans Jorgen Jensen.

Mr. Yeo was assistant principal cellist with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for ten seasons, and during that time he made his solo orchestral debut playing the Second Cello Concerto of Victor Herbert.

Since 1993 he has been a member of the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin, and he currently maintains an active schedule as a freelance cellist in the Chicago area, where he has performed with the Grant Park Symphony, the Chicago Philharmonic, and the Lake Forest Symphony, among others.