Quarter Notes Interviews

Detroit Children’s Choir is pleased to present Quarter Notes with the DCC, a mini series of five minute lessons on vocal technique, music theory, and sight-reading. Are you looking to develop your vocal skills? Do you need tips on how to develop your tone, breathing, or matching pitch?

The Detroit Children's Choir takes the opportunity to interview local artists, musicians, conductors, and composers to talk about their experiences in music.


Dr. Norah Duncan, IV, Chair of the Department of Music at Wayne State University

Norah Duncan IV is Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at Wayne State University. Duncan received an undergraduate degree from the University of Detroit, a Master of Music degree from Wayne State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. Duncan has performed extensively in both the United States and Europe and Australia. He was music director for the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament from 1980 to 2007.He was director of music for the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Detroit in 1987. Because of his interest in Gregorian Chant, with the Benedictine Monastery in Solesmes, France, he established the Gregorian Institute of Detroit for the study of chant music. Additionally he has presented papers on liturgical music at international congresses, clinics and workshops in Rome, Dublin, and for the Diocese of Enugu and the Archdiocese of Abuja, in Nigeria. Dr. Duncan was a member of both the editorial and advisory committees for the revision of "Lead Me, Guide Me," the African American Catholic Hymnal. Several of his compositions are included in this hymnal, including the “Unity Mass,” the “Holy Name of Jesus,” and many settings of psalms and canticles. Since the publication of “Lead Me, Guide Me,” Norah has been commissioned to write music for national NPM conventions, including “Where the Joys and Hopes of Living,” for the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Gaudium et Spes.


Dr. Brandon Waddles, Director of Choral Activities at Wayne State University

As a composer, conductor, educator and music director, Brandon Waddles enjoys a multifaceted career spanning the musical gamut. Dr. Waddles, a Detroit native, is a Lecturer of Music in Vocal Music Education at Wayne State University. He holds a B.A. in Music from Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) and an M.M. in Voice Performance & Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (Princeton, NJ). He earned his Ph.D. in Music Education with a Choral Conducting emphasis at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL). Before pursuing his doctorate, he served on the Conducting and Sacred Music faculty at Westminster as conductor of the Westminster Jubilee Singers.


Jill Jack, Singer / Songwriter

Detroit based singer-songwriter captures audiences with her soulful voice and dynamic storytelling. Following her dream and passion to create art to share with the world, Jill has written and produced 12 albums and toured the country. Over her 20-year career in the industry, she has continually adapted and flowed through music, showcasing self-written songs in rock, folk, Americana, and jazz. There are no boundaries to her creativity and vision which are still evolving today.


Sonia Lee, Violinist

Violinist Sonia Lee, a Detroit native, made her concerto debut with the Buffalo Philharmonic while still in high school and shortly after began her studies at The Juilliard School, where her teachers included Paul Kantor and Dorothy Dclay. While still an undergraduate, Sonia won an audition with the Toronto Symphony and was promoted to Principal Second Violinist the following year. Sonia has also appeared as concerto soloist with the New York Chamber Orchestra at the 92nd Street Y. the Toronto Symphony, the Saginaw Bay Symphony, the Grosse Pointe Symphony and the Michigan Sinfonietta.


Eric Reyes, Director of Choral Activities at Hope College

Born and raised in Southern California, Mexican-American conductor, pianist and vocalist Eric D. Reyes seeks to make music that communicates beauty, inspires hope, and brings about unity amongst people. Eric has served a variety of ensembles including the Southern California Children's Chorus, Moody Chorale, University of Michigan Orpheus Singers, University of Michigan Arts Chorale, and the Community Chorus of Detroit. Eric was one of eight rising conductors selected throughout the country to participate in a conducting masterclass led by Ann Howard Jones and Jerry McCoy at the 2017 American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Minneapolis. At the University of Michigan, Eric was a recipient of the Brehm Endowed Fellowship in Choral Conducting. Eric is most grateful for teachers and mentors who ceaselessly inspire and encourage him, namely Dr. Eugene Rogers, Dr. Xiangtang Hong, and Dr. Jerry Blackstone.


Arielle Crosby, Singer

Singer, Actress, and native Detroiter Arielle Crosby has performed on stages ranging from Carnegie Hall in New York to Palau de la Música in Barcelona, Spain. A graduate of Kentucky State University (B.A. in Vocal Performance), Arielle made her national tour debut in Motown the Musical as a featured ensemble member and Diana Ross understudy. Other credits include Aida (Aida), Dreamgirls (Lorrell), and In The Heights (Vanessa).


Dr. Emery Stephens, Assistant Professor of Voice at St. Olaf's College (MN)

Emery Stephens, baritone, joined the music faculty at St. Olaf College in 2019, where he teaches Music Performance Studies. Praised by the Boston Phoenix for his singing "with ringing suavity and articulate intelligence," he enjoys performing diverse vocal repertoire, from traditional to contemporary. A versatile and charismatic singer, Dr. Stephens has collaborated with the Abridged Opera of Ontario, Wilmington Symphony, Carolina Ballet and members of the North Carolina Symphony, Arbor Opera Theater, Michigan Philharmonic, Ann Arbor Symphony, Boston Lyric Opera/Opera New England, Michigan Opera Theatre's Community Education Programs, and the Detroit Jazz Festival in a revival of Dave Brubeck's The Gates of Justice with renowned jazz pianist Jason Moran and his trio, The Bandwagon. He has performed works by contemporary American composers, such as True Witness: A Civil Rights Cantata by Jodi Goble; The Passion of John Brown by Jesse Ayers and Paddle to the Sea by Andre Meyers with the Michigan Philharmonic; JFK: The Voice of Peace by Dan Welcher with the Handel and Haydn Society, and jazz-inspired Sweet Music in Harlem by Andy Kirschner, based on a children's book, commissioned by the Ann Arbor Symphony.


Quiana Holmes, Singer

Quiana Holmes originated the role of Bess Houdini in the first ever Audio Theatre Experience-d’ILLUSION: The Houdini Musical and made an appearance in the documentary about the show. The experience is now available for streaming on all major platforms. She made her professional theatre debut in Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s production of The Wiz as Dorothy in 2015. In 2017, she received her bachelor degree w/ summa cum laude honors in Professional Music (focuses in Music Education, Business, and Drama) from Berklee College of Music. Since graduating, Quiana has toured the country starting with the national tour of Motown the Musical, playing Mary Wilson in the Supremes and understudying Diana Ross. Quiana is currently with the 50th Anniversary US National Touring cast of Jesus Christ Superstar. She is also known for her work as Princess Kibibi in Festival of The Lion King at Walt Disney World. She has recently made her short film debut in LEAN IN as "Syd." Quiana is also the female lead singer and band leader for private parties and events with Encore under Wilson Stevens Productions. Regional credits include Deena in Dreamgirls, Herself in Beehive: The 60s Musical, Mimi in Rent, Lil Inez in Hairspray, Young Diana Ross in Dancing in the Streets, and Grace in This is Treatment.