Bay Area composer Christopher Wemp earned his Bachelor's Degree in music (piano, composition, conducting) and earned his Masters Degrees in Education Leadership (specializing in education technology) at Santa Clara University. While working in Catholic leadership roles, he completed his Masters in Theological Studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA. Chris directs music ensembles of all ages at numerous Catholic churches throughout the Bay Area and offers private lessons for ensemble members to develop church music leaders of the future. His work in music and choral conducting extends internationally including El Salvador, where he played piano on national radio, Peru, India, and Kenya, where he worked with a choir of over 1000 people in a rural Catholic parish. This exposure to different cultures and backgrounds has shaped him into a prolific and diverse liturgical music composer - he has written over 100 sacred music pieces, many of which are used in churches across California and nationally. Chris serves as a part time consultant in liturgy and music for the Diocese of San Jose, where he organized and directs a diverse diocesan choir which is made up of vocalists and instrumentalists of all ages. As the founder and leader of a local composer's group and a frequent attendee at national liturgical composer forums, Chris stays connected with current trends in sacred music locally and nationally, and regularly interacts with composers whose sacred music you probably sing weekly. Chris also enriches local talent as the founding director of a summer liturgical music leadership intensive for youth and teens, many of whom now participate in sacred music ensembles as young, inspiring leaders.
Chris' teaching approach is to always nurture growth in a fun and encouraging environment. He pairs empathy with modern learning theories to make sure students achieve their best. He recognizes that making art through music is a deeply personal experience, and one that musicians cherish for a lifetime. He strives to help his students find their own voice, sharpen their talents for making music in the real world, integrate their faith with their vocation as musicians (if desired), and express themselves authentically with an ever expanding creative toolkit.
San Francisco soprano Ariel Estebez grew up singing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the San Francisco Arts Education Project. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Santa Clara University (English Literature, music) and a Masters of Music (Vocal Performance) from the University of Redlands. She has sung with such groups as the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Northwest Opera, Crux Vocal Ensemble, and currently sings in Systir and the renowned Irish vocal ensemble ANÚNA. Along with an extensive performance history, she also has a breadth of experience in education, and has taught in four different countries. Some educational highlights include serving as the founder and Director of the Music Education Program and Choir through Centro Arte para la Paz in Suchitoto, El Salvador, elementary school music teacher for the non profit Music for Minors, voice instructor for the Redlands Community School of music, instructor at Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimh in Ireland, and the founder and director of the Children’s Stage Workshop for Northwest Opera. A sought after classical soloist, she has also served as a cantor in the dioceses of San Francisco and San Jose, the Santa Clara Mission, and the Galway Cathedral.
As a teacher, Ariel is known for her fun-filled lessons, her enthusiasm and encouragement, and her drive to make the gift of music accessible to everyone. With the recognition that each voice is exquisitely unique, she creates safe spaces for musicians to explore their instrument and experience exponential growth.