Guest Artists

 

Rajaton, vocalists

Rajaton is the world renowned Finnish a capella ensemble founded in Helsinki in 1997. The group’s name, meaning “boundless,” is a perfect fit for this group of six who, as their name states, knows no bounds. They are a bona fide pop phenomenon, successfully bridging the gap that often exists between classical and mainstream convention on the world stage. While Rajaton performs primarily in Finland, they have toured 25 other countries as well. They have released 12 albums since 2000, eight of them reaching gold record status, one reaching platinum (Rajaton Sings ABBA with Lahti Symphony Orchestra), and their most successful reaching double platinum (Jouluyo). Both their talent and accomplishments make them a phenomenon on the world stage.

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Rob Evan, vocalist

Not only is Rob Evan a member of the platinum-selling rock band, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but he has also starred in the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde playing the title roles for three years and more than 600 performances. He also played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, leading the critically acclaimed National Touring Company to its history-making stop on Broadway. Mr. Evan also starred as Orin Scrivello, D.D.S., in Little Shop of Horrors with Joey Fatone, and appeared on ABC's All My Children. He created the 2009 theatrical fusion concert The Rock Tenor, which debuted to rave reviews at Philadelphia's Wilma Theater. Evan has also been a featured soloist for many leading symphonies across the nation, and regularly stars in the production of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. He is a 1989 recipient of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Talent Award and was awarded the 1999 “Shining Star” award by the Leukemia Society of America.

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Shem von Schroeck, vocalist & guitar

Shem von Schroeck has been entertaining audiences since he was 3-years-old. A veteran of the stage and recording studio, he has performed in all 50 states and 42 countries as a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and music director in a diverse range of genres. He has shared the stage with several international and Grammy Award-winning artists, including Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, David Foster, Christopher Cross, Don Felder (The Eagles), Patti Austin, Gary Wright, Spooky Tooth, Ambrosia, and many others. This year he will join the band TOTO for their upcoming world tour.

Shem made his professional opera debut singing with the Mittelsächsisches Theatre in Freiberg, Germany as Spoletta in Puccini's Tosca. His operatic repertoire includes Parsifal, Siegmund, Florestan, Peter Grimes, and Canio. He is a regular tenor soloist with the Philly POPS, the Atlanta Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and the Jacksonville Symphony. He has also conducted several pops concerts with the Columbus Symphony, the Oklahoma Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Little Rock Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and the Boston Pops.

Visit: shemworks.com

Tony DeSare, vocalist & piano

Tony DeSare performs with infectious joy, wry playfulness and robust musicality. Named a Rising Star Male Vocalist in Downbeat magazine, DeSare has lived up to this distinction by winning critical and popular acclaim for his concert performances throughout North America and abroad. From jazz clubs to Carnegie Hall to Las Vegas headlining with Don Rickles and major symphony orchestras, DeSare has brought his fresh take on old school class around the globe. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.
  

Allison Blackwell, vocalist

A frequent collaborator with Maestro Michael Krajewski and the Philly POPS, Allison Blackwell is thrilled to be returning to her hometown of Philadelphia to celebrate the music of Elvis Presley.

Last seen with the Philly POPS for its July 3rd Independence Hall concert, Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer Peter Dobrin noted, “…for my money it was vocalist Allison Blackwell who made the evening. In a luscious orchestration of Gershwin’s ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, the Pops and Blackwell created one of those great city moments when everything seems to stop. The sounds of goodness, sincerity, and warmth poured forth.”

A singer with a versatile range from opera to gospel, Allison has been seen in such Broadway shows as The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, A Night With Janis Joplin and Disney’s The Lion King. She has been a guest artist with various orchestras across the country and made her Philly POPS debut last February in Tapestry: Carole King Songbook. Ms. Blackwell has also been seen in two Live from Lincoln Center on PBS productions: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson and Show Boat starring Vanessa Williams and Norm Lewis. Allison is a graduate of Springfield Township High School in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. She holds a M.M. in Musical Theatre from The Boston Conservatory and a B.A in English from Spelman College. She dedicates these concerts to her mother and father who taught her to dream without fear.

Christiane Noll, vocalist

Christiane Noll starred on Broadway in the Kennedy Center Revival of Ragtime, receiving a Helen Hayes award — and TONY and Drama Desk Award nominations — for her portrayal of Mother. Broadway and national tour appearances include Chaplin, Urinetown (Ovation Award), It Ain't Nothin’ but the Blues, Jekyll & Hyde, Grease, Miss Saigon, and South Pacific (Australia/Thailand). She is a frequent guest soloist with the National Symphony, Cincinnati Pops, Jerusalem Symphony, The Philly POPS, Boston Pops, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, with international appearances with Sinfonica Brasileira in Rio, China Philharmonic with concert pianist Lang Lang, and orchestras in Hong Kong, Czech Republic, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson in his last performance with The New York Pops and more recently sang with Steven Reineke for Stephen Sondheim's 80th Birthday Celebration at Carnegie Hall. She made her Hollywood Bowl debut singing with Julie Andrews and her opera debut with Placido Domingo in The Merry Widow. She performed in the Warner Brothers Animated feature film The King and I, and made appearances in Town Hall’s Broadway By the Year and in Lincoln Center's American Songbook Series.

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