Introducing The Creative Team
Katie McCormick is an extremely gifted choreographer, figure skater, pianist and choir teacher. She took the stereotypical moves of Eduard Khil and turned them into useable choreography. Katie also choreographed “Acapella” and “Telephone.”
Angela-Janota Peavler has an eye for visual presentation and costuming. She is the Queen of frugality and can stretch a dollar farther than anyone I know. She was the first to join the team as costumer for “Young Robinhood” our musical a few years ago. She is our strings teacher at Gifford. She is the one who taught me the most important lesson of my career: “Keep the audience in mind when programming.” The kids had just sung “No Surprises.” I attended Angela’s concert where she had kids playing “Eye of the Tiger”, “Purple Haze” and “Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
The audience went nuts. Since then she designed and built the cake dress, got her husband to build us the big drum for “Acapella”, and provided the trololobot and dressed him like Eduard Khil. She is my #1 partner in the idea stage.
Other members of the team included Jeni Balch who suggested Trololo and the Pomplamoose version of Telephone. She is our Internet Cultural Advisor. Jeni joins us from Austin, Texas. Jeremy Peters of the band Solar Plexus and Donovan Senzig our graphic designer contributed their talents and were essential to the decision process.
Brett saved the day when the kids knocked the robot’s head off. He also made the iconic backdrop from the original Trololo video. When we need something electrical or mechanical to happen, like in the upcoming Robot Unicorn Attack song, we ask Brett if it is possible.
Mike Cobb has been the percussionist for the Gifford choirs and other choirs directed by Jack Senzig. Mike is a fine musician and works out the percussion parts for all we do. His opinions are invaluable.
Michael Briel joins us from Germany. Michael is an electronic music advocate and creator and has become our Internet Technical Advisor. When ever I have a problem with YouTube or the way others have used our videos I go to Michael.
Biography of Michael Briel:
Both born (1971) and raised in Sinzig, Germany. Was a member of the local school’s choir. When, in the 80s, I got my first Commodore C64 homecomputer, I already was a fan of the electronic music of Kraftwerk or Jean Michael Jarre so I started writing my first own tunes.
In the 90′s I moved to Bonn, not too far from Sinzig, where I ended up running the local computergames shop for seven years. Then I had an office job for another seven years and today I’m working as a webbuilder/designer for corporate customers, shopowners, or Bands and Musicians (that’s when I can be the most creative, which is the most fun ^^).
For some years now I haven’t really made any more new music, but lately I have become more active making my own videos on youtube – so the creativity is still there, it seems.
Aleksandr is our Russian Cultural Advisor and lives in Ufa, Russia. He is a business software specialist and mathematician. When I tried to find the music for Trololo I was completely unsuccessful. I resorted to a message in a bottle and emailed a Russian man that had donated a few $$ to our choir after “Still Alive.” Aleksandr Kutznetov found the score on a Russian music site and then translated the opening credits for us.
I am the director of the choir. I’m the vision guy and I rehearse the choir. My strength is in recognizing the skills of the team members and allowing them to do their thing.
The Gifford Choirs have partnered with the Racine Dairy Statesman, The Choral Arts Society of Southeast Wisconsin, and the UW Parkside Master Singers. These fabulous local choirs give us mutual support and help provide our families with opportunities to join and hear adult choirs.