Our Governing Board
President, Dr. Alyson Shirk
Dr. Alyson Shirk earned her doctorate in vocal performance from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2009, and was awarded the Dean’s Graduate Scholar Award for excellence in scholarship for her dissertation “Mad Women in Opera: An Investigation of Madness and Selected Mad Scenes for Soprano."
As the Artistic Director, Alyson has worked with the Children's Chorus of Maryland and the American Kodaly Children's Chorus, and was the Director of Arts for the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland. Her choirs have performed at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, The US State Department, and The Blair House. Alyson’s choirs also traveled to Hungary in 2013 to perform at the International Kodály Symposium in Budapest and Kecskemét.
In addition to her work as a regional choral clinician and adjudicator, Alyson serves as the Artistic Director of the American Kodály Children’s Chorus, founded in 2013 as an outreach of the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore.
Secretary, Mr. Stephen Holmes
Stephen A. Holmes is currently the Artistic Director of the Maryland State Boychoir. In addition, he is the Organist/Director of Music for the Church of the Resurrection in Lutherville, MD. He currently serves as Assistant Director of Choirs at Towson University. He has served as Assistant Professor and Director of Choirs at Notre Dame of Maryland University, director of Annapolis Area Christian School Men’s Chorus, Associate Director of the Glorystar Children’s Choir, Director of the University of Maryland Men’s Chorus (from 2005 to 2011), and chair of the Boychoir Repertoire & Standards Committee of the Maryland/DC division of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Mr. Holmes serves on the Board of Directors for the Canticle Singers of Baltimore, The Maryland State Boychoir, and The Choral Music Educators Association of Maryland. He has conducted in 35 states, at ACDA and NAFME conferences, and has served as a guest conductor of countless county and state honor choirs and festivals. His choral arrangements and compositions have been performed by choirs from throughout the nation.
Mr. Holmes received a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice and Organ Performance from Towson University and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland, College Park. Mr. Holmes resides in Baltimore’s Mayfield community with his wife and daughter.
Treasurer, Dr. Brent Talbot
Dr. Brent C. Talbot is a Professor and Head of Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to this appointment, Brent was the Coordinator of Music Education at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College. He was also the Artistic Director of the Gettysburg Children’s Choir and founding director of Gamelan Gita Semara. Brent has taught courses and supervised student teachers at the University of Illinois and at the Eastman School of Music. Brent was the founding director of the Young Children's Chorus and conductor of the New Horizons Choir at the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester, NY.
Brent is an active choral clinician who has conducted numerous county and district honor choirs as well as directed groups at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and the Chautauqua Institute. A frequent presenter at regional, state, national, and international conferences, his areas of expertise include: equity and justice, culturally centered and popular music pedagogies, movement and dance, and media in the music classroom. Brent performs piano, voice, saxophone, percussion, and gamelan. He earned a Ph.D and M.A. in music education and a diploma in ethnomusicology from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester as well as a B.M.E. in choral/general and instrumental music education from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Additionally, he is certified in all three levels of Orff-Schulwerk.
Our Executive Committee
Artistic Director, Robby Napoli
Robby Napoli, Artistic Director, is a founding member of Lux. A graduate of the Sunderman Conservatory at Gettysburg College (B.M.E.), he focused on his passion for choral music early on. Enjoying time with choirs of all ages, Robby has worked with the Gettysburg College Choir & Concert Choir respectively, Gettysburg Children's Choir & High School Chorale, Chesapeake High School Choirs, and various church choirs. As a composer, he's received local performances and commissions for works written for both choral works and art song.
Aside from his work as an ensemble musician, Napoli has also worked as a soloist, with credits including Alfred (Die Fledermaus), and solos in Handel's Messiah and Haydn's Missa in Augustiis. Robby currently serves as the choral director at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, MD, and sings with the Choir of Christ Church Georgetown in Washington, D.C.
Manager, Emily Shallbetter
Emily Shallbetter, soprano, recently completed her seventh season with Lux and has been singing in choirs since she was 10 years old. Emily graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, where she studied with Carmen Balthrop and was selected for masterclasses with Dawn Upshaw and Maureen O’Flynn.
At UMD, Emily performed as a featured soloist with the Chamber Singers and in the School of Music’s Bach Cantata series. Currently, she works as a Guest Experience Coordinator at the Clarice and is a section leader at Georgetown Presbyterian Church. She is also pursuing a master's degree in Nonprofit & Association Management. Emily has served as Lux's Manager since Summer 2020.
Director of Administrative and Executive Operations, Austin Nikirk
Austin Nikirk, soprano, is looking forward to her eleventh season with Lux. She graduated from the Sunderman Conservatory of Music in 2020, and studied Vocal Performance and French. At the conservatory, Austin was a member of the College Choir and Audeamus treble voice ensemble, and studied in the studio of Dr. Susan Hochmiller. In the fall of 2018, Austin studied abroad in Paris, France, at the École Normale de Musique. She has sung in many choirs, starting with the Children’s Chorus of Maryland under Betty Berteaux, and American Kodály Children’s Chorus under Dr. Alyson Shirk. Austin now lives in Monterey, California, and feels fortunate to continue singing with Lux over the summer.
Design Lead, John-Paul Teti
John-Paul (J-P) Teti is a co-founder of Lux and the head of the design committee. He has sung tenor with Lux from the beginning. In addition to his role as head of design, he serves a variety of other (generally technical) roles across several committees, especially operations.
Outside of Lux, J-P is a software engineer at a research and development firm based in Rockville, MD. He holds a BS in computer science from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also sang with the UMD Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Edward Maclary.
Treasurer, Ciaran Cain
Secretary, Abigail Winston
Abigail Winston, Soprano/Alto has been singing with Lux since Summer 2017, and currently serves as Lux's Secretary. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2019 with degrees in both Music and History where she served in leadership positions in many conservatory ensembles and student groups.
Abigail currently works full-time as the Concerts Manager at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and manages logistics for all music programming at the museum. She is very passionate about making music accessible to all people, and is very excited to be a member of the Executive Committee.