Mara Noelle Walker is currently in her sixth year as
choral director at Freedom High School. A native of Wilkes County, she
graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Lenoir-Rhyne
University in 2013. Her choirs have received consistent superior ratings; have
traveled to NYC, Disney, Chicago, and Atlanta; and have sung in local events
throughout the year. In addition to teaching, Mara also performs at local
churches, sporting events, competitions, and shows. She was selected as the
finalist in the Western Piedmont Symphony’s “Sing for the Phantom” competition
and masterclass with Franc d’Ambrosio. She has been a member and frequent
soloist with the Hickory Choral Society and has performed as a guest soloist
with the Western Piedmont Symphony on their Summer Pops programs. She most
recently played the roles of Guenevere in the Burke Theater Guild production of
Camelot in the spring of 2017 and
Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with
Old Colony Players in the fall of 2015. Mara began graduate studies this past
summer in the Florida State University Summer Master of Music Education
Tyler Young, a native of Burke County, received
his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and his Master of Music degree
in Vocal Performance from Appalachian State University. He has performed
numerous operatic roles including Gastone in Verdi’s La Traviata, Sam Kaplan in Weill’s Street Scene, and Ferraro in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. He studied at the American Institute of Musical
Studies in Austria during the summer of 2012, where he performed in numerous
opera, operetta, musical theater, and art song concerts. He has taught choral
music for Burke County Public Schools and Catawba Valley Community College. He
presently works for Appalachian State in the Office of Alumni Affairs and as
music director of Grace Lutheran Church in Boone. He also serves as music
director of the outdoor drama Horn in the
West. His most recent local roles were as Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Old Colony Players in the fall of 2015
and as Lancelot in the Burke Theater Guild’s production of Camelot in the spring of 2017.
William Keith Watts is a native of Burke County. He
graduated from Mars Hill College in 1985 with a Bachelor of Music degree. He
has extensive experience acting in the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater
at Mars-Hill, and his acting credits include Spoon River Anthology, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, To Kill a
Mockingbird, Kiss Me Kate, Funny Girl, The Pirates of Penzance, The Frankie
Silver Story, and Mountain of Hope.
He and his wife, Martha, both enjoy participating in choral and theater events.
His most recent theater role was as King Arthur in the Burke Theater Guild
production of Camelot.
Martha Watts is a native of Caldwell County and is
a graduate of Mars Hill College, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in
Vocal Performance. Her theater credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, and Funny Girl, and her opera credits
include Rigoletto, Die Fledermaus,
and The Marriage of Figaro. She was
very active in the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater at Mars Hill. Martha
was chosen Miss Caldwell County in 1978 and was a top ten finalist in the Miss
NC pageant in 1979. She is very active as a choral singer and soloist, and her
most recent theater role was as Nimue in the Burke Theater Guild’s production
Teresa Burns is a Burke County native and
currently serves as pianist/accompanist and soloist at Drexel First Baptist
Church. She is a graduate of WPCC and is employed as a patient care coordinator
at Carolina Health Care System – Blue Ridge.
Olivia Amos is
a senior at Freedom High School, where she participates in the chamber choir.
Her theater credits include Into the
Woods and The Wizard of Oz at
Table Rock Middle School, The Pirates of
Penzance with Old Colony Players, and Camelot
with the Burke Theater Guild.
Christopher Honsaker is
a native of Burke County, He studied at the NC School of the Arts and at
Showcase Theater in New York, where he lived for 24 years before returning to
North Carolina in 2005. He has appeared and starred in numerous productions at
Hickory Community Theater, the Green Room, and other local theaters, including Equus, The Odd Couple, The Music Man, Wait Until Dark, Arsenic and Old Lace,
Arcadia, The Lion in Winter, Chapter Two, 12 Angry Jurors, and On
Golden Pond and has won several prestigious local and state acting awards.
One of his recent roles was as King Pellinore in the Burke Theater Guild
production of Camelot.
Kelly S. Taylor is
a native of Burke County. Her educational credits include a bachelor’s degree
from UNC-G, a master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a doctorate from
Louisiana State University. She has served as artist in residence with the
Burke Arts Council and guest instructor at WPCC. Kelly was a professor of
communications and theater at the University of North Texas for 17 years and
has taught, directed, and performed in more plays and productions than it is
possible to list. She has also written extensively, primarily on the art of