Church Music Staff
Minister of Music/Organist: Christopher Schroeder
Christopher Schroeder is the Minister of Music and Organist at Grace United Methodist Church in Baltimore, MD. Previously, Christopher was the Director of Music and Organist at Towson Presbyterian Church in Towson, MD. In May 2006 Christopher received a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance at Indiana University in Bloomington and in May 2008 he completed his Master’s degree in Organ Performance and Church Music at IU, where he studied organ with Dr. Marilyn Keiser.
Christopher has been involved in church music for more than thirty years. His first church music experience was at St. Mary’s Catholic Church where his mother was organist. With years of piano instructions and experience, he began to play organ at several protestant churches in Rushville, Indiana. Before graduating from high school, he studied organ privately at Earlham College and attended Interlochen Music Summer Camp. Christopher studied organ at Westminster Choir College before returning to Indiana University to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Chris continued his interest in music with part-time positions at various churches in the Indianapolis area while working full time in the fields of Social Work and Accounting.
In the Fall of 2003, Christopher returned to higher education to complete his music degrees, attending Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music. While there, he studied composition, choral and organ techniques. He completed both the Bachelor and Master degrees in Organ Performance and Church Music under the guidance of many fine musicians and professors including Dr. Marilyn Keiser and Dr. William Gray.
Christopher enjoys playing organ recitals in the Baltimore area. Other passions and expertise include choral and congregational singing. Other interests include pursuing ways to make organ music and congregational singing more enjoyable and meaningful to the congregations of the church and to the general public.
Associate Organist: David Brock
Soprano Soloist/Section Leader: Teri Bickham
Teri Bickham is a graduate of Towson University and the University of Houston. She is an active singer who has sung throughout the United States and Europe, and is currently the head of vocal studies at her alma mater, Towson University. Teri and her husband Brandon have both sung with the Grace choir in the past, and look forward to introducing their children, Meredith and William, to the wonderful Grace community!
Mezzo Soprano Soloist/Section Leader: Mairin Srygley
Mezzo-soprano Mairin Srygley is a versatile young artist from Baltimore City. As a high school student at Baltimore School for Arts until 2008, she studied voice with Robert Cantrell. She then completed her studies in Music: Voice and “Education and Social in Latin America” at the University of Maryland, College Park in January 2014. As the recipient of the Presser Scholar Award and the Creative and Performing Arts Full Tuition Scholarship, she studied with mezzo-soprano Delores Ziegler. In the past, she has sung with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and the Newark Symphony Orchestra. She was most recently a member of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Choir in D.C., and Coral Cantigas: Washington’s Premiere Latino/a Chorus. When she is not performing, Mairin works as a choir teacher and administrator with OrchKids of the Baltimore Symphony in West Baltimore and Highlandtown schools. She is also fluent in Spanish from her frequent service work travels to Central America, and she loves to bake and practice yoga. Mairin is very excited to join the community of Grace United Methodist Church as soloist and director of our children’s choirs.
Contralto Soloist/Section Leader: Patricia Hengen
Patricia Hengen is a graduate of Shenandoah Conservatory and the Baltimore School for the Arts. She was most recently seen in Annapolis Opera’s productions of Faust, South Pacific, Madama Butterfly, and will be a soloist in their production of Little Women this Fall. This year, Patricia became a member of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. Other recent stage appearances include Hairspray: In Concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Emma Carew in Jekyll & Hyde. Ms. Hengen has been a soloist with the City Choir of Washington and the Central Maryland Chorale, and has won various awards in the NATS Competition in Maryland, Virginia, and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Tenor Soloist/Section Leader: Antonio Chase
Antonio Chase, a native of Baltimore, MD studied vocal music at the University of the Arts and Morgan State University. While a student in the Morgan State University Choir Mr. Chase has been featured as tenor soloist in several large oratorio works which include Bach’s Magnificat; Duruflé Requiem; Handel’s Messiah; Saint Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio; and the Adolphus Hailstork’s I Will Lift up Mine Eyes in which he is also the featured soloist in the Maryland Public Television recording featuring the Morgan State University Choir. Mr. Chase has been an active member of the Morgan State University Opera Workshop and has appeared as Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi, a participant in the Baltimore Summer Opera Workshop, the Mid-Atlantic Symphony and Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestras under the baton of Maestro Julien Benichou. Antonio’s recent performances include the role of Obadiah in the world premiere of the opera Highway to Canaan by Dr. J LanYe in Cleveland, OH. He was a finalist in the 2010 Harlem Opera Theatre Vocal Competition, and has recently returned from touring South America with the Harlem Opera Theater in concert performances of African American music and composers. Mr. Chase is a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America INC. and The AKOBEN Foundation INC. He recognizes the growth and strength of his talent can be contributed to the foundation led at the Baltimore School for the Arts, also working with coaches and teachers such as Lauretta Young, Robert Cantrell, Paul Spence Adkins and Vincent Dion Stringer.
Bass Soloist/Section Leader: Robert Cantrell
Robert Cantrell has been our bass soloist since 1996 where he is also the Youth Choir Director. Mr. Cantrell has performed extensively throughout the USA, Europe and Asia, and has appeared in operatic roles with the Washington National Opera, Baltimore Opera, Wolftrap Opera, Opera Delaware, Sarasota Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera Ebony, and Opera Vivente. Career highlights include appearances with Legendary Tenor, Placido Domingo, in Washington National Opera’s Le Cid (Massenet) live on PBS, Carnegie Hall Debut in the Mozart Requiem, performing with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus in New York, Porgy and Bess at the Bregenzer Festspielhaus in Germany, solo performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a solo recital on the New Young Artists Series at the Kennedy Center, performing with soprano, Renee Fleming in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at the Washington National Opera, and as soloist on the Baltimore Choral Arts Society’s France Tour and on the Washington National Opera’s Japan Tour. He teaches young aspiring singers at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Handbell Choir Director: Kathie Metz
Our volunteer Handbell Choir director, Kathie Metz, comes with a world of experience in handbells and is very excited about this new “calling” to be further involved in the music ministry at Grace Church.
She was introduced to handbells in 1980 when she was hired as Organist/Director of Music at Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church. She learned the art by attending workshops led by masters of the day, Donald Allured, Cynthia Dobrinski and others, and by “on the job training.” She joined The American Guild of Handbell Ringers and took choirs to Guild sponsored Area III events. Kathie was elected the Area III Board of Directors in 2008. She continued her involvement with handbells as Organist/Director of Music at Towson United Methodist Church, where she developed a graded bell choir program for children, youth, and adults. Her youth handbell choir traveled twice to California to ring at Disneyland and the Crystal Cathedral. Her adult choirs developed a nice reputation around the area and were in demand as entertainment, especially at Christmas, at hospitals, retirement communities and for fellowship functions, in addition to regular participation in worship.
Kathie is looking forward to the opportunity to renew active involvement with the ministry that handbells offer.