Christopher Ganza began studying the organ at the age of nine. An interest in the instrument gained from observing the work of the organist at the church in which he grew up in Waterville, ME, led him to begin lessons with Ray Cornils of Portland, ME. Two years later he began the duties of organist at Corpus Christi Parish, and at the Universalist-Unitarian Church of Waterville. He held these positions and continued to study privately with Ray Cornils until he left Maine to attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he received the degree of Bachelor of Music in Church Music. While at St. Olaf he studied organ performance with John Ferguson and Catherine Rodland, and choral conducting with Christopher Aspaas and Anton Armstrong. During summers he held positions of interim organist at Penney Memorial United Baptist Church in Augusta, ME, and St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Brunswick, ME. He was also the first organ scholar at the Church of St. Louis, King of France in St. Paul, MN, under the supervision of Brian Carson. In the spring of 2012, Christopher completed the degree of Master of Music in Organ Performance at the University of Oklahoma, having studied organ with John Schwandt.
Currently, Christopher is the Director of Music and Organist at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Oklahoma City, OK, where he directs the twenty-voice adult choir, coaches and supervises adult and youth cantors, and plays the organ for the parish’s four weekend liturgies. In addition, he plans and plays for all liturgies connected with St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School.
In 2011, Christopher was awarded first prize in both the Paul and Ruth Manz Scholarship Competition and the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival National Competition. In 2012, Christopher was awarded first prize in the John R. Rodland Memorial Scholarship competition. He has appeared in recitals in locations that include First Parish Church in Brunswick, ME, First Church of Christ in Wethersfield, CT, St. Louis, King of France in St. Paul, MN, and here at The Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul. In the fall of 2012, Christopher will begin studies toward the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Oklahoma, under the tutelage of John Schwandt.
Karen Pierce thinks of singing as painting with sound. She has performed in concert and recital in Maine and New York, as well as Italy, Austria and Asia. As guest artist at the University of Melbourne (Australia), she presented a concert of American Songs, and taught a master class for singers.
Formerly on the voice faculty of Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby Colleges, she has also maintained a private voice studio for over twenty years.
Karen has extensive experience as a church musician, both as soloist and director, in churches in Maine and New York. She also works as a Clinician, designing and leading Retreats and Workshops for both choirs and individual singing participants.
Karen has studied with retired Metropolitan Opera coach Millard Altman since 1996.