BOARD OF DIRECTORS
BRADY MCNEIL is currently entering his second year of PhD studies in music education at Auburn University where he serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the AU Department of Music. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education at Auburn, and his Master of Music Theory from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Prior to his appointment as a GTA at Auburn, Mr. McNeil taught band and musical theatre, and was responsible for starting the choral program at Central High School in Phenix City, Alabama. By the second year of existence, the choral program at CHS grew to four ensembles with 75 students participating in at least one choral ensemble. The idea for Alabama Voices originated as a result of Mr. McNeil's passion for creating an ensemble that represents the state of Alabama by promoting a high level of choral artistry and fostering a stronger appreciation for choral music in Alabama.
RYAN GONZALES, originally from Houston, Texas, is a graduate from Auburn University's Raymond J. Halbert School of Business with a BSBA in Marketing. He is a National Channel Account Representative for Vertiv out of Huntsville, Alabama. Mr. Gonzales was a founding board member of Auburn's premier a cappella group, AU Capella, and acted as President/Music Director for 2 years. Most recently Ryan acted as the baritone section leader of the Auburn University Chamber Choir.
SARAH COLEMAN-GONZALES is the choral director at Huntsville High School, her alma mater, and has been teaching there for four years. She attended Auburn University and sang under the direction of William and Rosephanye Powell. Mrs. Coleman-Gonzales has equal passions in choral music and teaching, so working with her students is a dream come true. She is lucky to sing alongside her husband, Ryan Gonzales, in Alabama Voices!
REBECCA ROGERS is a 2014 graduate of Auburn University, where she studied vocal music education. Since then, she has taught at Lincoln Elementary School. Rogers teaches grades K-5, as well as a fourth and fifth grade chorus. Mrs. Rogers is also the children's choir director for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham. She and her husband live in Irondale with their two dogs and two cats.
TYLER-DAVIS PILZ holds degrees in both Music Education and Vocal Performance from Auburn University. He currently teaches music and theatre at Mountain Brook Elementary School in Mountain Brook, Alabama, where he also has a private studio of piano, ukulele, and voice students. Mr. Pilz is an experienced musician with past performances that include choral masterworks, operas, and modern a cappella music. He has premiered several vocal and choral works, most recently being the lead role in the Alabama premier of the new opera "Speed Dating Tonight" by Michael Ching. Currently, he is working in app development to design and create music apps for children with disabilities so that they may experience music alongside their peers. His first app "Music for the Mighty" focuses on using adaptive technology for students with specific physical handicaps and will be released sometime this year. He is excited to share his love of performing and music with such an incredible group!
AMANDA SLAY has taught 9th-12th grade choral music in the state of Alabama for ten years. She is currently in her fourth year serving as the Associate Choral Director at Hoover High School in Birmingham where she conducts the 9th and 10th grade Women's Choir, Junior Honor Choir, Senior Honor Choir, and Grace Note (a girl's a cappella group started by Mrs. Slay in 2015). Mrs. Slay holds a Bachelor's degree in Choral Music Education from the University of Montevallo and a Master of Music Education from Florida State University. Mrs. Slay is an active member of the Alabama Vocal Association, National Association for Music Education, and the American Choral Directors Association. She has recently presented at the Alabama Music Educators Conference and for the the Alabama ACDA Summer Conference. Mrs. Slay serves as the Repertoire and Resources Chair for Women's Choirs in the Alabama chapter of ACDA.
HARRIS GESSNER is a native of Madison, AL, where he now serves as choir director of James Clemens High School. He holds a BME in Vocal Studies from Auburn University, and a Master's in Choral Conducting from Emory University. His experience comes from both teaching in schools, working in music ministries, and remaining an active tenor soloist. Praised for their artistry and high-energy performances, Mr. Gessner'schoirs receive high esteem from attendees. He is extremely honored to be serving as the Artistic Director of Alabama Voices, and is driven by the sole focus that our state deserves the absolute highest choral excellence we can provide.