The Singing Angels Organization

Holly Harris, Executive Director (alumna), was in The Singing Angels from 1991 to 2001. Ms. Harris continued her involvement with The Singing Angels after graduation and has served as a choreographer, special project fundraiser, and assisted with the Reserve Chorus. Prior to being named Executive Director, she worked for 10 years at University Circle Inc. as the District Relations Manager and Special Assistant to the President. Ms. Harris has performed in various productions at the Beck Center and was part of the Beck Center Theater Education staff as a dance instructor.
James J. Balaguer, Volunteer Director of Barbershop Music, was introduced to barbershop harmony as an 8th grade student singing bass in a quartet, and it has given him years of pleasure and enjoyment. With over 40 years as Volunteer Director of Barbershop Music for The Singing Angels, he has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the gifted young people who make up the chorus. One highlight of Mr. Balaguer's years with The Singing Angels has been the opportunity to direct them at the International Barbershop Convention in Pittsburgh. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Mr. Balaguer is a Senior Client Executive with the Oswald Companies, one of Ohio's largest independent insurance agencies. He is the past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Health Hill Hospital, now a division of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.
Christine Karliak, Performing Chorus Music Director (alumna), graduated from The Singing Angels in 1983 after eight wonderful years as an Angel, during which time she traveled to Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, Austria, England, Wales, and China. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University and a Masters in Education from Walden University. Mrs. Karliak has been a choral music specialist for the Fairview Park City Schools since 1991, and is also the Director of Music for St. Wendelin Church in Cleveland. She is a member of the Ohio Music Education Association and the American Choral Directors Association. Mrs. Karliak has been featured in productions with Rocky River Community Theater, sings with the Cleveland Pops, and has been called on to sing for several civic and private functions. She and her husband, Dan, are the proud parents of five children.
Adam Sampson, Performing Chorus Assistant Music Director holds a Bachelor of Music Education with a jazz specialization from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and moved to the Cleveland area in 2017. Mr. Sampson currently teaches at Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City Schools where he is the General Music Specialist for grades K-6, an after school choir, The Hummingbirds and the Musical Director at Brookside High School. He currently also serves as the accompanist at St. Anthony of Padua-Parma adult and youth choirs. He enjoys teaching piano privately, freelance piano work, as well as being a member of The West Shore Chorale. He is a member of the Ohio Music Educators Association, American Director Choral Association and Organization of American Kodály Educators.
Mary Pokrywka, Reserve Chorus Music Director (alumna), has been a music educator and choral director for 23 years. Mary began teaching choral music in Athens, Georgia and from there moved back to Ohio to teach at Magnificat High School and currently at Brookside Middle and High School in Sheffield, Ohio. Mary is also an active member of the Ohio Music Education Association and works closely with several area directors to plan events for both students and directors. Mary is also the Liturgical Vocal Music Director for St. Bernadette Parish in Westlake and a member of the National Pastoral Musicians. As a performer, Mary loves singing for her parish and from time to time can be seen performing in various musicals and shows in the Cleveland area. As a mom of 3, Mary loves to watch her own children perform in musicals and choral events through their schools and The Singing Angels.
Amanda C. Fertal, Littlest Angels Music Director (alumna), was a proud member of The Singing Angels from 1990 until her graduation in 1997. Since then she has continued to make a career of music. Ms. Fertal has a B.M. from Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory of Music, and M.M in Choral Music Education from The University of Akron. She has also been an avid actress having performed in productions at Cleveland Opera, Opera Cleveland, Mercury Theatre Company, Rabbit Run Theatre, Cedar Point, and Kaliope Stage. She is currently a chorus member, and has been featured as a soloist with the Cleveland POPS. With the Cleveland POPS, Ms. Fertal has had the honor of singing backup to Broadway and film stars as Jodi Benson, Donna McKechnie, Christine Pedi, Hugh Panero, and featured in a trio with Christiane Noll and Jason Graae. Ms. Fertal was the music teacher at Our Lady of Angels School for 16 years, and is currently the choir director at Ridge-Brook Elementary School in the Parma City School District.
Karen A. Harris, Performing Chorus and Program Administrator, Tour Manager, has been involved with The Singing Angels since 1987. Her children Allison (1996), Paul (1998) and Holly (2001) are Angel alumni. Ms. Harris was the Adult Education Coordinator for Rocky River Schools for 21 years and still helps out occasionally. Ms. Harris was instrumental in establishing the Rocky River Community Theatre, and served as a producer, properties master, actress, and dancer. She also was involved with the Beck Center for the Arts Youth Theater Department. She looks forward to continuing the Angel experience when her granddaughter becomes a Littlest Angel in 2020.
Carol Thompson, Reserve Chorus and Littlest Angels Administrator, holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Kent State University. She worked for 11 years as a Private Secretary for the Assistant Commissioner at the Cleveland Water Department and then stayed home to raise her two sons. She is active in Community Theatre and some of her favorite roles include The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Marian in the Music Man, and Lily in The Secret Garden. Returning to the work force she spent 2.5 years as a Program Coordinator for the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Outreach Dept. where she was in charge of the administrative work for The BW Men’s Chorus, Four Youth Orchestras, all the classes taught, and two of their four Summer Camps - Piano Camp & Music Theatre Camp for students grades 4 through 8. She directed the theatre productions at Olmsted Falls High School for one year, and started at the Singing Angels in August of 2017. She thanks her husband, and two sons, for putting up with her musical madness all these years!
Allison Erni, Choreographer (alumna), is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and Cuyahoga Community College. She has appeared in area productions at Beck Center, Cassidy Theatre, and Rocky River Community Theatre. She has choreographed for several theater productions, show choirs, and schools throughout the area. Mrs. Erni is currently the advisor for the Rocky River High School dance team, a Thirty-One Independent Consultant, and an interpreter for the deaf, but her favorite job is being a stay-at-home mother to her daughter, Anika. Throughout her 10 years in The Singing Angels she travelled extensively with the group and performed as a soloist and dancer. Mrs. Erni was a Tom Neal Award Winner.
Lauren Whitten, Reserve Chorus and Littlest Angels Choreographer (alumna), graduated from The Singing Angels in 2017 after eight memorable years. During her time as a member, she performed as a soloist, participated in dance troupe co-leading as a dance captain for three years, and volunteered for the Littlest Angels and Reserve Chorus as a student helper. She was also privileged to travel to Washington D.C., New York, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Missouri, sharing music across the U.S. and making lifelong friendships. Currently, she is pursuing an Associate's Degree in Occupational Therapy with a Bachelor's Degree in American Sign Language at Kent State University.