FRANCES L. MARSHALL-BRIM,
President/Business Manager, Alto I, is a founding
member (1989) and the current President/Business Manager of
CHORAL THUNDER. Born and raised in Chicago, she received her
Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with a Math minor,
from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Although Fran
initially started as a Pre-Med student, she was subsequently
steered into engineering because she eventually realized that
she just could not stand the sight of blood.
Fran's powerful and beautiful vocal expressions proclaim,
in a musical form, the spiritual message of CHORAL THUNDER.
Her musical ability stems naturally from her father, who is
a founding member and lead vocalist with the Calvary Wonders,
a local Gospel singing group.
Fran's musical journey began at an early age. She enjoyed
singing in a group formed among her siblings called the Marshall
Sisters. This group performed locally and occasionally
participated in studio recording sessions. Fran also has a
rich performance background which includes various church
and school choirs. Presently, she is often in demand as a
A telecommunications executive by profession, Fran has applied
her talents towards various national initiatives. She has
served as Director of the Executive Leadership and Development
Department for SBC Ameritech and has been honored with several
professional awards and distinctions. Fran currently serves
as Chief Operating Officer of the Leadership Group of Chicago,
Executive Director of Disaster Recovery Associates and is
a member of Executive Development Associates and the Information
& Communications Technology Network.
When Fran is not performing as a featured Lead Vocalist with
CHORAL THUNDER, she enjoys interior decorating and cooking.
FRAN says... "CHORAL THUNDER has given
me the gift of lifelong friendships, a wonderful vehicle through
which I can share and cultivate God-given talents and the
privilege of expressing my profound appreciation for the many
blessings that I have so undeservingly received through song."
Back to top
JUDITH ANN WOOD, Vice President/Business
Manager, Alto I, has been a member of CHORAL
THUNDER since 1993. Born and raised in Chicago, she majored
in Child Development and received her Bachelor of Arts degree
from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Besides being the
Treasurer of CHORAL THUNDER, her life is a constant reminder
of the beautiful and gentle qualities of Spirit.
Judy ushered in the 1991 New Year in Ganeshpuri, India and
has visited about a dozen cities outside of Chicago. Her interests
include studies in health, wellness, metaphysics, cultural
arts, animals and the continuous pursuit of personal growth
and development through lifelong learning.
JUDY says... "Being a member of CHORAL
THUNDER has granted me the opportunity to be encouraged by
and to lift my voice with the most wonderful and diverse group
of people who truly embody the spirit of love, fellowship
She adds: "Years ago a friend gave me a greeting
card which she said reminded her of my lifetime search for
spiritual diversity. It read, 'God made so many different
kinds of people. Why would He allow only one way to serve
Him?' This is my belief."
Back to top
KAREN WINTERS, Secretary,
joined CHORAL THUNDER in 1994. Karen was born and raised in Chicago,
and has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Speech Communications from the
University of Southern California in Los Angeles. After graduation,
Karen worked in advertising and also as a copywriter in the marketing
division of a Los Angeles area executive search firm
Around that same time, an actor friend encouraged her to look into
small acting parts to supplement her income. He suggested that if speaking
roles were unavailable, to try becoming a movie extra. Karen took his advice
and later went on to make her living primarily as a background actor in
movies and television for several years.
After returning to Chicago, Karen noticed a local performer's newspaper
with an ad regarding an audition for a local Gospel group. She called the
phone number and has been a member of CHORAL THUNDER ever since.
KAREN says... "It is an honor and a blessing to be
a member of such a dynamic musical ministry. When CHORAL THUNDER sings, it's
as though none of us are present in our own right, but have released ourselves
as individuals to be used by God as a collective vessel to speak to others.
As we bless others with our music, we ourselves are blessed in turn."
Back to top
SHIRLEY J. TYLER, Treasurer,
Soprano II, is thrilled to
be in her fifth season with CHORAL THUNDER. Born and raised
in Chicago, Shirley adds her unique blend of love and magic
to the choir. A Liberal Arts major, with an emphasis on Marketing,
Shirley received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Roosevelt
University in Chicago.
Not only does Shirley enjoy the lively nature of ensemble
singing, but she currently performs occasional solo works.
Prior to joining CHORAL THUNDER, Shirley sang with the Community
Renewal Chorus of Chicago.
Shirley is an active member of Chicago's Trinity United Church
of Christ, where she is a Youth Church Instructor and volunteer
sponsor of the Imani Ya Watume young adult choir. She
is also a sponsor within the High School Counseling Ministry.
In addition to her vocal expressions, Shirley has played
Clarinet, Alto Saxophone and Marching Drums. That's right
- Marching Drums! She currently enjoys reading and watching
SHIRLEY says... "CHORAL THUNDER feels
more like a family than a choir. Listening to the choir is
like standing under a cool shower - the sound is so refreshing
it gives you goose bumps."
Back to top
GRETA MOSS, Historian & Wardrobe Coordinator,
Soprano I, joined CHORAL THUNDER in 1993.
A native Chicagoan, Greta attended the University of Illinois at Chicago
where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Theater.
There, she served as Chapter Song Mistress of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Her educational background also includes attending The Conservatory of Music
and ITM - Institut Du Maquillage in Paris, France.
One of Greta's earliest musical memories includes singing duets
and harmonizing with her mother at the age of 2! Greta's diverse musical
experience includes singing on a cruise ship and a traveling performance
in Europe. She was also a member of the first Black Expo Choir. Greta is
currently a member of the Third Baptist Church in Chicago and has sung in
the church's Gospel Choir.
Greta is a makeup artist/stylist and licensed esthetician
by profession. She works with a unique clientele in the television
and entertainment industries and has worked throughout the
United States and in Europe. She has also served on CHORAL
THUNDER'S Wardrobe Committee.
When Greta is not performing as a Lead Vocalist with CHORAL
THUNDER, she enjoys white water rafting, bicycle riding and
racing scale-sized cars.
GRETA says... "CHORAL THUNDER is a
ministry of music like no other. It's more than soul-stirring
- it captures the essence of everything that is divine!"
Back to top
MARIA DE LA LUZ CIENFUEGOS (Mary of the light of 100
fires), Fundraising Chairperson, Alto II, a name given to her by her mother
as she was born a preemie that she thought was too fragile
to survive her birth, is affectionately known to everyone
as Lucy. Stemming from Mexican-American, Spanish and Apache
Indian ancestry, Lucy originally hails from El Paso, Texas.
She considers herself a "transplanted Texan," due
to her love for Chicago where she has resided for the past
Lucy attended a CHORAL THUNDER concert in June, 1999 after
being told it would be a unique, extraordinary event. She
is a music lover at heart and regularly attends many concerts.
Seeing CHORAL THUNDER live was more than she imagined. The
experience moved her in a deep and profound way. What attracted
her most was the cultural and religious diversity of the membership.
She joined the choir three months later.
Lucy sings with the Sunday Choir at St. Gertrude's Church
in Chicago and has performed with the One In The Spirit Multicultural
Gospel Workshop Choir in Oak Park. She performs solo works
in several Jazz venues, including the Chicago Cultural Center
and local nightclubs. Lucy has also recorded Latin Jazz for
the Jazz Combo group at the Old Town School in Chicago and
has studied with acclaimed Jazz vocalist Jackie Allen.
In addition to her duties as a professional consultant and
business analyst, Lucy currently serves on the Board of Directors
for the Chicago Abused Women Coalition, the Diversity Team
at St. Gertrude's Church and the Fundraising Committees for
CHORAL THUNDER and the Cathedral Counseling Center.
LUCY says... "We welcome and invite you to
'raise the rafters' when you hear CHORAL THUNDER'S mastery
of music. Your soul will be renewed, refreshed and uplifted."
Back to top
ANABEL RODA, Co-Webmaster, Alto I,
has been a member of CHORAL THUNDER since the summer of 2005.
Although she started singing very late in life, she feels blessed
to have been a part of numerous musical experiences. It all
started when she mustered enough courage to audition for a
local rock band and was ecstatic when they accepted her as
a background singer. Since then, she has performed in various
cover and original bands and with renowned local jazz musicians.
She has also lent her speaking voice, as well as her singing voice,
for commercial spots and promos for WLS 890 AM. Currently, she is
performing throughout the Chicagoland area with her original rock
band, "Legs Akimbo".
ANABEL says... "I have enjoyed singing with the
immensely talented individuals that make up Choral Thunder. It
has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life."
Back to top
SHELBY WEBB, JR., Founder and Choral Director,
is a talented producer, arranger, conductor and clinician.
He has an extensive background in choir directing and choral
conducting and has been directing choirs since the age of
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Shelby has directed choirs
for several area churches. He served as Director of Choirs
at the esteemed Pilgrim Baptist Church, simultaneously overseeing
the church's two largest singing units: the Pilgrim Senior
Choir and the Pilgrim Gospel Chorus. The Pilgrim
Gospel Chorus was founded by the late Rev. Dr. Thomas
A. Dorsey, the "Father of Gospel Music." Shelby
considers it an honor to have continued Dr. Dorsey's legacy
of spreading the "good news" through traditional
Shelby possesses a remarkable expertise in the development
of widely-varied choral repertoires. Accordingly, he has served
as consultant to award-winning vocalists, ensembles, and directors.
In addition to producing and arranging CHORAL THUNDER recordings,
Shelby conducts various choral workshops and his work has
been a featured portion of several radio and television projects.
An accomplished Attorney, Shelby holds various post-baccalaureate
degrees. Although honored with numerous academic awards, music
has always held a special priority in Shelby's life. He received
the bulk of his music training in high school and college
and has studied extensively at the American Conservatory of
Music in Chicago.
SHELBY says... "When God gave me the
vision for CHORAL THUNDER, I had no idea how far God would
take us. As we continue on this path, He continues to remind
me of just how finite our perceptions can be: 'Now to Him
who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be
glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen.' - Ephesians 3:20, 21 (NIV)."
Back to top
ANDRENE RENÉE JOHNSON, Assistant Director,
Alto II, first
joined CHORAL THUNDER in 1994. She took a temporary leave
of absence in the late '90's to complete her Bachelor of Arts
degree in Theatre and Arts Management at Chicago State University
and to embark upon an Honors Course in International Studies
at the University of Minnesota.
Reflecting on her "ever-blooming love affair with the
Arts," Andrene (commonly known as Renée to some),
has performed as a singer, actress, dancer, composer, stage
manager, house manager and scenic painter. She made her acting
debut in the award-winning musical Train is Coming
at the Chicago Theater Company.
Andrene is a thankful mother of three girls (women) and gives
God all the praise.
ANDRENE says... "Singing unto the Lord
and hearing Him respond 'Yes, I am pleased' is the reason
that CHORAL THUNDER and I make such a good match. Whenever
CT members put their voices together, it's awesome! It's all
because of Him - Christ, the risen Lord."
Back to top
BRYAN T. JOHNSON, Musical Director, joined
CHORAL THUNDER in 1994. The son of Jamaican parents, Bryan
originally hails from Chicago. As CHORAL THUNDER'S "M.D.,"
Bryan manages all instrumental aspects of CT performances.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Chicago State
University, with a minor in Music.
Bryan has been playing piano and keyboards since the age
of 12. His broad musical background includes television and
radio appearances, various opening act opportunities and performance
tours in Japan, Switzerland and Germany.
Bryan has accompanied several professional recording artists
and has played for several area churches and choral groups.
He is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the Edwin and Walter
Hawkins Love Fellowship Conference. Although he has been honored
with several music awards and distinctions, Bryan continuously
maintains a humble and selfless spirit.
Currently, Bryan is the Director of the Valparaiso University
Gospel Choir in Valparaiso, Indiana and is a Choral Conductor
for the Chicago Children's Choir In-School and After-School
Program. At his home church, Mary Magdalene Missionary Baptist
Church in Chicago, Bryan serves as Assistant to the Minister
of Music. He also serves as Assistant Director of Music at
Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where he works
primarily with various youth and young adult choirs, comprising
of over 200 young people.
Bryan recently received his call to the Ministry and is excited
to expand in his service of the Lord.
BRYAN says... "My earnest desire is
to serve the people of God through ministry."
Back to top
ERIC D. TROY, SR., Keyboardist, has been a musician
with CHORAL THUNDER since 1996. He studied music at Roosevelt
University in Chicago, where he majored in Music Business.
The gift of music has always been at Eric's fingertips. He
has been playing the piano by ear since he was 6 years old.
At the age of 12, Eric became a regular pianist for his home
church, God's House For All Nations, in Chicago.
A profoundly gifted keyboardist, Eric has appeared on numerous
radio and television broadcasts. He has also accompanied many
professional Gospel recording artists, including Dorothy Norwood,
Vickie Winans, Kim Stratton, Richard Smallwood and the "Queen
of Gospel Music," Albertina Walker.
Eric is best known for his work on Mark Hubbard and the United
Voices For Christ's Down By The Riverside and the Chicago
Mass Choir's You Love Me CDs. He is also featured on
Chicago Mass Choir's recent release, Calling On You,
Live and CHORAL THUNDER'S Take Your Soul For A Ride
and CHORAL THUNDER Live!!!
Eric has toured nationally with the Chicago Black Ensemble
Theater in such hit theater productions as Precious Lord,
Take My Hand - The Thomas Dorsey Story, Do Wop Shoo
Bop and Great Women in Gospel. He also was the
accompanist for a local singing ensemble during a recent tour
Currently, Eric is the pianist on Rev. Maceo Woods and the
Christian Tabernacle "Good News Broadcast" Choir's
weekly telecast. He is also serving as Musical Director on
CHORAL THUNDER'S upcoming recording project.
When he's not at the keyboard, Eric enjoys spending time
with his lovely wife and three beautiful children.
ERIC says... "I am thankful for the many blessings
that God has bestowed upon me and CHORAL THUNDER. He is worthy
to be praised."
Back to top
MICHAEL KINARD PRESTON, Drummer, joined CHORAL
THUNDER in 1996. Born and raised in Chicago, Mike is the person
who keeps the beat for CHORAL THUNDER (and keeps it well,
we might add). He is married to his beautiful wife Greta and is
father to one son, and two daughters by marriage. Mike majored in
Media Communications and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from
Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He also received
his Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from Chicago State University
in August of 2003
Mike is an accomplished drummer, having opened for various
recording artists, including Smokey Robinson and the Winans.
He has played for several area churches and choral groups,
including the Wooten Choral Ensemble of Chicago.
Mike has lived in several states including New York, Louisiana
and California. CHORAL THUNDER was quite fortunate that he
decided to return to Chicago, just in time to participate
on CHORAL THUNDER'S Take Your Soul for a Ride CD.
Mike's passion for the drums is slowly being challenged as
he embarks upon studying the Bass Guitar. A student with Chuck
Webb of Chicago, Mike currently serves as back-up Bass Guitarist
and drummer at Family & Faith Christian Church in Aurora, Illinois
with Pastors Mark and Katrina Smith. Mike was also the bass
guitarist for Greater Walters AME Zion Church in Chicago, where
CHORAL THUNDER'S close friend and long-time supporter, Rev. Roy A.
Holmes, was the Pastor.
When Mike is not performing with CHORAL THUNDER (don't tell
anyone, but he's a closet Baritone), he enjoys writing music
and screen plays and children's books, architecture, reading
and outdoor activities.
MIKE says... "Becoming a part of this
magnificent group of people has given me more appreciation
of all forms of spiritual music. I am honored to be a part
of the whole. I envision so many wonderful experiences for
CHORAL THUNDER and look forward to the journey."
Back to top