Tim Westerhaus, Artistic Director
Tim Westerhaus is passionate about transforming humankind through choral music that fosters empathy, builds inclusive community, and deepens understanding through diverse programming and collaborations. He seeks to advocate for singing among all ages and to engage choral beauty with contemporary issues relevant to society, justice, and culture in local and global communities. In 2021, he joined Northern Arizona University’s Kitt School of Music as Director of Choral Studies, conducting Shrine of the Ages Choir and directing the graduate choral conducting program. In Fall 2022, he began serving as Artistic Director of Choral Arts Northwest in Seattle and Master Chorale of Flagstaff.
From 2010 to 2021, he served as Director of Choirs and Vocal Studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He has served as President of the Northwestern Region of the American Choral Directors Association and on the boards of the Washington Music Educators Association and the National Collegiate Choral Organization. Dr. Westerhaus has conducted choirs in Europe, Colombia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Korea, and ensembles under his leadership have performed at regional ACDA and NAfME conferences. As a tenor, he sings professionally in the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus; he performs as a solo and collaborative pianist; and he leads baroque performances from the harpsichord. Dr. Westerhaus received his music degrees from the University of Saint Thomas, studying with Angela Kasper, and from Boston University, where studied with Ann Howard Jones.
An outdoor enthusiast, Tim enjoys running, cross-country skiing, and backcountry camping, whether in the Washington Cascades or Arizona San Francisco Peaks.
Eric Betz, Assistant Director
Eric is from the Pacific Northwest. His love for choral singing began in the Northwest Boychoir, which afforded him opportunities to perform with the Seattle Symphony Chorale at a young age. He attended Whitworth University for an undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance and is pursuing a Masters in Choral Conducting at Northern Arizona University. Eric has been working in Spokane, Washington as the choir director at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute since the end of 2018. Mukogawa is a program for Japanese women to study abroad and improve their English skills. He has also been the bell choir director at St. John's Cathedral in Spokane since 2021. In addition to directing Eric has performed in many ensembles as a Tenor soloist, specializing in Baroque oratorio repertoire. When not singing or conducting, Eric can be found cooking delicious food or trail running.
Christina Nelson, Assistant Director
Christina Nelson is in her second year of graduate studies at Northern Arizona University, working toward her Master of Music in Choral Conducting. In 2018, she received her Bachelor of Music Education in Secondary Choral Studies from Pacific Lutheran University, where she studied conducting with Brian Galante and Richard Nance. She sang soprano in PLU’s community chorus, Choral Union, and is an active member of the American Choral Director’s Association. That same year, she participated in conducting masterclasses with Dr. Robert Bode and Dr. Andrea Ramsey and served as Site Manager for NW ACDA Regional Conferences in 2020 and 2022. Before moving to Flagstaff last year, Christina taught junior high choirs, directed church choirs, and most recently taught elementary general music in Auburn, Washington.
When she is not rehearsing or studying, Christina can often be found out in nature or curled up with a good book. This summer, Christina had the opportunity to perform the National Anthem for the Clark County Fair Rodeo in Washington State, an experience she says is one of the Top 3 performances of her career. She lived in Washington State her entire life and would often go camping and hiking in the North Cascades, specifically near Diablo Lake. She thoroughly enjoyed exploring the trails of Arizona last year and is excited to see how many more adventures she can experience before graduation.
Dr. Aimee Fincher serves as Assistant Professor of Practice in collaborative piano at Northern Arizona University (NAU), where she performs with students and faculty, facilitates collaborative piano assignments, coaches chamber music, and co-teaches piano ensemble. An experienced chamber musician, collaborator, and large ensemble pianist, she is comfortable performing wide-ranging styles and genres. Recent orchestral performances include premieres by William Price and Amir Zaheri, Credo in US by John Cage, and the Alabama premiere of Absolute Jest by John Adams. Prior to her work at NAU, Aimee worked at Oakwood University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Together with her duo partner, violinist Hannah Leland, Dr. Fincher released Duo Odéon’s debut album, Specter, in 2018 on the Sono Luminus label. The album features premiere recordings of unpublished manuscripts by the composer George Antheil and the violinist Werner Gebauer. She can also be heard on Summit records’ album, Table for Three at Chez Janou, in collaboration with Arizona State University brass professor John Ericson and professor emeritus Douglas Yeo. Dr. Fincher earned her doctorate in collaborative piano at Arizona State University, and performance and pedagogy degrees from the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina, where her professors included Andrew Campbell, Russell Ryan, and Scott Price.
Aimee Fincher, Accompanist
Jody Laura, Business Manager
Jody Laura is in her fourth year as business manager for Master Chorale of Flagstaff. Her background includes a BA and MA in music education from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Jody is the director of Little Music Makers of Flagstaff after previously teaching middle school band and then elementary vocal/general music in public schools for 10 years. Jody is passionate about advocating for music education and bringing community together through music in ways that allow for life-long musicianship. She also maintains a private piano studio, works with Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra's Lullaby Project, and enjoys playing French horn and piano.