Daniel Gutierrez, a native of Long Island, New York, came in 2004 to Evangel University in Springfield, MO. In 2006, Daniel was recipient of the Springfield Public Schools diversity scholarship. He is currently the choral director at Reed Academy. In January, 2015 his Reed Academy Treble Choir performed at the prestigious Missouri Music Educators Association convention. They were the first middle school choir from Springfield ever to be selected/perform at the convention. Gutierrez is currently on the voice faculty at Evangel University while also maintaining a private voice studio, where he teaches students aged 9-70. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Music Education at Missouri State University. Gutierrez regularly has speaking engagements throughout the state, as well as for the Missouri Choral Directors Association. He has also served as a music specialist for Springfield Public Schools having taught at Delaware and Rountree Elementary Schools. His other professional experience has included serving as one of the conductors of the Children’s Choir of Southwest Missouri and choir director at Messiah Lutheran. Career accolades include the honors of Springfield Public Schools Teacher of the Month, named a “Springfield Hometown Hero” by KSPR, a top 5 finalist for Springfield Public Schools “Teacher of the Year” in 2014 and 2015, as well as being featured on the cover of the Springfield News-Leader for a project that distributed classical music CDs to all students at Rountree elementary and for his Reed Academy Treble Choir’s performance at the MMEA Convention. In 2014 and 2015, his Reed Choirs won first and second place trophies in their division in Kansas City’s Festival of Choirs. In this upcoming 2015-2016 season, Daniel also has engagements to clinic the 5/6 SCMMEA District Honor Choir, 3/4 Kodaly of the Ozarks Honor Choir, 9/10 SE Missouri District Honor Choir, and will be the 2016 clinician Kantorei of Kansas City Treble Chorus (for ages 10 and up). Daniel is married to his best friend, Dawn Gutierrez, who teaches at Evangel University, Ozarks Technical Community College, and is the high school choir director at Springfield Catholic High School. They have a beautiful son, Zane, who is two years old.
James (Jimmy) Benecasa is a collaborative pianist who has served the Springfield area for the past 9 years. He is a 2012 graduate of Evangel University with a degree in Music Industry, and more recently earned his graduate degree in piano performance from Missouri State University. Over the last decade, James has received numerous opportunities to rehearse and perform with a variety of music groups including the Evangel University Chorus and Opera workshops, Ozarks Technical Community College Choirs, Reed Academy Choirs, and the Missouri State University Opera program. He has been actively involved in coaching and performing alongside vocalists and instrumentalists in the majority of music departments in the Springfield area. He has been the staff accompanist for the past two seasons with the Springfield Regional Opera (SRO), performing notable works such as Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, and many others. More recently, he has toured with the SRO’s education program, introducing opera to every kindergarten and first grade student in Springfield. James has performed solo works in over 40 states, and had the privilege of playing for two European tours. Aside from the piano, James enjoys composing and recording works of his own, with six albums to date and a number of film scores. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Katrina, and their two highly energetic dogs.