existential solstice


existential solstice


Saturday, December 1

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A poignant celebration of the days leading up to the winter solstice, featuring readings of selected poetry by Revel favorite, Nathan Brown, and the premiere of Crystal Veil Suite by Stephanie Andrews.

Blackerby Stage & Studio,
1111 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757

Doors & Social: 6:00pm • Pre-Show with invoke: 6:45pm • Show: 7:00pm-8:15pm

$10 Student Tickets available at the door with valid student ID.


Ryan Heller

Described as exciting, dynamic and charismatic, Ryan Heller leads the award-winning Chorus Austin as Conductor and Artistic Director, having joined Austin’s vibrant classical music scene in 2009.

Mr. Heller and Chorus Austin have received numerous awards, including the Dale Warland Singers Commission from Chorus America, a two-time American Prize finalist, and winner of the national Chorus America/ASCAP Alice Parker Award, given to recognize a chorus for programming recently composed music. The ensembles of Chorus Austin have been named one of the Top 10 Classical Musical Treasures by Robert Faires of the Austin Chronicle several times since Heller has led the organization.  

Mr. Heller has led ensembles across the United States with appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Symphony Hall. He has toured internationally in Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Finland, Estonia, Sweden and, China, where he led combined choirs from Texas at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing and at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

He served as Co-Founder, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Portland Vocal Consort, one of Portland, Oregon’s, premier professional choirs, and spent a decade as the Conductor/Artistic Director of the Southwest Washington Symphony; In 2001, he Co-Founded the Columbia Chorale of Oregon, a group he led until 2010. Today, in addition to leading Chorus Austin, he is the Director of the award-winning Pride of Portland Chorus.

A passionate advocate of new music, as well as a lover of opera and musical theater, Heller’s credits include: Music Director/Conductor for the world premiere of the opera The Canticle of the Black Madonna; Music Director/Conductor for regional productions of Brigadoon, Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, Sweeney Todd, Annie, Company and Into the Woods; Chorus Master for Norma, La Cenerentola, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, and The Magic Flute, among others.  An active performer, he has appeared and/or recorded with the Portland Opera, William Hall Master Chorale, Choral Cross-Ties, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Capella Romana, Lakewood Theater Company and the Broadway Rose Theater Company. He has collaborated with or guest conducted the Austin Symphony, La Follia Austin Baroque, and the Rose City Chamber Orchestra

An Oregon native, Mr. Heller received his Master of Music degree in Conducting from Portland State University and his Bachelor’s of Music degree in Conducting from Chapman University. He is in frequent demand as a conductor, singer and coach.

Stephanie Andrews

Stephanie Andrews is a composer, church musician, and educator who has taught piano, voice, elementary general music and movement, and middle school choir for over twenty-five years. She currently resides in Austin, Texas and is on staff at Clearview Sudbury School of Austin, Texas.

At Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Dr. Andrews received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with a music specialization in 1990 as well as a Master of Music Education degree in 2006. In 2011, she completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin. She has studied composition with Dr. Rachel McInturff at Armstrong Community Music School in Austin, Texas and at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

To date, school choirs, church choirs, Chorus Austin and Inversion Ensemble of Austin, TX, Vox Nova Chorale in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Cheyenne Chamber Singers of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the Nodaway Chorale of Maryville, Missouri have performed Dr. Andrews's compositions. Recently, she was selected to attend the PREMIERE|Project Summer Festival hosted by Choral Arts Initiative in Newport Beach, California as a Composition Scholar.

A member of Chorus Austin since 2007, Dr. Andrews currently sings in both the Symphonic Chorus and the Chamber Ensemble. She is the proud mother of two amazing young men, Joshua and John Caleb.

Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is an author, singer-songwriter, photographer, and award-winning poet who served as the Poet Laureate of Oklahoma for 2013 and 2014. He lives now in Wimberley, Texas with his wife, Ashley.

Nathan taught at the University of Oklahoma for 17 years, but now travels widely, offering readings, house concerts, creativity workshops, and musical performances in an effort to bring back the hint of a smile and the hope for a good story in poems. . . poems unafraid of making sense. . . poems that carry us to better places.


Described by one pretty important radio guy as “not classical...but not not classical," invoke continues to successfully dodge even the most valiant attempts at genre classification. The band’s other not-nots encompass traditions from across America, including bluegrass, Appalachian fiddle tunes, jazz, and minimalism. invoke weaves all of these traditions together to create truly unique contemporary repertoire, written by and for the group.

invoke’s 2015 debut release “Souls in the Mud” begins with original works that conjure images of America, including the fast-paced opening track Travesty and The Trace (inspired by bourbon whiskey). The third and title track, Souls in the Mud, is an American transformation of a 16th century motet featuring banjo, mandolin and a bluegrass-influenced boot-stompin’ finale. The EP is rounded out by invoke accompanying a historic recording of a haunting traditional English ballad and two compositions by prolific American composer Danny Clay.

Most recently the Young Professional String Quartet in Residence at the University of Texas at Austin, invoke has also been selected to participate in the Emerging String Quartet Program at Stanford, Artists in Residence at Strathmore, the Emerging Young Artist Quartet at Interlochen, and the Fellowship String Quartet at Wintergreen Performing Arts. In 2018, the band won First Prize in the Open Category of the international chamber-arts competition M-Prize, in Ann Arbor, Michigan as well as First Prize in the Coltman Competition in Austin, Texas. 

invoke has shared the stage with some of the most acclaimed chamber groups in the country, including the Enso Quartet and the U.S. Army Field Band. Other highlights include a week-long residency at the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Institute, and appearances as part of the South Florida Symphony’s Summer Chamber series and the NextNOW Festival at University of Maryland.

In addition to “Souls in the Mud”, invoke has performed and recorded numerous world premieres, including works by Joseph C. Phillips Jr., Armando Bayolo, and Geoff Sheil. The quartet’s recording credits appear on bassist/composer Ethan Foote’s solo album “Fields Burning”, singer/songwriter Marian McLaughlin’s “Spirit House”, and jazz/soul singer Rochelle Rice’s EP “Wonder”, and many more.

Equally at home in a collaborative setting, invoke has appeared with musicians from genres at complete opposite ends of the spectrum - from chamber rock powerhouse San Fermin, to indie sensation Never Shout Never, to DC beatboxer/rapper/spoons virtuoso Christylez Bacon.

invoke endorses the Buffalo Trace line of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Soda Shaq cream sodas, and Kirkland brand everything.

Carla McElhaney

Carla McElhaney is the pianist, co-founder, and Artistic Director of Austin’s innovative music and arts collective, Revel. Her playing has been recognized by the Austin Critics’ Table with multiple nominations for performance awards in the “Best Instrumentalist” and “Best Chamber Music Performance” categories, praised by the Austin-American Statesman as exhibiting “infectious enthusiasm,” and commended by the Austin Chronicle as delivering “an exciting mix of focus and passion.” 

Carla’s passion for music became evident early on; she gave her first public recital at the age of 3, and was a top prize-winner in numerous competitions throughout her youth. She went on to earn performance degrees at the Eastman School of Music and The University of Texas at Austin, where she also served on the piano faculty for a year after completing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree. She went on to a garner a tenured faculty post at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory in Ohio, before returning to Austin to co-create Revel. 

Carla is energized by creative partnerships, as demonstrated by her active performing schedule and ongoing collaborations with many of Austin’s favorite musicians. She currently teaches at Texas Lutheran University, and you can hear her nightly on KMFA Classical 89.5 as the host of Night Music.

Sponsored in part by our Presenting Media Sponsor, KMFA Classical 89.5.