2021 Festival Soloists
Leslie Mangrum, Soprano
Leslie Mangrum is currently an Adjunct Music Professor at Bethany College where she teaches applied voice, vocal pedagogy and diction. Professor Mangrum is also the Music Director at Sunrise Presbyterian Church in Salina, KS and has an active private studio.
Although teaching is Mangrum’s first passion, she also enjoys performing around the United States in opera, concert, and recital. She has performed with Wichita Grand Opera, Music Academy of the West, Opera in the Ozarks, Music Académie de Villecroze, the Florida State Opera, as well as with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Salina Symphony and Hutchinson Symphony. Some favorite roles include Semele, Gretel, Nanetta in Falstaff, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi.
Mangrum has won numerous awards including the 2012 West Central Region National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award, First Place Winner of regional NATS for 6 years, the Benton-Schmidt Award, and the Dame Eva Turner Award. Mangrum was First Alternate at the District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She has been seen on PBS in Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and her recording of Semele by John Eccles can be purchased from Regis Records.
As a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Professor Mangrum has had many students succeed at the annual competition. She most recently had 5 students place at the 2019 Regional NATS competition.
Professor Mangrum lives in Lindsborg, KS with her husband, Scott Lee, who is Principal of Smoky Valley High School, and their daughter, Clara.
Katelyn Mattson-Levy, Mezzo-Soprano
Katelyn is a two-time award winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Competition at the district level, first place recipient in the National Opera Association Competition, and a finalist in both the International Contemporary Opera Competition and Liederkrantz Foundation Competition. On the concert stage, Levy has proven herself a recitalist of the highest caliber, described as “…performing with deeply emotional perspective” by the Bellingham Herald after her performance of Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the Bellingham Festival Symphony Orchestra. Levy has performed with opera companies, symphony orchestras, and music festivals around the country including Des Moines Metro Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Musica Sacra of Cincinnati, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Southern Illinois Music Festival, and the Bellingham Festival of Music. She is the voice of Classical Music in the morning with Radio Kansas.
Brian Stranghoner, Tenor
A graduate of Friends University (BA) and Wichita State University (MME) Stranghoner received the best “from both sides of town.” After 30 years of teaching in Kansas public schools, Stranghoner is Assistant Professor of Music Education and Voice at Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS. Under his leadership his ensembles consistently received “Superior” competition ratings and were invited to perform at Kansas Music Educators Association Inservices three times.
Stranghoner has also maintained an active solo career in opera and oratorio, namely: Mozart Coronation Mass in Carnegie Hall, NYC; Handel Messiah in Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC; The Reno Choral Society, Hutchinson, KS and Missouri Southern State University, Joplin MO; Baritone solos in Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at the Lied Center in Lawrence, KS, and Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS. Tenor Solos in J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion Bethany College Festival of the Arts, Lindsborg, KS; Schubert’s Mass in A Flat for the Masterworks Chorale, Aiken, South Carolina. Other solo appearances included recording with Janeal Krehbiel and her internationally-known Lawrence Children’s Chorus, and the Kansas City-based Allegro Community Children’s Chorus, Christy Elsner Artistic Director. Stranghoner has also served as Resident Artist and Chorus Master at Wichita Grand Opera.
Stranghoner is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Kansas Music Educators Association was on the Board of Directors and current member of the Kansas Choral Directors Association, a state affiliate of American Choral Directors Association.
Benjamin Winters, Bass-Baritone
Benjamin Winters has sung professionally with Opera Kansas, the Kansas City Lyric Opera, Opera North, the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra, the Trinity Consort, and the St. Charles Art & Music Festival’s Opera Institute. Winters is a founding member of the choral ensemble Octarium, and currently sings as a member of the Wichita Chamber Chorale.
He can be seen frequently on stage for Opera Kansas, having performed the roles of Police Sergeant in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, Melchior in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Usher in Trial by Jury, and Ben in Menotti’s The Telephone. Other favorite operatic roles include Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, and the role of Peter Quince in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where he was hailed by Opera News Online for “putting over the text with aplomb, singing firmly, and making the best dramatic impression.”
Winters is a practicing attorney in Wichita.