Sacred Music Florida's 3rd Annual Competition
Set a Goal - Work Hard - Compete - Grow
Mark Thielen is a 41 year resident of Polk County Florida. Mr. Thielen retired after 30 years of teaching in the public schools where he served as theory, electronic music instructor and orchestra director at the Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland, Florida.
Mr. Thielen’s orchestras have performed successfully at state, regional, and national level festivals and conferences. From 2006-2015 , Mark was the orchestra director at All-Saints’ Academy in Winter Haven where he taught string students in grades 6-12. In May of 2015, Mr. Thielen retired from his position at All Saints. He maintains a private violin/viola studio as well as serving as an orchestra consultant with Central Florida schools.
Maestro Thielen performs professionally with the Hollingsworth Trio and the Unstrung Quartet. He is a past president of the Florida Orchestra Association. A highly sought-after clinician, adjudicator, and conductor, Mark Thielen has served as conductor for several all-county, state, and regional level honor orchestras. In January of 2009, Mr. Thielen conducted the Florida All-State symphony orchestra and the 2014 Florida High School Honors Orchestra in Tampa. In May of 2014, Mr. Thielen conducted a set of concerts with the Southern Tier Symphony in New York State. This year marks the 41st season that he has been associated with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. He served as concertmaster and associate conductor for 24 of those years before becoming the ISO’s music director and conductor in 2000.
Mark and his wife Tracy, have three daughters: Audra (23), Katie (21) and Lauren (19). The Thielen Family String quintet often performs in and around the Central Florida area..
Dr. Terry Yount - Piano Division
Joel Haywood - Piano Division
Mark Thielen - Instrumental Division
Romeo DeMarco is an operatic tenor who has sung many lead and compramario roles with opera companies throughout the U.S. He has also appeared as guest artist in operatic roles with the Palm Bech Opera for nine consecutive seasons under the baton of Maestro, Anton Guadagno.
Romeo's singing career led him to Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where he appeared regularly as a soloist on the international broadcast of the "Coral Ridge Hour" with D. James Kennedy. While at Coral Ridge, Romeo accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and began to serve the church not only in the music ministry but also as an officer of the church and as the Chairman of the WAFG radio commission as well.
Romeo is an excellent vocal technician and can quickly diagnose vocal problems and provide solutions that will put students on the track to vocal excellence. He loves the Lord and wants to encourage young people to use their talents for His Glory!
Romeo and his family currently are the Directors of Music at Edgewater Pointe Church in Boca Raton, Florida. He and his wife homeschool their two children and also run a boating business.
Mezzo soprano, Laura Angus Yount, received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music where she was the student of John Maloy. Additionally, she has studied with notable teacher/performers Elsa Baklor, Jan DeGaetani, Julius Huehn, Anna Kaskas, Heinz Refuss and Frances Yeend. She was a graduate fellow at Eastman as well as a recipient of the coveted Performer’s Certificate for excellence in performance.
She has performed with regional opera companies in the East and Midwest, including St. Paul Opera, Chautauqua Opera Association, and Rochester’s Opera Under the Stars. Her opera experience has been diverse, including leading roles in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Janacek’s Katja Kabanowa, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Verdi’s Falstaff, and Robert Ward’s The Crucible.
At seventeen, Laura Yount was the youngest member of the Philadelphia Oratorio Choir where she developed a great love of the genre. Her orchestral performances include, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Braham’s Alto Rhapsody, Vaughn Williams’s Five Mystical Songs, Serenade to Music, and Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
She has been a featured soloist with the Messiah Choral Society of Orlando at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.
Mrs. Yount has previously taught voice at the Eastman School of Music, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Seminole State University, Rollins College and the University of Central Florida. She currently is on the faculty of the Saint Andrew's Conservatory in Sanford, FL and serves as the Adjunct Professor of Voice to students in the Sacred Music program at Reformation Bible College. She maintains a private voice studio in Oviedo.
She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Fraternity. As a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Mrs. Yount regularly adjudicates for their annual auditions. She often performs with her husband, organist and harpsichordist, Dr. Terry Yount.
Joel M. Haywood serves as a Choral & Orchestral Conductor, Organist, Pianist, Arranger & Composer, and Producer.
He attended Westminster Choir College attaining a Bachelors in Sacred Music and Masters in Choral Conducting, studied in Germany for organ, and received the coveted title of 2007 Graduation Class Conductor. He has performed at Lincoln Center and Carnage Hall, and appeared on NBC's Today Show and on stage with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Dresdner Philharmonic.
As Assistant Director of Music Ministries at Coral Ridge, he directed the 100-voice Chancel Choir and orchestra. He also created his own “Four Piano” concertizing group with performances in local churches.
He has lead and directed music for the Congress of Nations in Malaysia and participated in a month long round-the-world musical missions trip. He has also held a private music studio teaching voice, piano, and organ lessons.
Mr. Haywood serves as Director of Music Ministries at Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church where he and his wife currently reside.
Laura Yount - Vocal Division
Romeo DeMarco - Vocal Division
Performer, conductor, teacher.
Bachelor of Music, (University of Alabama), Master of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts, and Performers’ Certificate, (University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music).
Currently Dr. Yount serves as Organist at Saint Andrew’s Chapel, where he is Dean of Saint Andrew’s Conservatory of Music. He is an adjunct faculty member at Reformation Bible College and Polk State College, teaching applied organ, harpsichord, and courses in Sacred Music. He conducts Reformation Chorale, the college’s vocal ensemble, which has performed in concerts, college chapel, and at Ligonier National Conference.
He has performed as organist or harpsichordist in orchestras or recitals throughout the United States, in Japan, Germany, Austria, Scotland, and Canada. He was formerly organist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has taught applied organ and corollary courses at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Towson University, Rollins College, and Washington Bible College. In 2013 he formed Orlando Collegium, specializing in concerts and recordings of authentic music of the Renaissance, Baroque, and later styles. He maintains a busy schedule of annual concerts through Saint Andrew’s Arts Series.
Selected recordings include God of Grace and Glory (2008); Ligonier Sinfonia (2009); Festive Dedication (2011) celebrating the inaugural recital of Saint Andrew’s Philip Swartz pipe organ.
Dr. Yount resides near Orlando, Florida with his wife, Laura. For contact about recitals, concerts, or conferences: