MATTHEW KNICKMAN, baritone, is proud to be in his seventh season with Chanticleer. Born in Korea, he started singing as a boy soprano at St. Stephen’s Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He holds degrees in vocal performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. As a member of the critically acclaimed Westminster Choir and Westminster Kantorei, he performed with the New York Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, & New Jersey Symphony, and was led by celebrated conductors, including Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Harry Bicket, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Richard Hickox, Neeme Järvi, Bernard Labadie, Nicholas McGegan, Julius Rudel, Stefan Parkman, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Andrew Megill. He has also been a Finalist in the Sixth Biennial Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers. Recently, he has performed as a soloist with Santa Clara Chorale, San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Silicon Valley. When not singing, Matthew enjoys strawberry ice cream, eating comfort foods around the world, and is an exercise and nutritional science enthusiast.
Matthew dedicates his season, "Heart of Soldier", to his cousin, Army Staff Sergeant William Alvin Allers, III.
Billy grew up in Fallston, MD and was assigned to the 198th Military Police Battalion, 75th Troop Command, Kentucky Army National Guard, Louisville, KY. He was killed Sept. 20, 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle in the vicinity of Khalis, Iraq, north of Baghdad. He was 28 years old. For his sacrifice, he was presented the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Action Badge. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
“Staff Sergeant Allers distinguished himself with exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to our nation. His team was responsible for providing main supply route security, convoy escort security, area security, quick response force missions, and recovery asset security. This same team successfully completed over 150 combat patrols, and 50 security escorts, surviving more than 25 engagements with the enemy. Staff Sergeant Allers worked hard to keep high morale in his team and was a catalyst for the moral in our entire company. His absence is deeply missed by all of his fellow soldiers.” - Iraq, Capt. Todd Linder, commander of the 617th MP Company.