Helios is made up of seven strong, artistic leaders who strive to find the unsung heroes of polyphony, and illuminate their works with a modern aesthetic. Together, the members of Helios collaborate to bring to light compositions from before 1700. Each Helios singer has unique knowledge and talents, and they work together to bring new insight to the music they perform.
Danya Tiller, Soprano
DANYA TILLER is a founding member artist of Helios, and considers her performances with this ensemble a major highlight of her career. For ten years, Danya was the Artistic Director of the Phoenix Girls Chorus. She made her conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in 2016 with Vivaldi’s Gloria and 200 singers from across the USA, and has toured extensively performing with choirs both in this country and worldwide. In 2019, Ms. Tiller was Acting Assistant Conductor for the Phoenix Chorale. Aria Music Studio, which Ms. Tiller founded in 2019, provides quality private lessons in both voice and piano, and includes the newly formed Valley Vocal Ensembles for 7-12 grade singers. Danya also has performed and recorded with the Grammy Award-Winning Phoenix Chorale since 2005.
Nina Garguilo, Soprano
Originally from Memphis, NINA GARGUILO has been performing and teaching in the Phoenix area since 2011. Most recently, she performed as Sarah in Harrower Opera's Ballad of Baby Doe, and has performed roles including Despina (Così fan tutte) Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), and Maria (West Side Story). In the summer of 2013, Nina sang the title role in Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank at the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany. While obtaining her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Mississippi, Nina was a member of the Mississippi Early Music Ensemble. She completed her DMA in Vocal Performance at ASU in 2017, and took her research of American Southern music to New York and Brooklyn. Nina finds joy in exploring performance practices, styles, and dialects in music. Nina teaches music and voice at Phoenix College and seeks to promote American Opera, Art Song, and Broadway repertoire in her own work as well as in her teaching.
Stephanie Stickford, Alto
STEPHANIE STICKFORD is an Ohio native. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music business and a Master of Arts degree in music education from The Ohio State University. She moved to Phoenix to attend graduate school at ASU, and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in music education. Over the course of her career, she has taught choir and music appreciation at all levels, delivered presentations at state and national music education conferences, taught private voice and piano, served as a church musician and soloist, performed bedside concerts for hospice patients, and sung with jazz big bands and combos. Stephanie currently teaches choir and general music at Pinnacle Peak Elementary School in the Paradise Valley School District.
Holly Sheppard, Alto
HOLLY SHEPPARD is thrilled to be joining Helios again! She was honored to be included as a guest singer for the Plus One concert series and as an occasional substitute when the need arose. Holly is privileged to perform throughout the Valley in both solo and choral settings. She has been a member of the Grammy-Winning Phoenix Chorale for over 17 years and performs regularly as a soloist with Phoenix Opera in a variety of concerts around the Phoenix metro area. Holly is a member of the Arizona Opera Chorus and recently covered the role of Mercedes in their 2022 production of Carmen. Holly also sang the role of Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Trentino Music Festival in the summer of 2019. Holly has spent her career as a 3D and motion graphics artist in the video game and slot machine industries. She currently works as a Sr. Environment Artist at Rainbow Studios -THQ Nordic creating off-road racing environments. Holly and her husband George are outdoor enthusiasts living in Mesa with their two birds, Pico and Olive.
Kenny Miller, tenor
KENNY MILLER is a founding member of HELIOS. He is an oratorio soloist, as well as recitalist specializing in British and American art song. Kenny actively promotes new works and has premiered compositions of Jody Rockmaker, Gunther Schuller, Kendra D’Ercole and Evan C. Paul. He is co-founder of ArtSong Rising, whose mission is to promote art song throughout the Southwest and has performed recitals throughout Arizona, California, and Colorado. He holds a Master of Music Performance and Pedagogy and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from ASU. Kenny is the Director of Choral Activities and Coordinator of Voice Studies at Phoenix College where he is also the Honors Program Director.
Michael Tallino, Baritone
MICHAEL TALLINO earned a M.M. in Opera Performance from Arizona State University and a B.M. in Music Education from University of Alaska Anchorage. Michael was born and raised in Alaska, performing choral music and opera in Kodiak and Anchorage before pursuing further study in a warmer climate. Recent credits in Arizona include performances with Arizona Opera and Chandler Opera Company, Passion Project: Opera! in Tucson, and oratorio and solo work in churches throughout Phoenix. In Alaska, Michael maintains strong ties, performing with Anchorage Opera, and other recitals and performances.
Toby Vaughn Kidd, Bass
TOBY VAUGHN KIDD is a founding member of HELIOS. He received his B.M. and M.M. in Vocal Performance degrees from NAU, where he performed with NAU Opera and as concert soloist. As a student he received vocal instruction from Judith Cloud, sang with the internationally touring Shrine of the Ages choir, and founded a Student NATS chapter at the Flagstaff campus where he served as president for two years. His professional debut as a soloist was with Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor in 2011. Currently, Toby works at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU, sings at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, and is also a member of the Arizona Opera Chorus.