CompComp Winner Announcement

From the Director: Failed Saints

Dear friends,

Art never exists in a vacuum; it is intimately tied to the human context in which it is made and observed. Choral music only comes into existence through the voices of living, breathing, phonating human beings – in Ensemble Companio’s case, twenty-five highly skilled singers with twenty-five sets of life experiences who converge once a month somewhere in the Northeastern United States. Then there’s the composer, the poet, the listeners (hopefully you!), the location, the date…

Our collective context is a nation grappling with its conscience.

As we move through each day, we are all faced with a constant barrage of choices: between love and fear, compassion and greed, to welcome or to withhold. In order to comprehend our full potential for good, we must also acknowledge our ability to harm. We must wrestle with the difficult parts of our psyches, the ugly faults we prefer to ignore, our capacities for cruelty and indifference. If we recognize that in each moment lies a choice, then we become aware that our destinies emerge through the aggregate of our choices – destinies extending beyond us as individuals into the courses of families, communities, nations, our species, our planet.  Ripples of responsibility, for better or for worse, bond our fates to one another.

What if we all chose to love?

Perhaps it’s not that simple…but what if we believed it could be?  How would we change by committing to love – in all of its forms, however small – again and again?  

Failed Saints explores what it means to be human in a time of inhumanity, probing our mortal imperfections, our shared divinity, and ultimately our power to co-create the world as we wish it existed. Featuring the world premiere of two selections from Sarah Rimkus’s eponymous Failed Saints (as well as several regional and state premieres), other musical highlights include Alberto Ginastera’s Lamentations of Jeremiah, Saunder Choi’s The New Colossus, and works by Melissa Dunphy, Sydney Guillaume, Mari Ésabel Valverde, and Carol Barnett, among others.  This music traverses the darkest and brightest parts of human experience, holding space along the way for rage, grief, transformation, catharsis, and healing.

In keeping with our mission of “building bridges”, I am thrilled to tell you that we’ll be joined in concert by VOICES Boston on Sunday, April 28th. We first met with these fantastic young singers last November and were so inspired by their poise, passion, and musical sophistication.  I hope you’ll be able to join us; even if you’re outside the Boston area, it will assuredly be worth the journey.

If Boston is a little too far from home, I look forward to seeing you in New York (March 30th), Rhode Island (April 27th), or Philadelphia (May 11th) for this unique and powerful program.  

With great love,

Erik Peregine
Artistic Director

Introducing Our New Artistic Director: A Special Message from the President

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying time outside in the gorgeous warm weather we’re having!

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Ensemble Companio has chosen Erik Peregrine as our new Artistic Director.

Erik Peregrine

In his own words:

I am overjoyed to be joining the Ensemble Companio family and to carry on this vibrant tradition of heart-filled choral music in the coming season. Ensemble Companio’s mission of building bridges and human connections through music resonates deeply with my own artistic values, and I am so inspired by the musicians’ dedication to live out this mission in all they do together. I am both thrilled and humbled to be entrusted with artistic stewardship of this unique choral community going forward.

We, too, are overjoyed to welcome Erik into the Ensemble Companio family, and are eager for him to both push our musical boundaries and help us build exciting new bridges. He will begin his tenure as Artistic Director this summer.

For all the hard work, diligent follow-up, respectful debate, and thorough discussions that led us to this point, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Artistic Director Search Committee, especially my co-chair Mikey Steiger, The Board, and the wonderful singers in Ensemble Companio. I would also like to thank Michael Weinberg for kindly and steadily shepherding the Ensemble through this most recent season. Throughout the entirety of the search, all were patient, thoughtful, and expressed great care for the Ensemble. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to serve as President for the past three years; indeed, it has been an honor.

A backstage moment with Megan Lemley (alto, Development Chair) and Mikey Steiger (tenor) during intermission in Washington, DC. (Photo: Sarah Glaser)

Since this will be my last message as President of Ensemble Companio, I wanted to share something with you that happened several years ago. In the spring of 2013, when I had just completed my first season with the Ensemble and was serving as Ensemble Advocate, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Chorus America conference in Washington, D.C. The conference was packed with inspiring lectures, round-table discussions, and opportunities to learn from more established groups. There were also “buttonhole interactions”–chances to speak with someone experienced in fundraising/musical direction/board leadership/etc one-on-one, for 15 minutes. I sat down with the then General Manager of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and explained Ensemble Companio’s founding and structure, and our mission. He listened intently, offering sage advice and encouragement. He then asked about our long-term plans. Surrounded by representatives from other choirs that had been operating for 20 or 30 years–some even more–and with budgets much larger than ours, I wasn’t sure what to say. How could a choir like Ensemble Companio–barely 2 years old and with an improbable traveling rehearsal structure–hope to plan 10 or even 5 years out? I started, “Well, I really hope that we’ll be around 5 years from now…” And he answered simply, “You will. Of that I have no doubt.” I was surprised and heartened by his conviction. And he was right.

Having a laugh during our end-of-season brunch in Newport, RI. (Photo: Elise Croteau-Chonka)

Here we are, about to begin our seventh season. We have evolved with our membership, we have expanded our Board and our fundraising capacity, we have sung in seven states and Washington, D.C., won awards, completed our first-ever Artistic Director search, and continue to build bridges between people through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music. It’s been an amazing journey–one I now look forward to participating in simply as a singer–and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

In the next few months, a new President will take the reins. We’ll have some new Board members, too, and I can’t wait for you to meet them. As always, we welcome you to contact us with any thoughts or suggestions you have along the way. Clearly, we couldn’t have done all this without your wonderful support: the Ensemble Companio family is incredibly special, and I know I speak for all the members when I say we know how lucky we are to be a part of it. Here’s to the next seven years.

With deepest gratitude,

Cailin

Announcing our new Assistant Conductor: Michael Weinberg!

Michael Weinberg

Michael WeinbergMichael WeinbergWe are very excited to welcome Michael Weinberg to Ensemble Companio as our first Assistant Conductor. As we begin our fifth season and we continue to grow in many ways, we are elated to be able to add this role to our musical staff, alongside Artistic Director Joseph Gregorio and Vocal Coach Julie Gregorio.

Originally from the Washington, DC area, Michael Weinberg is a versatile conductor, singer, and teacher based in Boston, MA. He has appeared with numerous professional organizations, including the Oregon Bach Festival, The Philadelphia Singers, and Washington National Opera, and has performed in many prestigious venues across the United States and Europe. He recently made his solo debut in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center with the Yale Schola Cantorum under the direction of Masaaki Suzuki. Equally passionate about teaching as well as performing, Weinberg is currently Visiting Director of Music of the Commonwealth School (Boston), and has previously served as a teaching assistant and conductor of various collegiate and high school ensembles. His conducting teachers include Marguerite Brooks, Jeffrey Douma, David Hill, Paul Rardin, and Thea Kano. He holds an M.M. in choral conducting from Temple University, a B.M. summa cum laude in vocal performance from The Catholic University of America, and has completed the course requirements for the D.M.A. in choral conducting from Yale University.

But enough from us – let’s let Michael introduce himself!

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to introduce myself to you and say how excited I am to join the Ensemble Companio family as their first Assistant Conductor! Having already experienced one rehearsal weekend, family is the best word I can use to describe Ensemble Companio. Throughout the weekend I heard heartwarming stories of singers gathering in between rehearsal weekends, attending one another’s weddings, or supporting those experiencing difficult times. Though many members knew each other before joining EC, they make everyone feel welcome and a part of the family from the very beginning.

During my interview and audition for the position, I asked the members who were present why they choose to sing in a group such as this, one where you give up an entire weekend per month and travel a couple, or sometimes several hours away for rehearsal. For most, it is the special bond of music that drives their dedication to the ensemble. Being in EC provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in music making for a whole weekend, kind of like going to District or All-State chorus in high school once a month, only on a smaller scale and with people who become your close friends. Many community choruses focus on large choral/orchestral works and may contain upwards of 100-200 singers, compared to singing with a chamber ensemble like EC, which focuses on a cappella singing and allows for a more intimate music-making experience.

I’m very grateful to Joe Gregorio for this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to a fantastic year of working with and learning from him and the rest of Ensemble Companio. I also hope to meet many of you at our concerts in April and May!

Best wishes,
Michael

A Letter From the President

Dear Friends and Family,

Welcome to a new year with Ensemble Companio! We invite you to join us for our fourth season, and are profoundly grateful for your support and encouragement in seasons past.

My name is Cailin Wilke and I will be serving as Ensemble Companio’s President for the next three seasons. During the week I’m a scientific director at a medical strategy firm, and I’ve been spending my weekends singing Alto with Ensemble Companio since 2012.

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This is Your Chance!

We’re recruiting tenors and basses for our 2014-2015 season! If you are (or someone you know is) a talented singer and love(s) to travel, please let us know by sending us a message using the form below. We can’t wait to hear from you! Read more