New Artistic Director Welcome

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Dear Friends,

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

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Ensemble Companio has chosen Erik Peregine as our new Artistic Director.
Erik Peregrine
Lauded for his keen artistic insight, creative programming, and lithe podium presence, conductor Erik Peregrine currently serves as the Music Director of the Woodbury Chorus & Orchestra, Assistant Conductor for One Voice Mixed Chorus, and Artistic Consultant for Caritas Vocal Ensemble. 

Peregrine has previously held a diverse array of conducting and teaching positions across North America, including posts with Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, the South St. Paul Male Chorus, Vancouver Peace Choir, University of British Columbia Choirs, UBC Symphony Orchestra, Lewis & Clark College Choirs and Wind Symphony, and Spiritus Multi-Faith Choir, which he founded as an undergraduate student.  While at UBC, he assisted in preparing choruses for collaborations with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and UBC Symphony Orchestra, with repertoire including Britten’s War Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mahler’s Symphony no. 2, and Beethoven’s Symphony no 9.

Committed to creating more affirming spaces through education and visibility, Peregrine has recently collaborated on presentations about transgender vocal pedagogy and inclusive rehearsal practices for the inaugural Transgender Singing Voice Conference (Earlham College, IN), the 2017 Minnesota ACDA Summer Dialogue (St. John’s University, MN), and leads workshops for middle and high school students on LGBTQ-related topics through One Voice Mixed Chorus’s OUT in Our Schools program. 

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Peregrine earned his Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of British Columbia under the mentorship of Dr. Graeme Langager and Dr. Jonathan Girard and his Bachelor of Arts in Music magna cum laude with honors from Lewis & Clark College, where he took a winding path through bassoon performance, voice, and musicology before hearing his call to the podium under the guidance of Dr. Katherine FitzGibbon and Brett EE Paschal.
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.
A backstage moment with Megan Lemley and Mikey Steiger during intermission in Washington, DC. (Photo: Sarah Glaser)
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. 

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, DC.  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 and 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.
Scenes from the 2016-2017 season in Brooklyn, NY and Newport, RI. (Photos: 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, DC, 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,
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