Brian Keegan, President
Senior Vice President, HR Business Partner
Anne Barragar, Vice President
Davis, Wright, Tremaine, LLP
Jim Griffith, Secretary/Treasurer
Member: Oregon Repertory Singers
Carolyn Myers Lindberg, Immediate Past President
West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District
Member: Oregon Repertory Singers
Quality Reporting Analyst
Providence Medical Group
Providence Medical Gropu
Vice President, Sterling Savings
Director of Community Relations
Evergreen School District
Senior Vice President
Physician, Kaiser Permanente
Member: Oregon Repertory Singers
Member: Oregon Repertory Singers
Ethan Sperry, Artistic Director
The 2011 - 2012 Season marks Ethan's first year as Oregon Repertory Singers Artistic Director, only the third since ORS was founded in 1974. He follows Gil Seeley, who retired at the end of the 2010 - 2011 Season. Ethan was born in New York City, began studying conducting at the age of eight, cello at the age of twelve, and singing at the age of eighteen. He has earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Harvard College and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Choral Conducting from the University of Southern California. Ensembles under his direction have toured to Bermuda, Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guadeloupe, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Puerto Rico, Russia, and Taiwan, and have performed at major venues in the United States including The Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center, The Washington National Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, The Nassau Coliseum, Cincinnati’s Music Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and the United Nations.
A prolific arranger of World Music for choirs, Dr. Sperry is the editor of the Global Rhythms series for Earthsongs Music, one of the best-selling choral series in the country. Sperry is also a frequent collaborator with film composer AR Rahman and has appeared as a guest conductor for him numerous times including at Bollywood Night at the Hollywood Bowl and the 2008 Filmfare Awards, the Indian equivalent of the Oscars. He also serves as a consultant for the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, the first classical music school in India, which opened in 2009.
As a singer, Sperry has sung with some of the finest choirs in the country including the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Los Angeles Master Chorale. He has sung under the batons of Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Slatkin, Christoph Eschenbach, Mariss Jansons, and Sir Simon Rattle and recorded with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, and has appeared on several film soundtracks.
Currently Dr. Sperry is Director of Choral Activities at Portland State University, where he conducts the world-renowned Chamber Choir and University Choir and leads undergraduate and graduate programs in conducting. Beginning in the Fall of 2011, he will also be the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Oregon Repertory Singers, Oregon’s most distinguished adult chorus.
Sperry also serves as the National Repertoire and Standards Chair for Male Choruses for the American Choral Directors Association and the Vice-President of the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses. From 2000-2010, Dr. Sperry was on the faculty at Miami University in Ohio where he conducted the Men’s Glee Club, Collegiate Chorale, and Global Rhythms Ensembles and taught classes in vocal and choral music and The Music of Russia. From 2000-2006 he was the artistic administrator of the Arad Philharmonic Chorus in Arad, Romania, and from 2001-2003 was the principal conductor of the Choeur Regional de Guadeloupe, the only symphonic choir in the French West Indies. An enthusiastic cook, Sperry has won awards for his baking and his recipes have been printed in Bon Appetit magazine and the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Erick Lichte, Associate Conductor
In the last ten years, Erick Lichte has carved out a distinct niche in the vocal music world and concert life in America. The Washington Post has hailed the “audacity” of his programming, the Chicago Tribune has noted the “meticulous preparation” of his choirs and Fanfare Magazine declared that he created and helmed “the premier men's vocal ensemble in the United States.”
As a founding member, singer and Artistic Director of the male vocal ensemble Cantus, Lichte created and sustained one of only two full-time vocal ensembles in the United States. From 2000-2009, Lichte’s programming and artistic direction were heard in over 60 concerts a year in such venues as Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Merkin Hall, San Francisco Performances, Oregon Bach Festival, UCLA and Spivey Hall, to name a few. His work has also been heard through international broadcasts distributed through American Public Media and the European Broadcasting Union. He has collaborated with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, the Boston Pops, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Minnesota Orchestra, James Sewell Ballet and poet Robert Bly.
His work with Cantus garnered the 2009 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the highest honor for the professional choral organization Chorus America. He has also been awarded major grants from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
As a choral conductor, Lichte has worked with a wide variety of groups. He has served as guest chorus master for the professional chorus of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque a well as the Great River Chorale, Saint Catherine University Choral Society, the Saint Catherine University Women’s Choir and One Voice Mixed Chorus. Lichte has also served on the faculty of Augsburg College, as Assistant Artistic Director of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir and as Artistic Director of the Minnesota Compline Choir. He is a graduate of St. Olaf College where he studied under the tutelage of Anton Armstrong.
Lichte is also a champion of new music and has been a part of the creation of over 50 new works. Composers Lichte has worked with include Lee Hoiby, Gavin Bryars, Steven Sametz, Edie Hill, Mary Ellen Childs and Peteris Vasks. Lichte himself is an active arranger and composer whose music has been heard across the United States. He is especially known as a co-creator and musical arranger of the theatrical work All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which has been broadcast nationally and has been presented in two national tours.
As a record producer, Lichte has been at the helm of eight highly acclaimed recordings which have been named “Classical Album of the Year” by the Contemporary A Cappella Society, received multiple 10/10 ratings from Classics Today as well as “Top 10 Classical Album” by National Public Radio.
Lichte is an ardent audiophile and is a Contributing Editor for Stereophile Magazine where he writes equipment reviews of high performance audio equipment.
Gil Seeley, Artistic Director Emeritus
From 1976 through our 2010-2011 37th Season Gil provided the artistic vision and style of the ORS adult choir. He is respected for his extensive knowledge of choral literature. He has compiled a comprehensive discography of 20th century choral music that is the first such resource for conductors and scholars worldwide. Gil’s musical compositions and programmatic interests are distinctly international, crossing cultural borders and incorporating styles ranging from medieval chant to Italian madrigal, flamenco and contemporary idioms of diverse styles.
Gil holds the James W. Rogers Professorship in Music at Lewis & Clark College. He studied at Wesleyan University and the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria. He earned his Bachelor degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his masters and doctor of musical arts from the University of Southern California. Gil is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the International Heinrich Schutz Society and the International Federation for Choral Music. He has served on the National Endowment for the Arts Choral Panel and various Northwest arts panels. He has also been a volunteer choral conductor at Portland’s Lincoln High School and the Multnomah Athletic Club.
Jeri Haskins, Guest Conductor and Choir Manager
Jeri is an original member of Oregon Repertory Singers. For seven years she has been the choral director for middle and upper school at Oregon Episcopal School. Previously, she was the director of choral music at Oregon City High School for 13 years, supervised student teachers at Lewis & Clark College for two years. She received her BA from Oregon State University and her MMEd from Lewis & Clark College.
Naomi LaViolette, Accompanist
Naomi LaViolette, songwriter, pianist, and vocalist, has found an acoustic niche between the worlds of folk singer-songwriters and jazz soulstresses. Her music takes two parts Sarah MacLachlan, one part Joni Mitchell, and adds a dash of Madeleine Peyroux’s understated elegance for a concoction that is extremely palatable, sweet, but with an edge.LaViolette’s debut album, self-titled Naomi LaViolette (2011), features 10 original songs, as well her own arrangements of George Gershwin’s “Our Love Is Here to Stay” and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”.
As a songwriter, LaViolette composes from an authentic outpouring of life experiences. She writes songs about falling in love and staying in love. One song is a lullaby. She writes about heartbreak, life’s tough questions, and finding answers in surprising places. As one born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, her songs often contain inspiration from the natural world, reflecting a sort of wild, uncontained beauty. “In artistic expression,” says LaViolette, “we find places to stand in a world that is constantly changing. We discover what is most important in our lives, and understand our trials and joys at a deeper level.”
LaViolette’s music strikes a distinctive balance between soul-filled honesty and a variety of musical styles. Her roots are deep in classical music, with a master’s degree in classical piano performance. She’s immersed herself in jazz standards, folk songs, soul and gospel music. LaViolette also draws inspiration from contemporary artists including Madeleine Peyroux, Norah Jones, and Sara Bareilles. All these influences weave in and throughout LaViolette’s songs, creating a musical vibe that is both vintage and current at the same time.
LaViolette has performed in a diversity of venues, from jazz clubs to farmer’s markets and esteemed concert series. She often collaborates with guest artists at her shows, sharing the stage with both seasoned and emerging musicians. In each show her songs speak to the heart, and she wins audiences over with musicianship and vulnerability.
THE NEW ALBUM
Her self-titled 2011 album features guitarist Tim Ellis (Kung Fu Bakery Owner/Producer, Craig Carothers, Aaron Meyer), bassist Bill Athens (Nancy King, Mary Kadderly, Trio SubTonic) and drummer Jeramy Burchett (Dirt Poor Robins, 5 O’Clock People). The album is produced and engineered by Dean Baskerville (Sheryl Crow, Everclear, Pink Martini).
"Saying Naomi is a good musician doesn't mean that it stops at being a great singer, or skilled at her instrument. She understands how the 'nuts and bolts' of music fit together. It made communicating creative ideas easier with everyone involved, as well as stretching our imaginations for where the production might land. She came to me without 'fences' around her songs, and loved experimenting with 'new colors' of sound. Her songwriting is 'in the moment', personal in a way that makes you feel like you've been there before too. If Sarah McLachlan and Madeleine Peyroux took a road trip down the rocky shores of the Oregon Coast, they'd come back with songs like this." Dean Baskerville, Producer / Engineer
"Pianist-vocalist Naomi LaViolette is a lyrical musician who knows how to string together the perfect run of notes, just enough to show you she’s got chops, on the keys or in her voice, but not so many that she overwhelms the beauty of a melody.” Rob Cullivan, The Portland Tribune
“Always delightful and engaging...creating a modern and refreshing sound that is unique yet pleasing to the ear.” Andy Gilbert, President, Pacific Talent Inc.
“A superlative and creative musician, extremely versatile, and a joy to listen to!” Gil Seeley, Director Emeritus, Oregon Repertory Singers
"Naomi effortlessly combines the beauty of her vocals with skilled musicianship in performances that embrace her audiences. Her original compositions shine a dazzling light on her amazing ability to write music that instantly brings the listener closer. These plus her engaging personality make Naomi a consummate entertainer.” Jed Shay, Executive Director, Oregon Repertory Singers
Kris Van Auken, Artistic Director
Kris Van Auken has been a music educator for the past 36 years. She is known for her compassion and love for children as they journey through the world of music. Her high level of musicianship is demonstrated through her teaching, conducting and accompanying. She has taught elementary general music, strings, band and choir in three Portland area school districts as well as piano and Kindermusik in a private studio setting.
Kris received a Bachelors in Music Education from Pacific Lutheran University and a Masters in Music Education from Lewis and Clark College. Kris is currently in her 13th year at Oregon Episcopal School where she is a Nationally Certified Kodaly educator. Kris studies conducting every year with Dr. Doreen Rao at the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education, where she has been awarded the distinction of Artist Teacher. Kris collaborates with internationally recognized children’s choir composers and conductors where they study music indigenous to each country. She in turn brings innovative ideas and fresh techniques back to share with her choirs. She frequently attends workshops and conferences presented by the Organization of American Kodaly Educators and the American Choral Directors Association to continue to develop her knowledge of choral music education. She served as President of the local Kodaly Educators Chapter (SWOKE) which is the solfege based method of teaching music literacy used throughout the ORS Youth Choirs musicianship program. Kris is also a well-known accompanist in Portland and sings with the women’s choir Belle Voci.
Chris Adams Brown, Musicianship Director
Teaching music to children has been Chris Adams-Brown’s passion for the past ten years. She received her Bachelor of Music and Masters in Education degrees at Portland State University. Chris is a Nationally Certified Kodály Teacher, and has used the Kodály music pedagogy, methods and materials to teach children in many contexts including school music classes, choirs in public schools and for private organizations, summer camps, and home school groups. She is currently the music teacher at The Children’s Hour Academy in Lake Oswego.
Chris has been singing in choirs most of her life, from Elementary School through College, and in some Portland area choirs as well.
Mandy Coffee, Conductor and Musicianship Instructor
Mandy is a Music Teacher in the Portland area. She has been a soloist for PSU and community choral groups. She has worked with children's choirs and has taught music and movement classes for the past 10 years. She works closely with Kris Van Auken and the youth choir artistic staff and as the liaison between families and the office.