In the Fall of 2000, four members of a well-known vocal sextet found ourselves at a crossroads: whether to continue on a secure road with rigid boundaries or take a sharp turn and blaze a new path; fill the present voids and edge closer to the standards we knew we could one day achieve.

   After some consideration the choice became clear. We decided to hold auditions to fill the missing voice parts with high-quality singer/musicians who shared our goals and standards. We called ourselves Equal Voices because all six singers were equally gifted, equal contributors, and equal to any challenge.

   In what still seems a blur, we quickly pooled our resources to assemble a brochure, photo, 2 hours of new repertoire, a demo recording, a catered reception to follow several small test concerts and finally our official premier concert in April of 2001. Supportive friends, colleagues and vocal music fans attended and sold-out the event!

   It became apparent that this group was well-suited to perform contemporary classical music as its specialty; music oft-shied away from due to its difficult rhythms, complex harmonies and a need for the most precise intonation. This led to a call for scores and hours of reading sessions to determine which pieces were most worthy and appropriate for singing one-on-a-part. We began to include them a few at a time as well as adding more established pieces (madrigals, etc.) until our repertoire had completely turned over.

   Over the next few seasons frequent concerts in New York and the surrounding region led to traveling tours, including Ohio, North Carolina, and Tokyo, Japan. In Tokyo, as well as subsequently in the New York metropolitan area, we taught several workshops in ensemble singing, including one focused on contemporary vocal jazz. It seemed a logical time to plan a recording.

   Around this time, individual members of the group experienced changes in their lives that made their continued participation in Equal Voices difficult or impossible. Though we had experienced a few growing pains, this was our first major challenge. After months of indecision, the remaining members agreed to press on and audition for new personnel, though some only wanted to remain until the group was on a better footing.

   Finding new members equal to the tasks we set ourselves in 2001 hasn't been easy. Several rounds of auditions found us once again hearing several candidates for each of four different slots, on a total of six different occasions. A two-tiered audition process, geared to assess each candidate's vocal abilities, stylistic versatility, and depth of musicianship, twice found us selecting singers who, for personal reasons, have had to move on themselves.

   Fortunately, one original member who left has returned, and with our newest additions, Equal Voices returns to full strength.

   Renewed, the six of us look forward to all the possibilities we first imagined, as well as to new adventures yet to present themselves. Workshops, recordings, and concerts at home and abroad, new repertoire and directions as yet unimagined await us as we turn the page to the chapter ahead of us.

Equal Voices would like to thank:

  • Elizabeth Farnum
  • Mark Johnson
  • Peter Stewart

for their help in performance while we were auditioning candidates. These talented people are among the most respected and generous colleagues and friends that we have - and we simply couldn't have survived without them.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Sandisfield Arts Center

5 Hammertown Road
Sandisfield, Massachusetts

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Sandisfield Arts Center
Sandisfield, Massachusetts

Wednesday, October 11, 2006
12 noon

Berkner Hall, Central Campus
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven, NY

Copyright© MDS 2006.
All Rights Reserved.