Jed Shay, Executive DirectorEthan Sperry, Artistic DirectorErick Lichte, Associate Conductor and Choir ManagerGil Seeley, Artistic Director Emeritus
Kris Van Auken, Artistic Director, youth choir music education programChris Adams Brown, Musicianship DirectorMandy Coffee, Conductor and Musicianship InstructorNaomi LaViolette, Accompanist
Brian Keegan, PresidentSenior Vice President, HR Business PartnerKnowledge UniverseAnne Barragar, Vice PresidentAttorney, PartnerDavis, Wright, Tremaine, LLPJim Griffith, Secretary/TreasurerMember: Oregon Repertory SingersCarolyn Myers Lindberg, Immediate Past PresidentCommunications CoordinatorWest Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation DistrictMember: Oregon Repertory SingersAmy BrittanQuality Reporting AnalystProvidence Medical GroupProvidence Medical GropuJoyce CampbellVice President, Sterling SavingsCarol FenstermacherDirector of Community RelationsEvergreen School DistrictCindy JohnsonCommunity VolunteerTara KinatederSenior Vice PresidentUS TrustDavid MullerPhysician, Kaiser PermanenteMember: Oregon Repertory SingersBeth WoodsCommunity VolunteerMember: Oregon Repertory Singers
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.
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.
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.
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