An Orthodox Beginning
Wow. I was tasked with documenting the history of the Sunday Night Singers. As I am the first director of the group it seems a logical assignment. The “wow” for me is the realization that this group actually began ten years ago and, like every ensemble, has gone through many changes. Well, where to start…
In the summer of 2005 I was asked if my high school chamber group could perform at a birthday party for a priest of the Greek Orthodox Church. Since school was out for the summer, I asked a few of my former Chamber Singers and two of my college students if they could help put the gig together instead. Success! The folks at the party, one priest in particular, were impressed with the sound of the group and the next thing we knew, we were asked to perform again, this time for a Bishop. This seemingly small start resulted in the octet being commissioned to record a collection of Orthodox liturgical music for the American church arranged by Dr. V. Morisan. As the group needed a name for the recording, and we rehearsed on Sunday nights, we dubbed ourselves (very originally and utterly unpredictably) The Sunday Night Singers.
We couldn’t simply dissolve the group after recording wrapped; it was too much fun singing together to just stop, so we stayed together. Members came and went as they went on to different universities and began new chapters of their lives, but the enjoyment and the love never changed.
Time passed. After (then future) Assistant Conductor Allan Laino left to complete his graduate degree in choral conducting at the University of California, Irvine, the group began collaborating with the Palmdale High School Choral Union to perform for the LA county Holiday Celebration, as well as preparing to travel to the UK on their first international tour and competition in the summer of 2008. In 2009, now comprised of sixteen voices, SNS was asked to collaborate with singers from UCI for Allan’s graduate recital. At this time the group also recorded two new pieces for Marques L.A. Garrett to be featured on the Santa Barbara Music Publishing website.
2010 saw the establishment of the group as a non-profit organization dedicated to producing the highest level of choral art and fostering the creation of new choral literature, with a passion for mentoring young singers in the education of all things choral. 2011 is sure to bring more exciting projects and opportunities. All of our past aside, SNS is a collection of folks who love to sing together in the pursuit of choral beauty. We appreciate everyone who takes part in our pursuit.
Thank you for reading this less than scholarly history, and I hope that we may meet together in the future to share in the beauty of music.