VINCE PETERSON – ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Vince Peterson, now in his third season as Artistic Director of Empire City Men's Chorus, is an award-winning conductor, composer, keyboardist, and the Founder of the critically acclaimed group, Choral Chameleon in New York City. In addition, he serves as Music Director and Organist of St. Paul’s Carroll Street in Brooklyn, and Director of Music at Regis High School. He is sought after as composer, conductor, keyboardist, and clinician. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by reputable ensembles internationally, including Ensemble Companio, Cantori New York, The San Francisco Arts Education Project, Ars Musica, Grace Chorale of Brooklyn, Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, and the multi-Grammy award-winning ensemble, Chanticleer, who have performed his work in such venues as Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. He recently led the men of Empire City Men’s Chorus in a performance of his arrangement of John Legend’s “All of Me” at Carnegie Hall with the legendary singer, Martha Wash. His arrangement of Tom Waits’ song “Temptation,” incorporating motives from Gershwin’s “Summertime” was called “…hard to top” by The San Francisco Chronicle and was performed live by Chanticleer on Garrison Keillor’s program, “A Prairie Home Companion.”
An avid champion of new choral and theater music, Mr. Peterson is responsible for commissioning and/or premiering over 120 new works to date. Together with longitme colleague and friend, Steven Smith, he founded an annual institute for composers and conductors of choral music which takes place in June and offers students the opportunity to bring new works to life via the voices of Choral Chameleon singers.
Together with his writing partner, Joe Barros (Producing Artistic Director of New York Theater Barn), he has composed the scores for three musicals, and an array of songs, scenes, and cycles for the musical theater. More broadly, his compositions mainly focus on choral and solo vocal music, as well as chamber music.
Mr. Peterson holds the BMus in Composition from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he was a pupil of the late celebrated composer, Conrad Susa; as well as a Double MMus in Composition and Choral Conducting from Mannes College, The New School for Music in Manhattan, where he studied with the new music pioneer conductor, Mark Shapiro. The New York Times called him "authoritative beyond his… years," and The Brooklyn Eagle praised his work as "a stunning symphony of the spiritual and secular," while hailing him as a solo performer "with depth and vigor" who "provided a universal context which resonated with his audience.”
For more information, please visit vincepeterson.com
SEAN FORTE – ASSISTANT DIRECTOR & ACCOMPANIST
Sean has been a pianist since he started taking lessons at 10 years old. He then continued at the University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music where he studied with Frank Wiens, Dr. Rex Cooper, and Dr. Sonia Leung. He also extensively studied conducting, voice, diction, and acting through song while at college. He graduated in 2010 with his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance magna cum laude. After living in San Francisco for 3 years teaching, musical directing shows, and performing, he packed up his life and moved across the country to New York City to pursue a career in musical direction for musical theater. He's been in the city for two years and is thankful for the opportunities that New York has offered him, including working with the Empire City Men's Chorus. Credits include: Broadway: A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (Rehearsal pianist). Royal Caribbean Productions (Pianist/Conductor for Cats). Regional: La Cage aux Folles, Seussical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cinderella, Sweeney Todd, Rent, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Nine.
Board of Directors
Scott michael Brown – President
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Scott couldn't have guessed how profound an influence ECMC would have on him when he joined in 2009. He is especially passionate about performing chamber ensemble music after more than 15 years of choral singing. His primary role as Board President is to cultivate ECMC's external relationships and to support and direct the internal committee structures. Scott holds degrees in Music and Physics from Centenary College of Louisiana and in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University in New York, where he now works as a research assistant in the Ocean-Climate Physics division. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, science and cosmology documentaries, and live jazz and classical performances.
WESTLEY TODD HOLIDAY – VICE PRESIDENT, DEVELOPMENT CHAIR
Westley was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Florida. He fell in love with music the day his parents played him his very first Michael Jackson song at 3-months old and he attempted to sing along. Westley's earliest training in vocal music came from attending Dreyfoos School of the Arts high school and he holds a BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Central Florida. Before joining Empire City Men's Chorus in 2014, Westley worked professionally as an Off-Broadway performer in various regional theaters, theme parks and cruise ships. Currently, Westley works as a VIP Program & Project Coordinator at the Hospital for Special Surgery and part-time as a vocal/audition coach. He is also a Founding Member, Music Director and Vocal Arranger for the vocal quartet, Bending Threads. Westley is proud to perform such exciting music repertoire with his ECMC brothers, and his even more proud to serve on the Board of Directors this year!
Ben Donahoo – TREASURER
Benjamin hails from the sheltered frozen north of Pocatello, Idaho where he obtained his B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Theatre at Idaho State University. A passionate singer, Benjamin performed all thru high school and college, before convincing himself to embrace the draw of the Big Apple and move to the city back in 2013. After a less than stellar first year in the city (rite of passage), he took a friend's suggestion to join ECMC and has never looked back. Now in his 3rd season with the group, he is so happy to be stepping into the role of Treasurer and joining the Board of Directors. When he isn't singing his ta-tas off, he can be found at the Gap, leading and inspiring others to fashion excellence.
Edward Enrique – marketing chair
Edward first sang with the Empire City Men’s Chorus in 2002 for several years then returned in 2012. He joined the board of directors in July 2013 and serves as the Chair of Digital Media and Marketing. Edward is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and has been living in New York since 1994. He has a B.A. from Vassar College. In 2001, Edward founded TAF Buying Service, a fashion consulting company assisting international department stores with their buying activities in the U.S.
RODRIGO ERNESTO BOLAÑOS – MEMBERSHIP CHAIR
A resident of NYC since 2006, Rodrigo is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor in Architecture and a minor in Theatre Studies. He started his choral performance career in the children's church choir in his native El Salvador. After moving to Southern California at the age of 10, he continued performing in school musicals well into high school. There he joined the Madrigal Choir, performing as a bass, then moving up to Tenor when joining the PolyPhonics in college. He and his fiance Mark-Eugene Garcia have continued the love for the performing arts by collaborating in the production of several plays and musicals, since moving to NYC. This is Rodrigo's fourth year with ECMC and third as a board member.
Eric PulSIPHER – Grants CHAIR
Eric first joined and sang with ECMC in 2008-2011 and returned in 2015, joining the board in July 2016. He enjoys music and grew up in Utah playing clarinet and tenor saxophone as well as singing in church and school choirs along the way. Eric moved to New York in 2002 and has called it home since then. He has a B.A. in Criminology, an MBA focused in Technology Management and works in IT Management at a law firm. Eric is enjoying his return to ECMC with an appreciation of the chorus’ musicality, diversity, fraternity and vision; and he looks forward to ECMC’s future efforts to contribute art through music to the community.