VINCE PETERSON – ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Vince Peterson is a respected composer, conductor, and pianist based in New York City. He is founder of the celebrated “shape-shifting” choral music greenhouse, Choral Chameleon. Under his artistic direction, the group has earned numerous awards and critical acclaim and is responsible for over 140 commissions and premieres within its first ten seasons. Additionally, he currently directs the dynamic Empire City Men’s Chorus. Now in his third year with ECMC, he is ushering the group into it’s 25th anniversary season.
Frequently in demand as a composer, he is best known for his widely celebrated arrangements written for the Grammy award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer,, who have toured seasonally performing them over the last seven years. His music has been performed in distinguished venues worldwide, including Chicago Symphony Hall, San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, Bartok National Concert Hall in Budapest, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall, among others.
Peterson is a passionate educator and traditionally-minded musical pedagogue. He has given countless lessons, masterclasses, workshops and guest lectures in the areas of composition, arranging, literature, and, in particular, ear training. He has toured internationally as a choral accompanist, including trips through Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, The Philippines, and The United States.
Peterson is an alumnus of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Conrad Susa and David Conte, and of Mannes College of Music in New York, where he studied with Mark Shapiro and David Loeb. 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 – Principal pianist
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.
ALEX CANOVAS - operations MANAGER
Alex Canovas is a Brooklyn-based conductor, singer, teacher, and administrator who has worked with some of the most important arts organizations in the United States. Early studies in composition and voice led him to Ithaca College, where he graduated with a B.M. in Vocal Performance. As an administrator, Alex previously served as the Opera Center Coordinator for OPERA America’s National Opera Center. He also helped lead and scale an award-winning customer service team at Zocdoc, which was named New York’s wealthiest start-up in 2015. His areas of specialty include workflow optimization, business sustainability, and customer service management. Alex is currently the Associate Conductor for the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble Choral Chameleon, on the staff at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and maintains a private music studio. Alex enjoys traveling, reading, and searching for the perfect cup of coffee.
Board of Directors
WESTLEY TODD HOLIDAY – Board PRESIDENT
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 Project Coordinator at Columbia University 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!
RODRIGO ERNESTO BOLAÑOS - board vice president
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 husband 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 sixth year with ECMC and fifth as a member of the board.
craig goodwin-ortiz de leon - treasurer
Music has always been a part of Craig’s life. He started singing in choir in fifth grade and won many awards in high school for outstanding choral singing, including the NJ Governor’s Award in Vocal Music and the National School Choral Award. He studied voice with the late Lindsey Christiansen and choral conducting with Dr. James Jordan at Westminster Choir College. Craig holds a BA in Liberal Studies from Thomas Edison State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree in Nonprofit Management at the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. He met his husband, Arturo, in 2007 and they have been married since 2013. Craig is proud to serve as a leader for ECMC as the organization continues to grow and thrive, bringing outstanding men’s choral music to the community.
Scott michael Brown - board director
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 on the Board is to support ECMC external relationships and internal management and policies. 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 performance.
Ben Donahoo, board director
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 angelo Enrique – board director, digital media & marketing Co-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.
Eric PulSIPHER – board director, 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.
STEPHEN KEOUGH – board director, DEVELOPMENT co-CHAIR
Stephen Keough is honored to join the board of directors for ECMC as he starts his second year with the chorus.. Stephen is a professional freelance hairstylist and has worked as a hairstylist on Broadway for shows like Chicago. He has sung with many choruses.