Gregory Wait has enjoyed a richly varied musical career as a singer, conductor, and teacher. Named the Billie Bennett Achilles Director of Vocal Studies on the Stanford University Music Department faculty, he also conducted the Memorial Church Choir for thirty years, and maintains a vigorous teaching schedule. In recognition of his commitment to the principles of successful higher education, Wait received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1998, and was honored by his students and colleagues for his years of service to the university.
Many of his students have gone on to pursue careers on the world’s stages and concert halls. The Memorial Church Choir also commissioned Stanford alumnus Kirke Mechem to compose his Missa Brevis (‘Trinity’) as a tribute to his leadership.
Stanford audiences will long remember his performances of Mozart’s Requiem commemorating the first and tenth anniversaries of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
As tenor soloist, Mr. Wait made his mark in recital, in opera, and on the concert stage, having made his Carnegie Hall debut singing the Requiem of Alfred Schnittke. Hailed as “one of the leading exponents of (Benjamin) Britten’s vocal works,” he premiered works by Lou Harrison and William Kraft, and gave the first American performance of Alessandro Scarlatti’s Magnificat from his Vespers of St. Cecilia. His repertoire encompassed lieder and songs, the oratorios of Handel, the Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach, and numerous Bach cantatas, having served as soloist at the prestigious Carmel Bach Festival for over fifteen seasons. Mr. Wait came to national recognition as tenor soloist in the Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco) televised Sing-it-Yourself Messiah on PBS, and has subsequently concertized throughout the United States, from the Anchorage Music Festival to Santa Fe.
Mr. Wait is also an arranger and composer, and is frequently engaged as a lecturer and clinician for choral and vocal festivals.
Mr. Wait’s conducting of the Congregational Chamber Choir’s seven European tours has provided international audiences the opportunity to hear their performances at historic venues in England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, and Scandinavia. Most recently, he served a choral residency at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.
Now in his thirtieth season as music director of Schola Cantorum, Maestro Wait has received accolades from critics and the public alike for his vivid interpretations of choral masterworks, and for his commitment to the performance of new music. Under Wait’s leadership, Schola Cantorum has commissioned and performed numerous premieres, notably the Missa Gaia (“Mass for the Earth”) by Libby Larsen as well as Alva Henderson and Dana Gioia’s Winter Requiem. During Schola Cantorum’s 50th anniversary season, he conducted premieres by John Cavallaro, Frank Ferko, and Eric Tuan.
Schola Cantorum’s compact disc recording of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols has also gained considerable critical attention. In recognition of his passionate and inspirational leadership in making the choral art a deeply meaningful and joyous element in our community, Mr. Wait earned the highest commendation of Silicon Valley Creates (formerly Arts Council Silicon Valley), the Arts Leadership Award. As director of the Congregational Concert Series in Palo Alto, and as conductor of the Congregational Oratorio Society, he has presented countless concerts by local artists for local audiences, including conducting and singing the Evangelist in Bach’s Matthäus-Passion.
Dawn Reyen, Schola Cantorum’s Assistant Conductor and Accompanist, received her undergraduate degree in piano performance from the College of Notre Dame in Belmont and her masters degree in Choral Conducting from Loyola University in New Orleans. She has accompanied professionally since the age of 12, and enjoys working in many different musical styles and genres.
In addition to her work with Schola Cantorum, Ms. Reyen is the founder and conductor of Palo Alto-based Aurora Singers; music director at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City; music teacher for pre-K through 8th grade at St. Raymond School; Music and Movement teacher for Ragazzi Boys Chorus; and freelance accompanist/coach.
As Assistant Director, Ms. Reyen assists the Music Director in rehearsal preparation, acts as Schola Cantorum’s accompanist for both rehearsals and concerts, and leads two showtune/standards singalong events each year, as well as outreach programs.
Dan Morris joined Schola Cantorum as Executive Director in 2018.
|Steven Roth||Singer Council President|