The Singers

While pursuing a violin performance degree at Boston University, J Michael Compton was overheard singing his violin music (at pitch!), and was promptly thrust into Boston's flourishing early music scene.  His first professional post was in the choir of First and Second Church in the Back-Bay neighborhood. In the Twin Cities, he has performed with several early music groups, and joined The Gregorian Singers in its early years as an all-male ensemble.  Michael studied organ with the late Howard Don Small, Canon Musician Emeritus at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, and he has served as Director of Music at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church since 1983. He enjoys editing and performing neglected baroque masterpieces as well as composing new works, including a setting of the Passion and a Celtic Mass.  Michael continues to perform on both modern and baroque violin.  His other interests include antique-collecting and photography.

Gabrielle Doran has been singing in choirs since high school, where she sang with the Trinity School Chamber Singers in Bloomington. From there she went on to join the University of Minnesota Women's Chorus.  Her particular love for early music grew during her several years with the Waltham Abbey Singers in St. Paul.  She then spent four years in Boston as a member of The Oriana Consort, and she also helped start a Gregorian chant schola at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Waltham, MA.  Gabby joined the Gregorian Singers in 2011.  She has also sung with Exultate, Hymnos Vocal Ensemble, and the Cathedral of Saint Paul.  She lives in St. Paul with her husband and three children.

Elina Kala has been with The Gregorian Singers (on and off) since 2002. She also sings at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and in Saana Ensemble, a Finnish women's folk group. Elina has lived in Minnesota since 1991 after moving here from Finland.  She works at Hazelden in Plymouth as a family therapist and addictions counselor. She loves downtown living, Balkan gypsy music, arranging music for Saana Ensemble, hot yoga, and especially sweating in sauna with other expat Finns.

Diane Koschak is in her twelfth season with the Gregorian Singers.  She is also a member of The Singers, the Minnesota Chorale Artists, and is the soprano section leader with the St. Louis, King of France choir. She has also been a member of The Minnesota Chorale, the Rose Ensemble, Consortium Carissimi, and the Waltham Abbey Singers, as well as performing freelance work.  Diane has a Vocal Music Education degree from Bemidji State University, and a Masters in Education from St. Mary's University. During the day, she teaches elementary music at Valley Crossing Community School in Woodbury.  Diane is the soprano soloist in The Gregorian Singers’ performance of Handel’s Chandos Anthem X, The Lord Is My Light.

Tiffany Skidmore received a B.A. in Vocal Performance and Music Composition from Gonzaga University and a M.A. in Music Composition from Eastern Washington University.  She is completing a Ph.D. in Music Composition at the University of Minnesota, studying with James Dillon.  Her work has been has been featured in the Hildegard von Bingen Festival of Women in the Arts and the Rimon Artist Salon, and has been performed throughout Europe and the United States by the CSU Stanislaus Concert Chorale, the EWU Concert Chorale, Opus7 Vocal Ensemble, the Kiev Philharmonic, and members of the Spokane Symphony and the Hark Quartet.  She has sung for the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Opera companies, the Spokane Symphony Chorale, and numerous other large and small ensembles.  She currently sings with the Minnesota Chorale and Hymnos Vocal Ensemble, and serves on The Gregorian Singers’ board of directors.

Lauren Vick attended St. Olaf College, where she was a member of the Manitou Singers, the St. Olaf Cantorei, The Early Music Singers, served as an officer in the St. Olaf Choir under Dr. Anton Armstrong, and studied voice with Margaret Eaves-Smith. Lauren has been a member of several ensembles throughout the Twin Cities, including The Rose Ensemble, The SPCO Chorale, The Singers, Minnesota Choral Artists, Consortium Carissimi, The Cathedral Choir of Saint Paul, and The Basilica Cathedral Choir. She is excited to add The Gregorian Singers to that list! Lauren holds section leader positions at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, and in the Schola Cantorum at the Basilica of St. Mary. Her degree is in Theatre, and she recently founded the Buoyant Theatre Collective. Lauren works during the day as a Financial Coach with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Founding Artistic Director Monte Mason received a Bachelor's Degree in piano performance at Macalester College in 1971.  After additional musical studies at the University of Minnesota, he left academia to pursue perfomance opportunities, including the formation of The Gregorian Singers at age 23.  The abiding factors in this decision included a personal and professional ken to learn more about chant and to experience its performance. Howard Don Small, organist/choirmaster at St. Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis, was instrumental in allowing this experiment to take place in the lovely visual and acoustic setting of the cathedral. Almost forty years later, the rest has been history. Other positions and passions include organist/choirmaster at St. Martin's by the Lake, Minnetonka Beach, composer, editor, piano teacher, writer, botanist, and maintaining various odd collections in his home in South Minneapolis.

Mary Mason graduated from Macalester College, where she received a B.A. in music and sang in the Concert Choir under the direction of Dale Warland. She participated in several performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, including the U.S. premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion at Carnegie Hall. After college, she embarked on consecutive careers in law and aviation, while continuing to sing in choirs that included St. Mark’s Cathedral Choir under Howard Don Small, and an early spinoff of the Gregorian Singers, The St. Cecilia Singers. She is also a member of St. John’s Oratorio Chorus. She is now retired from Delta Air Lines but continues to teach part-time at Metropolitan State University. She also serves on The Gregorian Singers’ board of directors and manages the web site.

After receiving degrees in music history and theory, and following further study in trumpet and and composition, baritone Steven Hodulik has settled into a career in vocal music. As a choral singer, he appeared for two summers at the Aspen Music Festival, sang in Mexico City with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico, at the America Cantat III festival in Caracas, Venezuela, and twice at Carnegie Hall. He sang the role of the Page in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors for five seasons with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and that of King Aragorn in Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra. He currently sings with the Minnesota Chorale, the Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorale, the St. Paul Vocal Forum, and at the Cathedral of St. Paul as a choir section leader, cantor, chant precentor, and serves there as occasional organist.  He has sung with the Gregorian Singers since 2004.

Katie Eakright graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education.  While at UWEC, she was a member of the Women's Concert Choral, the Symphonic Choir, and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  After graduating from college, she moved to the Twin Cities Area and began singing with Exultate Chamber Choir and Orchestra, of which she is still a member. She has also sung with Hymnos Vocal Ensemble.  Currently, she works in customer service in the Annuities division of a large insurance company.

Brian Link first sang with the Gregorian Singers in 1979, and subsequently earned a degree from Indiana University in Early Music Vocal Performance, studying under Walter Cassel and Paul Elliott. He was soloist/section leader in the Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys in Indianapolis, and has been featured as a soloist with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Boston Early Music Festival and Exhibition, and the Twin Cities groups Ex Machina, Concentus Musicus, Bach Society and Consortium Carissimi. As a choir director he has led The Waltham Abbey Singers, Ensemble Polaris and Collegium V. He recently retired from his tenor position with Vocalessence, and is currently alto soloist/section leader at the church of St. Louis, King of France in St. Paul.

Nick Chalmers has sung with The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists and the Minnesota Opera Chorus, and has been section leader with the Chorus of Opera Memphis.  Recent engagements include The Mirandola Ensemble and Glorious Revolution Baroque.  Currently, Nick sings with the The Rose Ensemble, teaches private voice at St. Francis High School, and is cantor and tenor section leader and directs the St. Anne’s and St. Thomas Choirs at The Cathedral of St. Paul.  Nick was the tenor soloist in The Gregorian Singers’ performance of Handel’s Chandos Anthem X, The Lord Is My Light.

Paul John Rudoi, tenor vocalist and composer, has performed and recorded a wide range of music as a soloist and in various ensembles around the country, most recently in the male vocal ensemble Cantus. Since joining Cantus in the fall of 2008, he has worked with such respected artists as Bobby McFerrin, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and The James Sewell Ballet, and has premiered new works by several composers, including Maura Bosch, Mary Ellen Childs, and most recently Nico Muhly. Paul holds a degree in vocal performance from the Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut. His teachers have included Libby Larsen, Mary Ellen Childs, Edward Bolkovac, Tyler Flanders, and John Graham. 

The Gregorian Singers       4542 Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419-5031

Brigette Blesi has always loved to sing, and has participated in school and church choirs since childhood.  She was active in Women’s Choir at Bethel University, and is honored to sing with The Gregorian Singers.  She has three children, and has an M.A. in International Development.

Deanna Davis recently moved to the Twin Cities after completing her Master of Music in vocal performance at University of Nebraska – Lincoln in May 2013. While in Lincoln, Deanna participated in the UNL University Singers and the Chancel Choir at First Presbyterian Church. Staged productions include “Queen of El Dorado” in Bernstein’s Candide, "Mother" in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors and “Drusilla” in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. Deanna received her Bachelor of Music from Western Washington University where she played "Belinda" in Dido and Aeneas and was active in the choral program. She is from Spokane, Washington and looks forward to getting to know her new home in Minnesota while teaching and performing.

Jonathan Sill grew up in Manchester IA. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he studied vocal performance under Professor Alisa Belflower. Most recently, Jon moved to the Twin Cities in order to pursue a performance career. He has been active in the choirs in the Lincoln, Nebraska community and university including Big Red Singers, Chamber Singers, Men’s Choir, University Singers, and the men’s a capella group “Rocktavo”. His staged production credits include Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables”, Jimmy O’Keefe in “Later that Same Evening”, Kaspar in “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, Joe Crowel in “Our Town”, Jenek in “The Bartered Bride”, Warren in “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”, and Fabrizio in “The Light in the Piazza”. 

David Winkworth moved to the Twin Cities last week from Connecticut and is grateful for this new opportunity to make music. He studied voice at Oberlin Conservatory and has a long work history in arts and administration. He also folds a mean fitted sheet.

Jeffrey Jamieson first sang with the Gregorian Singers in 1977 in a Gabrieli multi-choral concert as a chorister at Sacred Heart Church. After somewhat recovering from voice change he rejoined the group during summer breaks from Westminster Choir College in 1983-84. During his six years of study, Jeff majored in Church Music with an organ principal and voice minor, and then did his graduate work in Choral Conducting with a voice principal. As a member of the Westminster Choir, Jeff has sung under the batons of Abbado, Bernstein, Kubelick, Levine, Masur, Mehta, Muti, and Shaw.