History: Our conductor from July 2016 to December 2017 was Arthur Zorn and our accompanist was Mary Jane Austin. As of July 22, 2016 Arthur replaced Mary Bonhag who replaced Piero Bonamico, conductor of the Mad River Chorale for 19 years after taking over from founding conductor Danica Buckley. Mary Jane Austin has been with us for many of the seasons over that same period of time. Previous accompanists include Alison Cerutti, Timothy Guiles, Arthur Zorn and Joan Foster.
As of January 1, 2018, we welcomed Mary Jane Austin as our conductor and Alison Cerutti as our accompanist both for rehearsals and performances.
Mary Jane Austin
Mary Jane Austin (Conductor) earned her bachelor’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Olga Radosavljevich and Vivian Weilerstein. She then pursued her graduate studies in vocal coaching and accompanying, studying both art song and opera at Duquesne University with Warren Jones and Claudia Pinza. In the field of opera, she has worked as an accompanist and coach for six summers at the EPCASO opera program in Oderzo, Italy, where she worked with mezzo soprano Vivica Genaux, soprano Young Ok Shin, and baritones Richard Bernstein and Michael Chioldi, among others. Closer to home, she co-founded the Sky Meadow Chamber Players in 2003, has worked at the Green Mountain Opera Festival as the pianist for their Emerging Artist Program and chorus, and played with the Mad River Chorale, Onion River Chorus, Vermont Opera Theater and Echo Valley Community Arts. She has also played for several silent films at the Vergennes Opera House and as resident accompanist for the Skinner Barn cabaret series. http://vcme.org/music/member/mary-jane-austin/
Alison Bruce Cerutti (Accompanist) has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout Vermont, and as a flute accompanist in the U.S. and France. For eight years, she studied with Louis Moyse and accompanied his flute master classes in Vermont and France, and in 2012 performed with his former students in St. Amour, France. Cerutti has played with TURNmusic for the 2015 production of A Fleeting Animal, Arioso, the Northern Third Piano Quartet, the Cerutti-Reid Duo, Veritas, and the Bruce Klavier Duo; and appeared as a soloist with the Burlington Civic Symphony Orchestra and the Vermont Philharmonic. She has premiered works by Vermont composers Lydia Busler, Erik Nielsen, David Gunn, Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, and Jacob Morton-Black. A Vermont native, she studied with Sylvia Parker and earned degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the Hartt School. She maintains an active piano studio and is an adjunct professor at Norwich University.
Arthur B. Zorn, Barre, is the organist and choir director, Bethany Church UCC in Montpelier. He is a frequent vocal soloist and organ recitalist in Central Vermont. In 2008, after 30 years, he retired from being Chairman of the Fine Arts Department and teaching Choral Music, Music History and Music Theory at Spaulding High School in Barre. Currently his abstract artwork has received critical and commercial success. His website is artzorn.com.
Mary was our conductor from 2014 to 2016, having had prior experience with many of the MRC singers when she directed the Warren United Church Choir. After training at Michigan and Bard College, her lovely and charming soprano voice has been heard solo at Carnegie Hall and other significant invited venues. Her performances in various chamber and other settings have received the highest accolades. She currently lives with her young family in Marshfield, Vermont where she is the artistic director of Scrag Mountain Music, an innovative chamber music series with her husband double bassist/composer Evan Premo. Our Spring 2016 concert “Songs My Mother Taught Me” was her fourth resounding MRC success. Her current information may be found at ScragMountainMusic.org
Piero was our conductor from 1995 to 2014. His current biography and additional information on his programs can be found on his website. Piero also served as chorusmaster for several seasons of the Green Mountain Opera Festival, providing a professional level of opportunity to a number of MRC singers. He has recently earned the master’s degree in vocal pedagogy at Shenandoah University and currently he has opened his own voice studio in Arlington, Virginia (DC).
Danica was the founding director of the Mad River Chorale in 1993. Now living on Cape Cod, she is currently director of both the Choral Arts Society of the South Shore and the Cape Cod Chorale, and is Music Director of the First Parish Brewster (MA) Unitarian Church. www.choralartsociety.org/director
Robert De Cormier (1922- 2017)
Robert De Cormier “retired” to Vermont, but Piero Bonamico helped him start his Counterpoint professional choral group under the Mad River Chorale umbrella. It is now fully independent. DeCormier was well-known in serious choral music history as a conductor and arranger, and known to the general public as the arranger for Harry Belafonte and Peter Paul and Mary. He coached several Mad River Chorale concerts when we performed his work. Mr. De Cormier passed away in November 2017.
Donald Neuen was Piero’s conducting teacher and mentor at Eastman School of Music, and collaborated with Piero on the Choral Excellence series of videos (http://www.choralexcellence.com) and other educational materials. He has worked with the Mad River Chorale, notably in preparing our performance of Elijah. He retired from his position as professor at UCLA after a long distinguished career as as a composer, conductor, and arranger and is still guest conducting choral groups all over the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Neuen