Our Conductor and Musical Director, Dr. Jerome Wright
Dr. Wright “Jerry” is a native of Everett, Washington, where he graduated from Everett High School. He conducted his first church choir at the age of sixteen, and majored in music at the University of Washington, receiving a BA in Music Education and an advanced degree in orchestral conducting, studying with the late Dr. Stanley Chapple (who taught Leonard Bernstein) and choral conducting with Rodney Eichenberger. He has two doctorates – a PhD in Metaphysics and Comparative Religion, and a Doctor of Divinity. He was ordained in 1984.
Maestro Wright has conducted a number of community based adult choirs that include the Seattle Oratorio Society and a similar group in Snohomish County. For the last twenty-eight years of his regular career he was the Founder and Artistic Director of the renowned Seattle Girls’ Choir – a group that has won first prizes in international competition in Vienna, Canada and at the Eisteddfod in Wales. He established community bases choirs for youth in Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. He was the first Artistic Director for Ancora – a women’s choir founded by alumnae of the Seattle Girls’ Choir. He has conducted thousands of singers over the years, and takes special delight in watching his students develop their talents.
He has conducted throughout Europe and the United States, and directed the National Youth Choir of Israel in the summer of 1987. He was principal conductor for the opening concert of the Salzburg Festival in 2009 at the great Salzburg Cathedral. He is an adjudicator, festival choir director, and has presented master classes at professional gatherings and universities, including Harvard. An author, he is working on a book on choral tone, plus a book on developing the choral art. A chapter he wrote for a special book on training young choirs will be published in the near future. He is also a composer and arranger.
Jerry has four sons, Ron, Paul, Patrick, and Perryn – “The Wright Brothers” – and eight grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. He is a baritone who has soloed around the Northwest and is an accomplished oboist and woodwind specialist.
Our Accompanist, Linda Dowdell
Linda Dowdell is a pianist/composer active in the NW music scene in a variety of ways. Recently, she was pianist and musical director of “The Fantasticks” at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. She often works as musical director at Key City Public Theatre in Port Townsend, and she founded the Musical Theatre Intensive for Teens, a two-week summer camp held at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, now in its 5th year.
Her concerts with Friends of Brubeck and Broadway vocalists Elinore O’Connell and Carol Swarbrick attracted sold out audiences at Peninsula College’s Meier Hall and other local venues. Her choral compositions have received premieres by such distinguished ensembles as Schola Cantorum of Edinburgh and the NorthWest Women’s Chorale. She is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, where she was awarded the Harrington Award for Creative Achievement in developing new work for the musical stage.
Prior to life on the Peninsula she toured the world as music director of both Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Peninsula Chamber Singers began in 1988 under the direction of Dennis Crabbe. In 1990, Dewey Ehling succeeded as Conductor and Musical Director until his passing in 2016. In 2005, our name was changed to Peninsula Singers to reflect the larger and growing size of the chorale. The singers are comprised of individuals who have college and professional choral experience; many with music majors. Our goal is to provide talented singers an opportunity to sing the best choral literature available, including young inexperienced singers who show vocal promise and the desire to gain experience and familiarity with our repertoire.
Among the hundreds of works performed in the past include:
Bach: Magnificat, St. Matthew Passion; Beethoven: Mass in C; Brahms: Schicksalslied (The Song of Fire); Duruflé: Requiem; Fauré: Requiem Mass; Gounod: St. Cecilia Mass; Handel: Messiah; Mozart: Requeim Mass, Grand Mass, Solemn Vespers; Schubert: Mass in G; and works from Leonard Bernstein, Dave Brubeck, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Randall Thompson, and Vaughn Williams to name a few.
Works by composers from Peninsula Singers include: “Pray for the Children” by Jane Stevenson and “Sing for Joy” by Taylor Ackley (in memory of Jane Stevenson).
We have performed selections from major music productions such as Steven Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats”, to name a few and several full-length productions of Menotti’s “Amal and the Night Visitors” in full costume and staging.