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Eric Dale Knapp appointed to permanent position with the New Jersey Choral Society
by Lori Howard for Vocal Area Network
Posted July 31, 2006

Eric Dale Knapp (photo courtesy Lori Howard)The New Jersey Choral Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric Dale Knapp to the position of Artistic Director and Conductor. Mr. Knapp has a dynamic conducting style, with commitment and energy that empowers the musicians he leads to provide stirring performances for audiences around the world. Joanne Houldsworth, President of the NJCS Board, speaks on behalf of the choir when she says, "We are thrilled to have Eric at the helm! His visionary leadership will guide our artistic development and organizational growth, and help to position NJCS as New Jersey's premier choral groupů.He is challenging, enlightening, and inspiring."

Mr. Knapp has led the New Jersey Choral Society since January 2005 when the choir's conductor position unexpectedly became vacant. The 2005-2006 season heralded significant advances musically and artistically for NJCS. Together with the Board of Trustees, Eric Dale Knapp is leading the choir in a new direction with its choral concerts, providing audiences with exciting programming and multi-faceted performances. The collaboration between Knapp and NJCS began in earnest last July with the exceptional experience of a triumphant ten-day performance tour of the Czech Republic and Germany. The 2005-2006 season, entitled "Les Images de France", took the choir and audiences on a musical journey through the romantic country of France with a celebration of French composers, music and history. Inspired by Knapp's vision, the vibrant choral performances have been enhanced by visual effects, lighting, dance and costumes.

Mr. Knapp is the founder and Music Director of Orchestra de Camerata at the Salisbury House in Des Moines, Iowa, where he also serves as Artistic Director of Chamber Music. As Conductor-in-Residence at Mid-America Productions, he conducts the New England Symphonic Ensemble and Festival Chorus annually at Carnegie Hall, and serves as cover conductor for John Rutter, preparing choirs performing under Mr. Rutter's baton. Mr. Knapp is Music Director for the Mark Thallander Foundation series in Los Angeles, and was also recently appointed Associate Conductor of the Connecticut Choral Society.

Mr. Knapp's considerable range of talent and experience is taking the New Jersey Choral Society to new places not only artistically, but literally. Members of the choir have enjoyed several opportunities for performing at Carnegie Hall with the Festival Chorus in Mid-America Productions concerts. This July, NJCS participated in the Voices in the House Festival for voice and organ in Sydney, Australia, under the baton of Mr. Knapp, who was the festival Music Director and Conductor. The festival featured renowned organist Frederick Swann, with concerts in Town Hall and the famous Sydney Opera House. In 2008, Mr. Knapp will lead the China Philharmonic and Festival Chorus of 2008 singers from around the world in a concert of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, presented in celebration of the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Knapp is "thrilled to be able to join the New Jersey Choral Society as Artistic Director and Conductor. No where is the human spirit of aspiration for excellence more alive than with the fine people of NJCS. People that love the music, understand the discipline, and seek to serve the community through great programs of varied repertoire. In the past season I have enjoyed the privilege of collaborating with these fine musicians and look forward to many years of wonderful music and joy. Together in one short year we have grown in so many ways, appeared on the world stages of Dvorak Hall in Prague and the Sydney Opera House and through it all enjoyed the lovely community found within. What more could any conductor ask for than commitment to the music and the synergies of intellect and tremendous spirit?"

"...In world of political, economic and personal disintegrations, MUSIC IS NOT A LUXURY but necessity because it is the persistent focus of human intelligence, aspirations and good will." -- Robert Shaw

"To me Robert Shaw's words sum up what the New Jersey Choral Society is all about. These words are an unspoken credo for us. I am honored to receive this appointment. Great music nourishes us toward a richer and more abundant life. Through our music we will laugh together, cry together and celebrate the best of goodwill."

A graduate of Drake University, Mr. Knapp has served on the conducting faculty and was appointed a Drake Fellow for graduate study in conducting. A versatile musical leader, equally adept with classics and pops, Knapp's finely honed ability to communicate through both gesture and speech place him at the forefront of the rising conductors of his generation.

Lori Howard is VP Communications for the New Jersey Choral Society.

Content Contact: Lori Howard.
Revision Date: July 31, 2006.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

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