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.
Gabrielle Doran soprano, joined The Gregorian Singers in 2011. She loves the group for its small size, eclectic yet harmonious repertoire, and its emphasis on vocal and acoustic excellence. Gabby has a particular affinity for early music and has sung with a range of ensembles, including the Waltham Abbey Singers, the Oriana Consort (Boston), Exultate, Hymnos, and the MN Bach Society, among others. She is also a regular cantor at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. When she is not singing, she is raising her four small children at home in Saint Paul.
Svea Drentlaw began her love affair with early music at Northfield High School, singing with the Madrigal Singers and going to state competition twice with her Music Listening Team (once she attended dressed as 12th century composer Hildegaard von Bingen). She continued to play and sing early music in the Collegium Musicum at Grinnell College where she received degrees in Music and Mathematics. In addition to singing with the Gregorian Singers, Svea sings and plays bass for the local band SlovCzech. Currently, Svea works as a substitute teacher in Minneapolis, where she lives with two cats and a human.
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 and Pop-Up Choir. Currently, she works in customer service in the Annuities division of a large insurance company, and serves on The Gregorian Singers’ Board of Directors.
Elina Kala joined The Gregorian Singers in 2002. She also sings in Schola Cantorum and the cathedral choir at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. She moved to Minnesota from Finland in1991 and has since sung in many choirs and ensembles, including Waltham Abbey Singers, Kantorei, VocalEssence, and Saana Ensemble. She is employed at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation as a licensed marital and family therapist and a drug and alcohol counselor. She likes swimming, yoga, sauna, xx-skiing, mushroom hunting, knitting, public libraries and biking as method of transportation. She has a special place in her heart for cats and goats.
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 as a pilot instructor but continues to teach part-time at Metropolitan State University. She also serves on The Gregorian Singers’ Board of Directors.
Liam Moore grew up singing and playing strings; now he writes music for others to play and sing, and plays and sings his own music, too. His writing styles are diverse and traverse classical, folk, rock and hip-hop. Liam hosts a weekly "contemporary classical" show on Frogtown Community Radio, he is a member of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Club2030 Council, and he has also sung with the Masterworks Chorale of Augsburg and MPLS (imPulse). When not at work or making music, you can often find him writing for a comic strip about an anthropomorphic lion.
Since graduating in 2010 from Simpson College with a B.M.E. in vocal and instrumental music, Matt Olson has been performing and teaching in a variety of roles in the Twin Cities. Matt has performed as a singer with the Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, and as soloist/section leader at University Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He has taught choir, piano, and guitar classes at a few schools in St. Paul, including Avalon Charter School and Creative Arts High School. Currently he teaches general music at Galtier Community School and has a private voice studio in the evenings.
Tiffany M. Skidmore holds degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Composition from Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and the University of Minnesota. She has been a featured composer in the Hildegard von Bingen Festival of Women in the Arts and the Rimon Artist Salon, and her work 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, among many others. She has received commissions from organizations including the University of Minnesota and the Jerome Fund for New Music. She is a member of the American Composers Forum and a founding member of the Minneapolis composers' collective, 113. As a vocalist, she has performed with the Spokane Symphony Chorale, Spokane Opera, Coeur d'Alene Opera, Minnesota Chorale, Hymnos Vocal Ensemble, the Contemporary Music Workshop, and currently the Gregorian Singers. She is also a member of The Gregorian Singers’ Board of Directors.
Since moving to Minnesota in 2013, Jack Vishneski has specialized in the middle voices of the choral world, singing tenor, alto, and countertenor for repertoire ranging from the 12th century to the present. Jack earned a BA in History, Music, and Ethnomusicology from Beloit College, and an MA in Music from the University of Minnesota. In addition to The Gregorian Singers, he regularly sings with St. Clements' Episcopal Church, MPLS-Impulse, and Consortium Carissimi. When at work, Jack serves as a technical analysis consultant and freelance audio engineer. At play, he cooks, bikes, does yoga, wrestles his cat, and plays nerdy board games.
© The Gregorian Singers 2015