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Media Contact:Phoenix Chorale logo
Jen Rogers, V.P. of Marketing & Communications
480-204-0101 / jen@phoenixchorale.org

For Immediate Release

PRESIDENT & CEO JOEL M. RINSEMA

NAMED ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

OF KANTOREI IN DENVER, COLORADO

Rinsema continues as administrative head of Phoenix Chorale

(Phoenix, AZ) – Denver’s premier choral ensemble, Kantorei (German for “singers”), announced today that it has named Joel M. Rinsema as its new Artistic Director. The national search, led by several founding members of Kantorei, was the result of the retirement of Richard Larson, founding Artistic Director.

Rinsema-Joel bwz1Joel will maintain his full-time position with the Phoenix Chorale as President & CEO, relinquishing his artistic roles of Assistant Conductor and singing in the ensemble. He will also leave his position as Music Director at Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix, to make room for his new part-time position in Denver. He will commute weekly from Phoenix to Denver.

“We congratulate Joel on this exciting new phase of his career, and wish for him, from our hearts, all the very best,” remarked Phoenix Chorale Board Chair, Dr. George A. Martinez. “How fortunate we are that the Chorale’s profile and stellar talent continue to be sought and enhanced on a national stage.”

Joel has served as the Assistant Conductor and President & CEO of the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale for the past 14 years.  He first joined the Phoenix Chorale as a singer in 1992 and he has appeared on each of the Chorale’s recordings, which have earned a grand total of eight Grammy nominations and two wins. As Assistant Conductor, Joel assisted Conductor & Artistic Director Charles Bruffy in artistic planning, programming, and leadership, and leading rehearsals and conducting performances in his absence.

“The search committee is wholly excited by the many strengths that Joel will bring to the role of Artistic Director of Kantorei,” said Search Committee Chair, Kevin Gunnerson.  “We found Joel to be a natural fit into the community spirit that makes Kantorei so unique. We are thrilled to have him leading the ensemble into the future.”

Kantorei established itself as one of the nation’s premier choral ensembles after performing as an auditioned choir for the 2003 National American Choral Directors Association Conference at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In June 2007, Kantorei embarked on its first international tour to France and Italy, culminating with the distinct honor of singing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Recently, Kantorei has been featured in several regional and national conferences, including the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention and the 2010 Southwestern Regional ACDA Convention.  In 2011, Kantorei performed by invitation at its second National ACDA Convention, including a performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. Kantorei completed its second international tour in 2012, with performances in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.

 “It is an honor to be offered this opportunity, and I am excited to be working with the caliber of a choral ensemble like Kantorei,” said Joel M. Rinsema, President & CEO of Phoenix Chorale. “They have experienced great artistic success over the past 17 years, and I look forward to building on that success to create a bright future for the entire organization.”

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About Joel M. Rinsema:  Throughout his 22-year tenure with the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale, Joel M. Rinsema has served in nearly every capacity with the organization including the last 14 years as President & CEO and Assistant Conductor. The Phoenix Chorale has experienced tremendous artistic and organizational successes during this time. The organization enjoys financial stability and growth, including doubling season subscription and single ticket sales and individual contributions in the past five years. As Assistant Conductor, Joel assists in all aspects of artistic planning and leadership. He negotiated an ongoing recording contract with the prestigious U.K.-based Chandos Records, and Phoenix Chorale recordings have earned a total of eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins. He first joined the Phoenix Chorale as a singer in 1992. A frequent featured tenor soloist, Joel appears on all of the Phoenix Chorale recordings and was a soloist on the Grammy Award-winning Spotless Rose: Hymn to the Virgin Mary.

Joel is a passionate advocate for the professional choral art form, and he frequently consults with other choral arts organizations locally and around the country. Because of his leadership in his field, he received the Louis Botto Award for “Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal” from Chorus America, the industry’s advocacy, research, and leadership development organization for choruses, choral leaders, and singers. In addition to his work with the Phoenix Chorale, Joel served as the Director of Music at Church of the Beatitudes United Church of Christ in Phoenix for the past 15 years, and was the founding chorusmaster of the Arizona Musicfest Chorus.

As a tenor soloist, Joel has performed across the United States and in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Joel is an accomplished conductor of major works for choir and orchestra. He was one of eighteen conductors chosen nationally through audition to participate in master classes and workshops presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and Chorus America. He holds music degrees from Arizona State University and Whitworth University and considers Dr. Randi Von Ellefson, Dr. Donald Bailey, Jon Washburn and Charles Bruffy his biggest mentors.

In March of 2014, Joel accepted the position of Artistic Director of Kantorei –Denver’s premier choral ensemble. He and his wife Dana Bender, a choral music educator and soprano, reside in Phoenix, AZ with their daughter Rachel and son Derek.

About the Phoenix Chorale: The GRAMMY Award-winning Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of Artistic Director Charles Bruffy, is regarded as one of the finest choral ensembles in North America. The Chorale has developed that reputation through live performances across the U.S. and in Canada, along with a series of recordings treasured by music lovers and played by radio stations around the globe. What began in 1958 as a small study group of singers became a fully professional choir in 1992 made up of Arizona residents: highly educated and trained singers, teachers and professionals. In 2004, the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to record for the U.K.’s prestigious Chandos Records and since then, the Chorale’s recordings have earned a total of eight GRAMMY nominations and two GRAMMY wins. The newest addition to their discography was released in 2012, titled “Northern Lights,” and features music composed by Ola Gjeilo, the Chorale’s 2009-10 composer-in-residence.The Phoenix Chorale aims to be the preeminent model for American choral music by redefining standards of excellence and its mission is to enrich life through excellence and distinction in choral artistry. In its 56-year history, the Phoenix Chorale’s conductors have included Millicent Wesley (the Chorale’s first conductor from 1958), Wallace Hornibrook, Dan Durand, Vance George, Anders Öhrwall, Jon Washburn, and Charles Bruffy.  The Phoenix Chorale, ensemble-in-residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix, is sponsored in part through grants and funding from Cathedral Arts, Sundome Performing Arts Association, Arizona Commission on the Arts, City of Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Quail Distributing. More information is available at www.phoenixchorale.org.

About Kantorei: Kantorei, (German for “singers”) formed in 1997 under the leadership of six friends who decided to form a choir capable of singing a broad range of a cappella choral music. With the addition of Richard Larson as artistic director and a handful of additional singers, the group quickly found a footing in the cultural fabric of Denver, Colorado. Now in its 17th full season of performing, the group has expanded into an auditioned ensemble of 54 volunteer singers who meet weekly to rehearse. Many of the singers come from schools with strong choral music programs, such as Augustana, Brigham Young, Concordia, Luther, St. Olaf, Wartburg, and the University of Northern Colorado. Kantorei established itself as one of the nation’s premier choral ensembles after performing as an auditioned choir for the 2003 National American Choral Directors Association Conference at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In June 2007, Kantorei embarked on its first-ever international tour to France and Italy. The tour culminated with the distinct honor of singing for Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Having become a choir of national recognition, Kantorei frequently hosts composers and conductors of international renown. Kantorei has recently worked with such important choral conductors as René Clausen, Anton Armstrong, Simon Carrington, and Eric Whitacre. Kantorei has also commissioned and premiered new choral works from composers including Eric Whitacre, René Clausen, Eric William Barnum, Timothy Tharaldson, Joshua Shank, and Abbie Betinis. More recently, Kantorei has been featured in several Regional and National conferences, including the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention and the 2010 Southwestern Regional ACDA Convention. In March 2011, Kantorei performed by invitation at its second National ACDA Convention, including a featured performance at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, IL. Kantorei completed its second international tour in June 2012, with performances in Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest. Following the 2012-2013 season, Richard Larson stepped down from his position as Artistic Director and Conductor, and was subsequently named Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus.