Calliope Women’s Chorus recently welcomed our new music director, Richard Carrick. The board and singers are excited for the opportunity to work with Carrick to advance our mission and the artistry of our performances.
Calliope: You’ve recently relocated to Minnesota from San Francisco. What brings you to our more northern climate?
Richard: I am very excited to be living here in the Twin Cities. While the weather can’t compete with San Francisco, this is a fantastic place to live as a choral musician. My girlfriend is working on her DMA in Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota. We met at the University of Oregon while we were working on our M.M. degrees, and after spending a year in a long distance relationship, I decided to relocate to be closer to her. I appreciated her choice to receive her final degree from the University of Minnesota because it places me in the heart of “Choral Mecca” here in the United States.
Calliope: Can you tell us a bit about your background as a musician?
Richard: I have been involved in music since I was a young child playing violin and saxophone, however it wasn’t until high school that I started to sing. Over the years, my instrumental skills gave way to vocal music. The experience of singing in an ensemble opened a new world of music to me, and I quickly fell in love. I earned my B.A. in Music with an emphasis in voice from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Cal.. I expressed my desire to be a conductor to Dr. Tom Davies, the director of choral activities, and he gave me many opportunities to learn and refine my skills. I am very grateful to him for giving me many hours of private lessons, allowing me to rehearse several pieces each term with his ensembles, and opportunities to conduct in each of our performances. During my undergraduate degree, I held a position as a church choir director, as well as a children’s choir director at Central Coast Children’s Choir.
I then decided to continue my education by studying choral conducting with Dr. Sharon Paul at the University of Oregon. Studying with a talented musician like Dr. Paul is a joy in itself, however her kindness as a human being coupled with her superior teaching ability provided me with tools necessary to be successful as a musician, conductor, and artist. After earning my Masters degree, I was hired at the San Francisco Boys Chorus as the apprentice 1 choir director and music theory instructor. I also have experience as a music educator and a private voice teacher. Now that I am in the Twin Cities, I am a church music director, a part time middle and high school teacher and I sing with the Minnesota Chorale. Being a musician is a joy, and getting to make music with a wide variety of ensembles.
Calliope: Calliope singers are passionate about a wide range of social justice issues that are connected to our feminist core. Which issues are you most passionate about?
Richard: I can’t say that there is one particular issue that I champion more than another, but rather different issues present themselves at different times. Any time a group of people are denied a right based on their age, gender, faith, race, sexual orientation, or worldview, something inside me stirs.
Calliope: What about Calliope encouraged you to apply for the position?
Richard: When I saw opening, I was drawn to it for several reasons. One of those reasons is that there is so much wonderful music available for women’s voices, and the sound that women’s choirs can make is gorgeous. Secondly, as a conductor I enjoy working with a wide variety of ensembles. I learn from each ensemble I direct, and it is my hope that each ensemble learns from me in return. Finally, I feel a responsibility as a musician and as an artist to use our platform to promote beauty, peace, justice, and equality in our world, which is what Calliope stands for. We are given the opportunity to bring about awareness and change to our world by calling attention to social injustices not through violence or discord, but through beauty and song.
Calliope: How would you like to see the chorus grow while you are involved?
Richard: I want to see Calliope become one of the premiere ensembles in the Twin Cities. It is my hope for Calliope to continue to provide a voice for social justice issues, while also reaching a broad audience by providing our community with top quality musical experiences.