June 18, 2020

2918 Teal Eye Ct.

Ft. Collins CO 80526

Dear friends of Laudamus,

I’m writing to update you on what’s been happening with Laudamus over the past three mind-boggling months. It seems hard to believe that only three months ago, in early March, Laudamus was confidently preparing for a late April concert under the leadership of Amy Hloucal, the second of our interim directors who were filling in for Laura Gillett, our permanent music director. Laura, in the meantime, was completing a year-long sabbatical leave, and planning to return refreshed to Laudamus in the fall. Then, with little warning, our plans were completely derailed by two unrelated but equally disruptive events.

First, Laura Gillett was shocked by a devastating diagnosis of cancer that called for immediate initiation of debilitating treatments. It became clear that it would be impossible for her to return to directing Laudamus in the fall. With deep gratitude for her five years of imaginative leadership, but also with immense sadness at this tragic turn of events, the Laudamus Board regretfully accepted Laura’s resignation, effective May 1.

The second disruptive event was the sudden and frightening spread of the novel coronavirus. Responding to public health advisories, Plymouth Congregational Church, where we had been rehearsing weekly and where we had planned to sing our April concerts, announced in mid-March that it was closing the church until further notice. Reluctantly, we were forced to cancel our remaining rehearsals and eventually our two April concerts. In retrospect, we probably owe Plymouth a vote of thanks, because over time it has become clear that group singing is one of the most effective ways of spreading the virus, and not rehearsing after March 9 has given all our singers a much better chance of staying healthy.

We now face an extended period of uncertainty, not knowing when it will again be safe for us to rehearse or perform together, or when it will be safe for you to attend one of our choral concerts. At this point it is highly unlikely that we will be performing in the fall of 2020 or the spring of 2021. We plan to keep a lively presence via Facebook and our website (www.laudamus.org), and in spite of the changes and the uncertainty about the future, we are determined to press forward. We are absolutely confident that Laudamus will still be here when the pandemic has subsided, and will once again be bringing fine choral music to northern Colorado audiences.

Nathan Payant, Music DirectorOur first priority, looking to the future, was finding new leadership. A search for a new music director was launched upon news of Laura’s resignation, and by late May we succeeded in hiring Dr. Nathan Payant as our new music director, effective immediately. A passionate and dedicated conductor, educator, and professional choral singer, Nathan brings over fifteen years of choral teaching and conducting experience at the middle school, high school, college, and professional levels. Currently, Nathan is a member of the choral faculty at Colorado State University and the University of Denver, where he directs choirs, teaches music education courses, and facilitates CSU’s summer MME-Conducting program for working music educators. He is a devoted advocate for music education, placing special emphasis on lifelong singing, and has served on the Colorado All-State Choir Board, the Vocal Music Council of CMEA, and the Colorado ACDA Council. Additionally, Nathan is an active member of the professional choral community in Colorado. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Anima Chamber Ensemble, general manager of Colorado Bach Ensemble, and sings professionally with St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and Colorado Bach Ensemble.

Nathan adds:

“I am beyond thrilled to have been appointed as music director of Laudamus Chamber Chorale! As the new director, I look forward to carrying on the rich history of musical excellence and working with the wonderful singers of Laudamus. I am also excited to establish a strong connection with current and former Colorado State University faculty, staff, and students, as well as area elementary and secondary schools. Finally, I am eager to communicate and engage with audiences across Northern Colorado and beyond, through live performances, recordings, and other community partnerships. While things may look a bit different for choral ensembles in the coming year, I am confident that Laudamus Chamber Chorale will emerge performing choral music of the highest quality with more spirit, passion, and joy than ever before!”

Thanks Nathan! We couldn’t have said it better!

Steve Lundeen

President, Laudamus Board