Verdi Requiem outstanding!

Saturday Oct. 12 and Sunday Oct. 13, I had the privilege of singing Verdi’s Requiem with Choralis and the Columbia, MD Symphony. The soloists were phenomenal, the music awe-inspiring and while it was a physically and emotionally exhausting endeavor, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

In the studio, students are auditioning for school plays and preparing for recitals. A couple students are even getting ready for open mike nights in their neighborhoods.

Today I learned of the passing of a great musician, Bernard Sanchez, of Toledo. Mr. Sanchez was interim chair of the University of Toledo Music Dept. in the 1990’s, was a gifted trumpet professor and played with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he conducted a special Palm Sunday concert every year, featuring works that were rarely performed. I had the opportunity to sing for him on a number of occasions and was always struck by his meticulous attention to detail and expectation of excellence. He will be sorely missed.


Don’t look now, but school is right around the corner!

This summer has flown by and for me, it’s been the most pleasant one since we moved here in 2011.  I’ve had my first garden in 5 years, and have spotted lots of butterflies and  3 Baltimore Orioles on the butterfly bush.  Summer for my students has meant lots of fun music, visits with Anna our greyhound, and vacations both stateside and abroad.

New this fall, Refer a Friend program. If you refer a friend during August or September, and they sing up for lessons, you receive one free lesson as a ‘thank you’ from me.


Summertime and the livin’ is easy. . .

It’s been a busy spring getting the studio set up and welcoming my students to our new location. The Choralis concert was a huge success-you know it went well when the orchestra turns around and applauds the choir! I’m investigating Skype lessons as an alternative for folks who can’t make the drive-I’ll keep you posted on the progress! Have a great summer!


We’ve moved!

Moving day has come and gone, and I am finally settling into my new studio. The studio has been buzzing with the excitement of selecting audition songs and overcoming the nerves associated with sight reading as students gear up for choir auditions.

The group I sing with, Choralis, is preparing for our spring concert in May. We’ll join forces with the Alexandria Choral Society for an evening of Brahams’ Schiskalslied and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony -“Ode to Joy” Check it out at


Big News!

We’re moving! On March 16, I will be moving to Aldie, VA. It’s right down Rt. 50, near South Riding, My husband and I are looking forward to having so much more room and a wonderful dedicated studio. I can’t wait for all my students to check it out.


This has been an exciting month- 3 students have auditioned successfully for their school musicals, another is working on a recital, and still another will compete in the Lions’ Club Band Competition.

Seeing Les Mis in December reminded me of how much I love that music. Claude -Michel Schonberg weaves the rhythm of the  patriotic hymn “Do You Hear the People Sing?” throughout many of the songs, reminding the listener of the urgency of the era and situation. Brilliant!

Choralis’s next concert is March 9 and is an all opera concert. There will be a bit of staging, and the tunes are very recognizable. It will be a great deal of fun. For more information, check out

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year to all! 2013 promises to be a great year full of great music. My students are getting ready for competitions and auditions and I’m looking at several song cycles for myself with an eye  towards a recital this fall. Choralis comes back from our break to begin work on Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

The Happiest Season of All!

It’s December already and my students and I  are working on Christmas and other holiday songs as well as preparing for competitions and auditions.

Choralis, the group I sing with, is preparing our annual Christmas concert. There’s a wide variety of music, from Bach’s Cantata 191 to “A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas.” That last song is especially fun -it includes a Gregorian chant and Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever! The concert also includes a sing along and features all of the Choralis groups, including the children’s choirs.

Check it out at

Choralis concert a success!

Our Choralis concert on Sat. Oct. 20, was reviewed in the Washington Post by Joan Reinthaler. Here’s what she had to say:

Concert shows the dividends that Choralis outreach has reaped

By Joan Reinthaler, Published: October 21

It’s been a pleasure to watch Gretchen Kuhrmann’s 90-voice Choralis and its outreach program develop over the years. It now includes a chamber-size group called “Echos” (pronounced ee-kos), selected from the larger chorus, and three youth choirs of children from the second through 10th grades, 80 kids in all. And all of them performed in the program of American music that Choralis brought to Alexandria’s Schlesinger Concert Hall on Saturday. One dividend of this outreach was the number of young brothers and sisters that dotted the audience (and seemed enthralled by it all).The first half of the program bounced from American highlight to highlight in roughly chronological order. There was a taste of William Billings (his “David’s Lamentation,” well sung by Echos, led by assistant conductor Bill Podolski) and several pieces by Aaron Copland: The youngest children danced through his “I Bought Me a Cat,” the middle group navigated expertly through the tricky rhythms of “Ching-a-Ring Chaw,” and the oldest kids drew out the lovely long lines of his “At the River.” Samuel Barber was represented by “The Crucifixion” from his “Hermit Songs,” sung intelligently but with a distractingly broad vibrato by soprano Marlissa Hudson, and by two of his three “Reincarnations.” These are sophisticated pieces that demand rhythmic clarity and careful attention to balance. Most of this was handled well, but the readings could have used sharper sforzandos and softer pianissimos. There was Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” almost obligatory for an American retrospective, sung here with a mixture of serenity and urgency that reminded us again why the piece is such a favorite, and, of course, an energetic reading of the “Sanctus” from Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.”

The chorus’s greatest challenge, and one it met with power and distinction, was its performance of “The Un-Covered Wagon” by Native American composer Brent Michael Davids. This is a piece that requires a whole arsenal of whoops and hisses, clusters of chords and cross-rhythms that the chorus handled with assurance.

The second half was devoted to spirituals and gospel and had the audience clapping along. Robert Holloway, whose ringing baritone has a real ping to it, gave an intense account of “O, What a Beautiful City,” and a new lush arrangement of “Steal Away” by local composer Diedre Robinson held the audience spellbound.Reinthaler is a freelance writer.

Upcoming Choralis Performance: An American Portrait

In a little over a week, I will be performing with Choralis. 

From Choralis website:

“Our opening concert will showcase American music from the Colonial period to the present day, including pieces by Native American composers, African American composers, and others from a variety of backgrounds. We will feature all of the Choralis ensembles, with guest soloists Marlissa Hudson and Robert Holloway. Come celebrate with us the rich heritage we all share in song.”

The concert will take place at:

The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center
Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus
3001 N. Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA