A quick history...
Beginning in 2002, founders Andrew and Leslie Taylor, Vickie Peters and Mary Duff asked the question, "Is it possible to bring together the best musicians in southern Wisconsin for two and one half weeks of intensive rehearsals for a single weekend of magical performances.?” They joined up with Founding Artistic Director Scott MacPherson (who conveniently was their good friend) and started the Isthmus Vocal Ensemble. We're nineteen years and counting, and between glowing press reviews, enthusiastic audience response, and our own general satisfaction, we'd say "yes." We've likened ourselves to desert flowers that bloom quickly but once a year and then go dormant to await the next summer's rain. Initially drawing heavily from former UW Concert Choir members, we've now added vocalists from our nearby counties to as far away as San Francisco, New York City and New Orleans.
Initially numbering around 35, we've grown to an average of about 60, though we doubled that for our 2016 Brahms Requiem concert. In 2004 we recorded the vocal works of Andrew Rindfliesch. In 2012 we were a featured choir in the North Central ACDA (American Choral Director's Association).
As current Board president Jim Pippitt says, “If making maximum music with minimum b.s. sounds like fun to you, please contact us to audition. We're always looking for solid musicians to add to the group. (Knowledge of how to hold a canoe paddle, and/or a beverage is not required, but is a plus…)”
Curious about our repertoire? Click here.
Founding Artistic Director
2002 to 2017
Wisconsin native Scott MacPherson serves as Director of Choral Activities at Kent State University in Ohio, following fifteen years as Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor at Trinity University in San Antonio.
Under his direction, the Trinity Choir and Chamber Singers have toured throughout Texas, neighboring states, and to Germany and the Czech Republic. They toured Germany and Austria in March 2005, performing in Cologne, Bonn, Heidelberg, Munich, and Salzburg. In February of 2003 MacPherson’s Trinity Choir had the distinction of being one of only three collegiate choirs to be invited to perform at the Texas Music Educator’s Association Convention.
Prior to his work at Trinity, MacPherson served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music (1985-1988 and 1990-1993) where he conducted the Madrigal Singers, the Chamber Singers, and the Early Music Ensemble, and assisted Robert Fountain with the Concert Choir and Choral Union. He also taught choral conducting and graduate seminars in choral literature. During that same time he served as Music Director/Conductor for several productions with Madison Savoyards and the Wisconsin Youth Theatre.
He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral music from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he studied conducting with Rodney Eichenberger and Larry Rachleff, and Master of Music degrees in both choral and orchestral conducting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied with Robert Fountain and Catherine Comet.