Rockingham Choral Society names new director, seeks singers

·2 min read

EXETER — The Rockingham Choral Society has announced the appointment of Kristofer Johnson as its new artistic director.

Under Johnson’s direction, the 95-person choir will hold its first rehearsals of the fall semester on Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 at Exeter High School from 7 to 9 p.m. The society will perform two holiday concerts in early December featuring programs of seasonal works by New England composers for choir and brass quintet.

Kristofer Johnson is the new director of the Rockingham Choral Society.
Kristofer Johnson is the new director of the Rockingham Choral Society.

Each semester, the choral society’s first two rehearsals are opportunities for prospective new choral society members to join returning singers and to determine if they are interested in becoming regular members of the choir. Placement auditions are held at the end of the second open rehearsal on the 20th.

The group is open to singers aged 16 and older. There is a brief placement audition for new members and dues are waived for high school and college students. Auditions do not require any advance preparation. Soloists are always chosen from the membership.

In addition to his new role as artistic director of Rockingham Choral Society, Johnson is the chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choirs at Phillips Exeter Academy where he holds the Michael V. Forrestal ’45 Chair for Music. Johnson conducts the Concert Choir and Choral Union at Phillips Exeter Academy as well as coaching and performing vocal chamber music with students. From 2010-2019 Johnson served as music director of Concord Chorale in Concord, N.H. A career educator, Johnson has taught on the faculties of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, Plymouth State University, Oberlin Conservatory’s Vocal Academy for High School Students, Proctor Academy, and Canterbury School.

Johnson has a reputation for developing lively, vibrant choral sound and expressive performances while fostering community through devotion to choral singing. A champion of new composition, he has overseen the commissioning and premieres of many works for choir. Student and adult choruses under his baton have toured in the United States, Great Britain, Latvia, Estonia, the Russian Federation, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Austria, the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Singers from his voice studio have won regional and national singing competitions and have been accepted into many of the country’s leading voice performance programs.

Johnson holds a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He is an active tenor soloist and choral/vocal clinician.

“The Rockingham Choral Society is thrilled to have Kris joining us as our new Artistic Director in time for our fall rehearsals,” said RCS President Charles Smith. “Kris’ reputation for excellence and his passion for building community through singing is a perfect fit for the society’s membership and our long history.”

More information can be found at www.rockinghamchoral.org or on the group’s Facebook page.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Rockingham Choral Society names new director, seeks singers