BRIDGE HILL KENNEDY attended his first Sacred Harp singing in June of 2002. This life changing event came about when he was invited to accompany his sister-in-law to a singing for a commissioned painting (“All Day Singing and Dinner on the Grounds” by Bethanne Hill, 2003, commissioned by Max Berueffy). Since then, Bridge has been honored to serve as an instructor at both Adult and Youth sessions of Camp Fasola (2013-2018), Camp Fasola, Europe (2014), and several Sacred Harp Convention singing schools—including: Berlin, Germany (2022); Cork, Ireland (2019); Ontario, Canada (2018); and Portland, OR (2015). As a social scientist, Bridge enjoys teaching on the sociocultural aspects and benefits of Sacred Harp and the importance of the Memorial Lesson. However, he is most frequently sought after for his Sacred Harp leading workshops. Currently, Bridge serves as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Online Undergraduate Degree Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
JOHN TAYLOR WARD performances have been praised for their “Stylish abandon” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) and their “finely calibrated precision and heart-rending expressivity” (Washington Post). He performs regularly with the world’s finest baroque musicians and ensembles, including Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata, Paul O’Dette, Steven Stubbs and the Boston Early Music Festival, William Christie and Les arts florissants, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists. In 2016, he was featured in the U.S. premiere of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, directed by Peter Sellars at the Ojai Festival, and he began a series of recitals at Joe’s Pub with Cantata Profana. In 2017 he made his debuts at the Salzburg, Berlin, and Luzerne Festspieles. Upcoming highlights include Berio’s Sinfonia with the New York Philharmonic and Nick Shadow in Igor Stravinski’s The Rake’s Progress, conducted by Barbara Hannigan in Gothenburg, Sweden. Taylor holds a BM from the Eastman School of Music and an MMA from Yale School of Music; he is the founding Associate Artistic Director of the Lakes Area Music Festival, an Associate Artist of Heartbeat Opera, and an avid Sacred Harp singer.
ADAM JACOB SIMON is a composer based in Western Massachusetts. He has had many recent performances and commissions from nationally acclaimed ensembles including Lorelei Ensemble, A Far Cry, Cantus, Palaver Strings, Conspirare, Seraphic Fire, WordSong Boston, and the Oriana Consort. His music has been praised as “…full-throated and exhilarating…” - The Boston Globe and "...swept with a mercurial traversal of emotions…” - The Boston Musical Intelligencer. In 2010 he won the St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award to record his String Quartet #1 with the Mt. Auburn String Quartet, founded by popular Boston cellist, Rafael Popper Keizer. His compositions are regularly performed throughout the US and Europe. He is an accomplished singer as well, recently performing the tenor solos in Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Onion River Chorus in Montpelier VT. His voice is described as having a “wonderful romantic lyricism” and “reassuring warmth” - Times Argus. Recent solo highlights have been the tenor Evangelist in Arvo Pärt’s “Passio” and baritone in Duruflé’s Requiem with the Trinity Church Choirs in Boston, where he serves as staff singer. He is an avid folk singer performing frequently with VT based vocal ensemble Northern Harmony, traveling throughout Europe, South Africa and the U.S. As co-founder of the folk music duo “Sophie et Adam” alongside French mezzo-soprano Sophie Michaux, he frequently performs a varied repertoire of European and American folk music. Adam received his Master’s degree in 2020 in Music Composition at Tufts University in Medford MA. He studied with Boston composer John McDonald, and Syrian-American composer Kareem Roustom. He previously completed his undergraduate studies at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge MA, studying composition with Howard Frazin, and music theory with Judy Ross. Adam resides both in the foothills of Western MA, and his home-town of Cambridge MA.
CLAY ZELLER-TOWNSON is the founder of Ruckus and a bassoonist and educator based in Vermont and New York City. He plays with the leading period instrument ensembles in North America including: Tafelmusik, The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, American Bach Soloists and Musica Angelica. He has produced and premiered many new works for early instruments. From 2011-2016 he taught at The North Carolina Governor’s School as Instrumental Music Faculty. He has given lectures on performance practice and masterclasses at UCLA, The Colburn School, The University of Missouri and The Eastman School of Music. Clay was born in Nova Scotia, raised in eastern North Carolina, and found his way to the baroque bassoon by way of the tenor saxophone. He holds a Bachelor’s degree and Performer’s Certificate from The Eastman School of Music, a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School and the Advanced Certificate in Music Education from CUNY-Brooklyn College.
Hailed by critics for her “tonal bloom” and “hauntingly beautiful performances,” English-American performer and composer EMI FERGUSON stretches the boundaries of what is expected of modern-day musicians. Emi can be heard live in concerts and festivals around the world as a soloist and with groups including AMOC*, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Manhattan Chamber Players. She has spoken and performed at several TEDX events and has been featured on media outlets including The Discovery Channel, Vox's "Explained" series on Netflix, Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Juilliard Digital's TouchPress apps talking about how music relates to our world today. Her debut album, Amour Cruel, an indie-pop song cycle inspired by the music of the 17th century French court was released by Arezzo Music in September 2017, spending 4 weeks on the Classical, Classical Crossover, and World Music Billboard Charts. Her 2019 album Fly the Coop: Bach Sonatas and Preludes, a collaboration with continuo band Ruckus debuted at #1 on the iTunes classical charts and #2 on the Billboard classical charts, and was called “blindingly impressive...a fizzing, daring display of personality and imagination” by The New York Times. In addition to her solo recordings, Emi has also been featured on recordings for New Focus Records, Old Focus Records, Canteloupe Music, National Sawdust Tracks, Brontosaurus Records, Coro, and MSR Classics. Emi is currently on the faculty of the Juilliard School teaching Ear Training, the Bach Virtuosi Festival, and has taught on the faculty of the University of Buffalo. Emi was the first person to have graduated from Juilliard with Undergraduate and Graduate degrees with Scholastic Distinction in flute performance, as well as a second Graduate degree in Historical Performance as a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. Her principal teachers have been Carol Wincenc, Sandra Miller, Robert Langevin, and Judy Grant. Born in Japan and raised in London and Boston, she now resides in New York City.
PAUL HOLMES MORTON [theorbo, lute, guitar, banjo, arranger] is native to the state of Pennsylvania, where he had his first music lessons on his father’s banjo and later the cello. After a youthful education of folk music, he went on to study classical guitar under the instruction of Ernesto Tamayo, Marc Teicholz, and Sergio Assad. While attending the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he studied lute with Richard Savino and continuo with Corey Jamason. Perpetually inspired by music as a vehicle to transport oneself across time and culture, Paul Holmes can be found in a variety of venues from cathedrals and concert halls to smoky bars and country barns, anywhere that allows performance to lend harmony to the present noise. As a lutenist Morton performs across the North America in the practice of a baroque continuo player, regularly performing with Ruckus, New Vintage Baroque, and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. Paul Holmes recently completed his studies in historical performance at The Juilliard School instructed by Daniel Swenberg and Charles Weaver.
MARY BONHAG is an “extraordinary” singer (Classical Voice N. America) committed to the healing powers of song. She is both a new-music specialist and a singer deeply devoted to sacred music across the ages. Mary was featured on Resonant Bodies Festival, and has sung with 21st Century Consort, and San Francisco Contemporary Players. Mary recently premiered a new chamber opera by Susan Botti, River Spirits, an allegorical tale featuring Mary, Susan Botti, and Lucy Shelton. Mary is sought after for her impeccable musicianship and “supple expressive voice” (San Antonio News) for concert work, specializing in the sacred music of J.S. Bach. In 2010, Mary co-founded Scrag Mountain Music with her husband, composer/bassist Evan Premo, now in its 12th year of organizing chamber music residencies and innovative and affordable concerts around Vermont. Since COVID, she has devoted much of her personal practice and professional work to chant and recorded Wellspring: Centering Chants for Uncertain Times by Kathy Wonson Eddy. Since 2020, she has been leading Taizé chant services both online and in person. Collaborations and relationships are central to Mary’s professional life as a singer and she enjoys close partnerships with pianist David Kaplan, Aizuri Quartet, Aeolus Quartet, Decoda, Spektral Quartet, conductor Filippo Ciabatti, and numerous composers Coincluding premiering or commissioning works by Lembit Beecher, Susan Botti, Evan Premo, Shawn Jaeger, Eliza Brown, Evan Chambers, and C. Curtis Smith. After studies at University of Michigan and Bard College (under Dawn Upshaw’s mentorship), she was invited to residence at SongFest, Fall Island, and Tanglewood. While at Tanglewood, she was honored with the Grace B. Jackson Prize and her performances of Schoenberg’s String Quartet no. 2, excerpts from Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables, Grieg and Sibelius songs, and David Lang’s Just were received with great acclaim.
EVAN PREMO creates heart-centered music that inspires audiences and musicians alike. His music has been commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra, River Town Duo, Owen Dalby of St. Lawrence String Quartet, the International Society of Bassists, Front Porch Ensemble, The Gregory/Kaplan Duo, The Pine Mountain Music Festival, Capitol City Concerts, and the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra. His works have been premiered by Aizuri Quartet and Aeolus Quartet. Evan is a member of New York City based chamber music collective, DeCoda with whom we performs in residencies around the world including four he led in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As a member of Ensemble ACJW Evan has performed many concerts at Carnegie Hall and participated in residencies in Spain and Germany. As a chamber musicians he has performed at summer music festivals throughout the country and has been featured on National Public Radio’s Performance Today. Evan is artistic director and founder of “Beethoven and Banjos”, residency that brings together folk and classical musicians for cross-genre concerts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Evan lives in Marshfield, Vermont with his wife, soprano Mary Bonhag. Together they are the founders and artistic directors of Scrag Mountain Music, dedicated to presenting innovative, interactive, and affordable performances of chamber music.
LAUREL PREMO is a Traverse City-based roots musician known for her work over the past decade with the internationally touring duo Red Tail Ring. This year she presents solo performances on fingerstyle electric guitar, lap steel, old-time fiddle and voice, drawing on American and Nordic roots music alongside new compositions borne out of that traditional vocabulary. The glowing heartiness and rich grit of her sound reveal a love of and complete submersion in these heavy archaic roots—from the crossover of old-time and blues American traditions to darker Scandinavian sounds. MTV News described Premo’s new solo record 'Golden Loam' as “subtle but dazzling and rich in texture. Watching a live performance is pure hypnosis.” (10/08/21) With ruminant power, a masterful use of space, and the glint of the untethered wild, Laurel Premo bears renewed electric dirt - the golden loam layered by centuries of folk. Premo holds a BFA from the Performing Arts Technology Dept. of the University of Michigan School of Music, and has spent half-year stints at both the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland and the University College of Southeast Norway in Telemark to study traditional music and dance. Important mentors who have helped shape Laurel’s lens in folk arts have been her parents Bette & Dean Premo (fiddle, guitar, and traditional song, Michigan), Joel Mabus (clawhammer banjo, Michigan), Arto Järvelä (fiddle, Finland), and Ånon Egeland (fiddle, Norway).