Chor Anno Conductors and Keyboardist
Dr. Nicole Lamartine has sung with Chor Anno since 2012 and was named Associate Conductor of the group in 2014 and officially became conductor of the group in 2019. She is rapidly becoming one of the nation's most sought-after clinicians and honor choir conductors.
Nicole is the Director of Choral Activities at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She served in the same capacity for two years (2020-22) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Until 2020 she was DCA at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, where she conducted the Collegiate Chorale, Singing Statesmen, and was advisor to the male a cappella Happy Jacks. She also taught conducting and applied voice.
She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona.
Groups under her direction have performed at the 2015 NW National Association for Music Education (NAfME) conference, the 2012 NW ACDA conference, among other such events. Her work and research as a female leading male choruses makes
her a resource at the national level. She went to China in 2014 as part of a conductor exchange program sponsored by ACDA. She was invited back to Beijing (China University) and returned for guest conducting roles there in May of 2016. In November of 2019, Nicole was a guest clinician at the AMIS (International Schools) conference held in Hong Kong. She conducted two honor choirs in the Middle East: The AMIS Men’s Honor Choir in Abu Dhabi, UAE and the TAISM Choral Festival in Muscat, Oman.
In July, 2015, New Mexico State University named Nicole as a College of Arts and Sciences distinguished alumna.
As a professional vocal musician, Nicole has sung as a regular member of the Grammy-nominated "Conspirare," the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Colorado Bach Ensemble, as well as with Chor Anno. She has participated in the recording of six choral CDs on such labels as Harmonia Mundi and Chandos. She has been described as a "rising star" in choral circles wherever she goes.
Howard Meharg founded Chor Anno in 2009. He conducted the group and served as music director for the group's first five years. In 2019, Howard officially traded titles with Nicole, as he assumed the role of Associate Conductor.
He taught music in Castle Rock, Kelso and Longview, Washington for over thirty years.
Howard was active in the American Choral Directors Association, serving as webmaster/editor of the six-state divisional online newsletter as well as web person for the seven-state SW Region for ACDA. He has since retired from most of these roles and now handles only the website for Oregon's ACDA members.
His high school choirs consistently received top ratings in annual music events in SW Washington and his choirs were invited to sing at ACDA conferences on several occasions as well as for conventions of the music educators group, WMEA.
Howard's professional work includes singing baritone in two tours of the Norman Luboff Choir and he, along with colleagues Bruce Browne and Larry Marsh, founded (1982) and sang in Male Ensemble Northwest, a group of about twelve conductors from northwest states that continues today to inspire young men to sing as well as provide dazzling concerts for audiences everywhere they go. Howard retired from such professional singing in 2002.
Chor Anno, in fact, is based on the same idea as MEN. For a good many years, Howard noticed the superb singing exhibited by director colleagues at conferences and professional reading sessions. It seemed just a step to invite some of these folks, who invariably sing well, to form a professional-level choir...this time in mixed voices.
In addition to his current website work, Howard has edited print newsletters (before the days of wide-spread use of the Internet) for WA-ACDA as well as for the NW division. He's served as president of the Washington chapter of ACDA twice and has been on boards for both organizations for over twenty years.
He has directed church choirs during a large part of his career, the last such role for ten years (2002-2012) at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Longview, Washington.
Howard lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, Karen, their dogs, Kate and McGee (a blind rescue dog from Puerto Rico), and two harassed cats.
Vancouver serves as the focal point for rehearsals. The group has developed a following for performances in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Brian E. Hoskins (Renton) is Chor Anno's principal keyboard artist.
He has degrees in music education from Washington State University and from the Steinhardt School at New York University.
He currently serves as the choral director at Nelsen Middle School and Lindbergh High School in Renton, Washington. He is a two-time recipient of the “Ahead of the Class: Excellence in Teaching Award” given to outstanding teachers by the Renton Chamber of Commerce.
Brian studied choral conducting in New York with Francisco Nunez, founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and world-renowned composer. Brian has accompanied MENC and ACDA honor choirs as well as for the Young People Chorus of New York University.
Brian is also featured on an album “Songs to Get You From Here to There” with Seattle folk artist Wes Weddell and performs with the Wes Weddell “Super Band” throughout the year.
Brian is currently director of the Young Men's Ensemble and Co-Director of the Rainier Youth Choir's Consonare.
Here's what Chor Anno's conductors have to say about working with Brian:
"It's a marvelous gift to work alongside one such as Brian who becomes more than an accompanist, but one who brings the keyboard into the whole of the sound with sensitivity and unparalleled musicianship. But it gets even better! Brian can play it all...jazz, folk, gospel...and he can improvise in any style. We love working with this talented and kindly man." (NL and HM)
Photo by: Ailisa Newhall