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Early Music Vocal Ensemble with Baroque Instruments

Dear Steven et al.:

Thank you to you and the members of Echoing Air for the lovely performance last Sunday evening in the Milner Chapel. The musical selections and ambiance were a perfect duo complemented by the ensemble's artistry and grace.

We are grateful for our partnership with Echoing Air as artists-in-residence at Second Presbyterian Church and we look forward to a fruitful continued partnership ahead.

Dr. Michelle L. Louer
Director of Music and Fine Arts
Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN

Dear Steven:

Thank you so much for bringing Echoing Air to our campus last month. Our students are still talking about the performances. They were especially thrilled with the opportunity to hear two such fine countertenors live, and to have the chance to talk with each of you about your career paths.

Your group is excellent at engaging the audience and reaching out, especially to the student participants. For our students who are taking Music History I this semester, it was particularly relevant, and their teacher was thrilled.

I'd be happy to recommend Echoing Air to any college or university for a short residency or even just an evening concert. They would not be disappointed!

Thanks again, and I hope we can have you back for a longer program at some future point.

Nancy Menk
Mary Lou and Judd Leighton Professor of Music
Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN

Dear Steven:

´┐╝To say that the presentation by Echoing Air at the University of Florida School of Music was the highlight of the academic year would be a clear understatement. Your previous visits to our campus as a solo performer have always been well received, but Echoing Air was superb in the material presented, the historical context offered, the musical talents displayed, and the ability to involve those present in the enjoyment and appreciation of early music. The students came with limited appreciation for the unique qualities of early music and left with heightened interest, broadened knowledge, and real excitement about the experience they enjoyed in sharing the afternoon experience with Echoing Air. In my 28 years of teaching at UF, I have never seen the students so involved in a performance, so engaged in singing, listening, and dancing as they were during your performance. BRAVO!

Ronald Burrichter
Professor of Music
University of Florida, Gainesville

Echoing Air presented a program for arts matters lecture/performance series in March, 2012. They immediately proceeded to “wow” the audience with her incredible talent and musical authenticity. Their personalities shined through as they entertained and educated us all.

The group members' knowledge of their instrument and craft is evident. They enthusiastically share stories with the audience and deliver with clarity and humor. It was delightful to see them interact with the audience. I was amazed when they got 100 college students to do a Baroque dance on stage! Echoing Air has a gift of creating an atmosphere where everyone wants to participate. They are warm, inviting, and very approachable.

Echoing Air definitely left me and my audience with a positive impression. I would recommend this wonderful ensemble to anyone seeking to broaden their musical horizons in a fun and educational way.

Dianna Campbell
Director of Choral Activities
Seminole State College of Florida, Sanford, FL

Dear Dr. Rickards,

Three times our Bach Collegium early music group has had the privilege to collaborate with you and your extraordinary colleagues—the first in 2004, the second last May, and recently with you, Nathan Medley, Jeffrey Collier, and Thomas Gerber on September 30 at our Pre-10th Anniversary Season Benefit Concert.

First of all, many bravos to you and Nathan Medley for presenting yourselves with great expressiveness both facially and musically, which endears you immediately to the audience. Your voices also are a great complement to the countertenor revival—voices so very pleasant and “natural”–not “hooty” and forced, as I have so often heard in others.

Also, many bravos go to Jeffrey Collier and Thomas Gerber. You all, both singers and instrumentalists, are consummate musicians, who perform with an in–depth knowledge of the period style and performance practices and with a wonderful musical sensitivity that absolutely delights the ear.

Furthermore, your line–up of pieces in the program offered great variety, with an interesting alternation in pairing of forces—vocal and instrumental—with nice contrasts in moods andy tempe–all presented with good pacing.

Thank you so very much for a most enjoyable evening. You are a joy to work with.

We would love to have you return, and we look forward to that eventuality.

Dr. Daniel Reuning
Artistic Director
Bach Collegium, Fort Wayne, IN

Dear Steven Rickards and "Echoing Air",

Many thanks for the splendid concert you presented at my church this past Sunday! I am still hearing “glowing” comments about how wonderful it was. Your audience was “mesmerized.” The clarity, grace, musical expression, and historically–formed manner in which you presented the music made for a beautiful expression, one of which Henry Purcell and his contemporaries would most certainly have heartily approved!

Our best wishes to you as you continue bringing to life this enchanting repertoire.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Wayne Earnest, DMA
Music Director and Organist
First United Methodist Church, Ocala, FL

In February 2010 the Pilgrim Fine Art Series presented the early music ensemble Echoing Air in concert. The Pilgrim Fine Art Series is an outreach ministry of Pilgrim Lutheran Church and seeks to program concerts and events of high artistic quality and audience appeal.

We were highly satisfied with Echoing Air's concert. Besides bringing the highest musicianship to their performance, Echoing Air delighted the audience with an accessible and educational look at the music they performed. This concert featured the music of composer Henry Purcell. A narration about the life and times of personal was woven between musical selections. The audience feedback we received was extremely positive; many attendees said they had no idea how interesting Purcell's life and times were, plus the music gained greater meaning with this narrative/performance format.

They were flexible and easy to work with. At our concert they invited two church choirs to sing a few of the songs, and in preparation for this Steven Rickards led choral rehearsals that were incredibly educational and inspiring.

We feel Echoing Air would be a wonderful addition to any classical concert series. Their music is a breath of fresh air and the Pilgrim Fine Art Series would definitely consider programming them again.

Sarah Williams
Pilgrim Fine Arts Series, Indianapolis, IN

Dear Steven,

We were so pleased to share a concert of music by Henry Purcell with Echoing Air in October, 2009. The performances by members of the ensemble were exciting, creative, dramatic, and just plain fun. The performances were spot on—accessible even to people who might not normally go to a concert of early English Baroque music.

The singers of the University of Miami Collegium Musicum loved the collaboration. Counter tenors are not commonplace; you and Nathan Medley are a wonderful pair of artists who inspired our young singers with your skill, musicianship, and style. We were also joined by the choir of the New World School of the Arts, which was very excited to be part of this concert; it was remarkable to see everyone work together so effectively. This was an ideal educational experience for these collegiate and high school students.

Echoing Air recorder players Jeffrey Collier and Ann Timberlake joined with Christine Kyprianides this (viola da gamba,) and David Sinden (harpsichord and organ) to help re-create the musical atmosphere of 17th century England. Sinden found a huge range of sound in the pipe organ, much to the delight of the singers and the audience. The six members of Echoing Air are a marvelous American musical resource for music of the Baroque era, combining stellar performance skills with an uncanny ability to stimulate enthusiasm among performers, students, and audience alike. They are master teachers and performers who are generous in sharing their time, ideas, and experience.

We look forward to many future opportunities to perform together!

Donald Oglesby
Professor, University of Miami Frost School of Music
Artistic Director, Miami Bach Society

Steven and Echoing Air –

Many thanks for participating in Seminole State College’s ArtsMatters series. The format was absolutely perfect! The entire audience was engaged in your presentation as you asked them to join you on the stage. Those students included guitarists, percussionists, vocalists, instrumentalists and pianists. The dialogue amongst the students lasted for days.

It is always a pleasure to have you visit our campus.

Thanks again.

Robin Parker
Music Coordinator
Seminole State College

Dear Steven,

Thanks so much for making all the arrangements necessary for the successful appearance of Echoing Air here at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center last week. The glories of English music from the later 17th century are hard to come by in live performance these days; it was a treat to hear this repertoire presented so compellingly by such accomplished performers! The music of Purcell and his close contemporaries projected vividly from the stage of our Ruth Lilly Performance Hall, enticing listeners to learn more about the wonders of the mid-Baroque.

Thanks also for providing helpful spoken commentary from the stage to ensure vital context for music of the 17th century. I suspect that many of our regular concertgoers are less familiar with literature before Bach; the guided tour was especially appreciated! We all look forward to hearing major portions of the program on our weekly WICR broadcasts.

Best wishes for continued success with this impressive undertaking!

Richard Ratliff
Professor of Music, Director of Artistic Initiatives
University of Indianapolis

Dear Steven,

Many thanks to you for bringing “Echoing Air” to the Bradley University campus last month. Your concert “Hark, How the Songsters” was full of life and joy, and your entire ensemble sparkled with exuberance. You and Nathan Medley were superb both separately and together; Purcell's intentionally dissonant intervals in your duets were perfectly in tune and achingly beautiful. The recorders and continuo players complemented the voices and one another so well one would have thought you had all been performing together for decades.

It was a pleasure and an honor for the Bradley Chamber Singers to participate in the concert with “Come, Ye Sons of Art.” Despite such limited rehearsal time together, your professionalism allowed us to tighten things up in very short order.

The master class you led with our voice students was most profitable. Each of the students gained a considerable amount of freedom of expression from your work with them. You managed to coach each one in a different way, keeping the atmosphere light and the mood positive and dispensing a goodly amount of wisdom along the way.

Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable and musically profitable two days. I wish you continued success with “Echoing Air” and I'm happy to recommend you to any institution that might consider hosting one of your concerts.

Dr. John Jost
Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities
Bradley University, Peoria, IL