Gregory Wait conducts

Changing tenor of choral repertoire worth the Wait

Gregory Wait, the accomplished tenor and former soloist with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, succeeds Dr. William Ramsey (active 1975-1979) as Director of the Memorial Church Choir. Under Wait’s leadership, the choir performed numerous Bach cantatas, masses of Mozart and Haydn, liturgical dramas, and African-American spirituals. Following the Loma Prieta earthquake, Wait’s choral performances were held at Dinkelspiel. The choir was delighted to return to the church after its renovation three years later. As Wait explains, within this “sacred space…the sounds of it on some level lend themselves to a certain repetition, and to a performer’s or choir’s tempo.” As a spring tradition, numerous choirs from on and off-campus participated in the Choral Invitational, a program devised by Wait. After three decades of directing the Memorial Church Choir, (and three years of conducting the Chamber Chorale between the tenures of William Ramsey and Stephen Sano), Wait retired from this position at the end of the 2009 academic year. Wait continues to be active in the Music Department, where he coaches several vocal students at Stanford who represent majors in music, engineering, and business. Regardless of their principal discipline, Wait remarks that Stanford students possess a keen inquisitiveness, and therefore are “at the point of new technology, and make new technology.” In Wait’s teaching experience, Stanford students are able to appreciate both the “high-brow” (cultural, educational) and “low-brow” (cathartic, relaxing) aspects of music. With his Mountain View-based choral ensemble, Schola Cantorum, Wait is currently rehearsing Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, premiering March 22, 2013.

Bio: Gregory Wait – Senior Lecturer and Director of Vocal Studies at Stanford University. Wait directed the Memorial Church Choir from 1979 to 2009.

“Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord,” arr. Undine S. Moore. Gregory Wait and Mem Chu Choir, University Public Worship, March 2003. "“Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord,” arr. Undine S. Moore."

Featured image: Gregory Wait captured in a maestro-esque moment