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Meet Evan Mooney!
Evan Mooney first joined Choral Arts Initiative in November 2013 as our Education & Community Outreach Director and Board Member. He is also in his first season as a Choral Artist and sings in the tenor section.
So, tells us more about you!
I grew up in North Hollywood, CA very active with piano lessons, Pasadena Boys Choir, singing at St. Charles Borromeo, baseball and martial arts. From any early age, I knew I was both creative and logical, and when I was accepted to SCVA and then California ACDA Honor Choirs, my career took form. I have studied under Paul Salamunovich, John Alexander, Lynn Biefelt, and most recently Simon Carrington and Robert Istad. I have sung all over the world and for many professional ensembles and concerts from the Vatican to the Hollywood Bowl and Warner Bros. Studios.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I have been told I am intense and simultaneously refreshing, like an acquired taste, or as one friend put it: “You are a whole city in 1 person...”
If you could have dinner with any composer (dead or alive), who would it be?
Wow! Probably Stravinsky. Or Thomas Tallis...it’s a toss-up...both so different but their music moves me. Tallis’ If Ye Love Me and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms are akin to perfect sound therapy.
What does passion mean to you?
Everything, the opposite of passion is complacency, which breeds apathy. Passion fosters innovation, inquiry and determination.
What is your best or most inspiring memory (musical or otherwise)?
Singing Palestrina’s Pope Marcellus Mass inside the Sistine chapel in a private audience. I experienced shivers of joy as the sound launched around the room in perfect sonorities.
When did you begin your musical training? Why do you believe that music education is so important?
Age 5, but I started humming and singing from age 3 my parents claim. My first records were Raffi, The Wizard of Oz and Mozart’s Horn Concerti with Dennis Brain on natural horn. To this day, still my favorite. Music is absolutely necessary neurologically to stimulate the senses, enhance cognitive memory and stimulate imagination.
Who or what inspired you to make singing a part of your life?
My family, my mother and father all sang, so did my grandmother. They sang in semi-professional musical theater, some folk and some Catholic church choirs. My grandmother on my father’s side sang for Robert Shaw at Claremont Colleges.
Which author or poet touches you deeply?
By far that would be Ray Bradbury as an author and Dylan Thomas as a poet. Truly sublime, both. I spoke to Bradbury 3 times, once for a whole hour at a book signing. I was in heaven.
Outside of music, what brings you great joy?
I absolutely love comedy, gaming, science and genealogy. I am a lover of all games and activities from bridge and chess to rpgs, legos and war strategies. Martial arts and weapons trainings are also hobbies, oh...and cooking. But my greatest joys come from traveling with my companion in crime, my beloved Mary.
What achievement(s) are you most proud of at this point in your life?
The most meaningful achievements would have to be those of my students. I have trained over 15 students who have made SCVA honor Choir and over 7 who have made CA State Honor Choir from a Title 1 school, including some having sung for Stephen Sondheim, as well as becoming accomplished musicians in their collegiate, church and local communities.
Lorraine Joy Welling