Welcome to our new members!

The Choral Scholars originally consisted of four paid singers—Choral Scholars—at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids. When those four singers decided to form an independent group, they recruited four others to form an octet. In the fall of 2010, the group added an additional alto and bass, bringing the roster to ten. This fall, we’re growing again: We’re now a group of twelve, having added a soprano and tenor. With the addition of a new bass to fill a vacancy left by a departing member, we have three new faces that we’re very excited to introduce.

Claire Veltkamp headshot

Claire Veltkamp is no stranger to the Grand Rapids choral scene, having participated in various local ensembles since she was in second grade. She’s currently completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree while also working in a local hospital. We’re thrilled that she’s been able to find the time to contribute her beautiful soprano voice to the group.

Stephen Mulder headshot

Stephen Mulder has already used his versatility to help the group in a variety of ways, singing a variety of tenor, baritone, and bass parts before finally getting settled in a permanent tenor role. In addition to his vocal versatility, he also has contributed his instrumental talents, taking over the pitch pipe responsibility from Karel; the group is unanimous in the opinion that his gifts on this arena greatly exceed those of his predecessor. With Stephen’s contribution, the TCS tenor section astounded the audience on Beaver Island with their powerful entrance in the Dona Nobis Pacem movement of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.

Peter Redder headshot

Our Bass 2 position was left vacant last year when Chris Dekker resigned from the group to enter the highly competitive D.M.A. program in Organ Performance at Notre Dame University. While we miss Chris’ contributions (and are still not certain that he had his priorities in order), we are very excited that Peter Redder has joined the group to round out the lower octaves. At our first rehearsal with Peter, we were all blown away by both his deep range and sight-reading abilities. We’re also hopeful that we’ll be able to utilize his pilot’s license to enable additional TCS tour opportunities.

The Choral Scholars has always been known for its agility and pure tone. We’re happy to say that we’ve retained those attributes, while also gaining additional power and versatility. Our concert on November 23 at St. Mark’s will be the first time that the full group has performed publicly together, and we’re excited to showcase our new sound. We hope to see you there!