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The Schola Cantorum on Hudson singing ensemble has changed their name to “Ember”.

The name reflects an evolving focus on new music and social awareness programming, the organization said in a release. The independent, nonprofit choral arts organization’s new name will reflect the current and future focus of the ensemble as it has evolved to concentrate predominantly on performing music by living composers.

Schola Cantorum on Hudson was founded in 1995 by Deborah Simpkin King as an independent nonprofit organization. It performs in New York City and in Montclair. Its programming features new music (largely by living composers) with a socially pertinent message.

Schola Cantorum on Hudson (Schola) will remain the name of the overall choral arts organization, which is comprised of performance, education and advocacy components. Only the performing ensemble’s name will be changed to Ember, and it will continue to be part of the Schola Choral Arts organization. The new name and logo have been designed to better reflect the ensemble’s unusual full-season programming around topics of social pertinence.

“The Schola organization has grown in both scope and mission since it was founded 23 years ago, and our performance element had come to require its own identity,” said Deborah Simpkin King, founder and Artistic Director of Schola Cantorum on Hudson, in the announcement. “We knew that we needed a name that was both compelling and evocative, as is our vocal art, with its non-traditional, eclectic programming style, focused on new music with a socially pertinent message. Yet it was also important that it honor our roots by maintaining the connection with our founding name and parent organization.”

Deborah Simpkin King conducts Schola Cantorum on Hudson, now named Ember. COURTESY EMBER

The organization has been considering renaming the ensemble for a number of years as it transitioned toward new music. As the board member, Alyson Navarro, explained, “We chose the name Ember because of the myriad of images and sensations it evokes: light, warmth, soft glow, smoldering heat, depth, ever-changing and beautifully enlivened with a breath. Ember, the ensemble, is all this and more.”

Heightening the identity of Schola’s performing core with the rename to Ember is timely given the organization’s plans for its upcoming season.

As is always the case, the artistic leadership has selected a theme that will be developed throughout the full season; the 2017-18 season takes its focus from the year leading to the centennial commemoration of the Armistice of World War I (November 11, 2018).

The full season will be entitled “When the War is Over” and will launch in a major way with the East Coast premiere of John Muehleisen’s oratorio, “But Who Shall Return Us Our Children – A Kipling Passion.” A veterans’ task force has been formed in order to leverage the visibility of the artistic theme surrounding the full impact of war on our society overall.

“We’re very excited about the name change and our new logo because it allows us to better represent the uniqueness of our product to the public – and perhaps particularly to segments of the public not currently involved with choral singing,” King said. “When we sing, we seek to spark an experience that will deepen and enliven the shared human experience; and I believe “Ember” is compelling in ways that are open-ended, rather like life itself. We can grow with that!”

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