Una Vocis - One of Voice
Our Mission Statement:
Building on the musical heritage of north Iowa, the mission of Una Vocis Choral Ensemble is to cultivate and celebrate the connections among audience, singers and composers. This diverse community entertains, educates and uplifts through innovative programming and artistic distinction.
A brief history of Una Vocis:
Una Vocis began with Artistic Director Dennis Lee’s vision of a mixed voice choir of such sonority that it was worthy of the name “One of Voice.” Una Vocis has grown from 28 singers in March 2005 to the current 39 members, many of whom hail from area towns as small as a couple hundred citizens. Una Vocis challenges its members’ musical talents and fosters a supportive community among its singers; it is an important creative outlet for members whose occupations range from farmer to physician and from music educator to stay-at-home mom. Una Vocis performs two major concerts each season and has been guest choir four times for the annual Iowa Choral Directors Association Summer Symposium.
Una Vocis enjoys a close relationship with Iowa composer Dr. William Backlin. In addition to premiering four works by Backlin, Una Vocis named its first CD 'In Sound' after Backlin's set of three art songs collectively titled 'In Sound, In Silence.' In May 2012 tracks from 'In Sound' began receiving air time on Iowa Public Radio's classical station, garnering new fans from around the state and strengthening its reputation as one of the finest auditioned adult choirs in the region.
In addition to performing works from the standard choral repertoire, Una Vocis embraces as one of its missions the premiering of works by contemporary composers. Since it began in 2005, Una Vocis has performed nineteen world premieres of choral works by thirteen composers from across the globe. The very first concert included a premiere of a work by Stephen Paulus. In July 2012 Una Vocis performed the world premiere of Eric Whitacre’s Goodnight Moon for piano and mixed choir.
Commissions and premieres for 2014 included works from composers Alice Parker, Connor Koppin, and Michael Betz. Una Vocis is celebrated its Tenth Anniversary Season in 2014-2015! One of the big events for this season was a commission and premiere by composer Ola Gjeilo with lyrics by poet Charles Anthony Silvestri.
Dennis Lee, Founder and Artistic Director
Dennis Lee grew up in Mason City, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in music. The impact that music can have in profoundly touching people’s lives is what drives and impassions Dennis’ musical endeavors. In addition to founding and directing Una Vocis, Dennis is active in additional musical pursuits. In 2008 he completed a one year interim position on the adjunct music faculty at Waldorf College, directing the collegiate women's choir. Dennis has served as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Mason City, Iowa since 1997 and as Artistic Director of the North Iowa Messiah Choir and Orchestra since 1998. Beginning in college and continuing through the present, Dennis has directed several musical theatre productions including Kiss Me Kate, Fiddler on the Roof, and Amahl and the Night Visitors. Before returning to Iowa in 1995, Dennis and his wife lived in Seattle and sang with the Seattle Symphony Chorale. When not performing and directing music, he enjoys software engineering at his day job, figure skating, waterskiing, and spending time with his family.