"Technique is communication: The two words are synonymous in conductors."
~ Leonard Bernstein
Our Conductors and Rehearsal Accompanist
Steven R. Hodson, Artistic Director and Conductor, is a native of Portland, Oregon. He holds a bachelor's degree from Lewis and Clark College, a master's degree from the University of Oregon, and a doctor of musical arts degree in the literature and performance of choral music from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Hodson has directed honor choirs and adjudicated choir festivals around the West. He is a past president of the Western Division of the American Choral Directors Association. The ACDA Western Division represents approximately 2,000 choral directors out of the national membership of over 18,000. Dr. Hodson was responsible for the Western Division conference held in Santa Barbara during the spring of 2014, which included conductors and choirs from Hawaii, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
Since 1996, he has been a professor of music at Westmont College, where he teaches piano, organ, music survey, and conducting. From 1990 to 1996, Dr. Hodson was Director of Choral Activities at Modesto Junior College, where he conducted the Collegiate Choir and Masterworks Chorus.
While a part-time instructor in the choral doctoral program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Hodson served as assistant conductor of the University of Colorado Graduate Choir, director of the University of Colorado Jazz Choir, and instructor of computerized music sequencing and editing. Prior to moving to Boulder, he lived in Roseburg, Oregon, where he was director of choral activities at Roseburg Senior High School and conductor of the local master chorale.
Erin Bonski-Evans, Associate Conductor, is a prolific conductor, pianist and educator in the Santa Barbara area. She is the Music Director at First Presbyterian Church and Artistic Director and Conductor of the American Riviera Children’s Chorus. In her busy professional life, she also serves on the music faculties of Westmont College and Santa Barbara City College.
Other positions have included Assistant Director of Opera at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Chorus Master and Core Repetiteur at Toledo Opera Association. She has also served on the faculties of the Bowling Green Children’s Opera Theatre, Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and the Interlochen Academy for the Arts in Traverse City, Michigan. Erin was a full scholarship recipient of the Van Cliburn Institute at Texas Christian University and first prize recipient of the International Liszt Competition in Pomona. She also received an "audition favorite" commendation at the International Concours de Adolphe Saxe in Belgium. Local professional positions have included rehearsal pianist for Opera Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Symphony, and Ensemble Theatre Company.
Erin received a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts (ABD) from UC Santa Barbara. She has had the great privilege of studying with prominent pedagogues in her field, including conducting under Samuel Adler, and piano under Peter Takacs, Peter Frankl, Dr. Jane Solose, and locally, Dr. Charles Asche. She holds an Orff Schulwerk Certificate of teaching, and is versed in Kodaly methodology.
Erik Lawrence, Rehearsal Accompanist, is an enthusiastic and informed pianist with collaborative experience in chamber music, vocal, and orchestral genres. In his hometown of Houston, Texas, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Rice University, studying under Dr. Robert Roux. He also holds a master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Missouri Kansas City, where he studied with Dr. Robert Weirich and was employed part-time as a collaborative pianist.
In Toronto, Ontario, he received an artist’s diploma from the Glenn Gould School, while studying with pianist John O’Conor, and performed in the Canadian Opera Company’s Virtuosa Piano Series. He has also performed at the Holland Music Sessions in Bergen, Netherlands, with the Lake Charles Symphony in Louisiana, where he played Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto, and with the Topeka Symphony Orchestra as orchestral keyboardist. He currently works and studies in the Santa Barbara area, where he is pursuing his doctoral studies in collaborative piano at University of California, Santa Barbara.