Music in the Somerset Hills Board of Trustees:
Stephen Sands, Artistic Director and Director of SHCC
Matthew LaPine, Director of Education
Brian Harlow, Church Concert Series Director
Jason Snyder, Instrumental Concert Series Director
Sarah Glazar, Chair of Development
Luthien Brackett, Administrator
Valerie Szkodny, Media Relations and Programs
Paul Ginrich, Graphic Design
Steven Wilson, Web Design
A “crystalline tenor” (Backstage) who was praised by the New York Times as “a tenor with a focused, powerful tone“ who sings with “subtlety“, Stephen Sands is highly sought after as both a soloist and ensemble member by some of the most prestigious institutions and conductors in the United States. Steve Smith of the New York Times lauded Stephen for “expertly handling the solo parts” in the recent Stravinsky Festival at Trinity Church. Mr. Sands holds his degree from Westminster Choir College, where he was a member of the world-renowned Westminster Choir under the direction of Joseph Flummerfelt. He is a founding member and Executive Director of the internationally award-winning Antioch Chamber Ensemble, widely regarded as one of the finest professional vocal ensembles in the country. Stephen has been heard as the Evangelist and tenor soloist in numerous performances of Bach’s sacred oratorios, most recently with the Trinity Choir and Baroque Orchestra in the St. Matthew Passion of J.S. Bach. As an ensemble member, Stephen sings with the Carmel Bach Festival Chorale, Vox Vocal Ensemble, Aoede Consort, TENET, Clarion Music Society, Pomerium, and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner. His extensive discography includes the recent releases The Passing of the Year for MSR classics with Antioch Chamber Ensemble, a CD of Bach Motets and the Complete Haydn Masses with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Recent releases include the Grammy nominated recording of Handel’s Israel and Egypt with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and a CD of Mannerist Motets of the Renaissance with Pomerium.
As an Artistic and Executive director, Stephen has successfully raised funds from both individual and institutional sources for The Antioch Chamber Ensemble and Music in the Somerset Hills, an organization dedicated to music education and performance in northern New Jersey. An Aaron Copland grant recipient, Stephen is currently coordinating the production of a new Antioch Chamber Ensemble CD of choral works by Matthew Brown for release in the Fall of 2013. He has had the pleasure of coordinating international performing tours, producing commercial recordings, and staging many self-directed performances. In 2012, Stephen raised funds for, produced and performed in a production of Handel’s opera Semele and Handel’s Messiah.
In addition to a successful career as a musician, Stephen is also a highly respected choral director and music educator. He has taught choral music to students in grades 3-12 in the Somerset Hills School District since 1998. Stephen has been the Youth Choir Director at St. Luke’s Church in Gladstone, NJ since 2003. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of Music in the Somerset Hills and the Somerset Hills Community Chorus, which celebrates its third season in 2012-2013.
Brian Preston Harlow, director of the Church Music Concert Series and accompanist of the Somerset Hills Community Chorus, holds the degrees of Doctor of Musical Arts, Master of Musical Arts and Master of Music from Yale University School of Music, as well as the Bachelor of Music degree with High Distinction from Indiana University School of Music. His teachers include Martin Jean, Marilyn Keiser and Thomas Murray, organ; Gerre Hancock, William Porter and Jeffery Brillhart, improvisation; and Richard Rephann, harpsichord. From the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, he received the Robert Baker Scholarship and the Faculty Prize for exemplifying the ideals of the Institute. From Indiana University he received the Austin Caswell Award and a Distinguished Alumni Service Award Scholarship; he was also named a member of the Honors Division and an Arthur R. Metz Scholar.
Mr. Harlow is the Interim Organist and Choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Gladstone, New Jersey. He served from 2007-2010 as Director of Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey where he directed a large program of multiple choirs and a concert series. He also served as Assistant Organist at St. James’ Church, Madison Avenue, Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, and Trinity Church, New Haven, Connecticut and Director of Music at churches in Connecticut, Indiana and Massachusetts.
Mr. Harlow has given a number of recitals in the United States and England. He also performs regularly in organ duet recitals and with other instrumentalists. He is the recipient of two awards from the American Guild of Organists: the award for the highest grades on the Associate exam and the S. Lewis Elmer Award for the highest grade on an upper level exam. Mr. Harlow serves on several committees of the Metropolitan New Jersey chapter of the American Guild of Organists and is the Regional Chair for Region II of the Association of Anglican Musicians. Mr. Harlow has recorded for Koch International Classics and BKM Associates and is also active as a teacher and composer.
Matthew J. LaPine, director of Music Education, is an educator, conductor, and composer in central New Jersey. He received the designation Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, where he graduated with distinction. He also received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Westminster, graduating summa cum laude and was the winner of the Sophomore Piano Competition. As a conductor, Mr. LaPine has been the rehearsal assistant for the Westminster Jubilee Singers, and he has led rehearsals of the Westminster Symphonic Choir. His work with James Jordan includes teaching, conducting, and working as his graduate assistant with such ensembles as the Westminster Schola Cantorum and Westminster Williamson Voices. He has studied piano with Lillian Livingston, Francis McGuigan, and Ann Marie Nowak, voice with Marvin Keenze and Sonia Funk-Olin, and composition with Jay Kawarsky.
Mr. LaPine has been published in multiple works. He is featured as a contributing author to Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir: Volume 2, as well as Teaching Music Through Performance in Middle School Choir (forthcoming), both published by GIA. He contributed the chapter “Prognosticating the Choral Ensemble’s Ear” to The Choral Rehearsal: Volume One, and the chapter “Schenkerian Analysis as an Analytical Tool for the Choral Conductor” in Inward Bound – The Choral Rehearsal: Volume Two, both books are authored by James Jordan and published by GIA. Additionally, Mr. LaPine created an edition of Brahms’ Fest- und Gedenksprüche, which features a scholarly edition of the work with a complete Harmonic Immersion SolfegeTM analysis. It will be available as part of the Evoking Sound Choral Series, published by GIA.
Mr. LaPine is a veteran member of the dynamic teaching team for Westminster Choir College’s Middle School Piano Camp, in Princeton, NJ. This camp is a week-long summer residency program for students of all ability levels in grades 6-8 who come from all over the world to hone and enhance their piano skills while enriching their musical lives.
Mr. LaPine is a member of the Music Educators National Conference, New Jersey Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, the New Jersey chapter of ACDA, Music Teachers National Association, and New Jersey Music Teachers Association.