The Voices of New Orleans Choir, our 40 piece choir in Uptown New Orleans, performs with the full New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra in full masterworks concerts and also performs stand alone choir concerts for large audiences. This year the choir is proud to welcome two new directors:
Olga Ljungholm was born in Moscow, Russia. She graduated from the world-famous Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music with a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting. After graduation she worked with various choirs of Moscow Choral society of different age/range, including Moscow Institute of Transportation Students’ Choir, Moscow Red Army Veterans’ Chorus, 70-member children’s choir, and was involved with Russian Orthodox choir, which led her to explore beautiful Russian a cappella music.
In 2000, Olga moved to US and she lived in Connecticut for 15 years. She held a position of a Minister of Music and the Director of Music Series in a large (400+ congregation) Bethany Covenant Church from 2002 – 2015. Within the Bethany Music Series she directed choirs of all ages and collaborated with professional musicians, putting together various musical events and offering 5-6 free concerts a year to the community. Within the Series she directed large choral works such as Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Rutter’s Gloria and more.
In 2015, she moved to Louisiana with her family and presently enjoys becoming part of the wonderful classical music community of New Orleans! She is an accompanist at Loyola University and a teacher at Loyola Preparatory Arts, she is also accompanying the Concert Choir and the Opera Workshop at Xavier University of Louisiana. She also serves as the organist at the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church and builds her studio of private piano students. Olga truly enjoys variety of music styles and working with all the different aspects of music, however her first love and her major education is the choral music. That’s why she is greatly excited about and is looking forward to co-directing VONO and working with Chris Bergeron and James Rodrigue!
James Rodrigue is a native of Houma, Louisiana and a proud graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. While there, he was afforded the opportunity to perform in the adjoining university’s Men’s Chorus as well as conduct the high school chamber ensemble and was hooked. Since then, he has returned home and enjoyed an active career involved with choirs of all shapes and sizes in the Houma/Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans areas including the NOVA Chorale, Masterworks, and VOCE chamber ensemble and a dozen churches of various denominations.
As a conductor, James’ hands have waved throughout Southeast Louisiana as the leader of the Nicholls State University Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Carolers. He was also appointed the Music Director for the Omicron Beta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity for two years, where he worked tirelessly to provide his brothers opportunities to perform throughout the Houma/Thibodaux and Baton Rouge areas, often performing the premieres of commissioned works and in collaboration with other university and community ensembles. He also conducts Thibodaux Schola Cantorum, a community choir dedicated to performing sacred choral music throughout Thibodaux, often in conjunction with special church services in the area.
James’ choral music has been performed throughout Louisiana by various university, high school, church, and community ensembles. When writing music for an ensemble, he enjoys finding the most rewarding way to fit the group’s needs. Choral music’s ability to elevate a group of individuals through music is what draws James in and what makes him so excited to be able to work with VONO, Olga Ljungholm, and Chris Bergeron!
For information on how to join the Voices of New Orleans Choir, click here!