San Francisco Boys Chorus Faculty

Eric Choate ERIC CHOATE, recently appointed Artistic Director, is a graduate with Departmental Distinction in Music Composition from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where he studied with Timothy Mahr and Justin Merritt. He was awarded a fellowship to study at the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France; from this, he graduated with Honorable Mentions in Harmony and Solfège. He then went on to earn a Master of Music in 2014 with David Conte at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. 

As a composer, his works have been lauded as "music to grab the listener's attention through novelty and hold it through technical discipline" (Stephen Smoliar, examiner.com). He has several awards to his name, including First Prize in the SFCM Art Song Composition Competition for his setting of My Papa's Waltz, First Prize in the Vancouver Chamber Choir Composition Competition for his anthem Now Cheer Our Hearts, and runner-up for the James Highsmith award for his orchestral work Sonora. Recently he composed an Ave Maria for a Notre-Dame solidarity concert, and conducted the performance with musicians from the San Francisco Symphony, American Bach Soloists, The Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, Frederica von Stade, and Johann Vexo. He is frequently commissioned by recitalists, chamber ensembles, and choirs, and his music has been performed by renowned artists including The Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Brian Thorsett, Emil Miland, Friction Quartet, Areon Flutes, One Found Sound, and numerous sacred choral ensembles. Eric's music is published by E.C. Schirmer and Augsburg Fortress.
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IAN ROBERTSON, recently appointed Artistic Director Emeritus, led the  Chorus from 1996, and was responsible for the San Francisco Boys Chorus' phenomenal growth and artistic renaissance as one of nation’s premiere youth choral performance and educational organizations. He has led the Chorus on numerous international tours and in their several acclaimed recording projects. He continues to enhance the collaborative reputation of the SFBC with San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony and many other music groups. Since 1987 Maestro Robertson has also been Chorus Director with the San Francisco Opera for whom he has conducted many performances and prepared more than 350 productions. He was awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize in 2003 for his artistic contribution to the preparation of the SF Opera’s production of Saint François dʼAssise and in 2012 was awarded the SF Opera Medal in recognition of his outstanding achievement as an artistic professional. Robertson made his San Francisco Opera conducting debut with Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and has since led performances of Falstaff, Lohengrin, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Don Carlo, Turandot, Il Trovatore, and La Bohème. He has led the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus in many concerts, and he has conducted Così fan tutte and La Périchole for San Francisco Opera Center and frequently led Merola Opera Programʼs Grand Finale concerts. Other North American opera credits include productions with Sarasota Opera, Edmonton Opera, and Philadelphiaʼs Curtis Opera Theatre. Before joining San Francisco Opera, Robertson was head of music and chorus director with Scottish Opera, where he led numerous productions, including Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Pearl Fishers, The Secret of Susanna, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. A Scotland native trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and the University of Glasgow, Robertson studied conducting under Scotland’s revered maestro, Sir Alexander Gibson.
 
Ildi Salgado
ILDIKÓ THÉSZ SALGADO, Intermediate Chorus Director,was born and raised in Hungary, where she earned a diploma in Choral Conducting and Music Education from the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. She has been on the faculty of the Kódaly Center at Holy Names University since 2001 where she currently teaches choral conducting. Her previous teaching experiences include working with the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, where she worked with the unchanged voices and musicianship skills of the boy singers. Salgado has also held choral and musicianship workshops in Washington, Utah, and throughout California. She recently led a succesful tour with the Intermediate Chorus to the Picfest Choral Festival in Oregon. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.
 
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In 2019, TODD JOLLY returned to the directing staff of San Francisco Boys Chorus as the Assistant Concert Chorus Director, Handbell Director, and the San Mateo rehearsal site Director. Since 2007, he has served as the Minister of Music at St. John's Presbyterian Church, Berkeley. For 21 years he was a music teacher and the Choirmaster at Stuart Hall for Boys, San Francisco. As the first music director of San Francisco Renaissance Voices, he saw the organization through its initial decade. A musician, educator, and pastor, he is also a published and commissioned composer and arranger who freelances as a percussionist. He has played, sung, and directed groups across the United States and in Europe.
 
Mr. Jolly earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education at Trenton State College, followed by graduate studies in Instrumental Conducting. He holds a Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Additional training in community organizing with Industrial Areas Foundation, and in composition and song leading as a Fellow of Melodious Accord, have both strongly influenced his work. Major compositions include an oboe sonata commissioned by William Bennett, two mass settings (recordings soon to be released), an Advent cantata, and seven variations on the hymn tune HYFRYDOL. Mr. Jolly is a member of American Choral Directors Association, Early Music America, and San Francisco Presbytery.
 
 
ANNIE SMITH is Preparatory, Junior & Pro Tempore Apprentice Chorus Director
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ALEXANDER TAITE, Graduate Chorale Director, is a resident and native of Oakland,California. He graduated in 2007 from Pepperdine&nbsp University with a Bachelor’s Degree in music theory and composition. He emphasized in vocal performance with a minor emphasis in jazz piano. Between 2010 and 2015, he was in the vocal faculty at the Oakland School for the Arts teaching theory and conducting choirs. In 2014 He placed third in the inaugural James Toland Vocal Arts competition and in 2016 took audience favorite. He was a finalist in the East Bay Opera League scholarship competition in 2015. In 2008, he began singing with the San Francisco Opera Chorus, where he is still performing. In 2016 he began working as the director of the Graduate level chorus at the San Francisco Boys Chorus. Alexander has found a passion performing and teaching music around the bay area.
 
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BETSY MARVIT (East Bay Intermediate Director), an award-winning composer, has written commissions for individuals and ensembles ranging from talented children at the Conservatory Prep to tenured members of the San Francisco Symphony. She has been a professor at her alma mater, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, since 2001. In 2007 Betsy took over the Crowden Children’s Chorus and grew the program to 12 times its original size. In 2013 she founded Crowden Chamber Singers, a youth a cappella group that quickly met with critical acclaim. Betsy studied choral conducting under Judit Hartyáni and László Nemes, and composition under Elinor Armor and David Garner. She has been with the San Francisco Boys Chorus since 1998. 
 
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SARA MELLAS, Preparatory and Apprentice Choruses Rehearsal Director, Junior Chorus Director, Theory Teacher holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music History and Vocal Performance Practices from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she studied with Edward Bolkovac and Gabor Viragh. While earning her master’s degree at Holy Names University, she taught elementary general music at the St. Lawrence O’Toole School in Oakland. After graduating, she became the Director of Music at the Eden United Church of Christ in Hayward, and taught K-5 music and drama at the Serendipity School in Belmont. Most recently, she took on a long-term substitute position as the Director of Middle & High School Bands for the Piedmont Unified School District. Sara reflects.”The pursuit of musicality is a challenging and exciting endeavor, but it is most important for children to find joy in singing and creating music. Participating in musical activities inherently develops intellect, creativity, and cultural awareness”.
 
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CHRISTOPHER FAZZI joins the SFBC faculty as the Marin Chorus Director. Currently he also serves as Music Director of St. Raphael’s Church in San Rafael and leads the youth choirs there as well. Previously he directed the Glendale Chamber Orchestra and the Glendale Youth Orchestra. From 2009 to 2011, he was the Associate Director of the California College of Music in Pasadena . Mr. Fuzzi is a music graduate of UCLA’s and received his Masters at USC.
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MATTHEW WALSH is Intermediate Chorus Accompanist