Gregg Smith, one of the earliest choral conductors to employ a choir of professional singers and an important figure in Chorus America's organizational history, passed away on July 12, 2016 at the age of 84.
Smith founded the Gregg Smith Singers in 1955, an ensemble he devoted to advancing the standards for excellence and repertoire in the field. “He was one of the biggest chapters in American choral history,” said Dennis Keene, long-time organist for the Singers and artistic director of Voices of Ascension Chorus and Orchestra, in an obituary published in the New York Times. Smith was the last living founder of Chorus America.
“Gregg’s contributions as a composer and conductor of professional choruses are too numerous to list,” said Chorus America president and CEO Catherine Dehoney. “Many of the conversations that sparked the founding of Chorus America were held around his kitchen table. His conducting workshops at the Adirondack Festival of American Music were important professional milestones for many leaders in our field. Chorus America owes a great deal of its success to Gregg, and he will be sorely missed.”