Established in 1986 by Elvera Voth, Alaska Chamber Singers (ACS) is one of the state's finest music ensembles. Led by Conductor/Artistic Director David Hagen since 1995, Alaska Chamber Singers' mission is to enrich Alaska through choral excellence. Singers are selected annually by audition and are dedicated to the study, rehearsal, and performance of high quality choral literature.
In 1992, Alaska Chamber Singers was the first American chorus to perform in Magadan, Russia, Anchorage's Sister City, as part of a cultural exchange. Later in 1992, ACS and other area singers combined forces with the Kamchatka Choir from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia, in a performance of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky Suite with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovich.
In 1996, Alaska Chamber Singers was featured on the radio program "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor" in its broadcast from the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. In July of 1997, ACS traveled to Washington, D.C., and performed in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts under the sponsorship of U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski. ACS was chosen to perform in 2008 at the American Choral Directors Association Northwestern Division Convention in Vancouver, B.C.
In 2012, ACS commissioned and premiered Alaska Spring, a major new work by celebrated composer Libby Larsen setting the poetry of former Alaska poet laureate, Tom Sexton. ACS has also commissioned works by Grant Cochran, David Dickau, Moses Hogan, and Gregory Walker.
Alaska Chamber Singers has sung under notable guest conductors including Kenneth Jennings, Moses Hogan, David Dickau, and Anton Armstrong. ACS has participated in workshops led by Chanticleer and New York Polyphony. ACS regularly collaborates with Anchorage Concert Chorus, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, and Alaska Children's Choir.
David Hagen became artistic director and conductor of the Alaska Chamber Singers (ACS) in 1995, succeeding founder and longtime artistic director Elvera Voth. He has conducted the ACS in such major works as Bach's Magnificat, Christmas Oratorio and numerous motets and cantatas; Bernstein's Chichester Psalms; Faure's Requiem; Haydn's The Creation; Mozart's Mass in C and Requiem; and Poulenc's Gloria. In the fall of 2004 he led a performance of Britten's monumental War Requiem, a joint production with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Alaska Chamber Singers and Alaska Children's Choir.
Hagen served as Chorus Master with Anchorage Opera for several seasons, preparing such works as Carmen, Die Fledermaus, Romeo et Juliette and Sweeney Todd. From 1990 to 1994, he served as general director of Anchorage Festival of Music. He was founder and music director of "AVE", a vocal ensemble that performed with much acclaim in Anchorage in the 1990's. Having grown up in Anchorage, Hagen received his earliest musical training in the Anchorage School District, performing in such ensembles as the Service High Symphonic Band and the Anchorage Youth Symphony.
Hagen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Fox University and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. In 2007 he was awarded the Anchorage Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding Individual Artist. Hagen is a music teacher in the Anchorage School District and served as ASD's Music Curriculum Coordinator for two years. His many compositions for beginning band are regularly heard at local band festivals. Hagen has served as choir director at a number of local churches; he is currently music director at First Presbyterian Church.
Hilary has always loved music and being part of musical groups. Growing up she was always in the church choir; and even participated in community theater, having support roles in South Pacific and Sound of Music. During high school she played flute in band and sang in choir, including a barbershop quartet. In college she was in choir and vocal ensemble (an a cappella group), and even toured through Europe in the summer of 1997.
Hilary received a Bachelors of Arts in Music Education, with an emphasis on voice. She intended to be a music teacher, but then met her husband, Dwayne, and together they became Officers in The Salvation Army. In her career as an officer, Hilary was able to travel the western United States, living in Hawaii, San Diego, Portland, Idaho, and finally Anchorage.
Hilary and her husband have 4 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and one grand-pup. Once they came to Anchorage in June of 2017, they decided they were tired of moving so much. It was hard to keep uprooting their children. So, in November of 2018, after nearly 16 years as officers in The Salvation Army, they resigned and started getting used to the idea of Anchorage being a permanent home for them.
Hilary has always wanted to be part of a community musical group, but never felt the freedom to do so due to constant moving around. When she saw the posting for the Alaska Chamber Singers Executive Director position, she was intrigued. As a Salvation Army officer, she had lots of experience in overseeing a non-profit’s day-to-day business, and she loves music. So she applied, and the rest is history! Hilary is looking forward to all Alaska Chamber Singers is and will be!