The San Diego Chorus is delighted to welcome coach Ryan Heller to their Fall 2023 Recharge event. Ryan recently assumed the role of Director of Alamo Metro Chorus in San Antonio, Texas, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International. With his trademark exuberance, Ryan is as energy-driven as the sound and performances that he inspires from each musician!
A "barbershop brat," Ryan joined the Barbershop Harmony Society as a high school freshman, singing with then Evergreen District champs, Vocal Gentry. Under Ryan's past leadership, the Pride of Portland Chorus won regional championships each cycle of competitions, making six appearances on the international stage with five top ten finishes. In April of 2013, Ryan received his Master Director 700 award when Pride of Portland Chorus took first place at our regional contest, with a record-breaking score of 701 points.
Heller also holds the title of the Artistic Director and Conductor of Chorus Austin in Austin, TX. Chorus Austin has been honored with numerous awards, including the 2018 Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Classical Performance, and the 2017 Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America. Past positions include Music Director / Conductor of the Southwest Washington Symphony, and Co-founder / Conductor of Portland Vocal Consort and the Columbia Chorale of Oregon.
Ryan's vibrant career also includes frequent engagements as Musical Director / Chorusmaster of musical theater productions throughout the West Coast, including Sweeney Todd, Annie, Brigadoon, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Magic Flute and La Cenerentola. In 2016 Heller served as Conductor for the world premiere opera The Canticle of the Black Madonna; He has appeared or recorded with numerous groups, including the Austin Symphony, Portland Opera, Rose City Chamber Orchestra, William Hall Master Chorale, Capella Romana, Astoria Music Festival, and Broadway Rose Theater Company. He has had the pleasure of touring with several ensembles throughout the USA, Europe, New Zealand, and China.
The San Diego Chorus hosts Recharge weekends for Chorus Members bi-annually. The 3-day events are coaching intensives, featuring Guest coaches from across the U.S. and internationally. The San Diego Chorus is currently ranked 5th Internationally and recently accepted a Wild Card invitation from parent organization Sweet Adelines International. The Chorus will take the stage as contestant #1 in the Quartet and Chorus Semi Finals in Kansas City in October of 2024.
The San Diego Chorus will be one of 32 competitors performing in the International Semi Finals, presenting a barbershop ballad and up tune. Contests are adjudicated by four judges, each of whom intensively evaluate one of the four categories that comprise the overall score: Sound, Music, Expression and Visual Communication. Every competing organization has the potential to earn 100 points per category per song. The total possible points available for a performance is 800.
Choruses that rank within the top 10 earn a chance to present a second entertainment package in the finals for the championship title. The 15 minute finals package blends a barbershop number with contemporary a cappella numbers.
Heller is one of several world-class coaches the San Diego Chorus will work over the next year as they prepare for competition. Master Director Kathleen Hansen expects big things from the Chorus, and is looking forward to competing.
"The singers of the San Diego Chorus bring a high level of musical excellence to our organization," Hansen says. "Working with individuals with our unique blend of talent and dedication is a rare opportunity. We're already leaning into the heavy lifting of preparing for competition and I see us as being well positioned for international advancement."
The San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines International is an award-winning chorus performing 4-part a cappella harmony in the barbershop style.