Judson welcomes our new music director Henco Espag!
A native of South Africa, Henco Espag came to the U.S in 2007 to further his musical studies at Berklee College of Music.
Henco has worked on numerous projects as composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, accompanist, music director and session musician. He has been commissioned by choirs to write music that received international acclaim, including an arrangement for the World Choir Games in Xiamen, China and an original composition for the National ATKV Choir Competition in Cape Town, South Africa. Henco received the Georges Delerue Scholarship for outstanding achievement in film scoring at Berklee College of Music and was also awarded two bursaries from the South African National Arts Council. He also worked as an orchestrator for the feature film, The Runner from Ravenshead, by Little Crew Productions.
He taught at the Musical Theatre Department at Westminster College of the Arts at Rider University where he served as faculty, staff accompanist, vocal coach and music director.
As music director and conductor he has worked with directors, Robert Johanson, Norbert Joerder and performers, Sally Struthers and Tony Award nominee Meg Bussert. He served as the resident music director for the 2013 and 2014 seasons of Surflight Theatre, a professional, regional theatre on Long Beach Island, NJ.
He served as the Artistic Director and Conductor for the Philadelphia Freedom Band from 2011 to 2016 and currently serves as Music Director and Conductor for the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band in New York.
Henco composed a full scale-musical that had its first public reading in the Fall of 2015 at Rider University and he is also working as composer with librettist John Olin on a new American opera.
His church jobs have included being music/choir director and/or organist/pianist at a broad range of churches: Unitarian Universalist, United Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic tradition. Henco grew up in the Dutch Reformed church in South Africa, where he learned both traditional and contemporary worship styles.
As Composer-in-Residence for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, Henco’s recent premiers include, choral compositions: On Children (text by Kahlil Gibran) and Wild Flowers (poem by Mary D. Brine). The Philadelphia Freedom Band premiered Henco’s compositions: Sirkusoptog, Onheilspellende Nagwandelings (solo trumpet & band), arrangements: Dueling Percussionists (two percussion soloists & band based on The Little Drummer Boy), and, at their Spring 2016 concert, an arrangement of Afrikaans folk tunes with accordion.
Music has been integral to the "Judson experience" over the years. All kinds of music turn up in the Sunday worship services - yes, hymns and religious songs and classical music, but also Broadway, pop, folk, and ethnic music. Ever since our Associate Minister Al Carmines (1962-79) taught us that "everybody can sing," the congregation has enjoyed singing out heartily. Visitors sometimes ask if the whole congregation is the choir!
The Judson Choir is an all-volunteer group under the expert direction of Interim Music Director Henco Espag. New singers are welcome and feel free to sit in to see if you want to join. Rehearsals are Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. in the Meeting Room.
Our "Choir in Residence" - The West Village Chorale
LIke other arts programs at Judson, the music presented at Judson spans many styles. Among recent programs have been concerts by the resident West Village Chorale. Since 1971, the West Village Chorale has performed an eclectic repertoire that celebrates the classics and gives voice to new directions in choral music. In a wireless age of downloads, playlists and podcasts, we bring chorus and audience together in the spirit of community to experience the joy of choral music, live.
See the Announcements page on this website for current events.