About the 18th Street Singers
The 18th Street Singers, founded in the fall of 2004, is an ensemble of young people living, learning, and working in the DC area. Having sung for most of our lives, we were eager for a serious musical outlet that would also fulfill the social and time constraints of life as young adults in the District. Hearing none, we proceeded to build our own. Thus was born the 18th Street Singers, named after the road along which many of our members live and play.
Members of our fifty-voice ensemble have a wide range of musical backgrounds, from professionals to former school choir members, but we join together with a dedication to musicality and a passion for performance. As a newer addition to the DC choral scene, we hope to bring a fresh, spirited interpretation to traditional choral music.
Recent performances at the Music Center at Strathmore, the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (attended by President Barack Obama), and the 2011 Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC have highlighted our group's rising reputation in the nation's capital and beyond. Our diverse repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary, including masterpieces for double choir by the likes of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Frank Martin, folk songs and American spirituals like "Great Day," and a continued commitment to music by emerging contemporary composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo.
About the Artistic Director
Benjamin Olinsky has directed the 18th Street Singers since the group's fall 2004 inception. Ben is a graduate of Yale University, where he concentrated in political science, music, and math. He has studied choral conducting both at the Yale School of Music with Maggie Brooks and Dr. David Connell and at Westminster Choir College with Dr. James Jordan. While at Yale, Benjamin conducted the Bach Society Chorus and the English Muffins (a madrigal choir), and served as the assistant director of the Yale Summer Chorus. He also served as music director of Out of the Blue, an award-winning contemporary a cappella group. During his time with Out of the Blue, the group toured from coast to coast and around the world. When he isn't directing the 18th Street Singers, Benjamin is legislative director for Sen. Al Franken.