About Us

Festival Choir of Madison is an auditioned, mixed-voice choir of 50 experienced singers who come from all walks of life to make music together.  We strive to fill cultural niches that are not represented in Madison, including modern composers and music from all around the world.  You can see some recordings of our past performances here or on our YouTube channel

Da Pacem Domine
Rehearsing for Da Pacem Domine

Festival Choir of Madison has long championed living composers by commissioning and performing new works. Recent Composers-in-Residence have included Stephen Paulus, Elizabeth Alexander, Paul Carey, Eric Whitacre, and Scott Gendel.

In addition to its regular subscription season, the Choir has performed live broadcasts from the Chazen Museum for Wisconsin Public Radio, appeared as part of Overture Center’s Grand Opening Festival, and toured across the state and abroad. In 1999, the Choir traveled by invitation to Austria as the first choral ensemble ever asked to participate in the prestigious Ost-West Musikfest.

Founded in 1972 by Vernon Sell, Festival Choir was led by David Lewis Crosby from 1975 to 1993, Eric Townell from 1993 to 2006, Drew Collins from 2007 to 2008, Dr. Bruce Gladstone from 2009 through 2011, and Dr. Bryson Mortensen from 2011 through 2015.

Sergei Pavlov, Artistic Director

Sergei Pavlov is the Artistic Director of the Festival Choir of Madison and Director of Choral Activities at Edgewood College.

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sergei Pavlov studied choral and orchestral conducting at the Pancho Vladigerov National Conservatory of Music under the renowned Bulgarian professors Vassil Kazandjiev, Miroslav Popsavov, and Boris Spassov; and in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Donald Schleicher and Fred Stoltzfus. From 1996 until 2004 Sergei worked for Classic FM radio, where he created and hosted a popular Bulgarian radio talk show, Morning Coffee. His many radio guests included such musical stars as Montserrat Caballé, Anton Guadagno, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ghena Dimitrova, and José Cura.

Sergei Pavlov’s professional conducting debut came in Sofia, with the Orchestra of Classic FM radio, as part of the European music festival in May 2002. In 2004 he was appointed Music Director of the Illinois String Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Quad City Symphony. In 2010 he worked as assistant conductor and chorus master of Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and this same year made his first appearance with the orchestra of The Spoleto Festival USA. In 2011, also in Spoleto USA, he conducted a performance of the anniversary production of the opera The Medium, celebrating 100 years from the birth of its composer, Giancarlo Menotti. From 2006 to 2011 Sergei was associate conductor of the University of Illinois Opera Theatre. Since late 2011 he maintains close artistic connections with Teatro Nacional Sucre, The National Opera Theatre of Ecuador. Sergei Pavlov has worked with internationally renowned opera artists such as Grace Bumbry, Willard White, Barbara Dever, Maurizio Barbacini, Stefano Vizioli, and Daniel Catán.

Ted Reinke, Accompanist

In addition to Festival Choir, his current organist and accompanist positions include St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton, St. Francis House Student Episcopal Center, and Temple Beth-El.

Ted Reinke has been a Madison area musician for 40 years, having arrived fo graduate school in 1972 after graduating from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Wayne Doverspike, Associate Conductor

Wayne Doverspike has been an educator and conductor of choral music for the last 60 years. He received his Bachelor of Music Education, Cum Laude, with an emphasis on choral conducting from North Central College, Naperville, IL in 1965.

After graduation, he accepted the position of Choral Music Director at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, IL. During his fourteen-year tenure, his choirs toured throughout the United States and were invited several times to perform on Chicago TV programs. Wayne’s educational leadership earned him the “Outstanding Young Educator Award” presented by the local Jaycees.

After serving as music minister in several churches in Illinois, in 1979 he moved with his wife and two sons to Neshkoro, WI and from 1980 until the present he has maintained his service in church music ministry. From 1981 to 1995 Wayne served as the Artistic and Executive Director of the Waushara Civic Chorus in Wautoma, WI. The 65-member chorus gave annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah” in addition to other major choral works. In 2005 he was the co-founder and co-director of the Neshkoro, WI Community Chorus whose 45-50 members continue to present two major concerts each year. In Neshkoro, population 450, the concerts regularly draw audiences of 400-500 attendees.

Wayne has been a member of the Festival Choir of Madison since 1998. During this time, he has been a featured soloist and bass section leader and has served on the Board of Directors.