The name Meritáge is our play on the vintner’s term meritage which refers to the blending of fine wines-
hence, in musical terms, the “blending of fine voices” –
with a diverse mixture of repertoire and styles. Meritáge Vocal Arts Ensemble is composed of
approximately 60 skilled and auditioned singers under the direction of Dr. Brian Dehn, Artistic Director.
Brian Dehn has over 20 years of experience in choral music, conducting ensembles from venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall to the Beijing Central Conservatory to local churches, displaying expertise in a broad spectrum of music from sacred to secular, with student singers to professionals of renown. He is an accomplished tenor soloist, performing for a variety of professional music ensembles, colleges, and churches throughout Southern California. Dehn is the founder of Meistersingers, and, for over 20 years, has held positions as director of music for a variety of Southern California churches and schools.
“We are thrilled to welcome Brian to our Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble family,” said Steve Schulist, President of the board. “His enthusiasm, musicality, and passion for the art form will take Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble to a new level of expertise and our audiences are sure to be thrilled.”
Mark Salters is Director of Opera, vocal coach, and pianist at California State University, Fullerton. Originally from New York, Salters served on the coaching staff of the Opera Department at the University of Michigan under Gustav Meier. Prior to that, Mr. Salters was on the faculty of the Yale University graduate opera program headed by noted director Tito Capobianco. He has accompanied master classes by many well known singers and coaches including Frederica Von Stade, Roberta Alexander, Vladamir Chernov, Carlo Bergonzi, Sherill Milnes, Madame Régine Crespin, Richard Bonynge, Rodney Gilfry, George Shirley, Carol Neblett, Horst Günther, Marni Nixon, Paul Sperry, Richard Pearlman, Lili Chookasian, as well as many others. In addition he has worked with conductors and directors from Los Angeles Opera, New York City Opera, Frankfurt Opera, St. Louis Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Salters has also served on the music staffs of the University of Connecticut, Opera Theater of Connecticut, and the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven Connecticut. Currently Mr. Salters regularly accompanies the National Association of Teachers of Singing symposiums in Los Angeles and Orange County, as well as the Classical Singers Association classes and concerts. He has also worked for Opera Pacific, Opera Ala Carte, Cal State Long Beach, Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony, Riverside Opera, Southland Opera, and the Intimate Opera Company. He also serves as Director of Music and Principal Organist at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church in Irvine. As an active freelance accompanist he regularly accompanies many of the finest young vocal artists of the Los Angeles area in recitals and competitions.
Friends of Choral Music (FoCM)
DBA Meritáge Vocal Arts Ensemble
FoCM is dedicated to and supports excellence in the performance of outstanding choral literature that engages and enriches our audiences, and celebrates and fosters the future of the choral arts.
FoCM accomplishes its mission through the development and success of its musical ensembles:
- Meritáge Vocal Arts Ensemble: a chamber ensemble with an eclectic repertoire of classical to contemporary choral and solo music.
- Starlight Carolers: a professional holiday caroling ensemble.
Board of Directors
- PRESIDENT: Stephen Schulist
- ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Dr. Brian Dehn
- PAST PRESIDENT: Dennis Nasitka
- VICE PRESIDENT: Michael Buss
- SECRETARY: Teresa Raridan
- TREASURER: Mark Peter
- CHORUS MANAGER: Michael Buss
- BOARD MEMBERS:
Joey Baital, Henrietta Carter, Danny Dayton, Peter Donovan, Tracy Ferguson, Chuck Murphy, Kathy Pierce, Leslie Rudolph, Wendy Stokes
FoCM is a vibrant, diverse, respected Board of Directors that is actively engaged in the success of its mission. It is highly regarded for its support of eclectic and innovative programming, financial strength, stability, and industry recognition. It strives to develop and inspire future generations of choral musicians.