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Welcome to Laetare

A Diverse Community 
Singing Sacred Music for Women

Laetare: Welcome
Laetare: Image

Who We Are

Sacred Music.
Women's Voices.
Inclusive Community.
Flexible Performance.

Laetare is a small, open-membership a cappella choir dedicated to the art of sacred music for women's voices. We are based in the Washington, DC area and sing works in the European and American traditions from the early medieval period to the present day, although we are open to music of all times and styles.

Our core members are experienced amateur altos and sopranos, but we welcome participants of all backgrounds, faiths, genders, and skills, and are happy to collaborate with male singers, composers, instrumentalists, video artists, and students of musical history and culture. 

We offer (but do not require) both formal and informal performance opportunities, and look forward to expanding our outreach and educational programming. We invite you to join us in any of these ventures as we (as our name suggests) rejoice in making music together.

Laetare: About

How We Work

learning and connecting through sacred music

Laetare was founded in 2021 to allow women who are amateur singers to engage with sacred folk and art music beyond the church choir and the concert hall.

Our mission is threefold: to provide a working group for amateur consort singing; to find performance opportunities for small ensembles of experienced amateur singers; and to share hymns, carols, and other traditional music with the larger community.

We are pleased to have commissioned both new music and arrangements of both Renaissance and modern works, and look forward to further collaborations with instrumental musicians, historians, and other artists whose interests intersect with women's sacred singing.

Laetare: About

The Laetare Project

a study group for sacred part singing

Laetare's central project is an amateur workshop that explores unaccompanied sacred music for upper-voice ensembles. Our repertoire ranges from plainchant to newly commissioned works, with special emphasis on early modern polyphony and works from the American folk tradition.

This group is a supportive environment for women who enjoy exploring new repertoire in a directed ensemble of six to ten voices, either as a stand-alone project or a stepping stone to working one on a part without a conductor. To accommodate singers of varying skill levels while maintaining both an open membership and a small ensemble size, we may rotate groups and assign pieces of music individually. We circulate a list of music and a sign-up sheet several times a year, and welcome both regular singers and occasional guests. 

Because we are a learning group, some of our pieces are for exploration only. Many of our favorites, however, will find their way to a recording or a concert program. 

Laetare: About


small group performance

For women who prefer to sing one or two on a part, Psaltery offers a place to connect to other singers or instrumentalists to make music without a conductor. Much of our music is polyphony, but we are open to working in other styles and welcome singer suggestions.

If you are interested in singing with us, or are instrumentalists who would like to work with singers, do reach out -- we would love to discuss your experience and interests and find you some music to fit.

Laetare: About

Social Singing

outreach, carols, hymns, and beer

We are deeply committed to a culture of coming together to sing informally for pleasure - our own and our community's. We carol at Christmas and sponsor occasional hymn sings, sometimes with beer. We can also be booked for outreach engagements. Our social sings require minimal rehearsal commitment and are a great way to get to know us while giving back to the larger community.

Laetare: About

Performance Options

Both our small and large ensembles offer several alternatives to the traditional concert format. Singers in the Laetare Project are welcome to join our working group without making any performance commitment; singers in Psaltery would normally expect to perform pieces as they complete them, either in person or for our YouTube channel.

For interested singers, we offer a full-scale Christmas concert, which requires a rehearsal commitment of at least five weeks. Opportunities for small group performance and YouTube recordings arise on an ad hoc basis and require a rehearsal commitment of at least three weeks.

Concert and workshop themes for our 2023 season include:

Under the Shadow: music for the close of day

In a Foreign Land: music of English convents in exile

Number Our Days: music for All Hallows Eve

The Holly Green: music for the season of Christmas

Laetare: About

Recent Performances

Laetare: Projects

Star in the East

Songs for a Christmas Night

DECEMBER 11, 2022

7:00 pm: Concert

7:30 pm: Caroling & Refreshments

Laetare's second annual Christmas concert features a program of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and traditional music, followed by caroling and a reception.

Free-will offering for the support of an Afghan refugee family.

Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Bethesda, Maryland

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Laetare: Members


Erika Singer is dedicated to the promotion and performance of a wide range of sacred music, from worship service to workshop to concert hall. A Catholic cantor and church choir stalwart, Erika sings with the women’s early music group Illuminare and is a former member of the City Choir of Washington and the Glen Echo Singers, a church-sponsored outreach ensemble; she may also have sung with you in one of DC's many vibrant festival choirs. Erika is a voice student of Laura Choi Stuart, studied Gregorian chant in the summer program at Catholic University, and is pursuing conducting studies through the distance learning program of the Royal School of Church Music. Originally a securities lawyer, Erika left to raise her children, supporting their clarinet and tuba playing as a volunteer for the Annapolis Chamber Music Project and the DC Youth Orchestra Program. She lives in suburban Maryland with her husband, his amazing record collection, and their notorious Irish Setter, Ivy.

Assistant Director

Emily Hantman Tsai got her first taste of choral singing in the Oberlin Musical Union, and currently sings with the City Choir of Washington; she is also a dedicated member of City Choir’s outreach chorus, the City Singers. Emily is a recovering Chinese historian who has devoted the past few years to volunteer work for the City Choir of Washington, including fundraising, social media, maintaining the website, video editing, and writing and editing the patron newsletter, Allegro. She created the monthly multimedia series “A Moment of Music with the City Choir of Washington” to help connect singers and audience members during the pandemic. Emily has also served on the “Eya at Ten” Taskforce, helping Eya: Medieval Music plan and execute their 2020-2021 tenth anniversary season. Emily lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, Ben (a tenor), and their rescue dog, Pepper (a baritone). She is thrilled to be part of Laetare’s grand adventure.



If you'd like to make music with us, share your ideas, or be on our mailing list, we can be reached through this form or the email below. 

Regular rehearsals are at 5:00 pm on Sundays at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Bethesda, MD. Special projects can be scheduled at other times and places, as space permits. We sing year-round, with vacation breaks in January and August.

New singers are welcome to join us at any time. Drop us a note with your voice type, experience, and musical interests, and we'll be in touch to find a good fit.

We look forward to getting to know you!

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Laetare: Contact
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