Phoenix is so excited to welcome Ashley Bontje as our new choir administrator.
We announced in January that Emily would be moving on after over 3 years in the position and we could not be more thrilled to have found an excellent fit to replace her in Ashley. She has substantial past choral and musical experience and will be a wonderful advocate and liaison for us. We are eager for our entire Phoenix family to get to know Ashley better, but we asked her a few questions so that we could introduce her to you all.
What role has music played in your own personal development?
Music has touched just about every aspect of my personal and professional life. As a kid, my mom taught me and my sisters to sing and my dad introduced us to a wide range of musical genres. I grew up on Long Island, NY, and sang at home, at church, and in school choirs. I studied Music Composition at Stanford and NYU and began my career in fundraising for the arts. I worked on special events at Carnegie Hall, where I helped put on large gala fundraisers until I left the east coast for the best coast. My husband and I moved to Seattle, where I worked for University of Washington’s performing arts center and Providence Hospital, all the while singing in choirs. We moved to Victoria when our first daughter was one, and decided to stay home with her. In Victoria, I joined a choir and started my own non-audition women’s pop choir. It was my first time conducting a choir, and I absolutely loved it.
Why Phoenix? What attracts you to this particular organization?
My family moved to Vancouver this past fall, and when I saw the Phoenix Administrator job posting, I immediately applied. I missed being a part of a choir family, and Phoenix is a pretty amazing organization to be a part of. I am particularly drawn to Phoenix’s artistic programming. Dr. Nicolle Andrews regularly commissions new works and focuses on contemporary choral music, which is amazing. I also appreciate the close-knit community that Phoenix has created. Because music is so integral to my own life, I feel very honoured to help create a positive musical experience for the singers and their audiences.
Is there something about the role that excites you in particular?
I am very excited about combining my passion for all things choir with my professional experience, and am eagerly awaiting Phoenix’s Evolve concert on May 7, which will be my first time hearing the choir perform live.
What are you listening to these days? Music or otherwise.
The Encanto soundtrack.
Tell us about the person aside from your job title. What do you like to do? How do you spend your time?
Most of my time is spent with my two daughters. When they are sleeping or otherwise engaged, I am usually singing, arranging pop music for my former choirs, teaching voice lessons, reading, running or doing yoga.