Our mission

The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble shares our passion for choral music with the Ithaca community and surrounding region through performances that exemplify music’s unique power to touch the human heart and mind.

As a small, professionally trained choral ensemble, we offer outstanding performances of diverse repertoire reaching across genres, time periods, and cultures, and bringing to varied audiences a deeper understanding and broader appreciation for choral music.


The CVE will be recognized as Ithaca’s premiere chamber choral ensemble.  We will be valued for our commitment to enriching the cultural landscape of Ithaca and the surrounding area, our connectedness to the Ithaca community, and our dedication to innovative collaborations with artists or other musical groups to bring unique and varied musical experiences to our community.


Musical excellence
We strive to engage in performance of exceptional quality across the broadest possible spectrum of musical genres.  We value excellent musicianship that includes interpretation of the text, context of the music, and intent of the music to convey emotion.

In order to create a unique shared musical experience from which every participant benefits, we value connecting with each other, our collaborators, our audiences, and the broader community.

Our passion for musical expression starts with each other during the process of concert preparation, and we strive to communicate that experience and energy to our audiences during performances.  We want to reach, inspire, and engage our audiences through exploration of a wide range of emotions.  We want our audiences to feel entertained, moved, exhilarated, and surprised.

We contribute to the enduring legacy of choral music for current and future generations and promote appreciation of choral music as a distinct art form.


The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, based in Ithaca, New York under the organizational umbrella of the Ithaca A Cappella Association, has been presenting quality performances of vocal music to the southern tier and surrounding areas for over three decades. The group, performing first under the name Ithaca Art Ensemble, then as the Gerald Wolfe Singers, has offered everything from madrigals to musicals, Bach to Britten, oratorio to opera. Past concerts have included the Mozart Requiem and the Haydn Creation, with chamber orchestra, Vaughan Williams' Mass in g-minor, Bach motets and cantatas, and selections from the very best a cappella music from the medieval period through the 20th century.

Group Composition

The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, an audition-only group, is comprised of twenty professionally trained singers. Our singers have performed with Tri-Cities Opera Company, The Gregg Smith Singers, the Syracuse Symphony, Ithaca Opera, and other noted musical organizations; they are also contributing members of the educational and business community. Among our ranks are Cornell and Ithaca College administrators and faculty members, teachers from the public school system, and local business owners.

See our photo gallery for pictures of the group, both current and historical.

Our Conductor

Dr. Carl Johengen has served as director of the group since the 2009-10 concert season.

Concert Repertoire

For a representative sample of our repertoire, consult our listing of past concert seasons. For an overview of the current concert season, see our current schedule.


Our group is governed by an active Board of Directors, who assume responsibility for the fiscal well-being, long-term direction, and overall stability of the group. We are always looking for interested community members to join to these critical efforts, without which the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble would not be possible. If you are interested in contributing your talents, please contact any of the Board members listed below.

  • Diana Nathanielsz, President
  • Diane Kubarek, Treasurer
  • Robin Booth, Secretary
  • Carl Johengen, Musical Director (ex officio)
  • Katie Ballantyne
  • Dorothy Preston
  • Kathryn Seeley
  • Marjorie Smart

Funding Sources

The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble has a strong record of community, regional, and state financial support. Most recently, the offerings of the CVE have been made possible with grant support from the Community Arts Partnership. CAP logo

Professional Affiliation

We are a member of Chorus America, a national service organization that promotes the highest artistic quality, development and growth of vocal ensembles, advocates the fair remuneration of professional singers and choruses that provide professional services, and stimulates greater understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of choral music throughout North America.

Community Outreach

We are committed to community outreach as a means for improving the quality of life in central New York and the southern tier. Our programs of great choral music as well as lighter repertoire reach many who would otherwise not experience excellent ensemble singing. We are exploring collaborations with local pulic schools to bring students to our concerts at reduced ticket prices. Our group is also available for performing at venues other than our usual concerts. For example, we can provide popular, classical, or holiday music for community events. Details can be found here.

The Critical Role of the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble in the Community

The arts are a vital part of life in the southern tier, particularly in the ensemble's home community---Ithaca. A healthy arts environment offers enjoyment and education to the community and attracts new people to the area. Furthermore, visitors who attend cultural events often patronize local businesses before and after events. A recent letter to the Ithaca Journal expressed great pride that resources are available locally to perform masterpieces of western art music. But there is a danger that opportunities for presenting and preserving our cultural heritage will vanish without strong local support. The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble fills a very important niche in the local performing arts community. We are the only professional vocal ensemble in the area. We have a continuing commitment to excellence in the performance of music from all periods and genres. We also provide opportunities for young professional singers to gain invaluable performance experience with a mature, expert ensemble.

Audition to be a part of our group

We're always interested in hearing new talent. See complete details for auditioning and let us know about you!
  More Ithaca area events can be found at ithacaevents.com.

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