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Sample Track 1:
"Ashir Shirim (I Will Sing Songs to God)" from Ancient Echoes
Sample Track 2:
"Rannanu (Sing with Joy)" from Ancient Echoes
Sample Track 3:
"Abwoon (O Father-Mother of the Cosmos) [The Aramaic Lord's Prayer]" from Ancient Echoes
Buy Recording:
Ancient Echoes
Layer 2

San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble--2004-2005 Biography

Founded in 1989, SAVAE (San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble) made its debut with a program of early world music presented in San Antonio’s historic San Fernando Cathedral. In the years that have followed the ensemble has recorded four ground-breaking CDs and toured to cities across the United States including New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Houston, and Milwaukee–among many others. The International Baroque Music Festival of Bolivia presented SAVAE in three concerts for that festival’s “Misiones Chiquitos” series—marking the ensemble’s first foreign tour.

With its home in the United States’ most colorful Latino city, it is no surprise that SAVAE made its mark with unique recordings of early music from Latin America. Four best-selling recordings, including the Billboard Magazine charting “Guadalupe: Virgen de los Indios,” and frequent live performances, have garnered national attention and critical acclaim. SAVAE’s inventive approach to the fusion of pre-colombian and European musical elements won the ensemble an invitation to record Academy Award-winning composer Todd Boeckelhide’s score for the acclaimed PBS documentary, “Discovering Dominga.” Other SAVAE recordings have also been used on film documentary projects.

The group’s recording of 2000-year-old Middle Eastern music, “Ancient Echoes,” was released in late 2002 and shot to #2 on WNYC radio’s annual listener poll for that year. The recording features SAVAE’s groundbreaking exploration of ancient music and dialects from the Middle East. “Ancient Echoes” has intrigued both audiences and critics, receiving rave reviews for its inspiring blend of scholarly research and creative excellence. Dr. Theodore Burg, University of Notre Dame, called the recording “a well-researched, well-recorded musical journey...with an intriguing, timeless effect.”

SAVAE has been featured several times on national radio, including National Public Radio’s Performance Today, Sound & Spirit, Latino USA, The Savvy Traveler, and Weekend Edition. Angela Mariani has twice featured the ensemble in hour-long specials on her nationally-syndicated radio program Harmonia. Producer John Dilberto travelled to San Antonio to record a “Livingroom Concert” for his public radio show, Echoes. Reports about SAVAE and it’s ground breaking approach to early world music have appeared in major daily papers including The Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Kansas City Star, The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Sun Times—and through Associated Press and United Press International wire stories—to cities far and wide.

Artistic Director Christopher Moroney’s arrangements for SAVAE, published by World Library Publications, bring the ensemble’s unique approach to ancient music to an even wider audience. These arrangements have been performed by choirs in venues as far ranging as The Washington National Cathedral and the Los Angeles Civic Center, as well as by many university and church choirs throughout the Americas. A respected champion of historically-informed early music performance, Mr. Moroney was featured in an article in Early Music America, and has been invited to serve as adjunct faculty at Catholic University’s Institute for Sacred Music.

Consisting of seven multi-talented musicians, SAVAE is credited as being “equally adept at fa-la-la and sha-na-na.” The ensemble has been praised for mastering the “organ-like tone, exquisite balances,” and “wonderfully feathered dynamics” of Medieval and Renaissance vocal music; for “astonishing precision, purity, and style” interpreting contemporary vocal repertoire; for “supple, wonderfully spirited, in-the-groove” renditions of pop standards; and for its “trademark smooth sound and simpatico sense of ensemble.” As a complement to its polished vocal work, SAVAE accompanies its live performances on its impressive collection of ancient wind, string, and percussion instruments from Latin America and the Middle East.

In describing a SAVAE concert, Music Critic Diane Windeler wrote: “Listening to The SAVAE’s recording of 2,000-year-old music is intriguing enough, but nothing can compare with seeing a live performance of this music. On every level, it was an affecting, revelatory performance.”


Christopher Moroney - (Co-founder & Artistic Director) bass/baritone: harp, wind instruments, percussion
Kathy Mayer - soprano: recorder, harp, kamanche, percussion
Tanya Moczygemba - mezzo-soprano: percussion, kinnor
Covita Moroney - (Co-founder & Manager) alto: oud, guitar, guinbri, conch, percussion
Jody Noblett - baritone: wind instruments, kinnor, percussion
Lee P’Pool - tenor: kinnor, percussion
Sonya Yamin - soprano: kinnor, percussion