Thanks to an award from the Alice M. Ditson Fund, GSS launched their own record company, GSS Recordings, to provide an outlet for contemporary American choral music. During the company’s ten-year existence the Singers recorded over 100 different pieces and produced eleven albums. Unfortunately it was the very time that LPs went out of business, to be superseded by cassettes and soon after that, CDs. It was not wasted effort however, because some of the recordings are now reissued on CD by other companies
Walter Gould landed the Gregg Smith Singers a contract with CAMI which meant many more touring dates because of the Community Concerts tie-in. A second recording made under the sponsorship of the Walshes in Ft. Worth, “A World of Folksong,” was GSS’ first digitally recorded album. In the winter of 1981 Watson Bosler presented the first Memorial Vespers, combining the Saint Peter’s Church Choir and GSS with orchestra, in memory of his mother.
GSS made their second tour of the Far East, this time under the aegis of the US State Department. In Singapore there was a billboard painted from our group photo — all the faces were Asian! Again, GSS joined the Saint Peter’s Church Choir for the Bosler Memorial Vespers which has become a traditional May concert with chorus and orchestra.
sponsorship of the Scandinavian composers union NOMUS, GSS toured
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Highlights were two
concerts at the Bergen Festival and a concert at the Tivoli.
GSS recorded three Elliott Carter choral pieces including Emily Dickinson's Heart not so heavy as mine in 1983
GSS toured five
islands in Hawaii with a “side trip” to Hong Kong. It
was the year of the huge volcanic eruption on the big island,
Hawaii, and the ash affected our singers’ throats hundreds of
miles away in Oahu!
GSS got a boost
from the NEA with an Advancement grant, the first given to a
GSS made an
appearance with the New York Philharmonic as part of a special new
music series called “Horizons.” Gregg co-conducted
Lutoslawski’s Trois Poemes d’Henri Michaux with
Gunther Schuller. During the summer at AFAM, the Singers had the
great honor of performing with Dave Brubeck in the first of many
This year saw a
unique collaboration with the Ensemble Josquin Des Pres of France.
A spring recording for Vox — “A French-American Salute”
— was followed by a tour of the Picardy region of Northern
France in August. A highlight was two appearances in the immense
Amiens Cathedral. After a hiatus of twelve years, GSS rejoined
Robert Craft in what was the beginning of a new series of Stravinsky
concerts in New York’s Alice Tully Hall.
GSS was given the
coveted Berliavsky award from the American Academy and Institute of
Arts and Letters for their life-long contribution to American music.
GSS joined Gregg’s
Long Island community chorus, LISCA, in a tour of Spain featuring
portions of the Monteverdi Vespers. In December, GSS made the first
of four appearances with Garrison Keillor in his New York based
program, “The American Radio Theatre.”