Recently we sat down with Valley Chorale bass Davey Ermold (pictured with his family, left) to learn more about his life story and his deep love of music, family and faith.
Tell us a little about yourself — what you do and who you are, in whichever way best describes you.
I am the pastor of Blue Ridge Grace Brethren Church in Winchester. My wife, Laura, and I moved to this area from Southern Maryland almost two years ago. We have four children ages eight and under. Most of our time is taken up with church responsibilities and the kids, especially since we teach them at home. I was excited to learn about Valley Chorale of Front Royal, as it has become the one thing I do that I can classify as “me time.” We thoroughly enjoy living and serving in the Winchester area, and look forward to doing so as long as the Lord has us here.
How did music come into your life and how has music been a part of your life? Did you have a musical background growing up?
Music has been an integral part of my life. My father is a professional trumpet player, and so I took the instrument up in fourth grade. The following year in school, I played the title role in Bach to the Future; I remember the experience vividly! Once I had my taste of choral singing, I was hooked. I sang in choruses in middle and high school, including being selected for Pennsylvania county, district, and regional choirs. After high school, I went on to earn undergraduate degrees in vocal performance and in Bible, continuing to sing chorally as well. I initially wanted to continue on to earn my master’s degree in choral conducting; however, recurring tendonitis in my right shoulder sidelined that goal pretty quickly. Instead, I attended seminary and earned a master’s degree in theology with a goal of pursuing full-time ministry.
Do you sing to your children?
Absolutely! We sing with our kids almost nightly. We try to learn one new hymn a month, and we learn them with the music in the hymnals. In fact, our second oldest is excited to turn seven in this spring because he knows it means he’ll be receiving his very own hymnal!
Is there a particular musical influence in your life?
There have been quite a few musical influences in my life. Band and choral teachers in both middle- and high school laid the foundation for long-term musical involvement (in fact, my middle school band teacher, who was also my private trumpet instructor, taught my father in both roles as well!). I was blessed to be in a school district with an exceptional music program. In college, all of my professors — whether it was for voice, piano, theory, history, conducting or even sight-singing — were focused not only on musical excellence but also on the importance of personal integrity and doing all things (as Bach would write at the bottom of each of his compositions) “SDG” — that is, for the glory of God alone.
What do you like most about singing?
I love how personal singing is. Unlike any other instrument, the voice is something we all carry with us wherever we go; it’s always accessible to us. Even though timbres and tones may be similar in many ways, no two voices are identical because each person brings his or her own unique experiences and emotions to the table which, in turn, affect how they sing. The voice is an extension of who we are and, while some may need to put a little more effort into it, everyone is able to sing to some degree! What I absolutely love about choral singing is that we come together, blending and cooperating for a goal bigger than any one of us. The human voice is simply magnificent!
If you could sing a duet with someone you admire…who would it be?
Aw man, that’s a tough one to narrow down. I’d have to go with one of my favorite vocalists, Martina McBride.
What would be your music fantasy dream-come-true?
I’ve been blessed to have been able to attend a good number of concerts, see multiple operas at the Met, and even more musicals on Broadway. Even though I have a degree in performance, it wasn’t because I wanted to be a solo performer; rather, I wanted the vocal tools needed to excel in choral conducting (e.g., pedagogy, diction, repertoire, etc). All that being said, I’d say any musical fantasy would involve singing with others, whether in a group such as the Valley Chorale or in a barbershop quartet.
What is your favorite type of music to sing?
Being classically trained, I’d say my voice definitely favors German lieder (e.g., Schubert, Brahms, Mahler) and oratorio (e.g., Bach, Handel). Although, if you catch me in my car with the windows down, I’m belting along with the original cast albums of Miss Saigon, Aida, Wicked or Hamilton as well as the tenth-anniversary “dream cast” of Les Mis (because — let’s face it — it’s far superior to its original cast album!). I listen to pretty much everything, though.
Tell us anything else about you that many people may not be aware of.
My wife and I knew each other for only nine months before we were married in July 2010. It was one of those things that we both knew it was the right person at the right time. However, Laura’s father and four brothers are all exceptional tenors, so our time before the wedding was more of an audition to be the bass of the family, and less so regular ol’ dating!
Thanks, Davey! We’re so happy to have you as part of our Valley Chorale family!