ON THE SCENE:  Founded by DC choral titan, Robert ‘Bob’ Shafer to critical acclaim, Erin Freeman is selected to carry forth the choral legacy of The City Choir of Washington.

by Patrick D. McCoy

(Robert Shafer is the Founding Artistic Director of The City Choir of Washington. Photo Credit: Jill Bochicchio)

Erin Freeman who is currently Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, Director of Choral Activities at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Artistic Director of Wintergreen Music, and Resident Conductor of the Richmond Ballet. She will step down from her positions at the Richmond Symphony Chorus and VCU at the end of the 2021-2022 season and enter the firmament of the Washington, D.C. choral galaxy of music as the new Artistic Director of The City Choir of Washington.

She will succeed Robert Shafer, who will retire in July 2022 after a distinguished 54-year career as a conductor in the Washington, D.C. area. Shafer, a Grammy-winning conductor, has led The City Choir of Washington since 2007, and was Artistic Director of The Washington Chorus for over 35 years.  Freeman was selected from a pool of 49 talented candidates for post.


Freeman says: “My time with the Richmond Symphony Chorus and VCU have been some of the best years of my life. I have learned so much from my singers and students – lessons of leadership, grace, humor, and empathy. Their spirit will always be a part of how I approach my work with any group, and for that I am so grateful! And, I won’t be a stranger. I’ll be in the audience cheering away! I’m thankful that I will still be a part of the Richmond community through my work with the Richmond Ballet, and I know I’ll see many musical friends at
Wintergreen over the summers!”


Founded in 2007, The City Choir of Washington is a symphonic chorus composed of 120 experienced volunteer singers from throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area. The City Choir seeks to inspire singers, audience members, and the community at large to discover the rich musical and cultural heritage of choral music. For more information on the choir, please  visit: The City Choir of Washington.


A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory. Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including The Washington Post, Early Music America Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and Examiner.com. He is a Board Member of the Music Critics Association of North America, a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., The American Choral Directors’ Association, a former member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD and Interim Director of Choral Activities and Instructor of Voice at Virginia State University. Visit http://patrickdmccoy.com. Follow him on twitter @PatrickDMcCoy, IG: PDM06. and subscribe to “Across the Arts.”