The San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble has named Melody Svennungsen artistic director of the award-winning group founded by the late Gary Lamprecht.

Svennungsen, a member of the group since 1986 who was highly regarded by Lamprect, was the ensemble’s assistant director and soprano section leader for many years.

A native of San Luis Obispo, her first vocation was in human services as an instructor and advocate for special-needs adults. Music education and choral conducting as an “encore career” began shortly before she earned her music degree in vocal performance at Cal Poly in 2007, where she served as assistant conductor for Tom Davies and studied voice with both Katherine Arthur and Jackie Kreitzer.

Under her direction, the Central Coast Children’s Choir and AVE, an ensemble performing collegiate-level repertoire of varied styles, gained a reputation for excellence, collaborating with musical organizations including the SLO Master Chorale, SLO Vocal Arts Ensemble, and Opera SLO, and participating in national and international choral festivals.

In 2017 Svennungsen was appointed artistic director of the Central Coast Youth Chorus (the re-branded Central Coast Children’s Choir).