Zachary Colby, tenor

Member since 2014
Hometown: Crown Point, IN
DMA, Vocal Performance, University of Minnesota
MM, Vocal Performance, University of Minnesota
BM, Music Education, Butler University

Tenor Zachary Colby is looking forward to another season with Cantus. He has enjoyed performing in a diverse genre of styles including opera, oratorio, solo recital, choral and theatre. Zachary has sung with the South Dakota Chorale, Minnesota Chorale and Minnesota Opera Chorus. He has been featured as a soloist with the Phipps Center for the Arts, Skylark Opera, National Lutheran Choir, Oratorio Society of Minnesota, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Macalester College choirs.

Zachary grew up in Crown Point, Indiana and earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He earned his masters and doctorate in performance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His thesis involved research at the Immigration History Archives at the University of Minnesota in Estonian solo music and cultivating archival materials as new sources for concert theater as the Gustav and Hildegard Must Fellow in Estonian-American Studies.

Zachary has taught voice at Eagan High School in Eagan, Minnesota and maintains a studio of private students. He has also enjoyed teaching vocal and operatic literature classes for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, as well as volunteering for the organization in choosing their student scholars. He was honored to be selected to present at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Stockholm, Sweden about his work in concert theater and creating pieces focused on highlighting social justice issues.


10 Questions for Zachary:

1. When did you know you wanted to sing professionally?

When I was a little kid, my parents would take me to Chicago to see the Broadway musicals on tour. My first one was The Phantom of the Opera (don’t laugh) and I became totally obsessed. My poor dad would fall asleep at almost every performance, but I would be on the edge of my seat.

2. If you could commission any composer for Cantus (alive or deceased) who would it be and why?

If I could commission Benjamin Britten, as I am a devotee of his music and legacy. He wrote a whole opera for the Vienna Boy’s Choir, and I can’t imagine what he would do for Cantus!

3. What country would you most like to visit as a member of Cantus and why?

I would love to go back to Estonia with Cantus. I did my doctoral thesis on Estonian music and have since fallen in love with the singing culture and art over there. One of my favorite Estonian composers is Pärt Uusberg and I would love to do a collaboration with him at some point.

4. What do you want people to know about Cantus?

I’d want people to know that Cantus is the only professional men’s chamber ensemble in the country, the key part of that being chamber, aka we are the artistic directors. Everything you hear us doing, we all have had a hand in shaping with blood, sweat, and tears.

5. What is your favorite hobby outside of singing?

In my free time I love to refinish and occasionally reupholster mid-century furniture. I’m self-taught and continue to hone my skill set, but recently I’ve gotten into veneering and revamping old pieces that often are discards in alleyways. So if you’re thinking about throwing out an old credenza or lounge chair from the 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s, give me a buzz!

6. If you could hang out with any celebrity (alive or deceased) who would it be and why? 

I’m really not up on my celebrity gossip… but I’d hang out with W.H. Auden. We’d drink gin martinis and laugh!

7. If you had access to a time machine, when and where would you go?

Although I would love to visit Berlin in the 20’s, I would probably not choose to go backward. I’d probably walk away from the time machine.

8. What is the most played album in your iTunes library?

This is a hard question! I really love Noah and the Whale’s The First Days of Spring. Other contenders would be 4 by Beyonce, Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars, 25 by Adele, and Back to Black by Amy Winehouse.

9. You’re stranded on an island – which three books or movies do you bring for entertainment?

I’d bring The Lord of the Rings series, Thomas Hardy’s collected works, and all the seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

10. Share with us one of your greatest days ever.

This is so hard, and there are many personal ‘best days ever.’ But one of my favorite days was when I drove along from London to Aldeburgh to see the Britten homestead and town that so shaped his music. Although the drive was maybe one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, and I will never forget the experience and brief time I spent in Suffolk.