Founders

Susan Rahl,

Founder

Susan Emmett Rahl, founded Piedmont Choirs in 1982 as a boys choir when her son Emmett was a chorister and she felt there was a need for a children’s choir in the East Bay.  Emmett had been singing under Bob Geary at the San Francisco Boys Chorus; after both Emmett and Bob had resigned, Suzie enlisted Bob to conduct a local boys choir.  It grew from the original 22 boys to the large multi-faceted co-ed organization it is today.  Suzie led the organization first as Board President, then as Executive Director before her retirement in 1999.  She has continued her involvement in planning and leading the Ensemble touring program. 
 
Suzie graduated from Stanford University and then received a master’s degree at Tufts University.  After working as a teaching assistant at both the Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, she had her own management consulting business until her children arrived. Her three children, Emmett Rahl, Dr. Riva Rahl Graeme, and Marisa Rahl were all founding members of the choirs. She resided in Piedmont for 35 years and now lives in Dallas, Texas and in Oakland with her husband Dick, a former U. S. jet fighter pilot and a retired attorney.
 
Suzie’s great joy over the years has been to see the choir grow in stature to become world renown.  But the best part has been to see the growth in the young people who have spent their formative years with the choir. Nothing brings her more pleasure than to see them blossom as young adults, many even coming back to the Choirs as camp staff, conductors, voice teachers, office assistants, and board members.
 

Robert Geary,

Founding Artistic Director

For 33 years as founding Artistic Director, Robert Geary has put the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir in the musical vanguard through his determined advocacy of new music. Commissions, premieres, recordings of innovative and demanding new works by today’s leading composers and collaborations with domestic and international arts organizations have led to national and international renown.

Under his direction, in addition to winning many international competition prizes, PEBCC has the distinction of being the only children's choir from the U.S. to ever win a first prize at the Choral Olympics or World Choir Games. Geary and PEBCC have performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Russia, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Croatia, Serbia, and most recently, Spain.  

Geary also founded the professional new music vocal ensemble Volti in 1979 and he has been the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Choral Society for the past 21 years.  His choirs have performed at the Oregon Bach Festival, the Newport Music Festival, with Oakland Ballet, San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, San Francisco Opera, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Oakland East Bay Symphony; and for the national conferences of Chorus America, the American Choral Directors Association, the College Music Society, and the Organization of American Kodály Educators.