Our Staff



Now in his second season with EWON, director Monte Mason arranged "Le Café" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker as a companion piece to the  arrangements the choir already knew, and forming a more complete suite of pieces from the larger ballet. H conducted choirs since he was a junior at Mounds view High School, Arden Hills, MN. He is also organist at St. Martin's by the Lake, Minnetonka Beach, MN, for 32 years and founding director of The Gregorian Singers, a choral ensemble he has directed for 51 years. Additionally, he is a composer, and teaches piano with The St. Paul Conservatory of Music. Beginning in October of 2023, he will start a middle school / high school choir with the Conservatory, called Noteheads. For eleven years, Mason directed theatrical productions at Orono Middle School. Recordings of his compositions have been made under the Sonus Luxque, RCA, MPR land TGS abels. Recordings directed by Mason include *Advent*, and *By a wondrous mystery*. Some of this music as well as concerts by EWON and The Gregorian Singers may be heard online. When not involved with music, Mason reads field guides, bits on Minnesota archaeology, and writes articles for the Clearwater Lake Area Association, of which he is a board member.


Robert S. Ragoonanan is a graduate of Luther College (B.A. in Music) and Bowling Green State University (M.M. in Orchestral Conducting). Robert has studied conducting with many well-known instructors such as Dr. Emily Freeman Brown, Alexander Polyanichko, Ovidiu Balan, Neil Thompson, Dr. Scott Weiss, and others, and keyboards with Frederick DeHaven, Dr. Laura Melton, Dr. John F. Strauss, and Dr. Jessica Paul. 

He has found success as a conductor across the United States and Europe, conducting orchestras, choirs, new music groups, and wind ensembles. In 2023 he was one of the recipients of the Advocate for Choral Excellence award from the Minnesota American Choral Directors Association, and he received Honorable Mention at the 2022 Orquestra de Camara de Cascais e Oerias Conducting Competition. Recent conducting work includes all or parts of Bach’s Cantata BWV 61, Beckstrand’s Blessed Are the Dead, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Sevier’s setting of Dorsey’s Precious Lord

Robert is also a sought-after collaborative pianist, harpsichordist, and voice coach, collaborating with various solo artists and ensembles. Recent performances include Snider’s The Currents, Jongen’s Aria et Polonaise for Trombone and Piano, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, and Weignein’s Rhapsody for Saxophone and Piano. In addition, he has worked as a church music director and organist throughout the Midwest. Recent organ performances include Sharon Willis’ AscensionSuite, Bach’s O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV 656, Samuel Adler’s The Feast of Weeks, and Naji Hakim’s Sonata for Trumpet and Organ. 

Robert is currently the Minister of Worship and Music at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Minneapolis, MN, and the pianist for the Eagan Women of Note treble choir in Eagan, MN. He also freelances as a conductor, keyboardist, and educator. Learn more at robertsragoonanan.com.