Author Archives: Steven Santos

Endings and Beginnings!

With the upcoming fall quarter starting next month, it’s time for one last post to wrap up the 2019-2020 school year!

On June 7, Chorale joined forces with members of Chamber Singers, Seattle Modern Orchestra, and Seattle Girls’ Choir (as well as three guest soloists) to perform Britten’s War Requiem. It was a magnificent night full of soul-stirring moments and raw emotion, and it was incredible to see how all the parts came together in the end! Thank you to everyone who came to watch or supported the performance in other ways – it was truly a night to remember!

From June 27 to July 7, members from Chamber Singers and Chorale (as well as a few special guests) embarked on the long-awaited Baltic tour. Throughout the tour, the joint choir traveled throughout Latvia and Estonia, performing at different venues and taking some time for well-earned sightseeing and mingling with friends! Our tour ended with a bang as we joined thousands of singers in the Estonian Song Festival, an event held every five years at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. It was an unforgettable experience, full of palpable joy and indubitable pride in the Estonian spirit. Seeing the love and enjoyment on the faces of the audience and choirs made our many months of preparation and rehearsal worth it! Many thanks to everyone who made this experience possible – it was an absolute pleasure, and gave us all lifelong memories to cherish.

Photo: A view of the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds as seen from the audience.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year, registration for UW choir auditions is now open! If you want to join Chorale, Chamber Singers, or Recital Choir next year, make sure you sign up! More information can be found at this link. Best wishes to everyone who participates!

Finally, I would like to say from the bottom of my heart that it has been my pleasure to serve as the UW Chorale Historian this year. Documenting the events, performances, and people that make up the overall Chorale experience has been eye-opening and nothing short of amazing. I look forward to training my successor soon and seeing what they do with this position!

Now that everything’s said and done, I’ll catch you on the flipside! This is Steven Santos, signing off – peace out! ✌

Gotta Be May!

We’re almost at the end of the quarter, but the fun isn’t over yet! Before we take a look at what’s to come, let’s revisit some highlights from the past few weeks!

On April 30, we held our annual cabaret night – this year, our theme was “Lights, Camera, Chorale!”. Alongside performances from our very own Chorale members, we also had guest appearances from the UW Vocal Jazz group and the Hounds of Music. We had a great time putting a show together for everyone, thanks for all the support!

Photo: Cabaret logo, designed by Vice-President Jenna Bellavia.

On May 29, we had our joint spring concert with Chamber Singers. Chorale’s portion of the concert also featured performances from Anacrusis (our non-music major satellite choir) and the Chorale members in our Baltic tour choir (more on that later!). Thank you to everyone who helped organize this concert, and best wishes to the graduating seniors in both choirs!

Our last concert of the year will feature Chorale joining forces with Chamber Singers and the UW Symphony Orchestra performing Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. All of us have been working hard to learn this challenging literature, and we would love to have you attend! More information is provided in this link.

In the meantime, our Meet Chorale series will be running until the end of the quarter, so make sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram if you want to keep up with all the posts!

The Estonian song festival is around the corner, so make sure to check back here for a review of our Baltic tour! But for now, peace out! ✌

The Life and Music of Pēteris Vasks

In the previous post, it was mentioned that Chorale would be performing a piece by Pēteris Vasks at an upcoming concert. You may be wondering, who is Pēteris Vasks and what kind of music does he compose?

Photo: Composer Pēteris Vasks

Pēteris Vasks was born in Aizpute, Latvia on April 16, 1946. While taking his first piano and violin lessons at the local music school, he began to write his first compositions as well. He went on to study double bass at the Emīls Dārziņš Music School in Riga, and later at the Lithuanian Academy of Music. These skills allowed him to play double bass for both the Lithuanian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Vasks also studied composition at the Latvian State Conservatory under Valentinus Utkins between 1973 and 1978. Since then, he has published a multitude of orchestral, chamber, and choral pieces. A common theme throughout many of his pieces is the affirmation of Latvian history and Latvian spirit. In particular, his pieces from the 1980s-1990s reflect the harshness of the Soviet era and the tribulations faced by many Latvians. His symphony “Voices”, for example, chronicles Latvia’s struggle for independence and the hardships encountered in the process. His later works are primarily centered around universal themes – these include joy and despair, the beauty of nature, and hope for the future.

Video: A brief look at the role music plays in the life of Pēteris Vasks.

On February 6, Chorale will join Chamber Singers and the Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West to perform the works of Pēteris Vasks and other Baltic composers. We will be singing Vasks’ “The Fruit of Silence”, a remarkably pristine piece based on the words of Mother Teresa. The concert is February 6 at 7 PM and will be held at University Presbyterian Church. We hope to see you there!

For more information about Pēteris Vasks, check out these pages!

Peace out for now! ✌

January Joviality!

Hello, everyone! With winter quarter in full swing, we’re hard at work learning new music and preparing for our upcoming performances!

On January 12, we participated in a choir retreat with Chamber Singers. Under the incredible leadership of Dr. Boers, we spent time learning the Britten War Requiem, which we will be performing with Chamber Singers in June. Afterward, we spent some time doing group bonding activities and discussing our plans and goals for this quarter. The retreat was a huge success and we’re all more excited than ever to showcase what we have in store!

When we get the chance to play singing games and totally goof around…we take it 😉

Posted by University of Washington Chorale on Monday, January 14, 2019

Video: Chorale participating in the fan-favorite “riff-off” activity.

As we continue preparing the Britten War Requiem, we’re also learning an excitingly diverse set of music! This includes a Brahms quartette, a couple of Baltic pieces from last year, and even a piece by our very own Dr. Wyers!

In addition to our winter quarter concert on March 13, we have an upcoming performance on February 6. We will be singing “The Fruit of Silence” by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks, who will also be in attendance (more on that soon!). Until then, keep checking in here or on our social media accounts for the latest updates!

Peace out, everyone! ✌

End-of-year Wrap-up!

December was quite the busy month for the UW Chorale!

On December 5, we performed at CarolFest with a number of other UW choral ensembles. All of the groups sounded wonderful and it was fantastic to hear such a wide variety of repertoire. Thank you to everyone who was able to come to see us!

From December 7 to December 9, we performed at four Holiday Pops concerts at Benaroya Hall! Alongside the Seattle Symphony, as well as the amazingly talented soloists Tony DeSare and Capathia Jenkins, we spread holiday cheer through a number of festive pieces. Holiday Pops concerts are always incredibly fun, and this year was no exception! We’re immensely grateful for the opportunity to perform in this event and special thanks to everyone who was able to make it happen!

It’s been an exciting year of good music, good friends, and good memories! Here’s to 2019!

Until next year, peace out! ✌