Author Archives: University of Washington Chorale

About University of Washington Chorale

The UW Chorale is a premiere undergraduate choral ensemble at UW and is known for its highly expressive performances and technical abilities. Entrance is competitive, and is based upon the following factors: strong vocal technique, strong sight-singing skills, expressive depth, a solid work ethic, and the willingness to work communally with others to reach the highest possible standards. UW Chorale plays an active role in promoting the UW music department through frequent performances and community appearances, as well as a yearly tour and/or CD recording.

A Year In Review!

Hello everyone! We hope you’ve been enjoying winter break – in case you’ve missed out on what Chorale has been up to this month, here’s a quick recap for you!

On December 4, we had our annual CarolFest performance with a number of other UW choirs. For the final piece, all the choirs joined together for a rousing performance of Betelehemu, a traditional Nigerian carol. It was a pleasure to see the performances of all the other ensembles and we hope that we were able to spread some holiday cheer to those of you who attended!

From December 6-8, we performed with the Seattle Symphony for the annual Holiday Pops series! This year’s guest vocalist was Broadway star Scarlett Strallen, delivering amazing renditions of classic holiday tunes. We also had a thrilling time with this year’s maestro, Jacomo Bairos, and enjoyed an impressive routine courtesy of the Northwest Tap Connection. All in all, the weekend was an incredibly special experience and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of these performances! Thank you to everyone who made this year’s Pops possible!

Photo: Chorale rehearsing with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (photo courtesy of the SSO)

It’s been quite the year for Chorale, what with us performing all over Seattle, embarking on a grand tour abroad in the Baltic region, and making friends and memories in the comfort of our beloved music building! Even so, we still have more in store for you next quarter and we look forward to what’s to come with great anticipation!

Here’s to a great new year – peace out! 

Autumn Achievements!

Hey everyone! As we get into the last couple weeks of the quarter, here’s some updates on what Chorale has been up to!

On November 17, we had our first fundraiser of the year at MOD Pizza. We had a great turnout and it sounds like people had a great time enjoying pizza with friends! Special thanks to our vice-president Ally for coordinating this event with MOD, and thank you to everyone who stopped by to support!

On November 21, we had our joint fall quarter concert with Chamber Singers. The theme for our repertoire was “Songs from a Frozen Sky”, featuring folk music from England, Ireland, Finland, Germany, and Iceland. From the toe-tapping liveliness of “The Dance” to the enthralling intricacies of “Pakkanen”, our set was full of wonderful musical experiences. Thank you to everyone who attended and all the people who made this concert possible!

Photo: Promotional image for the UW Chorale and Chamber Singers fall concert.

Up next, we have our annual Carolfest concert with the other UW choirs and four performances for the Seattle Holiday Pops! For more information and ticket purchases, be sure to check out our events calendar!

With December just around the corner, we’re all very excited for our final performances of the quarter! Until next month, peace out! ✌

Back At It Again!

Hello everyone!

In a surprising twist of events, I will be returning to the position of Historian for the 2019-2020 academic year! I’m excited for another year of new photos, new posts, and new people – so without any further ado, let’s just jump into it!

On October 12, we had our annual fall retreat at University Presbyterian Church. This was a great opportunity for us to mingle with new and old members, get a head start on our repertoire, and just have fun together!

We also held elections for our cabinet! After many exciting rounds of speeches and voting, we were able to finalize our roster of Chorale officers for the upcoming school year. Congratulations to our 2019-2020 cabinet!

  • President: Jenna Bellavia
  • Vice President: Ally Witeck
  • Head Section Leader: Sylvia Jones
  • Secretary: Sam Fredman
  • Treasurer: Alexa Schieche
  • Publicity Chair: Emily Vaughan
  • Historian: Steven Santos
  • Social Chairs: Aidan O’Hara & Taylor Bastian
  • Concert Chairs: Michael Mulholland & Natalie Williams

 

From left to right: Sylvia, Ally, Jenna, Sam, Taylor, Natalie (front row); Steven, Michael, Aidan, Emily, Ethan, Alexa (back row)

To keep up with all of our events and performances, make sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages! You can also find extra links and info on our events calendar! We’re all excited for the year ahead, and hope to see you at our events in the days ahead!

Peace out! ✌

The Return of Meet Chorale!

Hello everyone! This quarter, we’re bringing back the highly popular Meet Chorale series! Meet Chorale spotlights different members of the ensemble and helps us get to know each other better. It’s a great way to learn about new and old Chorale members!

These posts will be on Facebook and Instagram every week, so make sure to connect with us on these platforms!

With the beginning of May on the horizon, make sure to stay tuned for more news about upcoming performances and events! Our next big event is our annual Cabaret night – click the link below for more details!

https://www.facebook.com/events/405444753576848/

Until next time, peace out!✌

It Might as Well Be Spring!

Although winter quarter was a bit hectic with snow days, extra rehearsals, and usual Chorale business, we’ve had some amazing accomplishments over the past few months!

Our concert for Pēteris Vasks on February 6 was a tremendous success! All three choirs (UW Chorale, UW Chamber Singers, and the Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West) performed beautifully, and even joined forces for the final piece – “Pūt, vējiņi”, a renowned Latvian anthem. Even though our three groups had never performed together before, we sang with a sense of solidarity that produced a deeply moving and unifying experience. We are incredibly grateful to Pēteris Vasks for attending and everyone who helped make this concert possible!

On March 13, UW Chorale and Chamber Singers united once more for our joint winter quarter concert. Chorale performed a couple of pieces conducted by our terrific TAs, Luke Duroc-Danner and Joslyn Thomas, as well as “To A Friend” – composed by Dr. Wyers herself! From the intricate dissonance of “Cantate Domino” to the soul-stirring emotion of “Ya Eres Mía”, it was a truly memorable experience for all. Both groups sounded wonderful, and we are again immensely thankful to everyone who attended or supported this concert!

Photo: Promotional image for UW Chorale and Chamber Singers concert.

With spring quarter right around the quarter, be sure to stay tuned for news about Cabaret, the upcoming Britten War Requiem concert, and the return of the Meet Chorale series!

Peace out, friends! ✌

Just Around the Corner!

With November behind us, let’s take a look back on all that happened this month and take a peek at what’s to come!

On November 18, select Chorale members performed at the Gerald Kechley Tribute Concert. Gerald Kechley served as a professor of composition at UW for nearly 35 years, and this concert was held to celebrate the creation of the Joan Catoni Conlon Endowed Fellowship in Choral Studies to Honor Gerald Kechley and Miriam Terry. This gift was bestowed by Joan Catoni Conlon (a former choral music professor as well as a former student of both Kechley and Terry) and her husband Frank Conlon (a retired UW history professor).

From left to right: Frank Conlon, Gerald Kechley, Joan Catoni Conlon

The literature of the concert was composed entirely of instrumental and vocal works by Gerald Kechley. Chorale sophomore Maddie Ile performed I Sing of a Maiden, and the select Chorale ensemble performed Carol of the Birds. Both pieces featured accompaniment by Anthea Kechley, Gerald Kechley’s granddaughter. Well done to all those involved!

On November 29, we had our joint fall concert, Songs of the Americas, with UW Chamber Singers. In keeping with the theme, Chorale’s literature included pieces from Mexico, Canada, the United States, and Peru.

We were hard at work today rehearsing Estrellita del Sur for Chamber Singers and University Chorale: Songs of the Americas on Thursday! It's at 7:30 at the Gerlich theater (formerly known as Meany), come join us and hear it live! 😊

Posted by University of Washington Chorale on Monday, November 26, 2018

Video: A snippet of Chorale rehearsing one of the featured pieces, Estrellita del Sur.

The concert was a massive success and both groups sounded amazing! Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and support us!

Looking ahead, we will be performing at CarolFest on December 5 and Holiday Pops December 7 through December 9! Check out our events page for more information and ticket links!

Until next month, peace out! ✌

Fresh Starts and Fall Retreat!

Hey there, everyone! Welcome back to the UW Chorale blog!

There are already a lot of exciting things happening, so let’s just jump into it!

On October 13, we had our annual fall retreat at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The goal of the fall retreat is to grow closer as a group and reflect upon what we aim to accomplish through our music. We also get to know each other through different icebreakers and activities!

This retreat’s activities were led by our vice president Jenna, who did an amazing job with planning a variety of exercises for us to take part in. This included an exciting game of “zip zap zop” and a more introspective exercise in which we identified our core values and shared our thoughts with the other members of our section. Team bonding is always a lot of fun for everyone!

Along the way, we also had the opportunity to explore our repertoire for this quarter. Dr. Wyers has selected pieces from across the Americas for us to perform, and we were fortunate enough to rehearse them in the excellent acoustic space that St. Stephen offers. Even now, it’s easy to tell that in the near future they will sound absolutely beautiful.

We held elections for our cabinet during our retreat as well. All those elected have proven that they have the passion and dedication entailed by their positions. Congratulations to our 2018-2019 cabinet!

  • President: Aidan O’Hara
  • Vice President: Jenna Bellavia
  • Head Section Leader: Tiema Qian
  • Secretary: Natalie Modlin
  • Treasurer: Jason Bryce
  • Publicity Chair: Maddie Ile
  • Historian: Steven Santos
  • Social Chairs: Kaylee Pigott & Alex Nguyen
  • Concert Chairs: Gargi Sivaram & Eyad Alsilimy

(From left to right: Alex, Steven, Tiema, Aidan, Eyad, Jason, Jenna, Kaylee, Natalie, Gargi, Maddie)

From all of us here in Chorale, we’re incredibly excited for this year’s events and performances! To keep up with everything we have going on, feel free to check out our social media links on the sidebar! You can also check out our events calendar page to see our performance schedule for this quarter!

The quarter is just getting started – the best is yet to come!

Peace out! ✌

Making Music – and Friends – from Around the World

Our March Concert Poster

What’s one of the best parts about going to a large, internationally-recognized university? Making connections with people from all over the world!

This Winter Quarter, University Chorale explored music from the Baltic Region, singing pieces from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. In part, this was a great way to prepare for and look forward to the Chorale trip to Estonia in summer 2019. Also, we had the great distinction of welcoming ambassadors from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania at our March 2nd concert, and we performed an all-Baltic set to honor these countries.

To give us a little context on what role music plays in the Baltic nations, we held a showing of “The Singing Revolution”, a documentary on Estonia and their story of peaceful protest under Soviet occupation. It was incredibly moving to watch this powerful film and understand just how much music means to the people of Estonia. Music can be one of the best ways we can connect as human beings, and seeing how these people used music to unite and hold onto their national identity under oppression was truly inspiring.

“The Singing Revolution”

Our a-cappella music set included a variety of folk songs in languages that were both exciting and challenging to sing. We were very grateful to have some diction help from the UW Baltic Studies department to tackle the traditional delivery and nuance these languages required. It was great to hear that not only did we get our diction correct – thankfully! – but we did these songs justice when we performed them at our March concert.

The Sopranos and Altos were featured on “Dindaru Dandaru”, a quick-paced Latvian folk song that included six-part harmonies and rapid-fire lyrics. The Tenors and Basses had their chance to shine on “Teomehe-laul” (“Serf’s Song”), an Estonian piece with a rich melody that moved between voice parts and really showed off their strong voices.

In the Lithuanian piece “Anoj Pusej Dunojelio”, the Tenors and Basses learned how to produce otherworldly overtones, creating the perfect foundation for Sylvia Jones’s solo. She sang with a beautiful, crystal-clear quality to that was just right for this piece.

One of our assistant conductors, Anna Frisch, conducted the Latvian song “Līgo!”, which had us swaying to the breeze of the music, led by two trios covering the solo lines.

Perhaps the most moving piece of the night was “Pūt Vējiņi”, a traditional Latvian folksong that has become a symbol of hope and identity for the Latvian people. In addition to singing the Latvian verses, we included verses in Estonian and Lithuanian, and we ended the piece with the final Latvian verse entirely memorized. Our audience members, including our friends at the Baltic Studies department, said this was a truly touching moment.

This concert was particularly special since we had the opportunity to engage with vocalists from around the world. A few days before our concert, we invited Evans Obanda Mbinji, a choral conductor from Kenya, to our rehearsal. He shared some traditional Kenyan music with us, and we even opened our March concert with “Jambo!”, a song of greeting and welcome. Also at our concert was the Putni Women’s Ensemble, an internationally-recognized group from Latvia. They came to our rehearsal after the concert, treated us to a sample of their repertoire, and shared some kind thoughts about our concert.

Attending a large university can have its challenges, but it is so exciting to see the international connections we can make at a school like UW. This past quarter has reminded us of the real power in music to unite people from all walks of life and serve as a symbol of hope.

We’ve got an exciting Spring Quarter coming up, as we’ll be diving into the Brahms Requiem among some other great repertoire. Plus, the annual Chorale Cabaret is just around the corner! Stay tuned for more updates on all things Chorale.

Until next time!

 

Fall Quarter Updates!

Hello again friends,

We are now in our final week of the quarter, and we have been rockin’ and rollin’.

 

During the first few weeks of learning our fall repertoire, we had a special guest appearance–Ivar Cinkuss, director of the 2013 Latvian International Festival of Song and Dance, came and directed our choir for a few minutes.

What an incredible special guest we had in class on Wednesday! Although more accustomed to conducting a choir of 16,000, Ivars Cinkuss, Director of the 2013 Latvian International Festival of Song and Dance, conducted our Chorale of 60 through some of our repertoire for our Fall Concert! Here's a taste of one of our favorites this quarter, Mille Regrets.

Posted by University of Washington Chorale on Friday, November 3, 2017

 

After directing a couple of our pieces, Ivar gave some great, specific, and memorable advice which helped our final performance on November 30th (which we killed).

 

Our fall performance included pieces in several languages including German, French, and Mongolian. Although many of us were happy to take on the French and German, we were reluctant on singing the Mongolian–it seemed like a daunting task! And yet, after hours of listening to a recording and speaking out the words together, we were able to spit out the foreign words like no other.

 

We are now working on our Holiday Pops music, which include popular pieces such as “I Saw Three Ships,” “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Sleigh Ride.” Our performances are this weekend, December 8th through the 10th. We have had so much fun rehearsing, and are excited for this holiday spirit-filled weekend so please come and support us!

Until next time!

 

New Year, New Friends, New Music, Same Chorale Spirit

Hello fellow Chorale friends, members, family, and fans! Whether it be your first time hearing about Chorale or not, we welcome each and every one of you.

We officially kicked off the new year with our annual fall retreat at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church this past Saturday. For those of you who are unfamiliar to what a retreat is, it is typically a day for new and returning choir members to get to know each other in a setting outside of the classroom. Our VP, Byron, did a terrific job in directing the ice-breakers; in fact, our president, Evan, was having so much fun that he nearly caused a scene by running into another member while playing “never have I ever!”

In addition to getting to know each other and playing ridiculous games, we were able to take a peek at our repertoire for the upcoming quarter. As usual, Dr. Wyers did a fantastic job of choosing a diverse selection of pieces ranging from traditional Western classical pieces, to a Mongolian piece that will have audiences in complete awe.

And finally, towards the end of retreat, we had our annual election for our cabinet.

(And yes, we are indeed dabbing)

Our cabinet members are as follows:

  • President: Evan Shelton
  • Vice President: Byron Walker
  • Head Section Leader: Anya Hsu
  • Secretary: Sam Fredman
  • Treasurer: Cannon Roe
  • Publicity Chair: Marcy Landes
  • Historian: Lina Bishop
  • Social Chairs: Natalie Modlin & Ally Arnold
  • Concert Chairs: Gargi Sivaram & Maddie Ile

We are more than excited to serve Chorale for the next year or so, and can’t wait to see where this quarter takes us!

Until next time <3