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


New York, New York!

UW Chorale took on the big apple last weekend, performing in numerous different venues!

The day we arrived, we enjoyed a group dinner and then headed to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine to tune in on a pickup rehearsal. It was amazing to hear the different groups (The Manhattan School of Music Choirs, the Oratorio Society of NY, the Cathedral of St. John’s Choir, Professional soloists, and the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kent Tritle) perform Britten’s War Requiem.

On Friday, we performed in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine with UW’s Chamber Singers. The venue was fun to sing in, with such a beautiful setting and wonderful acoustics. We performed a few pieces that we would go on to sing in Carnegie the next day. We were also fortunate enough to learn a little bit of the backstory of the Cathedral.


The next day, we had the opportunity to perform in Carnegie Hall! Chorale took part in the first half of the show, right before the Washington and Lee University Singers, conducted by Shane Lynch. We were also able to sit in the audience of UW’s Chamber Singers, directed by Geoffrey Boers, and the University of Louisville Cardinal Singers, by Kent Hatteburg. Being able to sing on stage at such an iconic venue was an amazing experience.

Sunday we sang alongside the choir at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle. We sang during the Mass, and also performed a 30 minute concert following the service for any parishioners that chose to stay and listen. This was a great cultural experience for the members of the choir to take part in the service.


Monday was our last day in New York, where we spent the day over at Hofstra University and participated in an exchange with the University Chorale, conducted by Dr. David Fryling. We got to listen to their repertoire and perform some of our own music, along with UW Chamber Singers, and had time to mingle with the Hofstra Chorale.


Performing in New York at all these different venues was an experience Chorale members will never forget! Special thank you to the Chorale and Chamber Singers directors, Giselle Wyers and Geoffrey Boers, and Sechrist Travel for accompanying us on this journey!

Till next time,

UW Chorale.

Exciting NAfME performance!

This year, UW Chorale performed at the NAfME conference at the Hyatt in Bellevue. We were very excited to share our fall literature with the many music educators that attended the conference on the 17th! We received many amazing reviews, all thanks to the hard work of the choir and our wonderful director, Dr. Giselle Wyers! We look forward to the next conference and the opportunity to share our love of music with those who also share that same admiration.

As the preparation for NAfME comes to a close, our next big performance is coming right around the corner. UW Chorale is working hard to perfect our literature to perform in Carnegie Hall this April. The time when we take flight to New York is approaching fast as we perfect our repertoire, and we are ecstatic to perform.

Till next time,

UW Chorale 🙂

Ending Fall Quarter!

15439884_10154809281897692_9044756591166714253_nThe end of Fall quarter held a lot of events for UW’s Chorale. Holding our first concert, we performed all the music we learned throughout the ten-week period. The concert went on without a hitch, as our show did a wonderful job of demonstrating our hard work. It was a duel concert with the University’s Chamber Singers, so we also had the opportunity to stay past intermission and watch their performance of what they worked on. It was a wonderful experience, and we are grateful to all who were able to come and show us their support!

We also had the opportunity to sing alongside the amaz15393000_10154875826304434_4467375993066888413_oing Seattle Symphony for an extravagant Christmas production. Singing beside the symphony was a great experience, as we were able to perform with two Broadway stars, Hugh Panaro and Nicole Parker, as well as the Halau Hula O Napualani dance group. Conducted by Stuart Chavez, we were able to perform four shows without problems! It was a wonderful experience full of holiday cheer and we were delighted to be invited to help convey the spirit of the holidays through song with the Seattle Symphony.

We look forward to an exciting Winter quarter to kick off the new year!


Till next time,

UW Chorale

Kickoff to the New Year!

20161008_141510-3Hello Chorale followers! This year, UW’s Chorale had our annual “beginning of the year” retreat early this October! It was a great way for new members to meet other members of the choir. We had ice breakers, playing games like “Never Have I Ever” and other introductory games. We also rehearsed our new music, which gave us a head start on our performance pieces and gave members an introduction to the types of music we will be singing this year.

We also introduced the new year’s cabinet members at the 20161008_141650-2retreat, introducing some new members in addition to the returning members! This years cabinet includes Bradyn Rookard, Evan Shelton, Lillian Karout, Magnolia Pattison, Marcy Landes, Miriam Nunley, Natale Modlin, Nick Reynolds, Sam Fredman, Stephanie Hobart, and Zachary Buker. With such a strong group of passionate Chorale members, this year’s choir is due to be a success!

14642391_10154545789192481_5550888042142379344_nThe Chorale also started this year with an exciting performance with the Cascade Children’s Chorus at the TOGETHER UW event on October 21st! The event went flawlessly and it was a perfect experience for first year Chorale members to get in the game. It was a great way to kick off the new year and get members excited about upcoming events.

Miss Singing? Get Ready for More Exciting Sing & Fun Events

Hi to you all, our dearest Chorale fans and families, I hope you’re all enjoying the summer. I’m sure all of you are having a great time but it’s never perfect without the lovely Chorale’s beautiful voices. I’ve come here to bring you good news!

This year will be very exciting and busy. Not only do we have our traditional Fall Choral Concert with the Chamber Singers, as well as the CarolFest, we have also been invited to sing with the Holiday POPS that will most likely happen around November, December. We have been planning and fundraising for the past few years, and our trip to New York will finally happen next year (2017) in April (so~ exciting!!). These kinds of trips don’t happen every year (unfortunately I did not get a chance to travel overnight with Chorale during my years at UW 😥 ), so definitely try to get this opportunity while you can (and the deal is incredible, I promise!!). These are just some of the major events. There will be many more interesting and challenging projects going on throughout the year.

So, as for now, if you’ve been UW Choraleattending our concerts or hearing about us (or know someone who’s coming to UW), you should definitely (and tell your friend to) give it a go and come to the auditions that will happen on September 26th and 27th. Now is a good time to start thinking about a song to sing for us on the audition. For more information, click here.

Have a great rest of the summer & Gook luck!