April was a busy month for the UW Chamber Singers and Opera Workshop, featuring two separate productions of Henry Purcell’s 17th-century opera Dido and Aeneas. Faculty artist Stephen Stubbs led student singers and instrumentalists in a staged version in Meany Hall on April 13th, then brought in professional soloists and members of the Pacific MusicWorks period orchestra for concert performances in Benaroya Hall and Meany Hall on April 29th and 30th.
While Geoffrey Boers and Stephen Stubbs coached both subsets of Chamber Singers in Baroque performance practice for the Dido choruses, U.K. choreographer Anna Mansbridge put a modern spin on the staged version with a wide range of movement styles. Chorus members created human sculptures of trees, writhed like villainous witches, performed elegant country dances, and caroused like sailors, often bringing out the humor in an otherwise tragic tale. Four professional dancers provided another means of storytelling and artistry.
The other half of Chamber Singers sang the choruses in the April 29-30 concert performances with Laura Pudwell and Brendan Tuohy in the title roles. Instead of the Fairy Queen prologue that opened the staged production, they began with Purcell’s Welcome Song for the king. This collaboration between the UW Chamber Singers and Pacific MusicWorks was preceded by other rewarding early music projects, including Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Handel’s Messiah in the 2016-2017 season.
The lighter side of the UW Choral program was in full display during the Holidays as the University Chorale and Chamber Singers enjoyed light-hearted music around Seattle. University Chorale collaborated with the Seattle Symphony Holiday POPS, kicking the holiday season into high gear. And if you can’t tell “Who” these singers are, they are members of the UW Chamber Singers singing at a Christmas party at the Seattle Center—dressed up like Who’s from Whoville, and singing music from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Continue to follow the joyful, energetic and ever-changing profile of UW Chorale and Chamber Singers, as they travel to New York’s Carnegie Hall in April, and perform the athletic and dramatic Verdi Requiem with University of Washington Symphony Orchestra this June!
University of Washington Chamber Singers, Director of Choral Activities Geoffrey Boers, and UW graduate students and alumns in choral conducting performed at an Estonian Independence Day recognition ceremony in Odegaard Library last week. The celebration was a gathering of the Baltic Community, captured by UW TV, coinciding with the opening of a photo art exhibit celebrating the Song Festival UNESCO tradition in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Dr. Boers and Dr. Wyers combined a “tour choir” which combined to travel and perform in the 2014 Latvian Song Festival. University of Washington has the only choral library collection of Baltic music in the US, established in 2005.
Two of University of Washington’s top choirs finished up a busy quarter last week, with performances on campus and across the community. The UW Chamber Singers (prepared by Geoffrey Boers, director), sang four performances of Handel’s Messiah in a collaboration with regional early music ensemble Pacific MusicWorks, under the direction of Stephen Stubbs, who was recently nominated for a Grammy. Their innovative approach was lauded in a recent review of the performance by Phillipa Kiraly at CityArts Online.
UW Chorale sang four Holiday POPS concerts with Seattle Symphony, under the direction of nationally renowed POPS conductor Stuart Chafetz (prepared by Giselle Wyers, director). The chorus had the opportunity to back up Broadway and TV star Capathia Jenkins, as well as collaborating with Tony deSare, composer, singer and pianist.
Stay tuned for more performance information after the new year, and enjoy these photos from the recent events.
The University of Washington Chamber Singers kicked off their year with a dazzling performance of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with Pacific MusicWorks October 24th, under the direction of Grammy-award winning conductor Stephen Stubbs. University of Washington Director of Choral Activities Geoffrey Boers prepared the chorus in a series of intensive rehearsals that began even before the school year started. The performance took place at the historic St. James Cathedral in downtown Seattle. Stay tuned for information about our upcoming on campus choral concerts, including our fall concerts November 20th (University Singers, Women’s Chorus and Men’s Glee) and December 3rd (UW Chorale and Chamber Singers), and Carolfest December 9th, all at 7:30 pm.
Be sure to join UW choirs for their Spring quarter concerts!
Wednesday, May 27, the University of Washington Chorale and Chamber Singers offer works from across the globe, 7:30 pm, Meany Theater. Ticket info here.
Tuesday, June 2, UW Sings, featuring the Women’s Chorus, Men’s Glee and University Singers, present their popular end of the year concert. 7:30 pm, Meany Theater. Ticket info here.
Friday, June 5, Geoffrey Boers conducts the combined choirs and orchestra in a multi-media program of Verdi, Bernstein and Prokofiev. 7:30 pm, Meany Theater. Ticket info here.
The University of Washington Chorale and Chamber Singers just completed a three-performance run of Rodgers and Hammerstein POPS concerts with Seattle Symphony under the direction of Steven Reineke, who also serves as Principal Conductor of the New York POPS. The combined choirs were joined by outstanding soloists Jonathan Estabrooks, Ashley Brown, and Aaron Lazar. Our performance earned us a “Rave” in the Seattle Times and ignited some promising future connections with the Seattle Symphony.
UW Choral Festival of Excellence April 13, 2015
Please consider joining the University of Washington Choral Department and guest clinician Dr. Eric Johnson of Northern Illinois University on April 13, 2015 at the Meany Theater for the Performing Arts at UW. Your students will enjoy a videotaped on-stage clinic with Dr. Johnson, an off-stage clinic with Dr. Geoffrey Boers, Director of Choral Activities at UW, and a special directors luncheon. Visit the UW Choral Festival Page for all the details and registration flyer!
The Chamber Singers and University Chorale present their Winter Quarter concert (click here for tickets). Among other works on the program, the University Chorale, under the direction of Giselle Wyers, performs works by composers from Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain, Chile, Italy, and the United States. The Chamber Singers, under the direction of Geoffrey Boers, preview their upcoming ACDA NW conference appearance with their set entitled “….and we beheld again the stars,” featuring works by Claudio Monteverdi, Ingvar Lidholm, School of Music alumnus Eric Barnum, and the indie group Elbow. And we welcome to our stage Ballard High School Chamber Choir, under the direction of Courtney Pelavin. Don’t miss this exciting event!