Category Archives: Choral Conducting Cohort

Spring Choral Auditions for 2019-2020

Auditions for current UW ensemble singers wishing to change or add choirs for the 2019-20 school year will take place on Friday, May 10, 2018, 9:30-1:30 in Rm 114 of the School of Music.  You can definitely sing in more than one choir at UW!

You may instead opt to audition in the fall, but you are encouraged to sing for us now if you are ready.  You don’t need to prepare a song, but if you have one you like, bring it.  We will vocalize you and learn a little bit about your voice type.  There is no sight-reading required for the spring auditions.

 Signing up is a two-step process! First, you will complete this audition form, then be sure to follow the link that will appear after you submit the form to select an audition time. We encourage you to sign up as early as possible!  Email Dr. Wyers ( with questions.

UW Conductors and Alumni Present, Chamber Singers Perform at NW-ACDA

On March 7-10, the Northwest Region of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) will be holding their biannual conference, this year in Portland, OR. Several University of Washington students and alumni will be presenting at the conference this year. As a capstone to the week, the UW Chamber Singers, under the direction of Geoffrey Boers, will be performing on Saturday morning.

Detailed information about each of the sessions can be found here. You can find the information about the UW presenters below (this information is also on the NW-ACDA site)

Liberating Singers with Choral Improvisation
Sarah Riskind, presenter

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 • 5:00pm
Musical improvisation can heighten the joy of music-making, increase self-confidence, develop creativity, improve aural skills, reduce performance anxiety, relieve stress, and strengthen community in all ages and abilities. In choral music, improvisation is traditionally linked to specific arenas: scat-singing, Gospel solos, harmonizing folk songs, and aleatoric sections of notated repertoire. However, crossing these boundaries with freer improvisation can liberate singers from the fear of singing wrong notes. Introductory activities in this participatory session will be playful warm-ups and games ideal for school choirs, followed by other improvisations that many types of choirs can do in both rehearsal and performance settings. Inspired by Pauline Oliveros and her philosophy of Deep Listening, singers will become aware of interactions within the group, dense and sparse textures, developing motives, changing tone color, and shaping structure in music with minimal restrictions. In an entirely idiomatic way, innovations in choral music can be linked more closely with current developments in contemporary instrumental improvisation.

(Re)imagining the Changing Voice: Adolescence to Senescence
Geoffrey Boers, Jeffrey Larkin, and Jeremy Morada, presenters

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 • 5:00pm




As our culture ages, more and more singers are remaining active longer in life. Church choirs and community choruses are filled with aging singers, all of whom face challenges with their senescent, or aging, changing voices. As we are seeing an explosion of choirs for older adults, this session will explore a new and developing area of research and importance for ACDA. Attendees will explore and play with teaching techniques and activities which address methods through which aging adults can experience musical growth and satisfaction throughout their lives. Andragogy (pedagogy for adults), sight-singing and musicianship, perception, physical health, memory, and self esteem will be addressed.

Reinvigorating the Chestnuts
Meg Stohlmann, presenter

Friday, March 9, 2018 • 8:00am

The process of discovering new artistry and musicianship through “”tried and true”” repertoire should be a part of our standard choral curriculum. These “”Chestnut”” songs become part of the canon because of the music’s ability to stand the test of time. Instead of just performing these pieces through emulation of past performances, the reexamination and rediscovery of the music between both ensemble and conductor can prove to be a most rewarding endeavor. Through the use of the University of Washington Chamber Singers and the cooperation of Dr. Geoffrey Boers, we will demonstrate that there is always something new to discover or reimagine about repertoire, that we are never done making music, that the performance is never complete. Attention to text stress and poetry, voice and breath flow management, and emotional expression to the music will be demonstrated to enhance the artistry of the ensemble. Focus of the material will be on high school and collegiate choral literature with application to community based ensembles as well.

Dialogue and Participation in the Choral Performance of Sacred Harp Music
Leann Conley-Holcom, presenter

Friday, March 9, 2018 • 9:15am

Mounting interest in folk and world music has led to increased choral performance of Sacred Harp, or shape note, repertoire. Sacred Harp is a communal musical practice that originated in the singing schools of colonial New England and is still active today, with hundreds of singing chapters across the United States and several burgeoning international chapters. Participants do not rehearse or perform, and there is no conductor. Community and collective music-making are the sole purposes of Sacred Harp singing. Lack of awareness in the choral community regarding Sacred Harp and its widespread accessibility for participatory learning has perpetuated a distanced choral approach to this music. This session presents a new perspective for the choral performance of Sacred Harp that moves beyond entertainment, places participatory learning at the foreground, and advocates for greater dialogue between the choral and Sacred Harp communities. Attendees will experience elements of a ritual “singing.”

(Re)imagining Relevance through New Music and Social Consciousness
Jeremiah Selvey, Wendy Moy, Justin Raffa, and Reginald Unterseher, presenters

Thursday, March 8, 2018 • 8:00am
Hilton Pavilion West Ballrooom

The purpose of this panel discussion is to provide thoughtfulness on the importance of new music and social advocacy as we re-conceive the impact of the choral art in our various communities. The panelists will speak from the depth and breadth of their own experiences, as well as broader trends in the field, to provide practical ways to revitalize our choral communities by way of supporting the diversity of our humanity. This panel discussion will explore how we can integrate social consciousness and new music into our choral settings as a means of making the choral art more immediately relevant to our singers, communities, and audiences.

Jeremiah Selvey and Wendy Moy are UW Alumni.






Geoffrey Boers, conductor

Saturday, March 10, 11:30 AM.

The University of Washington Chamber Singers is the UW’s longest-standing choral organization, formed in the early 1930s. The group flourished and gained international recognition under the leadership of its conductors Gerald Kechley, Rodney Eichenberger, and Joan Conlon. The current Chamber Singers consists of graduate and advanced undergraduate music majors studying choral conducting, vocal performance, music education, as well as many students from programs across campus. They have been featured at many festivals, conventions, and workshops, including NWACDA, Musicfest Canada, and at the national conventions of the American Kodaly Educators, National Association of Schools of Music, and American Musicological Society. In relationship with the UW’s nationally recognized Baltic Studies program and Baltic Choral Collection, the Chamber Singers have travelled to the Baltic five times, and will return again in 2019. The choir has just released its first professionally produced CD “…behold again, the stars” on Centaur Records.

Meet the Choral Cohort

Every year, the Choral Music Department relies on the assistance and experience of the Graduate Choral Conducting Cohort. Under the leadership of Dr. Boers and Dr. Wyers, the cohort members direct University Singers, Men’s Glee, Women’s Chorus, and Recital Choir. They also act as Assistant Conductors for Chamber Singers and the University of Washington Chorale.

Click here to read their bios and get to know the current Choral Conducting Cohort.