On Saturday, April 14, 2018, Kathleen Battle returned to Seattle to present her solo concert “Underground Railroad – A Spiritual Journey” at the Meany Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Battle was courted for years by the University of Washington before this concert was finally brought to fruition. She was accompanied in this performance by jazz pianist Joel A. Martin.
Traditionally, Ms. Battle presents this concert with predominately African-American choirs. This time, however, local gospel choir The Sound of the Northwest combined with the UW Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Geoffrey Boers to present a spiritual journey of music and spoken word.
Kathleen Battle worked intimately with the choirs for three days to finesse the nuances of the performance. The choirs worked on unifying their sounds and spirits as Ms. Battle explained the depths of the texts and stylistic specifications for African-American spirituals.
During the performance, Ms. Battle was able to connect with the audience using spoken text from Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, and music that brought tears to the eye, lumps to the throat, and dedication to remember the past to make sure it’s never duplicated.
Having Kathleen Battle on the UW campus was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students of the Chamber Singers; and experience that taught them not only about their voices, but also about themselves.
For more information about this collaboration:
On Friday and Saturday of this weekend, guest conductor Murry Sidlin will lead the UW Chamber Singers, University Chorale, Symphony Tacoma Voices, members of the Seattle Jewish Chorale, and the UW Symphony Orchestra in a unique version of the Verdi Requiem. The “Defiant Requiem” tells the poignant story of the Jewish prisoners at Terezín during the Holocaust, a concentration camp where many musicians and artists were kept in oppressive living conditions and eventually deported to Auschwitz and other death camps. Imprisoned conductor Rafael Schächter taught the music to over 100 singers entirely by ear from a single piano-vocal score, giving voice to the plea for deliverance that the prisoners were not able to communicate to the outside world.
Mr. Sidlin conducts the Defiant Requiem all over the world in order to honor the memory of the prisoners who persevered through Verdi’s powerful music. The performance includes video footage of Terezín survivors, spoken monologues by actors, snippets of music heard at Terezín, and a discordant piano that brings the audience back to Schächter’s world. Through this lens, the choirs and orchestra can present a work with Catholic text as a universal message about suffering and courage.
Friday, June 2nd, 7:30pm at Meany Theater, University of Washington ($15/$10)
Saturday, June 3rd, 7:30pm at Tacoma Armory ($35/$20)
More information here.
Defiant Requiem Documentary on PBS
We hope to see you at our performances in the next two weeks! Click here for more information about tickets and locations.
University Chorale and Chamber Singers Wedn 5/24 7:30pm Meany Theater
UW Sings (Women’s Chorus, University Singers, and Men’s Glee) Fri 5/26 7:30pm Meany Theater
Defiant Requiem (Verdi Requiem at Terezín) (Chamber Singers, University Chorale, Tacoma Symphony Chorus, Seattle Jewish Chorale, and UW Symphony Orchestra) Fri 6/2 7:30pm Meany Theater; Sat 6/3 7:30pm Tacoma Armory
Thomas Almli’s doctoral recital (Recital Choir and Cohort Ensemble) Mon 6/5 7:30pm University Presbyterian Church
Come enjoy the lighter side of University of Washington Chorale on Sunday, May 7th at 7 pm at the Ethnic Cultural Theater. An “A’Choir-ed Taste” is an annual cabaret concert and fundraiser, and will feature solos, duets, small ensembles, dance numbers and even comedy! Be sure to purchase $3 tickets for the cabaret raffle at the event or from any Chorale member, with over $1000 worth of prizes, including:
-Chipotle Free Item Coupons (5x Free Meal Items, 5x Free Chips & Guacamole)-Two tickets to Seattle Symphony for events forthcoming in 2017 (exact dates noted on the coupon)
-4 MOPOP (Museum of Pop Culture) tickets
– 2 tickets to see 5th Avenue Theater’s Romy and Michelle’s HS Reunion on Thursday June 8 at 8 pm OR any performance from June 9 through 12.
-One month unlimited yoga classes at Core Power Yoga
-$50 Thai 65: Gift Certificate
-$20 MOD Pizza Gift Card
-3 $30 Netflix Gift Cards
-$50 Tom Douglas restaurants gift card
-HBO Swag: Game of Thrones DVD, blanket, bag, swag bag
-Piano Tuning Service by Wilson Charles
-1 Glassybaby and a tour for 10 people of the glassblowing facility from Glass Baby
-1 Hour Voice lesson from Zach Buker
-DBL Bluetooth Speaker
-Pet Basket from Eastside Dog
-$25 Earl’s on the Ave Gift Card
-Two tickets to Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar
-4 $5 Tea Republik Gift Cards
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.
UW Fall Concert
The UW Men’s Glee Club, University Singers and Women’s Chorus will offer a fall choral concert on November 20th, Friday, 7:30 pm in Kane Hall on the UW-Seattle campus. Admission is free. All are welcome; please join us!
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.