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So You Think You Can Sing! (Seattle Times article)

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    So you think you can sing? Well, join a chorus Everyone owns one musical instrument, and it travels around with you. It s your voice. It comes free of charge,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2006
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      So you think you can sing? Well, join a chorus

      Everyone owns one musical instrument, and it travels around with you.

      It's your voice.

      It comes free of charge, and you're born knowing how to use it (just
      ask the parents of any newborn). It is so distinctively yours that a
      recording of it can be used as legal evidence, just like your fingerprint.

      No wonder singing is the No. 1 form of arts participation according to
      a 2003 Chorus America survey, which also found that an estimated 28.5
      million Americans regularly performed in one of America's
      approximately 250,000 choruses. Empirical evidence suggests those
      numbers continue to rise.

      Why do people love to sing? According to the veteran choral conductor
      Weston Noble, it's because this is the only art form that unites two
      important avenues of artistic communication: music and words.

      "Choral music is literally life-changing," Noble said in an interview
      last year. "When you add a text to use as a medium for the
      interpretation of music, you go beyond the realm of language and into
      the spirit."

      Here, in the greater Seattle area, the wealth of choruses of all kinds
      points to the fact that "this is a big choral town," according to the
      Seattle Pro Musica's Karen P. Thomas. Thomas, whose highly successful
      chorus recently became one of only seven nationwide to receive an
      American masterpieces grant to host a major choral festival next June
      (plus several outreach concerts and educational events). The festival
      will bring in choirs from around the Northwest, plus such major
      figures as Dale Warland and Morten Lauridsen.

      "It's human nature to communicate verbally," says Thomas, who also
      points to the egalitarian nature of singing: "It embraces everyone."

      And choral singing fulfills a number of other roles. Choruses advance
      social goals, such as the quest for peace and tolerance. Church and
      other religious choirs express and further a religious mission. Ethnic
      choirs are an important avenue of cultural transmission and
      celebration. And all choirs expose their singers to other languages,
      eras and cultures through their choice of music.

      And you're never too old. The esteemed Seattle voice teacher Roberta
      Manion, now living in a retirement community, leads an informal chorus
      whose oldest member is 105: "The love of singing lasts a lifetime,"
      Manion says.

      Some choruses are full of highly skilled professional singers and
      music teachers who must pass rigorous auditions; others accept anyone
      who shows up and wants to sing, and many others fall somewhere in between.

      Below, you'll find an adult-choral compilation that is fairly
      inclusive (the huge array of children's choirs is another subject).
      Many choruses require annual dues. The fall season is a good time to
      join in.

      Bellevue Chamber Chorus, an Eastside chorus of 30-40, is directed by
      Fredrick Lokken; membership requires a 10-minute audition
      (www.bellevuechamberchorus.net, 425-881-0445).

      Cantare Vocal Ensemble, an auditioned 40-member chorus, specializes in
      performing lesser-known choral works along with popular repertoire.
      Artistic director Mark Adrian is seeking sopranos and basses.
      (http://www.nwassociatedarts .org/cantare/, 206-246-6040).

      Cascadian Chorale, founded in 1964 and led by Philip Tschopp, is an
      auditioned Eastside chorus with a chamber subgroup, the Cascadian
      Singers. (206-286-6028, www.cascadianchorale.org).

      Choir of the Sound, a 100-voice chorus founded in 1977 and affiliated
      with Shoreline Community College, is led by Judy Filibeck in
      performances that often feature staging, lighting and choreography.

      Choral Arts, a very select 30-voice professional choral ensemble
      founded by Richard Sparks, is now auditioning top candidates for a new
      artistic director. (www.choral-arts.org).

      Choral Sounds Northwest, an 80-voice chorus in Burien, performs with
      choreography, sets and costumes. Interim director Dave Spring welcomes
      new singers via audition, no experience necessary
      (www.nwassociatedarts.org, 206-246-6040).

      City Cantabile Choir, founded in 1981 by artistic director Fred West,
      is an auditioned chorus that performs music of many cultures and
      styles, from jazz to African and Celtic works

      The Esoterics, the award-winning 36-voice auditioned
      professional-quality chorus devoted to new repertoire, is a "project"
      chorus; not all members sing all 20 annual concerts. Eric Banks is the
      founding director (www.theesoterics.org).

      Issaquah Chorale, founded in 1991, is a 50-member auditioned chorus
      led by Linda Gingrich, has a season that includes annual visits to
      Benaroya Hall; www.issaquahchorale.org.

      Issaquah Singers, now in its 30th year, performs lighter repertoire;
      the 30-50 voice chorus is led by Dorothy Hay, and no auditions are
      required (www.issaquahsingers.com, 425-837-9662).

      Kirkland Choral Society, led by Glenn Gregg, is in its 18th season; 70
      members make it the Eastside's largest chorus. To audition:

      Lake Washington Singers, a 30-voice non-audition, secular women's
      chorus, sings pop/classics and show tunes, with piano, bass and
      percussion. They're looking for altos (425-458-4521,

      Medieval Women's Choir, 60-voice non-auditioned chorus devoted to
      medieval music, is directed by eminent scholar Margriet Tindemans;
      (206-264-4822, www.medievalwomenschoir.org).

      Music Center of the Northwest has several community choruses,
      including the Daylight Singers (for 55+, led by Adam Burdick), Women's
      Chorale (open to all women, led by Erin Walker); there's an annual
      Sing/Play the "Messiah" event, (206-526-8443, www.mcnw.org).

      Northwest Chamber Chorus, led by Mark Kloepper in its 39th season, is
      an auditioned 40-voice mixed ensemble of high quality (206-523-1196;
      nwcc@...; www.northwestchamberchorus.org).

      Northwest Chorale, a 60-voice North Seattle-based chorus with a
      mission — to feed the poor — gives free concerts with donations
      requested for food banks. Informal auditions (www.nwchorale.org).

      Northwest Repertory Singers, an auditioned five-year-old Tacoma
      chorus, is led by director Paul Schultz (ps72638@...;
      www.nwrs.org; 253-572-4831).

      Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle is one of several Norwegian choruses
      in Everett, Tacoma and other sites around the country. The Seattle NMC
      is looking for new members; you don't have to speak Norse. Director:
      Alf Knudsen, alfknudsen@... or WstrVi king@....

      Opus 7, a professional 24-voice choral group founded in 1992 by Loren
      Ponten, focuses on 19th-21st century works and is resident at St.
      James Cathedral (206-782-2899, www.opus7.org).

      Oratorio Northwest, a new auditioned Eastside community chorus led by
      Robert Bigley, performs major sacred works (e.g. "Messiah") with
      orchestra (www.onorthwest.org).

      Phinney Neighborhood Cho-

      rus, a friendly amateur mixed chorus led by Maggie McClellan, sings
      community music from around the world (www.phinneychorus.org).

      Rain City Women's Chorus, a non-auditioned Wedgwood-area 24-year-old
      choir promising "fun and friendship" as well as quality music, is led
      by Jo-Ann Christen (206-282-5471).

      Rainier Chorale, based in Kent with 75 voices, is a community chorus
      with "low-key" auditions (tenors/basses especially needed); Ron Bayer
      directs. (www.rainierchorale.org, 206-835-8888).

      Sacred Music Chorale, a 50-voice auditioned Christian chorus founded
      in 1999, is directed by Brad Klostreich. To audition, call
      206-783-7108 or e-mail jostrow@... (www.sacredmusicchorale.org).

      Seattle Bach Choir, founded in 1984, is a 32-member auditioned chorus
      that focuses on the Baroque but also performs other composers. Gregory
      Vancil is the director; 206-324-4828, www.seattlebachchoir.org.

      Seattle Chamber Singers, a 55-voice auditioned professional-level
      chorus founded by George Shangrow, is affiliated with Orchestra
      Seattle in repertoire ranging from Bach to world premieres. More
      basses are sought, but there are opportunities in all categories
      (206-682-5208, www.osscs.org)

      Seattle Choral Company, led since 1982 by founding director Fred
      Coleman, is a large auditioned chorus of high standard that performs a
      major choral/orchestral repertoire, as well as collaborations with
      Pacific Northwest Ballet (www.seattlechoralcompany.org, 206-365-8765).

      Seattle Labor Chorus, a 50-member group, is dedicated to the labor,
      social justice and peace movements. Contact phone: 206-841-4650.

      Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus is now in its 17th season, with Scott
      Farrell directing the approximately 85 singers in a wide range of
      concert activity that "celebrates and affirms all genders and
      sexualities." Auditions are "brief and low-stress." (www.slgc.org,

      Seattle Men's Chorus, with 273 members, is the largest community
      chorus in North America and the world's largest gay men's chorus.
      Under director Dennis Coleman, the SMC has a national reputation for
      excellence. 206-323-0750, www.flyinghouse.org.

      Seattle Peace Chorus, formed in 1983 to promote peace, is led by Fred
      West and is currently seeking tenors and basses (prosperall@...,

      Seattle Pro Musica, internationally respected for its recordings and
      concerts under the leadership of Karen P. Thomas, is a chorus of about
      60 members of professional caliber (206-781-2766,

      Seattle Symphony Chorale, founded in 1953, is an auditioned chorus of
      high standard affiliated with the Seattle Symphony; the chorale's
      director is George Fiore (206-215-4728,

      Seattle Welsh Choir, also called "Côr Cymraeg," was founded in 1982
      and is a mixed choir (SATB) that sings traditional and contemporary
      music in the Welsh language. (www.scn.org/people/welsh/corcymrg.html).

      Seattle Women's Chorus, the new 150-member sister group of the Seattle
      Men's Chorus, is also led by Dennis Coleman and is rapidly developing
      a reputation for excellence (www.flyinghouse.org/swc).

      Seattle Glee Clubs, an umbrella group with several different choruses
      for non-auditioned singers, offers many opportunities for singers
      (206-260-7393, www.seattlegleeclubs.org, or email

      Seirm (Scottish Gaelic Choir), an award-winning 18-member mixed chorus
      open to all (it's not necessary to speak Gaelic), and directed by
      Seumas Gagne, was founded in 1996 and now performs staged music dramas
      with instrumentalists. (www.slighe.com, 206-297-8398).

      Sno-King Community Chorale, based at Edmonds Community College, is led
      by veteran Frank DiMiero in music from pops to classical, and is open
      to all. (425-778-0573, 2006@..., www.sno-kingchorale.org).

      Svea Male Chorus, a venerable 101-year-old institution formed to
      preserve Swedish music, performs regularly at the Swedish Cultural
      Center and other venues (sveachorus@..., 206-909-8723). You
      don't have to speak Swedish or audition.

      Swedish Women's Chorus, Svea Male Chorus' 55-year-old sister group, is
      led by Florence Mesler; (lutequist@..., 206-283-1090). No
      Swedish or audition necessary.

      Total Experience Gospel Choir, founded by Patrinell Wright in 1973 as
      a gospel music class in Franklin High School, now is an award-winning
      African-American-oriented chorus known worldwide.
      altonharu@..., 206-322-7904, www.totalexperience.org.

      Tudor Choir, a professional ensemble with 12 core members and director
      Doug Fullington, performs mostly Renaissance polyphony but also early
      American and contemporary (www.tudorchoir.org, 206-323-9415).
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