WA Intercollegiate Choral Festival: Rave Reviews and Repertoire

by Timothy Westerhaus, R & S Chair, College and University Choirs

singers

Five universities from across Washington State gathered in Ellensburg for the annual Washington Intercollegiate Choral Festival on April 7, 2014. Over 250 collegiate singers from Central Washington University, Gonzaga University, Walla Walla University, Western Washington University, and Whitworth University participated, conducted by Gary Weidenaar, Timothy Westerhaus, Kraig Scott, Lconductorseslie Guelker-Cone, and Marc Hafso, respectively. They performed at CWU’s McIntyre Music Education building, hosted by Gary Weidenaar.

The resounding reaction—from both singers and conductors—affirmed the high quality and diversity of collegiate choirs in Washington. Choral singing is vibrantly thriving across the state! While collegiate conductors regularly have the opportunity to hear a variety choirs at conferences, festivals, and clinics, our students experience this opportunity less frequently. Hearing different choral styles, timbres, and repertoire and also observing different conductors is of great value to our student singers, conductors, and educators. Witnessing distinct approaches in the setting spurred creativity and sparked all our imaginations!

The Intercollegiate Choral Festival cultivated a positive and truly collegial setting among students, and this collegial modeling is crucial: our students will go forth into the broad choral community and will depend on one another as colleague educators, performers, and arts advocates. This festival models and encourages collegiality from the start, with each student sitting next to a singer from a different university. Combined singing bookended the evening, beginning with a warm-up and concluding with a massed-choir performance of Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” In this enthusiastic setting, choirs affirmed each other for their unique strengths, and the joint performance built bridges among the universities by focusing on collaboration over competition.

Conductors and students raved about the festival: “such fabulous inspiration to me and my students” (Scott); “my students are all still abuzz! . . . I think it’s one of the most important things we do all year” (Cone); “What wonderful singing! What a wide palette of choral offerings! What a supportive group the five choirs were to each other! And what a great opportunity for all of our students (and their directors!) to appreciate each others’ work!” (Weidenaar) As College and University Repertoire & Standards chair, I am impressed by the high level of choral singing across the state. While we have the opportunity to hear the “Best of the Northwest” at the regional ACDA conference, this festival uniquely showcased the depth of quality choral singing at Washington universities.

The 2015 location and date will be selected soon. If you are a collegiate conductor and are interested in participating in the 2015 Intercollegiate Festival, please contact the R & S chair.

2014 WA Intercollegiate Choral Festival Repertoire

Walla Walla University
Prayer Before Singing Don Hustad
If Ye Love Me Thomas Tallis
Jubilate Deo Benjamin Britten
Think of How God Loves You James MacMillan
Blessing Paul Mealor
Ain’t Got Time to Die Hall Johnson
Gonzaga University
Ave Maria á 8 Tomás Luis de Victoria
Requiem, KV 626 Wolfgang Amadé Mozart
Kyrie
Lacrimosa
Three Scottish Folksongs arr. Mack Wilberg
My Love’s in Germany
O Whistle and I’ll Come to Ye
Calling My Children Home arr. Joseph Jennings
Whitworth University
Singers to Come Allan Bevan
Neue Liebeslieder Waltzer Johannes Brahms
1. Verzicht’, o Herz, auf Rettung
2. Finstere Schatten der Nacht
8. Weiche Gräser im Revier
Balm in Gilead arr. Jackson Berkey
Alleluia (Songs of Faith) Paul Basler
Central Washington University
Liebeslieder Waltzer Johannes Brahms
8. Wenn so lind dein Auge mir
13. Vögelein durchrauscht die Luft
14. Sieh, wie ist die Welle klar
15. Nachtigall, sie singt so schön
16. Ein dunkeler Schacht ist Liebe
Fear Not Daniel Schreiner (CWU ’14)
Ezekiel Saw De Wheel William L. Dawson
Western Washington University
Wassail Stephen Chatman
The Virgin Derek Healey
Carmina burana, nos. 9, 10 Carl Orff
Sing Sing arr. Alice Parker
I’m Gonna Sing ’til the Spirit Moves in my Heart Moses Hogan
Combined Choruses
The Lord Bless and Keep You Peter C. Lutkin

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