by Timothy Westerhaus, R & S Chair, College and University Choirs
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, Leslie 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|
|Ain’t Got Time to Die||Hall Johnson|
|Ave Maria á 8||Tomás Luis de Victoria|
|Requiem, KV 626||Wolfgang Amadé Mozart|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|The Lord Bless and Keep You||Peter C. Lutkin|