Spiritus Award

The Spiritus Award was created in 2012 to honor an individual, business, or organization who/which has made a significant contribution to choral music in Washington State.

2016 – The Greater Seattle Choral Consortium

The Spiritus Award we created in 2012 to honor an individual, business, or organization who/which has made a significant contribution to choral music in Washington State.

This year’s recipient is The Greater Seattle Choral Consortium, dedicated to making a significant contribution by providing annual scholarships to music education programs in need.

Arranging annual sing‐along opportunities of master choral works conducted by local masters for community members.

Supporting Community events by organizing and connecting community choirs with performance opportunities at events such as the Folk Life Festival, SeaFair and Christmas Boats Festival.

Creating the Bi‐Annual Seattle Sings Festival at St. Mark’s Cathedral, a three day event featuring the performances of local choirs. 2015’s festival featured 34 area choirs.

Providing advocacy, outreach, resources and support for community choirs.

Congratulations to the GSCC, our 2016 Spiritus Award recipient.

2015 – Richard Nace

The 2015 recipient is Mr. Richard Nace, who has been a leader in choral music in the state of Washington since 1968. Richard Nace was the choral director at Rogers High School in Puyallup from 1968-1994, where he conducted one of the finest high school choral ensembles in the state, known for their pristine intonation, beautiful tone, and exquisite phrasing.

While there he mentored and inspired numerous student teachers including a few names such as Dinah Helgeson, Kathryn Lehmann, Geoffrey Boers, and Kevin Allen-Schmidt. At Rogers High School, he received many awards and was a leader in choral repertoire and performance. He was adjunct faculty at Pacific Lutheran University, where he conducted the Women’s Chorus and served as sabbatical replacement for the University Chorale.

Since his retirement from public school teaching, Richard has emerged as one of the finest clinicians, workshop leaders, and retreat specialists in the country. He turns musical problems into opportunities to teach, is effective in teaching side-by-side with the conductor of an ensemble in sharing insight and imparting techniques to help the conductor be more successful in rehearsals, and embodies love and compassion for people, utilizing the music to teach greater lessons of life and living.

Richard is also a life-long learner, singing with the Tacoma Symphony Chorus, in addition to his continued leadership in the choir at Mount Cross Lutheran Church.

Congratulations to Richard Nace, the 2015 Spiritus Award recipient.

2014 – J. W. Pepper with Wendy McKee and Kathy Rasmussen

The letter of introduction was prepared by Leora Schwitters. 

Wendy McKee and Kathy Rasmussen of J.W. Pepper Music have consistently served choral music in Washington State over the years by sponsoring ACDA reading sessions, often anticipating our needs before we even know what they are.

Wendy McKee was born and raised in Chicago, IL.  Her career goal was to become an Electrical Engineer until she joined her first choir and got hooked on singing.  She has a degree in Vocal Performance Summa Cum Laude from DePaul University, and taught private voice for many years prior to moving to Washington.

At her busiest time, Wendy was Artistic Director for three ensembles of the Palatine Children’s Chorus and their adult choir while also serving as Music Director for St. Paul UCC in Palatine, IL and as Founder and Artistic Director of Brava!, a professional women’s ensemble.  She is currently a section leader for Plymouth Congregational in Seattle, and we all know her as JW Pepper’s Regional Marketing Manager at the Kent branch.  She loves singing, conducting and teaching and hopes to do more or those in the near future.

Kathy Rasmussen has worked for JW Pepper for 17 years, with an emphasis on customer service, accounts and workshop organization.  Though she has no formal music education beyond high school band and as an enthusiastic church choir member, she has always had a love and passion for music in many forms and styles.

She is happily married to Craig after 32 years, has three grown children—two daughters were just married in the last two months!  Besides music, she enjoys the outdoors, gardening and reading.

These two remarkable women have donated their time, efforts, and business expertise to provide valuable resources for WA and NW ACDA members over the years.  Without JW Pepper and Wendy’s  and Kathy’s help, our wonderful Summer Institute would not exist.

2013 – Doug and Janet Anderson of DJ Records

Lori Wiest had this to say as she presented the award:

The 2013 Spiritus Award is given to a business dedicated to connecting performers and listeners to quality choral literature and recorded performance for 30 years.

The company is guided by the vision and philosophy of its founder and owner, an acclaimed high school choral music educator, conductor, innovator, clinician, adjudicator, and author. His basic philosophy, “that selected listening should be an important ingredient in the development of a successful choral director’s career,” is shared by Janet, his life and business partner, an experienced pianist, organist, and elementary music teacher.

Doug and Janet brought a vanload of CDs to each Summer Institute for a number of years, making recordings to SI participants of outstanding choirs from across the country and around the world. As the chief outlet for King’s Singers recordings, DJ Records was closely associated with the group and often handled the sale of recordings at King’s Singers concerts.

In the photo to the left, Doug (left) and Janet pause for a photo as the award is presented by President Tim Fitzpatrick.

2012 – Al Giles

A new award this year, the “Spiritus” award, was given on the basis of one’s contribution to choral music in this state. The recipient need not be a member of ACDA, but rather an individual who has had an important role in helping choral music flourish.

The first annual winner of the Spiritus Award went to Allen P. Giles. Al has run Sound Preservers Company for nearly fifty years. In that role he has recorded countless numbers of concerts, festivals, all-state and all-northwest events, including ACDA honor choirs and conferences. Innumerable directors have hired Al to record their choirs in recording sessions as they made LPs, cassettes, and CDs over the years. Our inaugural year recipient continues to provide remarkable service and inspiration to us after 50 years in the recording industry.

Allen Giles, founder and director of Sound Preservers Company and Capital City Studios, has produced the masters for several thousand LP recordings, tapes and digital CDs. In addition to recording hundreds of school, church and community choirs in his Olympia studio or on location in the state of Washington. He also toured nationally and internationally with choirs from Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Whitworth, Concordia, St. Olafs, and Luther College, and others. Many churches, community choirs and other ensembles have his recordings to treasure. On many occasions, Allen did the recordings of honor choirs and other participating ensembles at state, regional and national conventions of MENC and ACDA in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Montana. From 1976 to 1992, he was the sound engineer for the famous “Hi-Lo’s” of which Gene Puerling , also of “Singers Unlimited” was a founding member.

For many of us, the exchange or purchase of each others’ albums has provided an inspirational source of repertoire, musical interpretations and standards to which to aspire. Composers (Gwyneth Walker for example) have commissioned Allen to produce promotion demos of their compositions. Other individuals and organizations have developed archival records from decades of his recordings.

In addition to recording music, Allen also provided guidance and equipment for organizations installing recording and amplification in their buildings. A considerable number of churches and schools still use sound systems designed by Allen and equipment he recommended or provided.

A major gift of Allen’s body of work is the networking he enabled. As a friend of many conductors, arrangers, and composers, he often brought these people together in professional or social settings… at convention receptions or at wonderful picnics he and Betsy hosted in their home. These opportunities to meet other musicians have resulted in hundreds of conversations, concert and tour exchanges, music commissions, and the formation of deep friendships.

Of course, we would be remiss to not comment further about Betsy Giles, who is a major player in this achievement. On countless occasions, she assisted with equipment set-ups, recording, design of album covers and inserts, scheduling, packaging and delivery, and many other aspects of the business. Thank you, Betsy!

It would be difficult to estimate the number of conductors and singers that have been significantly influenced by Allen’s remarkable work. Because of him, we have developed our ears and skills as directors, teachers and singers; we have learned how to improve our repertoire selection and creative programming, we have acquired feedback and teaching resources for our groups, and we have preserved memories to last a lifetime!