The Gustavian Weekly

Choir of the West meets Midwest

By Tom Lany Staff Writer | January 23, 2009 | News

<em>Photo submitted</em>

Photo submitted

The Choir of The West, the top choir at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, will perform a free-will concert in Christ Chapel on Jan. 27 at 7:00 p.m.

The concert will feature works from Stephen Paulus, Johnann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn, William Walton, Maurice Ravel, F. Melius Christiansen, Moses Hogan and others.

Associate Professor of Music Gregory Aune said that it is rare to hear other college ensembles perform at Gustavus. Gustavus “hosts … maybe one [choral concert like this] every three years,” Aune said.

Aune said that many college choirs perform in churches, as the churches can also host the students. He said that it has been a couple of years since another college choir was scheduled to perform on the Gustavus campus (Augustana College of Rock Island, Illinois). That concert was canceled to due poor weather.

In addition to hearing The Choir of the West in St. Peter, Gustavus choir members will have the opportunity to perform at Pacific Lutheran University. “The Gustavus choir is singing … out on the west coast this spring. We’re performing in their chapel,” said Aune.

The Choir of the West consists of twelve sopranos, twelve altos, eleven tenors and thirteen basses. The choir will be accompanied by Paul Tegels, professor of organ at Pacific Lutheran University.
The Choir of the West is directed by Dr. Richard Nance, director of choral activities at Pacific Lutheran University. Nance is currently the President-elect of the Northwestern division of the American Choral Directors Association.

Five choirs under his direction (three at Pacific Lutheran University) have appeared at regional conventions for the American Choral Directors Association.

The Choir of the West has traveled abroad to places such as Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China, and most recently to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary (2007).

Al Behrends, Gustavus’ director of communication services and fine arts program, believes that tours are very beneficial for music ensembles. “[The] process of working from place to place to place … is a very educational process for learning music because every place is different. [When] we go with the band, one day we will be in a gymnasium, the next day we will be in a church sanctuary and the next day we will be in a nice auditorium.”

Aune said that he “will encourage [his] choirs [to go]. If you want to hear a really good choral concert, you will have the chance to do so.”

First-year and member of the Choir of Christ Chapel Peter Michaletz believes there is a difference in the way choirs from different parts of the country and world sound. Michaletz likes exposing himself to different cultures. “I think I will go … it sounds pretty good.”

1 Comment

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  1. Wayne A says:

    I live in Florida and I went to Deltona for a large choir instruction group. There must have been a thousand people there. Don’t know how they got that many people to harmonize but they did.