Adsense for search

Custom Search

Monday, March 5, 2012

BE INSPIRED - Northwest Repertory Singers Will Host "Best of the Northwest" Concert

When Saturday, March 10, arrives, you will have a choice:

1.) You can dwell on another week’s worth of depressing news— war, crime, destruction, disasters, polution, politics, or the economy—or

 2.) You can attend a live music event that will move, uplift, and inspire you.

Dr. Paul Schultz, artistic director and founder of the Northwest Repertory Singers hopes you will choose the live music event, an unforgettable concert called “The Best of the Northwest” and presented at Mason United Methodist Church, 2710 N. Madison St, in Tacoma’s Proctor Business District on March 10. It begins at 7:30 p.m., following a lecture by Schultz one hour before.  A triple treat, this event features the acclaimed Northwest Repertory Singers plus  two guest ensembles: the University of Puget Sound’s Dorian Singers and the Pacific Lutheran's University Chorale. Tacoma should be proud.

Tacoma universities come together for the sake of art

When asked about the theme and how these two schools came to be included, Schultz said, “Knowing that the Northwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association convention would be in Seattle next week, my goal was to invite two groups who had been invited to perform at that convention. And just coincidentally, groups from Pacific Lutheran and University of Puget Sound were both invited.”

The association’s Northwestern Division represents the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Out of all the groups that apply from all six states, “a couple dozen,” according to Schultz, might be chosen to perform.
The choirs that apply "come from all genres,” he explained,“children’s choirs, church choirs, community choirs, university choirs, high school, and junior high.” Groups must submit samples from the past three years, to show consistency, and then a panel of experts reviews all the submissions.

“So anybody invited to perform at this convention is truly one of the best groups in the Pacific Northwest. It was great that the two Tacoma schools had representatives and they agreed to participate. It adds to the mystique of ‘The Best of the Northwest’, because those groups truly are considered—by a jury of their peers—to be among the best, at least of six states.”

Northwest Repertory Singers' Artistic Director Paul Schultz       photo by Chip Van Gilder
One man's passion for vocal music enriches the lives of many
Schultz came to Tacoma from his native state of Michigan, where he first chose to make vocal music the focus of his life. After decades in his field, this amazing gentleman continues to inspire and be inspired. His impressive career in teaching and conducting began when he earned two degrees from Central Michigan University: Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts. Schultz then went on to receive his doctorate in music education from Michigan State University, and has also traveled to Stuttgart, Germany to study conducting with Helmuth Rilling at the Internationale Bachakademie.
Of the 44 years Schultz spent teaching before his retirement in 2006, approximately half were in Michigan—including serving on the faculty of Michigan State—and half in the Tacoma School District where he taught at both Tacoma School of the Arts and University of Puget Sound. His wife, Donna Gartman Schultz, is a composer and his son, David Schultz, is pursuing a degree in conducting at Michigan State University.

History of  NWRS

The founding of Northwest Repertory Singers resulted from his heart’s true desire. I founded the Tacoma Symphony chorus and conducted that for about five or six years,” Schultz said, “and I was missing having the opportunity to conduct a chorus with orchestra, which I had done many times in the past. I never got to do that. So it was time to start my own group. People had been after me for many years to do that. In 2001, I decided to leave the symphony chorus, founded Northwest Repertory Singers, and the rest is history.”

 Members show their commitment

Every Monday night, NWRS members deal with traffic, weather, and the demands of busy lives to drive to Tacoma from all over the Puget Sound area, for rehearsals. Out of the group’s current 55 members, Schultz estimates about 25 to be original members.

 They’ve been with us all of that time,” Schultz said, sounding pleased. “The group represents music teachers, aspiring professional singers, and professional people from all walks of life. We have attorneys, physicians, people who work for the state . . .” Members come from North Seattle, Bellevue, Auburn, Federal Way, Olympia, Fox Island, Belfair, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, and Puyallup, for example. “There are significantly more people from outside the city limits than there are Tacoma people. A lot of them are my former students that I taught at University of Puget Sound for 20 years,” Schultz added.

Northwest Repertory Singers                  photo courtesy of NWRS
The dedication of all three groups' members and their leaders will become beautifully apparent to those who attend “The Best of the Northwest.” The program will include performances by the individual choirs as well as a combined performance of “Sure on This Shining Night,” text by James Agee (1905-1955) set to music by the acclaimed composer Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943), a native of Washington State. 

“One thing that’s very important to me is the marriage of music and text, the marriage of music and poetry,” he said. “I hate it when choirs stand up and sing and you can’t understand a word they say, or they sing everything in a foreign language and there are no translations in the program. We do have translations in the program."

Schultz is passionate about sending the message that art matters in our lives and should be accessible to everyone. His choir’s mission statement includes the words “enrich and educate.” He offers this concert as an opportunity to hear NWRS perform “some really unique literature.”
We’re doing everything from what almost sounds like a Renaissance piece—from a very young composer in his twenties—to a piece from Samuel Barber that was originally a solo in one of his operas, to a grand old drinking song by our men, and this Dorothy Parker text by our women, and then finishing with an amazing spiritual, 'The Battle of Jericho' by Moses Hogan. Moses Hogan was just a phenomenal musician, died way too young. I knew Moses personally and he wrote some of the greatest spirituals. He was 46 when he died.

“I try to give our audiences as wide a variety of repertoire as I can. This particular program will be fantastic because first of all, you’re going to hear two mixed choirs, one of college age, one of more mature age, doing an extremely wide variety of pieces. There’s a wide range of every things that are very traditional sounds to things very eclectic.”

 Many reasons to attend

 The purchase of a ticket to "The Best of the Northwest" means treating yourself to an evening full of new musical experiences, new awareness of our region's talented singers, and a new appreciation for the way art can elevate us from everyday worries and discouragment. Although already eager to attend, when I previewed the program and read the discription of "Sure On This Shining Night" as "heartbreakingly beautiful," I knew this was something I did not want to miss.

Schultz pointed out that, families who don’t have students in Tacoma’s two fine universities usually don’t attend their choir concerts, or realize the level of excellence Dr. Brian Galante, Associate Director of Choral Activities, PLU and Dr. Anne Lyman, Director, Dorian Singers at UPS have inspired in these groups. Likewise, many people in our region, including citizens of Tacoma, have yet to hear the Northwest Repertory Singers.

But there is more. NWRS cares about all members of the community, not only in terms of spiritual sustanance but also physical. Those attending the concert are asked to consider bringing donations for the FISH Food Bank, located at the church. (see details here) And three Proctor Business District restaurants—Pour at Four, LaFondita Mexican Restaurant, and Knapp's Restaurant—are participating in this event by offering discounts. You can read about it on the NWRS website, where you can also take a short survey that will put your name in a drawing for two free tickets.

Concert tickets are available online now from Brown Paper Tickets with no service fee, or at 1-800-838-3006. Tickets are $18 general admission, and $15 for senior/student/military.
Children under 12 are free. Call 253-265-3042 for more information.
For this concert only, UPS and PLU students with student IDs will be admitted for $8.50

 Maybe it's to remind yourself that mankind also includes those who strive to reach a higher potential through creativity, cooperation, artistic excellence, and the appreciation of all that is beautiful and soulful.

No comments: