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.
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.”
|Northwest Repertory Singers' Artistic Director Paul Schultz photo by Chip Van Gilder|
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|
“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."
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.
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.