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Category: Music – choir


Normanna Male Chorus of Tacoma hosts the 104th annual Sangerfest of all-male Norwegian choruses at Pacific Lutheran University

There aren’t too many musical traditions around here that go back 104 years, but the Sangerfest is one of them. An annual get-together of Norwegian male choirs from up and down the West Coast, the Sangerfest has been going since 1903 (with a few breaks) and this year the Normanna Male Chorus of Tacoma is the host choir, with a public choral concert this Friday at Pacific Lutheran University.

“The tradition of male chorus singing is very strong in Norway,” explains NMC director Jon Malmin. “Most villages have a chorus. And when the immigrants came over here they wanted to keep up that tradition.”

And they have. The 29-member Normanna Male Chorus is celebrating 125 years, having begun in 1888 as a Parkland chorus that later merged with a Tacoma chorus. And while the tradition used to be more widespread – at one point there were over 30 Norwegian male choruses in the region, Malmin says – there are still 11 Pacific Coast Norwegian Singers Association choruses, from Bellingham to San Diego, who’ll meet this week at PLU to sing and have fun. Read more »


Six youth choirs from the Northwest and Nairobi, Kenya, congregate in Tacoma this weekend for the first annual Youth Choir Festival Northwest at Pacific Lutheran University.

Six choirs of young people from as close as Gig Harbor and as far as Nairobi, Kenya, will meet and sing together this Saturday as part of the first annual Youth Choir Festival Northwest. Culminating the choral get-together will be a public concert at Pacific Lutheran University’s Lagerquist Hall, featuring all six choirs.

Designed for advanced middle school, high school and college choirs, the festival is the offshoot of the 14-year Fort Worden Children’s Choir Festival, which has hosted choirs from around the country to sing, learn and socialize together. The Fort Worden festival, which was held in May, also featured an African choir for the first time: the Makini Schools Children’s choir, also from Nairobi. In Tacoma, the Nairobi Girls’ Chorale (which has the same director, David Isindu) will participate and perform, staying at local homes and sightseeing. The choir has had recent internet success in Africa after a televised competition.

The cultural visit came after months of difficulty with visas, organizers said in a press release. “The U.S. government is especially cautious of allowing single, young adults into the country,” it said. Read more »


Tacoma Symphony Chorus joins with Tacoma Youth Chorus for “Bridges of Song” at Urban Grace

Chorusfull1If you love massed voices, you’ll want to go to “Bridges of Song,” a collaborative concert this Saturday with the Tacoma Symphony Chorus. Joining forces with the Tacoma Youth Chorus Chorale (hence the ‘bridges’ bit) the Chorus (directed by Geoffrey Boers) will sing an eclectic program that ranges from Schubert to Ives, with four-hand piano thrown in.

It’s a collaboration that makes sense: Younger choirs, like the 22-year-old Tacoma Youth Chorus, benefit enormously from hearing and singing with more experienced musicians, while older singers pick up on the enthusiasm and freshness of their younger peers.

The two groups will sing works both by themselves and together: The TYC’s offerings include the Gloria from Schubert’s Mass in F and Ola Gjeilo’s “Ubi Caritas”; the TSO Chorus will sing works including William Averitt’s “Dreamkeeper,” Charles Ives’ “Circus Band” and dance-based works by Brahms, Copland and Sullivan; and both choirs will join for three segments that include music by Vaughan Williams and Mack Willberg.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. May 18. $15. Urban Grace Church, 902 S. Market St., Tacoma. 253-272-7264, tacomasymphony.org, tacomayouthchorus.org

Boers also has a fun summer lined up. Read more »


Hear spirituals, gospel and American choral classics with Illumni Mens’ Chorale at PLU

Join the Illumni Mens Chorale this weekend in Seattle and Tacoma as they explore just what American music is, in concerts at Christ Episcopal in Seattle and Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma

The program sweeps from Spanish Renaissance music written by Aztecs in Mexico City to 18th-century hymn writer William Billings, from “Deep River” to “Shenandoah” and from Rogers and Hammerstein to Morten Lauridsen, there’s something here for everyone, sung by the deep, resonant voices of the Seattle-based Illumni. Read more »


Two passionate choral Valentines: from Seattle’s Pro Musica at Trinity Lutheran and from Tacoma Symphony Chorus at Slavonian Hall, Old Town

TSO Chorus conductor Geoffrey Boers in action. Courtesy image.
TSO Chorus conductor Geoffrey Boers in action. Courtesy image.

Want to get some Valentine’s Day credit in advance? Then take your honey to hear some passionate choral music this weekend, sung on Sunday by visiting Seattle choir Pro Musica in Parkland’s Trinity Lutheran and on Tuesday by the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra Chorus at Slavonian Hall, Old Town.

First, Pro Musica: Conducted by the choir’s director Karen Thomas, the 40-year-old choir will sing love songs by Samuel Barber, madrigals by Morten Lauridsen, and the premiere of Thomas’ own setting of “Wild Nights,” a more-than-suggestive poem by Emily Dickinson. Expect lush contemporary and neo-Romantic harmonies in the church’s resonant acoustics.

The TSO Chorus concert is in the cozy Slavonian Hall in Old Town, and it’s part of the monthly free Classical Tuesdays in Old Town series. Read more »


Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas – Day 7

Welcome to the Twelve Tacoma Artist Gifts of Christmas! Inspired by both the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and fellow features writer Sue Kidd, who’s offering you her own “Twelve Tacoma Foodie Gifts of Christmas” on her TNT Diner blog, I’ve come up with 12 alternative gifts for Christmas: no partridges in pear trees, but something a lot more uniquely local. (See older posts for the other days.)


So here’s Day 7:

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Seven concert tickets, six sumi paintings, five gothic rings…Four pottery bowls, three CDs, two baby

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Mystical singing from the Esoterics at Christ Episcopal, Tacoma

It’s always sheer joy to hear The Esoterics. Puget Sound has plenty of choirs, but none other that sing terrifically difficult music that has only just been written (okay, maybe some from last century too) in a dozen different languages and a cappella to boot. Not only that but they sing exquisitely – hear those sopranos and die happy. Most impressively, they also commission their own works, and this Saturday sees a Tacoma performance of three of those as world premieres, alongside other poetic compositions.

The concert’s called Mystikos, and the works therein encapsulate the human experience of the

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It’s official: Friday is Northwest Sinfonietta Day, says Governor Gregoire

Goodness knows we don’t need any more official “days” (“Walk Your Dog Day,” “Brush Your Teeth Day”) but this one is actually well-deserved. This Friday has been officially proclaimed Northwest Sinfonietta Day in the state of Washington by Governor Christine Gregoire, and it’s largely because of the supreme effort this local orchestra has made in creating a musical bond with a chamber orchestra in Tacoma’s sister city of Cienfuegos, Cuba. (You can read the main story here.)

For the last two years Sinfonietta director Neil Birnbaum has been working hard alongside congressman Norm Dicks, senator Maria Cantwell and

Read more »