A C I F I C L U T H E R A N U N I V E R S
I T Y
P R I N G 2 0 0 1
Choral Union—the Puget Sound’s
best kept musical secret
By Brent W. Olsen '66
Retired chemistry professor Bill
Giddings (left) and fellow tenors Tom Weko and one-time
PLU student Tom Henderson (right, rear) sing during dress
rehearsal for the Bach Christmas Oratorio at the Rialto
Theater in Tacoma.
The Choral Union is probably the
Puget Sound area’s best-kept musical secret. Founded in 1984 by
Choir of the West di-rector Richard Sparks, the intent was to
provide a choral outlet for faculty, staff, students and alumni—as
well as to bring singers from all walks of life to the campus.
The Choral Union offers the serious music lover a chance to hear
some of the most beautiful choral music ever written.
The Choral Union’s specialty is high-caliber
master choral works with orchestral accompaniment. The group has
fluctuated in size over the years, ranging from about 40 to the
present 70 voices. It is part of the PLU music department, but
the membership is mostly non-student, drawn from the Tacoma-Olympia-Seattle
community. Members pay dues, which help defray the cost of music
and other expenses.
For the last five years, the Choral
Union has been collaborating with Northwest Sinfonietta. Christophe
Chagnard, Sinfonietta director, has made the Choral Union its
chorus of choice for performing major choral literature.
PLU music professor Richard Nance
has conducted the Choral Union since 1993. Major works performed
during that time include Beethoven’s “Mass in C,” Bernstein’s
“Chichester Psalms,” Britten’s “Rejoice in the Lamb,” Bruckner’s
“Mass in E Minor,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Mozart’s “Requiem,” Rutter’s
“Requiem” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” In December, the choir gave
three performances of Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” with Northwest
The Choral Union performs primarily
in Lagerquist Hall of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on the
In March, the group will travel to
San Antonio,Texas, where it will perform for the na-tional convention
of the American Choral Directors Association. The Choral Union’s
selec-tion came after a rigorous taped audition process in competition
against other community choirs at the state, division and national
levels. This marks the Choral Union as one of the elite choruses
in the country. With more than 6,000 people expected to attend,
this convention is the largest gathering of professional choral
musicians in the world.
“Being selected to perform is one
of the great-est honors that can be bestowed on a choral organization,”
Nance said. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
AUDITIONS FOR CHORAL UNION OCCUR
EACH AUGUST. INTERESTED SINGERS SHOULD CONTACT RICHARD NANCE AT
(253) 840-9776 OR AT firstname.lastname@example.org.