Choral Music at Pacific Lutheran University
PLU’s choral program has a long history of success, and is recognized regionally and nationally for its excellence in ensemble performance, academic structure and rigor, and placement of graduates in positions in music education. Singers in the program have the opportunity to study private voice from one of eleven outstanding voice faculty led by Dr. James Brown, Chair of Vocal Studies. Many choral students are awarded music scholarships, which are renewable for four years and are granted to students regardless of their choice of major.
PLU Choral Ensembles
- Choir of the West (Richard Nance, Conductor): The university’s “flagship” ensemble, this choir is comprised of approximately fifty singers. Members are primarily upper classmen, and come from a variety of academic disciplines. The choir meets four days each week for a ninety-minute rehearsal, and sings many times each year, in concerts, tours, campus ministry events, and university-wide celebrations such as convocation and commencement. The choir tours both regionally and internationally, and records for compact disc on a regular basis. Choir of the West has sung for numerous regional and national conventions sponsored by the Washington Music Educators Association and the American Choral Directors Association.
- University Chorale (Brian Galante, Conductor): This is a mixed choir comprised of primarily freshmen and sophomore singers, traditionally numbering forty to fifty members that come from a variety of academic disciplines. The choir meets four days each week for a ninety-minute rehearsal, and sings many times each year in concerts, tours, and campus ministry events. The choir tours regionally, and appears on PLU Christmas compact discs. The Chorale has performed for regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association.
- University Singers (Richard Nance, Conductor): PLU’s women’s choir, this ensemble is comprised of singers from many academic disciplines and class ranks. The choir meets three days each week for a ninety-minute rehearsal, and shares concerts during the year with other PLU choral ensembles. The University Singers do concerts in local venues away from campus, and serve as the choir for campus ministry events on several occasions each year. They are also heard on PLU Christmas compact discs.
- University Knights Chorus (Barry Johnson, Conductor): This group is comprised of tenors and basses representing various academic disciplines and class ranks. The choir meets two each week for an hour and fifteen-minute rehearsal, and shares concerts during the year with other PLU choral ensembles. The Knights Chorus performs in local venues away from campus, and serves as the ensemble for campus ministry events on several occasions each year. They are also heard on PLU Christmas compact discs.
- Choral Union (Richard Nance, Conductor): Choral Union is one of America’s finest community choruses. A number of PLU alumni sing in this choir, along with faculty, staff and students. The eighty members come to rehearsal each Monday evening from all over the Puget Sound area. Choral Union sings three or four concerts each year, and tours internationally every three or four years. Repertoire focuses on larger choral masterworks, but the choir also sings programs of high-level shorter choral works. Choral Union occasionally joins with other PLU ensembles for concerts, and collaborates with other community and professional ensembles such as the Tacoma Youth Chorus and the Northwest Sinfonietta. The choir has performed for such prestigious events as the American Choral Directors National Convention (San Antonio 2001), the Cambridge Summer Music Festival (Cambridge, England 2005), and the World Harp Congress (Geneva, Switzerland 2002).
Choral Music Curriculum
The Department of Music at PLU offers four music degrees: the Bachelor of Music in Performance, the Bachelor of Music Education, the Bachelor of Musical Arts, and the Bachelor of Arts in Music. Our students experience a thorough curriculum, taught by a highly qualified and cohesive full-time and adjunct faculty. Highlights of the choral music education degree include courses in elementary music methods and materials, secondary choral methods, secondary choral literature, vocal pedagogy, and four semesters of conducting. This is one of the most extensive undergraduate choral music education degrees available. PLU graduates are consistently placed in outstanding elementary and secondary school choral music positions.