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College of Arts and Humanities


Firefighter’s Creed

Savannah Slone

Central Washington University’s Wildcat Chorus performed an original piece as a tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives while fighting the August 2015 Twisp River Fire. The firefighters whose lives were taken were Tom Zbyszewski, Andrew Zajac, and Richard Wheeler. The 2015 wildfire season was the worst in Washington state history with more than a million acres burned and over 3,000 firefighters deployed.

CWU Professor of Music, Vijay Singh, composed the piece. The production was the result of a collaboration between CWU’s Department of Public Affairs and Department of Music, under the direction of Dr. Scott Peterson. The performance, which can be viewed here, was recorded in the McIntyre Music Building Concert Hall. 

Scott Peterson, a CWU alumnus, was the Choral Teaching Assistant for two years before graduating with CWU’s first M.A. in Conducting in 1976. Peterson is an Adjunct Professor of Choral Studies at CWU and directed the performance of “Firefighter’s Creed”. Peterson and Professor Vijay Singh are close friends and have worked together for many years. “Firefighter’s Creed” holds a deep meaning to Peterson because young men, not so different from those who were killed in the 2015 Twisp River Fire, perform the piece.

On March 5th, 2016, the CWU Chorus performed the piece at Town Hall Seattle as part of the 2016 American Choral Directors Association Conference.

The 60 member Wildcat Chorus is a non-auditioned ensemble, open to any male student at CWU who wants to sing. “The abilities of the members range from men who have never sung in a choir before to grad students in voice and choral performance,” said Scott Peterson. “We strive to be a top level music performance group, but we also look at ourselves as a support group for our students, providing them with an artistic experience in a positive and constructive atmosphere.”

Professor Vijay Singh’s “Firefighter’s Creed” composition and text have recently been accepted for publication by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc. and will be a part of their upcoming TTBB (Tenor, Tenor, Baritone and Bass) release.

“Getting music published is rather difficult these days in terms of competition,” said Scott Peterson. “As you can imagine, there are many composers and arrangers for men's choir music, and getting one's work recognized as worthy of publication is a major accomplishment.” “Firefighter’s Creed” was chosen from over three-dozen other submissions. Once released, the music will be printed and available for purchase by the public.

There aren’t any upcoming performances of “Firefighter’s Creed” scheduled currently, as the Wildcat Chorus only meets during fall and winter quarters. While they are finished for the 2016-17 academic year, they will be performing again come fall 2017.

To learn more about Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc., visit Follow along with the successes of the CWU Wildcat Chorus on the CWU website at They also have a Facebook page, which can be viewed at .

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