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“Firefighter’s Creed,” a Tribute to Men Lost in the Twisp Fire, Debuts in Seattle

A powerful musical tribute to the firefighters lost in the 2015 Twisp fire will debut in Seattle this Saturday. The Central Washington University Men’s Choir will perform Firefighter’s Creed, an original work by CWU professor of music and renowned composer Vijay Singh. Singh wrote it in honor of firefighters Tom Zbyszewki, Andrew Zajac, and Richard Wheeler who were killed near Twisp, Washington in August 2015.

The CWU Men’s Choir will perform Firefighter’s Creed on Saturday, March 5, at 10:30 a.m., at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave, Seattle. The concert is part of the 2016 American Choral Directors Association Conference.

“I have written pieces on many subjects, but the idea that resonated most was the ongoing battle our firefighters fight every summer,” Singh said. “These heroes endure grueling conditions and often risk their lives to save our natural resources. I wanted to compose a piece that would honor and dignify these firefighters and their brother- and sister-hood.” 

While the piece is emotionally moving to hear, the members of the Men’s Choir found it equally moving to perform. Many had members of their family or friends who were firefighters, and had been exposed to the devastation of wildfire in the region.

The 2015 wild fire season was the worst in Washington State history. More than one million acres were burned, and more than 3,000 firefighters were deployed. The Okanogan Fire Complex  (which included Twisp) was the largest fire complex ever recorded in the state.

The 60-member Men’s Choir is one of the most dynamic performance groups at CWU and is open to any man who likes to sing, with no audition necessary. As with all CWU choirs, the Men’s Choir emphasizes building musicianship, learning about the voice, and furthering one’s individual skills.

As director of the CWU Men’s Choir, Peterson has more than the tripled number of singers since 2012. Peterson holds a DMA in conducting from the University of Washington and is past president of the Northwestern Division of ACDA. He teaches a choral literature techniques course in the CWU summer graduate offerings for the masters of music education degree. Peterson also currently conducts Canticus, a new chamber choir in the Yakima area.

Singh is an active performer, composer, teacher, conductor, and clinician.  He has gained international attention for his eclectic musical compositions, performances, workshops, and conducting appearances. As a composer, he writes for both the classical choral and jazz idioms. His compositions (more than 170 currently in print) are widely available and he often writes on commission for some of North America’s finest ensembles. His “MASS with Orchestra” received its world premiere at Lincoln Center in New York City in 2011.

CWU’s Department of Music is one of the largest departments of music in Washington State. The department offers a wide variety of degrees including bachelor’s degrees in music performance, music education, composition, music and jazz.

Housed in the Jerilyn S. McIntyre Music Building, students are able to practice and perform in a world-class concert facility. The premiere 600-seat concert hall provides an unparalleled acoustical environment for musical performances. In addition, the 150-seat recital hall offers an intimate space for performances and rehearsals. The recital hall was built around a Coulter 22-rank pipe organ which graces the stage and is the visual focal point of the space.

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

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