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Department of Music
Phone: (509) 963-1216
Fax: (509) 963-1239
music@cwu.edu

Dr. Weidenaar conducting the chamber choir.Chamber Choir Requirements

Chamber Choir, CWU’s premier choral ensemble, is a rigorously auditioned ensemble of experienced choral singers. Our Chamber Choir Auditions page will help you understand this choir's audition process while our Choral Auditions FAQ page will answer most of your general choral ensemble placement questions.

The demands placed on the singer-musicians are great, with much of the note learning occurring outside of rehearsal. Musical integrity is maintained through consistent individual part checks.

The reward for this expended effort for the singer is a series of unforgettable experiences resulting from music made at a high level.

Of equal importance is the character of the person – maturity, perseverance, a strong work ethic, a supportive nature, a constant desire to improve and willingness to put one’s ego second to the group’s needs are expected of each member. Chamber Choir maintains a busy schedule of performances both on and off campus, with multiple concerts each quarter.

Since 2006, when Dr. Gary Weidenaar took the baton, the choir has received invitations to appear at seven state & regional conferences and one international competition:

  • 2008 & 2010 WMEA State Conferences
  • 2010 ACDA Northwest Conference
  • 2011 Northwest NAfME Conference
  • 2015 Tolosako Abesbatza Lehiaketa competition, in Tolosa, Spain
  • 2016 ACDA Northwest Conference
  • 2020 ACDA Northwest Conference
  • 2020 NAfME State Conference
Testimonial Image

“Stunning”, “Thrilling”, “A sound of liquid gold”, “My socks are officially knocked off”, “Transcendent”

Meticulous attention is given to performing music of various periods or parts of the world in the style appropriate to that era or culture including adjustments of not only style but tone color also.  The Choir regularly premiers new works by composers as well as compositions by choir members. Music from the Renaissance to compositions of the 21st century along with music from other cultures is programmed  as well. 

Recent premiers have included pieces by Tuomas Laurinen (Finland), John Muehleisen (Washington), CWU faculty members Vijay Singh, Scott Peterson, and Martin Kennedy, to name a few. Composer/Pianist Ola Gjeilo and the choir have a special relationship which has blossomed over a nine year period.  The first collaboration took place in April of 2011, when the New York-based Norwegian composer spent 3 days on campus. Out of his visit came a series of videos which are entitled "In the Moment", in which he improvised piano parts to his normally unaccompanied pieces.  Since then, Mr. Gjielo has returned to the CWU campus 3 times for additional recording sessions. 

Chamber Choir also presents major works with orchestra. Recent performances have included Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms (2007), and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music (2008). Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (2008 with the University Chorale) and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (2010), Handel's Messiah - with 17 student soloists (2014), Mahler's 2nd Symphony (2016) and Brahms' Requiem (2018).

In March, 2011 the choir was invited by Hinako Hovhaness, wife of deceased composer Alan Hovhaness to present his Magnificat (for choir, soloist, and orchestra) to celebrate the 100th year of his birth. The concert was performed in Seattle's Benaroya Hall.

On campus events include a choral concert each quarter featuring all of our traditional Choral Ensembles and an annual collaboration with the orchestra at Halloween when the two groups combine to present sold-out concerts to local school children and, a few hours later, to the community. The choir regularly hosts visiting choirs of all ages as they stop by for clinics, exchanges, or shared concerts allowing them to sing in the superior acoustics of the CWU McIntyre Music building Concert Hall.

The choir is humbled by the consistent support given to it at concerts - a reminder of the strong, proud tradition created by alumni which forms a cultural river that has flowed out of Ellensburg to other parts of Washington and beyond.

Rehearsals

  • M, W Th Fr – 2:00-3:15
  • + 1 hour required sectional

Entrance Requirements

  • Rigorous audition
  • Must commit to the full academic year
  • Open to sophomore level or higher