EVERETT — Since 1965, the Everett Chorale has been a cornerstone of the performing arts in Snohomish County.
To mark its 50 years, the Chorale is going big with a golden anniversary season of concerts that “Celebrate” the 80-voice choir’s tenure and talent.
“Celebrate and Dance” is the name of the first concert of the season, to be performed Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Everett Performing Arts Center. “Celebrate and Shout,” with a guest performance by the Snohomish County Children’s Choir, is set for April and “Celebrate and Sing” will be performed in June.
For “Celebrate and Dance,” conductor Lee Mathews will lead the group in a program that features choral music and movement.
The Dance School of Everett will perform scenes from “The Nutcracker” with narration by Fred Waring. The Sapience Dance Collective of Seattle will interpret the nine carols set to music by composer Lloyd Pfautsch in his cantata “A Day for Dancing” with the Choral Arts Woodwind and Percussion Ensemble providing the accompaniment.
The Everett Chorale, now one of the county’s oldest performing arts groups, was founded by David Andre in the fall of 1965 with about 30 singers from the Everett area, including community college students. Originally a class at Everett Community College, the group rehearsed on campus. In Andre’s third and final year, Brahm’s “Requiem” was performed with the Everett Symphony and high school choirs were added to the throng of voices.
Ted Wahlstrom directed the Chorale for about 20 years, during which the group performed again with the Everett Symphony, this time in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.” Wahlstrom’s annual direction of Handel’s “Messiah” helped attract new singers to the group.
Pat Castro of Snohomish, who had studied with Wahlstrom, took over the baton in 1988 and directed for five years. Highlights from the Castro years include the commissioning of a jazz composition by Everett musician Ken Kraints and a performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Everett Symphony.
Lee Mathews developed the International Choral Festival hosted by the Everett Chorale in 2002 with five choirs from the Puget Sound region and Canada providing three days of free concerts throughout the community. In 2007, Everett Chorale represented the state of Washington at the International Choral Festival in Beijing, China. The Chorale also participated in the Advent Sing in Vienna, Austria, sent an ensemble to perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter on two occasions and performed such pieces as Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and “A German Requiem” by Brahms.
“The educational link is an important one in the history of this group,” Mathews said. “We are still listed under the continuing education umbrella at the college.”
The concert this weekend also will include a variety of secular Christmas songs, to which “the audience will want to hum along and tap their toes,” Mathews said.
The pieces include “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “Over the River and Through the Woods” and “Deck the Hall” and the sing-along “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
“We hope all former members of the Chorale will come out to help us celebrate,” said Mathews.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @galefiege.
If you go
Everett Chorale’s “Celebrate and Dance” concert is 7 p.m. Dec. 5 and 3 p.m. Dec. 6, Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave. Tickets are $18 general admission, and $16 for seniors, students and military $16, with discounts for groups of 10 or more. Call 425-257-8600. More at www.everettchorale.org, www.thedanceschool.org and www.sapiencedance.org.