Canticus Vocal Ensemble is returning to centerstage to perform “Songs of Hope,” world premiere for three commissioned works that welcome in, after so many months of darkness during the pandemic, a brighter future. The concert by Central Washington’s premier chamber chorus will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in the sanctuary at Englewood Christian Church, 511 North 44th Avenue. Made possible through a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, “Songs of Hope” spotlights three of the Pacific Northwest’s top composers.
Daniel Schreiner received degrees in Music Education and Choral Conducting from Central Washington University. An award-winning composer, Schreiner was the recipient of the 2011 Opus 7 Undergraduate Composition Award for his piece “Cain,” and the 2020 Robert Scandrett Memorial Graduate Composition Award for his piece “I Am Glad.” Two years ago, Canticus Vocal Ensemble performed one of his compositions. An avid supporter of musical theatre, Daniel serves as Resident Music Director for ManeStage in Puyallup. Since 2010, he has directed more than 30 full-length productions with ManeStage, His work, “A Glimpse of Hope,” is inspired by words from members of Canticus Vocal Ensemble, who were asked to answer the question, “What is hope?” “The piece begins with a repeated musical motif that blooms and grows like a sunrise,” Schreiner said. This motif is interwoven throughout the piece and represents “a slight glimmer of hope.”
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Chris Wallitner is also a graduate of Central Washington University, earning a degree in Music Composition. He is an active performer, poet and composer whose works have been performed throughout the country. For the past two years, he was a member of the bass section in Canticus. Wallitner said his work, “I Have Hope,” is a “declaration and a promise that no matter how bleak the situation is, things will get better.” The piece begins with darkness and uncertainty, with words such as “doubt” and “fear” being sung. And yet, despite these dark images, the word “hope” rises up. As the piece proceeds, he said, “you will hear that hope grow and become clearer and brighter until it cannot be ignored.”
Vijay Singh lives in Ellensburg where he is professor of music at Central Washington University. He’s a composer, teacher and conductor. An accomplished bass-baritone soloist, he has performed with such notable groups as Male Ensemble Northwest, the Oregon Symphony, the Robert Shaw Chorale and is a member of the award-winning a cappella jazz quartet, Just 4 Kicks. He has also conducted All-State choirs in more than 26 states. Singh’s work, “A Chrysalis of Threefold Memories,” is separated into three sections. The initial piece, Singh said, is “visceral, angry, confused, shocked, sad, resigned — all the emotions we felt when Covid first hit.” It ends with the chorus singing in unison simple pitches in realization that “we can only control our own self.” The second piece, “I Am Reawakening,” represents the long period of time that followed the initial shock of the pandemic as everyone tried to adapt to a new order of lockdowns, mandates and government restrictions. Singh said he developed the piece around the image of an unfolding chrysalis, with the interplay of piano and voices “weaving a sonic cocoon” that becomes “ultimately beautiful.” His final piece exudes optimism for the future and is written in an up-tempo, American folksong style. The final verses highlight the phrase “Truth be spreadin’ everywhere” and culminates with “Hope be spreadin’ everywhere,” completing what Singh said embraces the overarching theme of the concert.
“Songs of Hope” is the first appearance in Yakima by the Canticus Vocal Ensemble since their critically acclaimed performance of Handel’s “Messiah” in December 2019. The concert is presented in cooperation with the Second Sunday Series of Englewood Christian Church. Tickets will be sold at the door and also online at www.yakimacanticus.com. Admission to the world-premiere concert is $20 for adults and $5 for students. Credit cards are accepted.
Dr. Scott Peterson will conduct the “Songs of Hope” concert. He is the artistic director and founder of Canticus Vocal Ensemble. He formed Canticus as an independent chamber choral ensemble for singers from Central Washington. Peterson has been a presence on the Central Washington choral music scene for several decades as former Director of Choral Activities at Yakima Valley College and former Chorus Master of the Yakima Symphony Chorus. He is currently Lecturer of Choral Studies at CWU.
Accompanist Anne Schilperoort, who operates a teaching studio in Yakima, has worked with Peterson since 1990. Under his direction, she has also accompanied college choirs, church choirs, and the Yakima Symphony Chorus. Members of Canticus are lifetime choral musicians who come from all walks of life — music teachers, managers, college professors, and students. They also come from a wide area covering Central Washington, from Ellensburg to the Tri-Cities.
BREAKOUT BOX FOR PERFORMANCE:
WHAT: Canticus Vocal Ensemble to perform “Songs of Hope,” world premiere for three commissioned works by noted Pacific Northwest composers.
WHEN: 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13.
WHERE: Englewood Christian Church, 511 North 44th Avenue, Yakima.
TICKET PRICES: $20 for adults and $5 for students. Credit cards are accepted at the door, and tickets may also be purchased online at www.yakimacanticus.com.
QUESTIONS?: Call 509-480-7736.