A note from the Artistic Director

Dr. Paul Schultz, Artistic Director and Founder of Northwest Repertory SingersI remember the excitement I experienced writing my first “Note from the Artistic Director” for our first website 2001.  We were all thrilled about starting a new group called Northwest Repertory Singers and none of us had any idea where we would be, or if we would be, 10 or 15 years later.  Now, as we begin our 17th season, I have made the announcement that this season will be my last as Artistic Director with NWRS.  However, I am pleased to also announce that NWRS will move forward and continue to thrive under the leadership of Kyle Haugen, our assistant conductor for the past 8 years.

This season is titled “Celebrate!”  And celebrate we will!  Our December concerts “Celebrate! Rejoice! Sing!” include favorite seasonal pieces from nearly every December concert over the past 16 years.  Guest artists include a brass quintet, oboe, harp and percussion.  Repertoire includes the first piece NWRS sang in 2001 and the last piece we sang in 2016.  You are sure to be singing melodies long after the concert is over. 

Our June 9 concert “Celebrate! Treasured Memories and New Visions” will feature a performance of two works with orchestra and will welcome back NWRS alumni for an evening of fun, reflection and enjoyment.  Members of Symphony Tacoma join us for performances of John Corigliano’s Fern Hill and Morten Lauridsen’s Lux aeterna.  We are expecting a large group of NWRS alumni back to close the concert with some of my “signature pieces” from over the years.  It will likely be a finale loaded with emotion.

Abraham Maslow once said, “A poet must write, an artist must paint, and musicians must make music if they are to be a peace within themselves.”  That certainly has been true for me over the past 16 years and NWRS was the perfect ensemble to provide that peace.  The members include many former students, friends and colleagues.  They give generously of their time and talent and many are among our most generous donors.  Each member shares a love and a passion for music.  The collective effect of this experience is an unparalleled commitment to the musical, emotional, and technical performance of a broad range of musical styles and genres. 

I have been blessed to work with a dedicated Board of Directors from day one.  I have continued to learn how music brings people together, producing results they never dreamed possible.  I continue to witness that music appeals to people because it possesses elements of beauty, expressed both in form and sound.

NWRS has allowed me to be true to the principles learned from my mentors; men such as Howard Swan, Robert Shaw, Helmuth Rilling, and the privilege of working closely with musicians such as Dale Warland and Morten Lauridsen.  The rewards are too numerous to list.  They include the emotion on the faces of singers as they sight-read and/or perform music, the tears caused by that perfect marriage of music and text, or experiencing their first standing ovation.  I’ve watched people come to rehearsal completely exhausted from work or battling a serious illness, and leave completely refreshed emotionally.  It has been important to be a leader who is also an educator, planner, listener, interpreter, communicator and sincere lover of everything beautiful in this world.  The people in NWRS have been among the most beautiful and delightful I have experienced in my life.

I have always loved our collaborations with school, university, community, and professional ensembles.  The list includes The Coats, Northwest Sinfonietta, Total Experience Gospel Choir, Rainier Symphony, Magical Strings, Tacoma Youth Chorus, Cora Voce, Evergreen Brass Quintet, Sounds of Brass, Chapel Hill Ringers and ensembles from the University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma School of the Arts, Curtis High School, Emerald Ridge High School, Stadium High School and Geiger Montessori Elementary School.  Very special to me has been premiering new works by NWRS members Tom Walworth and Kyle Haugen, and my wife, Donna Gartman Schultz.  Margie Skreen has been a blessing in my life since I first met her as a student in 1982.  I can’t think of a more talented, dedicated, accompanist.

NWRS has strived to serve our community since our founding.  We have been members of the Proctor District Association and have served the Proctor District by performing at various events each year.  We have supported the FISH Food Bank by having choir members donate food at each rehearsal throughout the year and collect donations from our audience members at each concert.  We have given presentations at various retirement homes and offer discounted tickets for seniors, students and military.  Most memorable was our sponsorship of Tacoma’s participation in the worldwide “Rolling Requiem” in 2002, commemorating the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  Our performance of Mozart’s Requiem was presented by NWRS and volunteer orchestra and soloists at 8:46 a.m. to an overflow audience of over 800 people at Mason Methodist Church.  I’ll always remember the complete silence we experienced after the final note was sounded; a silence that lasted nearly 5 minutes before anyone moved.

All my amazing NWRS musical memories would not have been possible without the continuous support of our audiences, donors, singers, communities and families. But it is time to move on to other adventures in my life.  Donna and I have many places to visit on our “bucket list” and we have made it a priority to properly spoil our grandchildren.  I suppose I could use Frost’s “woods” as a metaphor for NWRS.  The men of NWRS will sing a setting of Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening as part of our December concerts.  The famous text of the last verse states: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep.  And miles to go before I sleep…and miles to go before I sleep.” 

Thank you for the incredible journey!  I trust you will continue to support NWRS during this season and for many decades to come.

 

Cheers,

Paul Schultz

Paul W. Schultz
Artistic Director and Founder
Northwest Repertory Singers