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A triumphant 10th anniversary concert for the Northwest Repertory Singers

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Posted: June 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Northwest Repertory Singers Tenth Anniversary Celebration    Tacoma Arts Commission

Glad energy and a warm tone were the hallmarks of this weekend’s Saturday concert by the Northwest Repertory Singers. A celebration of the choir’s 10th anniversary, and repeated again tomorrow afternoon, the program highlighted the ensemble’s strengths – focus, warm singing and excellent programming – while only occasionally falling short of its usual high standard.

Much of the program was challenging singing. An opening of Samuel Barber’s three-poem “Reincarnations” brought out the always-excellent vocal balance, with nice bass support and good diction in the homage to “Mary Hynes.” The eerily chromatic descending canon of “Anthony O’Daly” had a fierce crescendo and moving dissonances; “The Coolin” a warm tone. When this choir sings love-songs, you truly believe them.

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Northwest Repertory Singers mark 10-year milestone with season finale

There’s no shortage of choirs in South Puget Sound. It’s a measure of success the Northwest Repertory Singers has not only reached its 10th birthday, but has done it in style: consistently full houses, difficult and locally based repertoire, an eclectic array of programming and 60 singers who show up each Monday night because they love it.

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Published: 06/03/1112:05 am | Updated: 06/03/11 3:53 am

There’s no shortage of choirs in South Puget Sound. It’s a measure of success the Northwest Repertory Singers has not only reached its 10th birthday, but has done it in style: consistently full houses, difficult and locally based repertoire, an eclectic array of programming and 60 singers who show up each Monday night because they love it.

“The choir has continued to grow, both in quality and in presenting a more professional image,” said founding director Paul Schultz. “I keep raising the bar in terms of repertoire, but also in our approach and commitment to preparation. And ... we’re blessed by a tremendous response – playing to full houses over the last four or five years.”

The response has been so positive, in fact, that for the choir’s 10th anniversary celebration this weekend they’ve decided to perform their concert twice, on Saturday and Sunday. The program covers everything this choir has done well during the past decade – Northwest composers such as Morten Lauridsen, difficult works such as Samuel Barber’s “Reincarnations,” a new commission from Schultz’ wife, composer Donna Gartman Schultz, and profound writing from poets such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Dylan Thomas and Rainer Maria Rilke.

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A Choral Christmas Tree

The Northwest Repertory Singers build a concert of well-sung choral works, each as individual as a Christmas tree ornament.

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Published: 12/18/10 11:15 pm

Holiday favorites are pleasant, but it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a whole Christmas concert of unusual arrangements and new music; and that’s exactly what the Northwest Repertory Singers are offering this weekend in their home venue of Mason United Methodist Church. To a full house on Saturday night the choir sang with excellent musicianship and skill, plus the confidence born of performing familiar music – pieces all taken from nine years of Christmas concerts.

One of the favorites was “Snowforms,” by Canadian composer R. Murray Shafer. With clear, perfectly pitched voices the women created a powerful stillness out of this free-notation score, from the unearthly, snow-silent humming through flurrying Inuit words and solid drifts of chords. The men followed with Randall Thompson’s haunting setting of the Robert Frost poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: With Marjorie Skreen feather-light on the eerie piano arpeggios, the men sang the rich, Russian-deep harmonies with control.

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Delicate and expressive, Northwest Repertory Singers fill season-end program with Romantic French music

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Published: 05/22/1010:46 pm | Updated: 05/23/10 7:26 am

On Saturday night Mason United Methodist Church was packed, and it was easy to guess why: For the first time, the Northwest Repertory Singers were bringing in the Northwest Sinfonietta to tackle a choral work beloved of many – Fauré’s Requiem. Yet the rest of the French Romantic program was equally well-sung, though delicate.

It was a short program – just one and a half hours – with just half an hour of music before intermission. Yet, filled as it was with exquisite musical paintings and a few lesser-heard works, the first half more than satisfied.

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Northwest Repertory Singers can swing it

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Published: March 23rd, 2009 11:44 PM | Last updated: March 23rd, 2009 11:44 PM (PDT)

It’s always great to hear a group that’s excellent at what it does try something new.

Saturday night at Mason United Methodist Church, the Northwest Repertory Singers launched into jazz and, accompanied by the always-cool Kareem Kandi Band, they did a fine job, complementing perfectly their opening half of past choir favorites sung with gusto and finesse.

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Northwest Repertory Singers offer joyful Christmas banquet

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Published: December 21st, 2009 7:37 AM

At the Sunday performance of their “North American Christmas” concert at Mason United Methodist Church, the Northwest Repertory Singers spread out to a packed house a festive banquet of music that was as varied as it was well-sung, with an instrumental backdrop of brass, organ, flute and piano to add spice.

Linked with a North American theme, the program joined nine carols ranging from Huron to Appalachian with two larger classical works. The tone hit all the nuances of what makes American music American – simplicity, optimism, folksong, civil history and brillianc – without sinking into the trite or saccharine: no mean feat at this time of year. And at just 90 minutes, the concert was just the right length for a dose of Christmas music, however unusual.

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Northwest Repertory Singers can swing it

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune
Published: March 23rd, 2009 11:44 PM | Last updated: March 23rd, 2009 11:44 PM (PDT)

It’s always great to hear a group that’s excellent at what it does try something new.

Saturday night at Mason United Methodist Church, the Northwest Repertory Singers launched into jazz and, accompanied by the always-cool Kareem Kandi Band, they did a fine job, complementing perfectly their opening half of past choir favorites sung with gusto and finesse.

...click here to read more.


 

Northwest Sinfonietta gives triumphant performance of Beethoven's 9th

ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI; The News Tribune

Published: April 6th, 2008 08:00 AM | Updated: April 6th, 2008 08:02 AM

Joyful, triumphant playing and a sold-out house combined in the Rialto on Saturday night for the final concert in the Northwest Sinfonietta’s main season: Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, “Choral.” Along with the Northwest Repertory Singers and four sterling soloists, the chamber orchestra swelled both its ranks and its sound for this beloved musical monolith.

Just as it’s hard to open for Bruce Springsteen, so it’s pretty hard to know what to program before Beethoven’s colossal Ninth. The work is over an hour long, but you have to have something else to fill the concert. The choice of Beethoven’s lesser-known choral work “Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage” made an excellent start. His setting of Goethe’s poetry foreshadows the Ninth in many ways, and the Sinfonietta and Northwest Repertory Singers, finely conducted here by the choir’s director Paul Schulz, hit just the right notes: a calm, flat stillness for the opening, intense precision in the optimistic anticipation, bright and ringing for the ship’s sailing.

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