Bellevue Chamber Chorus

Bellevue Chamber Chorus Bellevue Chamber Chorus is a non-profit choral organization based in Bellevue, WA. consisting of 28 to 30 auditioned singers. Bellevue Chamber Chorus, founded in 1984, consists of professional and avocational musicians of diverse backgrounds, performing choral literature with varied accompaniment from all musical periods.

The Chorus performs a minimum of three major concerts each season, encompassing a variety of choral literature from the classical standards and contemporary works to world music, Broadway hits, and vocal jazz. The Chorus often joins other ensembles in performances of major choral/orchestral works, such as Mozart’s "Vespers" and "Requiem", Faure’s "Requiem", Verdi’s "Requiem", Handel’s "Messiah", Orff’s "Carmina Burana", Brahms’ "Requiem", Rutter's "Mass of the Children", and Ariel Ramirez' "Misa por la Paz y la Justicia". The ensemble has premiered works by regional composers, including commissioned works for the Washington State Centennial Celebration, the grand opening of the Theatre at Meydenbauer Center, a special 20th anniversary season commissioned piece, "That Music Always Round Me", by Seattle composer, John Muehleisen, and co-commissions of pieces by Andre Thomas and Eric Whitacre. The Chorus has released three CDs, “Timeframes”, “Retrospective”, and our 2013 holiday CD, “Christmas Visions, Winter Dreams”. Bellevue Chamber Chorus tours often and has performed in Carnegie Hall, various locations in Europe, the International Music Festival (2000) in Sydney, Australia, and twice at the invitational Kathaumixw International Choral Festival in Powell River, British Columbia, where they won first place in 2008 in the adult mixed chorus category. Other performances include the Leavenworth International Choral Festival, the international “Rolling Requiem” in memory of September 11th, as one of the regional choruses in the NEA sponsored American Masterpieces Choral Festival in Seattle, and in Kelowna, B.C. as part of the Okanogan Choral Society Series. The Chorus toured the south of France in the summer of 2017 and participated in the 22nd International Choir Festival in Provence, and the 9th International Choir Festival in Aveyron. The Chorus was selected as one of only six choirs to perform in a special GSCC event “Welcome Home Morten Lauridsen” in October 2019. Bellevue Chamber Chorus is a non-profit organization, which receives its support from the generous donations of people interested in supporting the creation of fine musical experiences on the Eastside.

General Manager: Debra Defotis, Development Director

Operating as usual

11/23/2020
"Bright Morning Stars" Tuesday, Nov. 24th at 7:30pm

Join us Tuesday, Nov. 24th at 7:30pm for our premiere of "Bright Morning Stars," an Appalachian tune arranged by Shawn Kirchner. We are exicted to collaborate with our pianist, Kristine Anderson, and to welcome Ken Sabalza, our baritone soloist for this piece. Ken brings a rich tone and sensitivity to the text, that we are thrilled he is joining us for this timely piece that speaks of hope and renewal.

10/28/2020
"Ubi Caritas" by Joan Szymko

"Ubi Caritas" by Joan Szymko. The one line of Latin text emphasizes generosity, and in these days of hardship and struggle we offer this message in solidarity, as we are all in this together.

"From the Podium"October 5th, 2020   Even in these times of social distancing the Bellevue Chamber Chorus is finding way...
10/04/2020
Bellevue Chamber Chorus Official

"From the Podium"

October 5th, 2020

Even in these times of social distancing the Bellevue Chamber Chorus is finding ways to make music together. In addition to our collaborative recordings, we are experimenting, adapting, and learning to rehearse via the internet. Such new endeavors underscore for me that my favorite aspect of choral music is the collaborative journey: rather than focus on the final product, choral music is about the process. I love rehearsing and working hard in service of the music; in fact, I have long said - sometimes to the shock of my singers - that I would still love to rehearse even if there was no goal to ever perform. Rehearsal, in this sense, is not a means to an end but it is a rewarding and enriching experience when you treat every rehearsal opportunity as a performance and the music you create is an offering to your fellow collaborators. It is not surprising to me that a lot of my favorite repertoire, including sixteenth-century Italian and English madrigals as well as German romantic partsongs, were written not for the concert hall or church service but merely for personal consumption in parlors, living rooms, and squares.

Social distancing has indeed changed everything for musicians. For folks like me who value the collaborative process, we now find ourselves creating recordings on our own; however, Bellevue Chamber Chorus is determined to creatively break the mold. We have had our first foray into digital rehearsal with Realtime Music Solutions applications Coach and Rehearsal Live Share. While these programs do not allow the singer to hear other singers while we record, it does allow the director to hear up to twenty singers properly aligned and to give verbal feedback in real time. Balance and vocal tone quality are a challenge over the internet, and giving feedback on such is problematic given limitations and non-standardized equipment. Nevertheless, we are gathering to find a common vision for musical details like phrasing, articulation, and relative dynamics. Additionally, singing into a microphone is a new and challenging experience without anyone to support your sound or boost your morale. As a result, such a challenge is also worthy of routine acclimation as we all improve our microphone presence and digital intonation. Most important, the weekly “just showing up” is integral to any arts community: as human beings we are creatures of habit and routine, and how we spend our time often comes to define who we are. As a result, continuing to gather has important social benefits for our group dynamics and cohesion, as well as artistic rewards as we discuss the piece’s text and broader interpretation. Clearly, the Bellevue Chamber Chorus has decided we can’t just “wait this out,” but we need to continue to remain constructive, creative, and engaged as a music-making community.

Our next project by Northwestern composer Joan Szymko is a setting of Ubi Caritas, and for this piece the composer crafts a modern sound with rather ancient techniques. The piece features antiphony, or a “call and response” imitation within each section: for example, as the half the tenors chant the original motive, the other half of the tenor section echoes them exactly. Furthermore, Szymko's piece is not written in a specific major or minor key, but instead the piece is what we would define as modal with collections of pitches that our modern ears are not often accustomed to. Finally, the motivic writing is rather chant-like with a syllabic setting and a natural contour that boasts a fluid rise and fall of the melodic line. The piece’s one line of text is about generosity, and in this time of wildfires, disease, political uncertainty, and economic hardship, it is a message that we feel ought to be compelling to our larger human family as we are all in this together. Aside from being inspired by early music, Joan Szymko’s setting has a certain pleading earnestness to it, while at the same time, the bright and calm conclusion seems meant to communicate reassurance and hope.

Please join us for our digital premiere of Ubi Caritas on Facebook and YouTube on Tuesday, October 27th at 7:30pm.

Warmly,

Ben Luedcke
Artistic Director
Bellevue Chamber Chorus
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwPGuDvDKaVFo8mf3_eRWqg

09/09/2020
"Roots" by Ola Gjeilo -- Bellevue Chamber Chorus

"Roots" by Ola Gjeilo
Bellevue Chamber Chorus
Ben Luedcke, Artistic Director

When all is still and silence falls,
When darkness gathers in and shadows cover all,
I close my eyes and fond mem’ries I recall;
And I am once again, I’m once again in my heart’s home.
The softly falling snow, the valley green,
The simple joy of friends gathering, as has always been,
Those deep blue skies, the crackling ice, the bright sunrises of my home.
Where love is strong and roots grow deep,
Where I felt safe at play, or cradled fast asleep;
Though I’ve since left, this vision in my heart I keep
Until I’m once again, I’m once again in my heart’s home.
The journey beckoning, the road is long;
Far have I traveled from my former home, from my spirit song.
In my dreaming, hear it echoing, reminding me where I belonged,
And I am once again, I’m once again in my heart’s home.
~Charles Anthony Silvestri

In partnership with Classical Movements, as part of the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program, this piece was jointly commissioned by a consortium of choruses to benefit the programs and services of Chorus America. Bellevue Chamber Chorus' participation was made possible by generous contributions from Gordon Davidson and Debra Defotis. The photos in this video presentation were all submitted by Bellevue Chamber Chorus members.

Kindly donate at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr...
Signup for our email list: http://eepurl.com/hq4-I
Visit us at https://www.bellevuechamberchorus.org/

09/08/2020

"Roots" by Ola Gjeilo
Bellevue Chamber Chorus
Ben Luedcke, Artistic Director

When all is still and silence falls,
When darkness gathers in and shadows cover all,
I close my eyes and fond mem’ries I recall;
And I am once again, I’m once again in my heart’s home.
The softly falling snow, the valley green,
The simple joy of friends gathering, as has always been,
Those deep blue skies, the crackling ice, the bright sunrises of my home.
Where love is strong and roots grow deep,
Where I felt safe at play, or cradled fast asleep;
Though I’ve since left, this vision in my heart I keep
Until I’m once again, I’m once again in my heart’s home.
The journey beckoning, the road is long;
Far have I traveled from my former home, from my spirit song.
In my dreaming, hear it echoing, reminding me where I belonged,
And I am once again, I’m once again in my heart’s home.
~Charles Anthony Silvestri

In partnership with Classical Movements, as part of the Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program, this piece was jointly commissioned by a consortium of choruses to benefit the programs and services of Chorus America. Bellevue Chamber Chorus' participation was made possible by generous contributions from Gordon Davidson and Debra Defotis. The photos in this video presentation were all submitted by Bellevue Chamber Chorus members.

Kindly donate at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr...
Signup for our email list: http://eepurl.com/hq4-I
Visit us at https://www.bellevuechamberchorus.org/

09/06/2020
Join Us! "Roots" by Ola Gjeilo

Join us Tuesday, September 8th at 7:30pm for our season kickoff and our Facebook premiere of Ola Gjeilo's new piece, "Roots," which features text by poet Charles Anthony Silvestri. Look for the link to our premiere on our page in the next couple days.

Bellevue Chamber Chorus's cover photo
08/25/2020

Bellevue Chamber Chorus's cover photo

Concert posters for Bellevue Chamber Chorus
08/25/2020

Concert posters for Bellevue Chamber Chorus

Concert posters for Bellevue Chamber Chorus

Photos taken at events starting in the 2019-2020 season.
08/25/2020

Photos taken at events starting in the 2019-2020 season.

Photos taken at events starting in the 2019-2020 season.

Bellevue Chamber Chorus logo - 2015 - designed by Chris Meierding
08/24/2020

Bellevue Chamber Chorus logo - 2015 - designed by Chris Meierding

08/18/2020
Composer Ola Gjeilo discusses new commission "Roots".

Bellevue Chamber Chorus will be premiering our new recording of Ola Gjeilo's brand new work, "Roots," which was co-commissioned by Bellevue Chamber Chorus and other participating choirs.

Check out our premiere set for Tuesday, September 8th at 7:30pm via Facebook and Youtube.

In light of the way our lives have been affected by Covid-19, Ola Gjeilo speaks about his hometown in Norway, and ideas about shelter and comfort as found in the text and melody of this brand new work, which as he says, "feels like home."

Learn more about Ola Gjeilo's vision for the piece by checking out this interview hosted by one of the other participating choirs.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMkbMqhxk1w

Mendelssohn Club Chorus (MCC), along with 17 other choruses across the country, commissioned Ola Gjeilo as part of the Chorus America Commissioning Consortiu...

07/25/2020
Mouton: Nesciens Mater

Summer is certainly a season many of us enjoy our time outside, as we certainly marvel beneath the amazing architecture of the Pacific Northwest's trees, lakes, and mountains.

We invite you to put on a pair of headphones and enjoy the amazing architecture of Mouton's Nesciens Mater, an eight-voice motet that is among the Renaissance era's most amazing creations: the piece is for two choirs in canon at the fifth. Many of us are familiar with thinking of a round like "Row row your boat" with just one voice directly imitating another. Instead, imagine not just one, but four low voices start in F major, and then another four higher voices precisely echoes them two measures later, but in C major. While that is not a perfect analogy for the situation, it gives you a sense of just how intricately crafted this piece is, and even more so, just how incredible it is that it is not merely a technical accomplishment, but it is stunningly beautiful.

We invite you to close your eyes with a pair of headphones and admire the landscape. Then, if you like, another recording - which takes a faster tempo - is included in the comments below and includes a score to watch the two choirs interact.

Enjoy.
https://youtu.be/Gq7ORFW--cc

Provided to YouTube by TuneCore Mouton: Nesciens Mater · The Tallis Scholars & Peter Phillips Jean Mouton - Missa Dictes Moy Toutes Voz Pensées - Nesciens Ma...

07/04/2020
Eastside Sings

Coming up this Monday July 6 (since Eastside Sings can't do a sing-along in person)! An introduction to Handel's "Messiah" by Gary D. Cannon (Cascadian Chorale) and Linda Gingrich (Master Chorus Eastside), plus a performance recording from YouTube selected by the directors for you to grab your score and sing along with if you're feeling so inclined!

Part 2 of 2: A discussion of Handel's "Messiah" by Linda Gingrich of Master Chorus Eastside.

Afterwards, listen to (and sing along with!) a beautiful recording from the Monteverdi Choir, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, to whet your appetite for a complete sing-along when we can get together again in the summer of 2021! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlqscA1EzGg

Please provide your own score to sing along; this recording does not have an included score. (Oxford University Press edition preferred for 2021.)

Watch Part 1 by Gary Cannon: https://www.facebook.com/EastsideSings/videos/307047870701171/

If you'd rather watch these videos on YouTube, here is the full playlist link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgM1D3SxA6WXfrsbfgO2ysdYN3Fjkei-k

07/03/2020
Oseh Shalom - Bellevue Chamber Chorus

On this July 4th weekend, Bellevue Chamber Chorus presents its digital choir debut and offers "Oseh Shalom" by Sarah Riskind as an offering of peace to our nation.

Sarah writes:

"My setting of the Jewish prayer Oseh Shalom expresses the yearning for peace in a minor mode, which you’ll often hear in Jewish music about hope. What may be surprising is that it lands on a new major sonority at the end. Perhaps it symbolizes a longed-for transformation that we can achieve globally and individually. Many thanks to Ben Luedcke and Bellevue Chamber Chorus for their beautiful work!"

Special thanks to violinist Michelle Rhee and pianist Kristine Anderson.

06/30/2020
Lockung, Op. 25

Summer is a time for creating great memories, and often the sights and smells of the world around us compel us to reflect and remember.

Rheinberger is better known in the choral world for his a cappella motets, however, this beautiful piece with piano accompaniment is a rare gem in his output. It begins both strophes with a question: can't you hear the songs? Can't you hear the songs of the natural world all around us? Do you remember them as they call to you to dream? Do you remember what it was like to not fear, but instead, to lay in wonder?

Caught up in our busy lives, we often forget to sit and listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO_beUkpAy8

Provided to YouTube by NAXOS of America Lockung, Op. 25 · Anne Le Bozec Rheinberger: Choral Music ℗ 2001 Carus Released on: 2001-01-01 Artist: Anne Le Bozec ...

06/17/2020
The Birth of the Virtual Choir

Bellevue Chamber Chorus members have been involving themselves in several virtual choir projects from all over the world (including a couple of experiments of our own, still in progress). So we can tell you... this is EXACTLY what happens! 🤣🤣🤣

(from a post by the St Giles Festival Choir: We thought it was time to do something a little less serious, so we decided to share with you the joys, trials, tribulations and novelty of being in a Virtual Choir. Inspired by members of the St. Giles' Festival Choir, written by Julie Stanley and produced by Sophia and Alistair Razak (aged 19 and 16), we are proud to present, "The Birth Of The Virtual Choir". Enjoy!)
https://youtu.be/fUdoCgnj9qA

We thought it was time to do something a little less serious, so we decided to share with you the joys, trials, tribulations and novelty of being in a Virtua...

06/15/2020
Seven Last Words of the Unarmed by Joel Thompson

The board of Bellevue Chamber Chorus stands with Black Lives Matter.

We strive to be anti-racist and to support communities around our country that are struggling. We hope that our organization is able to promote and empower Black voices.

The following are the seven last words of unarmed black men, and the work by Joel Thompson that captured their cries.

""After being troubled by the onslaught of killings of unarmed black men and finding Shirin Barghi’s lastwords project, Joel Thompson began his journey in writing his most important composition today, The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed. Using the text structure of the Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ, Joel chose seven last words from Shirin’s artwork that formed the structure of the work.""

I. “Why do you have your guns out?” – Kenneth Chamberlain
II. “What are you following me for?” – Trayvon Martin
III. “Mom, I'm going to college.” – Amadou Diallo
IV. “I don't have a gun. Stop shooting.” – Michael Brown
V. “You shot me! You shot me!” – Oscar Grant
VI. “It's not real.” – John Crawford
VII. “I can't breathe.” – Eric Garner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od6DMd3sP4s

Michael Brown. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Kenneth Chamberlain. Amadou Diallo. John Crawford. These African-American men–each killed by police ...

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2019 Greater Seattle Choral Consortium’s Seattle Sings! Morten Lauridsen “Welcome Home” Photo credit: David Horiuchi
Any recordings of ur concert?
This is going to be a great concert! Saturday, Mercer Island. Sunday, Sammamish HS, Bellevue
How was the concert?
No power, no problem. Dress Rehearsal tonight (Friday) for our Renaissance and Baroque Christmas concerts on Saturday and Sunday, featuring the Vivaldi Gloria and Pergolesi/Durante Magnificat.
A special thank you to BCC's very own Music Director Dr. Fred Lokken and his lovely wife Marsha for their presence at the Seattle Mariners game, as well as to BCC Alum George for his assistance throughout the day. Way to represent Bellevue Chamber Chorus!!!