News

25th Year Reunion Concert at Willamette University

WHAT: 25th Year Anniversary Concert for members of the University Choir and Chamber Choir who performed for Dr. Wallace Long, director of Choral Activities, Willamette University

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 16, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Rogers Music Center, Hudson Hall, Willamette University

COST: Free

Willamette University choral alumni will perform a special concert in celebration of 25 years of service by Wallace Long, director of Choral Activities. The free concert is Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m. in Hudson Hall on campus. Performers will include an 80-voice Alumni Choir and this year's 40-voice Chamber Choir.

Literature for the Alumni Choir will be chosen from some of Long's favorites of more than two decades of choral singing at Willamette. The concert will include "Down to the Water to Pray" and "Amen" from the 2004 choir's tour to South Africa; "Dusk to Dawn" composed by Willamette alumnus, Vijay Singh; "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place" from Brahm's "Requiem"; and "My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord" by Moses Hogan. The concert will open with a performance by the current 2007-08 Chamber Choir featuring another of Long's favorite works, "Consecrate the Place and Day" by Lloyd Pfautsch. It will conclude with the Reunion Choir and the Chamber Choir joining to perform what has become known as the signature piece for the group, the "Nunc Dimittis" by Alexander Gretchaninoff.

The choral program at Willamette University has seen significant growth since Long's arrival in 1983. At the time of his arrival Willamette had one regularly meeting choir, the University Choir, a non-audition ensemble. The Willamette Singers group did not meet on a continuing basis. Within one year the University Choir became an audition group and the reinstated Willamette Singers presented Madrigal Dinners in the fall and studied vocal jazz in the spring.

In the fall of 1984, Long joined with the Lutheran Fine Arts League to create what is now known as the Willamette Master Chorus. By the fall of 1989 the program had grown immensely, and a Chamber Choir was created for advanced students. In the fall of 1989 the University Choir was divided into a choir of male voices and a choir of female voices, now known as Male Ensemble Willamette and Voce Femminille, respectively. During the early 1990s Long directed all five choral ensembles at Willamette in addition to teaching voice and a variety of music education courses.

In the fall of 1995 Willamette hired two adjunct faculty members to take over Male Ensemble Willamette and Voce Femminille. Long turned the Willamette Master Chorus over to Paul Klemme. The choral program has grown to be a healthy and vital part of the music program at Willamette. It is not uncommon for 10 percent of the student body to audition for placement in a Willamette choral ensemble.

The choral program has been acknowledged as one of the strongest in the Northwest. Many requests have been made for honorific performances. Willamette choral groups have performed for American Choral Directors Association Northwest Conventions, the American Choral Directors Association National Convention, and the International Convention of the International Association of Jazz Educators.

In addition to convention performances, Willamette choral ensembles take yearly tours throughout the Northwest. Special tours have gone to Hawaii, Japan and at the request of Bishop Desmond Tutu, a tour to South Africa. In May 2006 the Chamber Choir, Willamette choral alumni and members of the Willamette Master Chorus performed Franz Joseph Haydn's "Mass in the Time of War" in Carnegie Hall.

Beyond the convention performances and tours, Long's legacy includes scores of young people who have gone on to make music a permanent part of their lives, as an avocation or a vocation. This 25th anniversary concert will celebrate a musician who has worked with almost 900 students during his tenure at Willamette and has touched countless hearts with passionate, artistic performances of choral music.

09-04-2007