Kirkland Choral Society celebrates 25 years

The Kirkland Choral Society celebrates 25 years of making music this season. Their next concert is on March 29 at Meany Hall. - Contributed
The Kirkland Choral Society celebrates 25 years of making music this season. Their next concert is on March 29 at Meany Hall.
— image credit: Contributed

The Kirkland Choral Society began as eight musicians in a basement. Now, 25 years later, it is a large thriving organization.

Jessica Martin, Managing Director for the group and soprano in the chorus, knows that it’s the members who utilize their time, money and talents for the betterment of the group.

“Over the years we have become one of the premier choral groups on the Eastside, and we now have over 90 members,” said Martin. “We sing a lot of difficult repertoire and masterpieces. For us it shows a huge period of growth and improvement.”

In addition to their faithful audience, the programming and quality of performances, there is a sense of community within the group.

The Kirkland Choral Society has a total of three main programs per year. The first one of the season was in December 2013 and the remaining two are coming up during the next few months.

The group will be performing their Brahms Fest program in collaboration with Philharmonia Northwest chamber orchestra and Bellevue Chamber Chorus. This concert is scheduled for March 29 in Meany Hall at the University of Washington.

“It means a lot for a group to be able to collaborate with other groups because it just changes the dynamic of everything,” said Martin. “There is really nothing quite like having 125 singers with a full orchestra.”

They will be performing the Brahms Requiem. It consists of seven movements and

Kirkland Choral Society Director Glenn Gregg said it is likely one of the largest performances the society has done.

“The reason we want to perform it is it’s one of the greatest pieces ever written,” said Gregg. “Brahms’ music speaks to our hearts.”

A Silver Celebration is the final program of this season.

The first performance is scheduled for May 16 at First Methodist Church in Seattle and the second is May 18 at Bastyr University Chapel in Kenmore.

“The interesting thing about our May performance that is coming up, is for the first time, for this 25th anniversary season, we commissioned a living composer to write a piece for Kirkland Choral Society, and that composer is Kirke Mechem,” said Gregg.

Gregg said Mechem is planning to attend the May concerts.

“So we will be giving the world premier of the new work that he built for Kirkland Choral Society,” said Gregg.

The organization will also be performing three of Mechem’s other pieces and works from additional composers.

Gregg hasn’t commissioned a major piece for the chorus until now.

He wanted to create something for the 25th anniversary season.

In 1998, the group became an auditioned chorus -- one that requires an audition for admittance -- under Gregg’s direction.

“I can see the future will be continuing to develop musically and our skill level, continuing to develop our community outreach and community involvement and also sharing new beautiful music with new people all the time, that’s our passion, all of us, that’s why we commit so much of our time,” Martin said.


Laurel Rice is a University of Washington News Lab student and special to the Reporter.


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