Vashon’s chorale heads to Benaroya

Vashon Island Chorale conductor Gary Cannon works with the 80-member ensemble during a rehearsal.  - Mike Urban photo
Vashon Island Chorale conductor Gary Cannon works with the 80-member ensemble during a rehearsal.
— image credit: Mike Urban photo

Vashon Island Chorale is gearing up to jump the pond.

In what Chorale president Jo Ann Bardeen called “a dream come true,” the 80-voice choir will sing its spring concert next week in a world-class venue — Benaroya Hall.

Vashon’s chorale, joined by the Cascadian Chorale, Everett Chorale and Rainier Chorale, will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem Mass in D Minor,” widely considered the composer’s choral masterpiece.

Noted Northwest conductor Mark Adrian will wield the baton for the concert, which will also feature Vashon Opera artistic director and diva Jennifer Krikawa and Vashon Island Chorale conductor Gary Cannon as soloists.

“This concert has been six years in the works, and it feels so good to see it come to fruition,” said Bardeen.

Pam Bredouw, who has sung alto in the chorale since 1994, agreed.

“This feels like our coming out party,” she said.

According to Bardeen, the Vashon chorale began discussions with Adrian six years ago about participating in the combined choirs event.

However, due to a number of circumstances, including a shift in the chorale’s artistic leadership, the chorale is only now getting to realize its long-held ambition to sing at Benaroya.

Cannon, the choir’s artistic director, said the concert presented a wonderful opportunity for the chorale.

“One of the great highlights of this collaboration will be the opportunity to get to know other area singers,” Cannon said. “We will learn from them, and they from us.”

Cannon added that he expects the chorale will also benefit from its Benaroya experience.

“Benaroya is one of the great halls on the West Coast,” he said. “Like any concert space, it has certain challenges, which provide us an opportunity to work on elements of our singing technique, which will be beneficial in other locations as well. Plus, it’s just fun to be on such a big stage.”

However, one chorale member — soloist Jennifer Krikawa — is no stranger to large concert halls.

The soprano, who recently wowed Vashon audiences with her star turn as Mimì in Vashon Opera’s debut production of “La Bohème,” has sung at Carnegie Hall in New York and Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Her dazzling opera resume includes performances as Fiordiligi in “Così Fan Tutte,” Micaëla in “Carmen,” Gretel in “Hänsel und Gretel,” Pamina in “Die Zauberflöte,” Antonia in “Les Contes d’Hoffman,” Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” and Yum Yum in “The Mikado.”

Vashon Island Chorale’s talents will also be on full display during a separate portion of their concert at Benaroya Hall, when the choir performs alone in a 15-minute set that will include George Gershwin’s “Sing of Spring,” Aaron Copland’s “Zion’s Walls” and Randall Thompson’s “The Road Not Taken,” from “Frostiana.”

Chorale members are looking forward to the night.

“Singing on the Benaroya stage is a dream come true for both amateur and professional singers,” Bardeen said. “I’m happy that Vashon Island Chorale members are going to realize that dream.”

Bredouw said she’s “thrilled” to be able to sing at Benaroya, especially Mozart’s “Requiem” — a piece of music that she considers one of the world’s most moving compositions.

“It’s a force of genius,” she said.

Last week, she said, when she listened to the choir sing it — capturing the enunciation of its Latin, its complex harmonies, the nuance of the piece — she felt overcome by emotion.

“I’m going to cry when I sing it,” she said, laughing. “Which is completely useless.”

Vashon Island Chorale’s concert at Benaroya Hall will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 14, in the S. Mark Taper Auditorium, 200 University St., Seattle. Advance tickets, $25, are on sale at Books by the Way, Vashon Bookshop, Blue Heron, or at Tickets will also be available at the door for $30.

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