Seattle U Choirs Sing Their Way Into Spring



Seattle U’s annual Spring Sing featuring Cantus Men’s Vocal Ensemble and the Seattle University Choirs.

Alvaro Vazquez, Author

Directed by Dr. Leann Conley-Holcom and Dr. Lee Peterson, the Seattle University Choirs performed in their “Spring Sing” concert this weekend at St. Joseph Church. The concert also featured the male ensemble Cantus, a Minnesota based group and one of the nation’s few full-time vocal ensembles.

Seattle U’s choirs had the opportunity to work closely with this talented group, and even perform music on stage in collaboration with Seattle U’s own performers.

Seattle U’s annual Spring Sing featuring Cantus Men’s Vocal Ensemble and the Seattle University Choirs.

For Cantus, this collaboration was part of its commitment to preserve and deepen music education in schools. Cantus works with more than 5,000 students each year in master classes and workshop settings across the country. As a full-time ensemble, they have more than 60 concerts a year and tour both nationally and internationally.

For bass section leader Derrick Jones, a sophomore theater major, Cantus’s presence presented an opportunity for Seattle U’s choirs to learn.

“I think the biggest thing is the fact that we have a professional group here, we have Cantus, who is bringing so much energy to us,” Jones said. “We’re here to learn from them and to showcase what we can create as a group with different levels of singing, with different ideas, different backgrounds; all coming together. Today is a celebration of our music and our talent and everything that we’ve put towards our work for this year.”

Jones also noted that with a professional group like Cantus working closely with Seattle U choirs, students were able to learn more about the technicalities of singing and other aspects of a performance that go into creating an overall better performance.

“You can make sound sound pretty good, but being able to sustain, being able to increase your range, sing lower and higher notes, these are things that Cantus has to do on a daily basis, day in and day out,” Jones said. “These are baseline techniques that I’m better able to grasp with their presence.”



The concert itself had no centralized theme or focus, instead the work presented varied greatly, with classical pieces performed as well as more contemporary work that showcased the choirs’ work possible after much trial and tribulation. The focus of the concert was to function as a celebration of music and all the hard work that the Seattle U choirs put in throughout the quarter.

The start of the performance itself was memorable, with the entirety of the Seattle U choir surrounding the audience in their song, leaving the audience members feeling fully immersed in the music. The church’s pleasant aesthetics and acoustics complemented the Seattle U choir in their more classical work, but also left room for contemporary work such as a social media critique by Cantus that was highlighted by the iconic Twitter jingle sung every few measures.

The success of the performance was due to more that just singing technicalities. Singers also had to consider the emotion behind the pieces, balance the combination of all voices, and find a way to make the delivery unique.

“You have to think to yourself, how can this audience receive it, what do they need to hear, and how do you do that?” Nicholas DeJohn, senior history major and baritone singer, said.

If you missed the “Spring Sing” performance, there will be another opportunity coming in late May to watch the choir perform. This concert on May 20 is set to be another major performance, and another fantastic display of what our Seattle U choirs are able to put together.

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