Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2015 6:45 pm
In the first 10 minutes of Northwest University’s concert choir rehearsal, you find them reading scripture, discussing salvation and praying. Bill Owen, NU’s Choir Director, leads these practices, including the beginning devotion, and reminds the choir members not just of the importance of the music but the profound lyrics to their pieces. This meditative approach alone grants a motivation to the choir that runs deeper than the average ensemble.
Even so, spiritual motivation is not all that the Concert Choir is blessed with. Witnessing them practice “The First Noel”, their talent and preparation was immediately noticeable. This was even more impressive after watching Owen lead them. While certain pieces required long, sweeping notes, others demanded very precise and quick shifts between tones as Owen guided the choir through these sections with an impressive specificity. With his trained hearing, he can pick up on the slightest imperfections. He corrected these with poise and was quick to commend his students when they improved their performances.
Victoria Geck is a General Music major, NU’s Music Librarian and a member of the Concert Choir with a deep appreciation for the ensemble. All music majors are required to be in a music group at Northwest, but Geck said that she would be there regardless. She said that Concert Choir has helped her in several ways. “I have definitely grown a lot in my musical abilities since joining, and it has deepened my appreciation of music. It’s helped me realize that there’s more to music than I first thought,” Geck said.
This isn’t to say that the choir is only meant for music majors. Geck was once a Cultural Studies major and sympathizes with members of the choir from different majors, of which there are many. These students may have different plans for the future, but they are unified by their passion for music. Along with a means of self-expression of its members, Concert Choir provides one more layer of community to Northwest and its surrounding area.
Geck said that Bill’s focus on the message of the music is helpful. “Sometimes I can get too used to a song. I can go through a song and forget about the power that I’m singing about, but Bill will always bring us back to the message,” she said. This core of Christian faith is highlighted in the Christmas season and culminates in the yearly Christmas concert at Benaroya Hall. This year, the concert will consist of Northwest’s Concert and Chamber Choir, as well as Coro Amici and the Kirkland Civic Orchestra. It will be held at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on December 8th at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available in the Music Department as well as online at http://www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroyahall/concerts-tickets