JOIN THE NORTHWEST FIRELIGHT CHORALE
Interested in joining The Northwest Firelight Chorale? Are you wondering what we’re all about, or whether or not you’d fit in? Read on …
- ♦ Rehearsals are on Wednesdays from 7 to 9:30, at St. John United Lutheran Church on Phinney. (Need directions?)
- ♦ Dues are $40/month during the choir season, September through June.
- ♦ Some scholarship money is available, if needed.
- ♦ Alternately, members have the option to pay more than that amount or to continue paying over the summer, to help sustain the choir.
- ♦ To get started, email Deeji to schedule a simple part-placement audition.
Q&A WITH THE DIRECTOR, DEEJI KILLIAN:
Who are We?
We are a fabulous, spirited, loving group of individuals who enjoy making fantastic, soul-stirring music together. We are currently between the ages of 27 and 68. We are gay, straight, black, white (and various combos), working in a variety of professions and living anywhere from Renton to Bothell to Kirkland to Edmonds and into Seattle proper. We’re all beautiful beings who are passionate about coming together every week to make insanely incredible music!
“Gee, that sounds lovely. Are you only looking for people who have trained voices and who can sight-sing really well?”
Some of our singers are excellent sight-readers, and many others learn by ear. The ability to read music is certainly helpful but not required. Some members have had no voice training and others are professional opera singers. Others are somewhere in between. All voice types are welcome, and all fit in.
“Hey! This is sounding better and better. What kind of music do y’all sing?”
We sing everything from world music, sacred and secular folk music and spirituals to show choir, musical theater, jazz and classical. In other words, quite the variety. Some music is chosen because it has fantastic rhythms and/or harmonies, some is chosen because it’s so beautiful it makes you want to cry, and some is chosen because when I hear it, I can just see the choralography! I have a theater and dance background and enjoy enhancing our performances with movement when the music just begs for it.
“Fun! Tell me about the performances.”
We have held our concerts at local churches and have sung at many fairs and festivals, including Northwest Folk Life Festival, Sustainable Ballard, Seattle Green Festival, and many others. We have been invited to perform for many local fundraising organizations and have ourselves organized many fundraising concerts helping to raise over $100,000 for charity. In 2009, we also performed throughout Provence and Tuscany helping to raise money for their local charities, arts organizations and churches.
“Do I have to (gulp) audition?”
I would very much like to hear you sing. It’s important for me as the director to familiarize myself with the individual voices of my choir members. This way I can help you determine what part you will be singing and whether to send you to the lower or higher notes when your part splits, as well as finding out a little bit about your singing history and whether or not you’re interested in performing in small ensembles or occasionally singing solo. Auditions are low key. I will vocalize you a little and have you sing something of your choosing. And then we visit a little. That’s it!
“What can I expect at a rehearsal?”
To have lots of fun and to work hard. I begin each rehearsal with stretching and breathing exercises. And then I give a mini group voice lesson, which is your vocal warmup. I’m a voice teacher, and it is important to me that you all sing with strong, healthy, supported, free voices. We then sometimes do rhythm/movement exercises and always end our warmups with a vocal exercise that moves us about the space, engaging with one another before we head up to the risers. Next we learn music. This often involves splitting into sectionals led by section leaders. We then meet back together for some glorious choral singing.
“How difficult is the music?”
I would say that most of our pieces range from beginning intermediate to advanced intermediate level.
“Do you memorize music for concerts?”
Yes! I really believe in the importance of connecting with our audiences. When we hold our music up in front of our throats and hearts, we create a barrier between us and our audiences. I believe in singing “by heart,” from our hearts directly to the hearts of our audiences.
“That makes a lot of sense. Can you tell me what you expect from your choir members?”
First and foremost, I ask that choir members be responsible for the energy they bring to rehearsals. It is extremely important that the atmosphere at rehearsals be positive, upbeat, friendly, supportive and safe. Leave any negativity or judgments about yourself or others at the door. If you’re committing to being at rehearsal, you’re committing not only to giving your focused attention and sharing your beautiful voice but also to helping create a loving environment for all of us, including yourself. When we lift one another up in this way, we open up our hearts and voices to our most beautiful, expressive singing ever.
We also ask that our members use their individual talents to help the choir thrive. Some will offer their technical skills, some will distribute flyers, etc.
“Wow! This all sounds fantastic. I can’t wait to dive in. So what’s the next step?”
E-mail me. We will arrange a time for you to come sing for me.