SEQUIM – The Peninsula Singers, the three-decade-old Sequim-based ensemble, invites artists to audition and join the choir for their upcoming concerts in January.
“It’s a challenge. So it’s rewarding when it all comes together,” said Valerie Lape, soprano with the singers since moving to the Northern Olympic Peninsula in 2005.
Lape, also chairman of the nonprofit choir’s board of directors, encourages singers to contact conductor and music director Jerome Wright at [email protected] Prospective members need a solid choir background, the ability to read music and proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Wright said.
The Peninsula Singers debuted in 1988 with Dennis Crabbe as director.
Dewey Ehling then conducted the choir from 1990 until his death in 2016.
In 2020, the singers were silenced by the pandemic; then, in October, about 20 of the members met.
“Some of our group decided to come out with optimism and start rehearsing,” Wright said.
The singers practice at the Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church at 925 N. Sequim Ave., which he hopes will be the site of their winter concerts. Two are scheduled, January 29 and 30, with a public dress rehearsal on January 28.
“We follow COVID standards for our host church, so we sing with masks,” Wright said, adding that all singers are fully vaccinated.
In the meantime, Wright and the choir have produced a “Virtual Cabaret” and made it available on Peninsulasingers.org.
It’s a review of songs, many of which are holiday-themed: “A Child Is Born in a Manger” with singer Joel Yelland and pianist Linda Dowdell; “O Holy Night” with soprano Erin Wood is part of the program.
Carol Swarbrick, a film and theater actress who lives in Sequim, sings “Send in the Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim and a play called “Rap” from the musical “Sister Act”.
Swarbrick was scheduled to perform in this show at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theater in early 2020, but like its counterparts around the world, the race for “Sister Act” was called off.
Members of the Seattle Girls’ Choir, Seattle Youth Symphony and Bellevue Youth Symphony also appear, and the finale is Jacob Winkler’s arrangement of “True Colors”.
The Virtual Cabaret is free to watch, although Peninsula Singers are welcome, Wright said.
In January, the theme of their concerts will be the title of Robert Lowry’s folk song: “How Can I Keep From Singing?”
The performances will open with three pieces in memory of those who disappeared from COVID: two by Mozart and “Ubi Caritas” by Maurice Duruflé.
The second section will set the mood with songs by Handel, Beethoven and Verdi, sung in Italian. Next come “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” by Rodgers and Hammerstein, excerpts from the soundtrack of “Schindler’s List” and the Karen P. Thomas arrangement of Seattle of “How Can I”. Keep from Singing?
The finale: Handel’s “Hallelujah”, sung by the choir and the audience together.
Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.