About Chor Anno
Chor Anno is a mixed choir of 38 singers, most of whom direct choirs in schools, colleges, and churches in Washington and Oregon.
It was fun coming up with a name for this group and we admit it's a major stretch with the
combination of German "Chor" meaning "Choir" and the Latin word for "year" which is "anno."
We just liked the sound so to us to say "Chor Anno" means "The annual choir." So, we argue...
it's a name, not a translation!
But here's what prompted it.
Busy choral directors with busy schedules!
Getting these talented people in the same room at the same time was a tall order! So, we settled on September for our concert weekend each year. With a two and one-half day retreat in August along with a Friday night and Saturday morning refresher on the
weekend of the concerts, these amazing and determined musicians make it happen. We agreed that this time early
in a church or school year worked best. Yes, it's true. We might have to change the name if we started singing more than once a year! But for now...it's Chor Anno!
Chor Anno's singers are the heart and soul of the group. The choir rises to artistic levels because each singer brings
artistry to the choir.
Most of Chor Anno's members direct choirs in public schools, universities, or churches throughout the northwest. While
we tend to emphasisze that point, we absolutely do not forget that while six or seven of our members don't call that role
their paying job, choral music is a part of their lives and their artistry is vital to us, too. We speak with undisguised pride about each of them. Chor Anno easily claims professional quality despite no one in the choir being paid for their participation.
It's no stretch to say that they sing because they love to sing...and they love reaching new heights with colleagues who share this virtual obsession in finding the depths of what great music can offer. In doing so, they enrich their lives and the lives of those who come to hear them sing.
For more about each of these talented people, SEE the SINGERS pages under "About Us" in the menu.
Front row: (L to R) Nicole Lamartine, Molly Holleran, Carrie Rice, Alison Askeland, Twyla Brunson, April Duvic, Janet Reiter, Shannon Anderson, Leora Schwitters, Solveig Holmquist, Rebecca Pierce, Lori Wiest, MacKenzie Aitken, Stacy Brown, Karen Fulmer, Rhonda Slinkard
Back row: (L to R): Justin Raffa, Ben Bouton, Reg Unterseher, Erik Edmundson, Gary Gross, Jacob Funk, David Walworth, Justin Wisness, Brian Hoskins, Howard Meharg, Joel Karn, Matt Pierce, Joe Strandjord, Billy Buhl, Jeff Selden, Joseph To, Brian Mitchell, Paul Aitken.
"Day is a-breaking in my soul" becomes the theme for the 2022 concerts
Dr. Nicole Lamartine is now the director of choral music at Central Washington University, Ellensburg. We couldn't be happier with this news! Chor Anno members feel certain her leadership, charisma, and dedication to the choral art will continue to make CWU a leader in the training of undergraduates as well as graduate students.
Nicole leaves her role as Director of Choral Activities at the University of California, Santa Barbara to rejoin colleagues in the NW. Until 2020, Nicole was DCA at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.
Chor Anno rose to new heights of musicianship under the direction of Nicole Lamartine in 2019. She brought a fresh approach to choral tone and her reminders of singing principles made for tangible results.
Howard Meharg, who founded Chor Anno in 2009 says "I was thrilled when Nicole told me in the summer of 2012 that she'd like to be considered as a singer in Chor Anno." He said he was astonished that this marvelous soprano
who had sung with Conspirare under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson and the Desert Chorale directed by Josh Habermann (among other groups) would be willing to travel all the way from Laramie (at that time) to sing with Chor Anno, too. "You do know that no one in the group is paid, don't you," he asked. Her reply was, "Yes, I know that...but these are my friends and my colleagues. I'd really like to do this!"
Meharg said, "It became readily apparent, as Nicole began to conduct a few pieces in programs as early as 2014 that her spark, her expertise, and her positive and friendly approach to every minute of rehearsal, was exactly what I was looking for as a successor." Howard, who turned 84 in 2022, says that as long as he is able to lift a hand and conduct at least four beats to the measure, he's hoping the group will allow him to work with them in three or four pieces per program. As of 2019, iit was Dr. Nicole Lamartine, Conductor and J. Howard Meharg, Associate Conductor.
Dr. Nicole Lamartine moves to Central Washington University, director of choirs;
Chor Anno is delighted to have her back in the northwest!
Chor Anno's new members for 2022 introduced here
While we hope all of those who cannot sing with us in 2022 will return, we are always saddened to hear when a member is unable to participate in any given year. We will be missing Lori Wiest, Justin Raffa, Joe Strandjord, Tracey Schwab, and Jacob Funk this year. Now that's an amazing load of talent we will be without.
But the new members will fit beautifully and we're so proud to introduce them: Phil Denton, tenor, who teaches choral music at Skyview High School in Vancouver; Dan Colgan, tenor...director of choral music and organist, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Olympia, WA; Evan Miles, tenor, music director at Moreland Presbyterian Church, Portland and director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Eugene; Tom Walworth, bass, teaches orchestra at Thomas Jefferson High School and Lakota Middle School in Federal Way, Washington; Meg Stohlman, alto, director of choral music at Gonzaga University, Spokane; Gina Challed, soprano, director of choral music at Lower Columbia College, Longview; Kimberly Claassen, soprano, directs choral music in the Vancouver, WA public schools; and Margaret Green, alto, who also directs choral music in the schools of Vancouver, WA., and, incidentally, was an original member of Chor Anno in 2009.
I saw a quote a few days ago. It was meant to be funny, but was too close to truth, bordering on a bit of irony. It was "I'm getting tired of being part of a major historical event." This whole "Covid thing" has impacted all of us in so many ways the past three years. The loss of life, alone, has been a staggering thing for so many. Yes, I know it's our own "narrow little niche" of activity, but singing together is pretty important to us. We had to cancel our 2020 concerts altogether. We wear masks in rehearsals and wore them even in our 2021 concerts.
Last year, our theme for our concerts was "Resiliency." As someone said, "I'm getting tired of being "resilient...I would like to move on." We hold the same hope!
As I read the lyrics of each of our songs for this year I find a thread running through them all. "Let's move on." "Let's move from darkness to light" "Through difficulties, look upward, move forward." And then there is "Let there be music in me, music in me past words." "I hear a skyborn music still." "Alway, something sings!" Even in our Franz Joseph Haydn work, the Latin translates "(Though) vain and raging cares invade our minds..." we must look to the heavens. Other sacred songs point the same direction. "Love abounds in all things...from the depths, to the heights of the stars." Then there is the e. e. cummings poem that has the parent saying to a restless child "little man in a hurry full of an important worry! Halt! Stop! Relax!"
So, "Ad Astra." (to the stars). We are so hopeful that our music for 2022 brings you a sense of "Peace flows into (you)." And that you feel even a small sense of day having "done broke inna my soul."
2022 Program - Selected from the following titles (not in concert order)
Alway, Something Sings - Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Music by Dan Forrest
Caritas Abundat (Love Abounds) - Hildegard von Bingen , setting by Nancy Grundahl
Yonder Come Day - Lyrics from Georgia Sea Island Texts, Music Arr. by Paul Rudoi
Bright Morning Stars - Traditional Appalchian Song - Arr. by Shawn Kirchner
Chant to the Night Sky - Poem by Jeanne Lohmann, Music by Kenneth L. DeJong
Non Nobis Domine - Latin text, Music by Rosephanye Powell
Lobet den herrn - Johann Sebastion Bach
O Lux Beata - (O Heavenly Light), Music by Will Todd
Peace Flows Into Me - Poem by Sara Teasdale, Music by Dr. Paul Aitken
Insanae et venae curae - Franz Joseph Haydn
Carrickfergus - Traditional Irish - Arr. by Joshua Pacey
At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners - Poem by John Donne, Music by Williametta Spencer
Ad Astra (To the Stars) - Jacob Narverud
little man in a hurry - Poem by E. E. Cummings, Music by Eric Whitacre
Lamartine conducts and serves as clinician and adjudicator around the globe
Nicole Lamartine was a guest conductor and clinician in Hong Kong November 18-23, 2019. She was invited by the Association for Music in International Schools, AMIS (pronounced as the French word for "friends".)
With over 100 member schools on five continents, AMIS provides a network of support for music programs in international schools all over the world through the presentation of professional conferences, academic workshops, and ensemble festivals.
Nicole has previously served as adjudicator for international choral festivals on two separate occasions in Dubai, UAE.
Needless to say, Chor Anno is elated to have her singing with us and taking on the role of conductor. We are fortunate to have this rising "star" of the choral world, and it is world-wide, as part of this group!
As they say...but wait, there's more on the "local" front...
Nicole's collegiate choir from the University of Wyoming, sang in Spokane in March of 2020 for the NW Regional Conference of the American Choral Directors Association. And in 2022, Chor Anno was invited to sing in the culminating concert of the 2022 NWACDA conferene held in Spokane.
Yes, we're always glad to hear good things said about our concerts!
A few of the compliments from past concerts here...
"Thank you for that gift of music. I heard some folks (as they left the concert) say "wasn't that inspirational!" It was! Congratulations!" (DB) 2021
"The concert tonight was just perfect for setting off a re-entrance of live choral music to the public. Chor Anno certainly has a way with music in presentation, talent, depth of delivery and sensitivity to music. The dynamics and nuances of sound delivered in the varied pieces was exquisite. 'A Silence Haunts Me' was so moving and an absolute show stopper. A piece not to be missed or overlooked. I hope you have a most appreciative audience tomorrow with a great turnout. Thank you to all involved in this concert of 'Resiliency'. (S.P.) 2021
"Tonight's magnificent concert was titled "Resilience." The "inspired choral music" was presented by Chor Anno, a chorus comprised of outstanding choral directors. Everyone in the chorus and audience were masked, spaced, and proof of vaccination was required. The sound was amazingly good with singing masks. ... It was incredible to attend and hear the gorgeous music...live and in person!" (K.W.C.) 2021
"What a heavenly experience. Thanks for your hard work. I hope you never give it up!" (AL)
"It's a wonderful group. 'O Love' (Hagenberg) for male chorus takes my breath away." (JM)
"Beautiful, exquisite music this afternoon in Longview! Thank you, Chor Anno." (PB)
"It was a grand concert last night in ever so many ways. I was totally surprised when the music so engaged my inner soul that I felt like tears were going to burst out when the music so affected me in the piece "We Can Mend the Sky." We are truly blessed by your gifts. (BD)
"What exquisite music making!" (PS)
"This was the best choral concert I've ever heard." (FMB)
"Wonderful...made me cry tears of joy!" (TB)
Dozens of "likes" and positive comments popped up on Facebook. We thank you all for taking the time to
Chor Anno Board Members
President: Karen P. Fulmer, Auburn, WA
Vice-President: Don E. Wiitala, Longview, WA
Treasurer: Twyla V. Brunson, Kent, WA
Secretary: April Duvic, Vancouver, WA