About Chor Anno
Chor Anno is a mixed choir of 32 singers, most of whom direct choirs in schools, colleges, and churches in four northwest states, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming.
It was fun coming up with a name for this group and we admit it's a slight stretch with the Latin
translation to say "Chor Anno" means "The annual choir." So, we argue...it's a name, not a
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!)
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.
select and look at it carefully and again as we rehearse it and perform it! This year's selections are thrilling...still again for us. We know you'll enjoy and be uplifted by "Abide" by Dan Forrest, by "I Am Glad" by our own Dan Schreiner, and a heart melting setting of "How Can I Keep From Singing" arranged by Paul Aitken, a former Chor Anno singer (along with his wife, MacKenzie) who now lives in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.
Please don't miss this concert. It'll be performed twice. First in Vancouver, Washington's United Church of Christ on Saturday evening, September 18th and again at Moreland Presbyterian Church in SE Portland, on Sunday afternoon, September 19th.
"A Silence Haunts Me" is centerpiece for our 2021 concerts
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, improving results.
In 2020, Nicole accepted a new job as Director of Choral Activities at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her former role was a DCA at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. She assures us she will continue to conduct Chor Anno!
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 will turn 83 in 2021, 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, it's Dr. Nicole Lamartine, Conductor and J. Howard Meharg, Associate Conductor.
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.
We offer our congratulations to Nicole for this wonderful honor.
Dr. Nicole Lamartine assumes role of Chor Anno conductor as of 2019; leaves job in Wyoming to work as choral director, University of California, Santa Barbara
In 2021, we return again to a composition by Jake Runestad. Jake has taken lyrics provided by Todd Boss which is a loose adaptation of Ludwig van Beethoven's famous "Heiligenstadt Testament," where Beethoven writes to his brothers to tell them of the agony he feels at the diagnosis of his impending loss of hearing. It's powerful and oh so dramatic.
The Runestad work fits perfectly into our theme of "Resilience." Of course this idea becomes a perfect metaphor for all of us as we've dealt with the past year's pandemic.
For those of us who have the honor of choosing a program it's just as a friend once said...twice we get to enjoy the thrill of the music as we
Yes, we're always glad to hear good things said about our concerts!
A few of the compliments from past concerts here...
"What a heavenly experience. Thanks for your hard work. I hope you never give it up!" (AL)
"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, Federal Way, WA
Vice-President: Don E. Wiitala, Longview, WA
Treasurer: Twyla V. Brunson, Kent, WA
Secretary: April Duvic, Vancouver, WA