17-18 Season Info

Bellingham Chamber Chorale 2017-2018

To all past, present and future BCC singers and our many supporters,

It is my great privilege to serve the BCC as 2017-2018 Interim Artistic Director. Thanks to the board of directors and all of you who are putting your faith in me. I hope that my efforts will prove worthy. After 36 years as a music teacher and director on four continents, I cannot imagine a higher calling than choral conducting. The BCC will be the finest choir I have ever stood before and I am eager for us to start creating meaningful, timely and inspiring concert programs together.

Aspects of BCC’s identity and tradition to which I am totally committed
The highest level of choral artistry and musical growth
Concern for vocal beauty and polished performance
Classic and cutting-edge repertoire including major works and new compositions
Development of our regional base with performances outside of Bellingham
Collaboration with a variety of local instrumental groups, choirs, and other performers
Support of youth education and outreach initiatives

Aspects I hope to promote
Nurturing the bond between singers and our sense of community within the choir
Invigorated vocal technique and expression in the context of sharing and encouragement
Tightly thematic concert programming
A uniquely Bellingham choral personality responsive to issues, time and space
New ways for everyone in the Chorale to build BCC name recognition, media access and audience
Musical exchanges, retreats, festivals and travel

We have three stunning programs lined up this year:

By the Light of the Stars on December 2
Between Heaven and Earth on March 3 & 4
Across the Sea on May 19

These programs flow together so well that they are almost cantatas, and they will further BCC’s unique and innovative choral personality at the center of the Salish Sea region. Details of each program may be found on the following three pages.

The threads of this year’s themes are woven throughout the lines of this poem,

“Out of the Stars,” by Robert Terry Weston:

Out of the stars, rising from rocks and the sea,
          kindled by sunlight on earth, arose life.
Ponder this thing in your heart, life up from sea:
          Eyes to behold, throats to sing, mates to love.
Life from the sea, warmed by sun, washed by rain,
          life from within, giving birth, rose to love.
This is the wonder of time; this is the marvel of space;
         out of the stars swung the earth; life upon earth rose to love.
This is the marvel of life, rising to see and to know;
         Out of your heart, cry wonder: sing that we live.

Humbly and respectfully yours,

Kevin Allen-Schmid, 8/17/17
BCC 2017-2018 Interim Artistic Director
kevin@bccsings.org (406) 858-0142


Season Details

By the Light of the Stars

3pm and 7:30pm, Saturday, December 2, 2017
First Congregational Church, Bellingham, WA

Featuring Sop solos, TBB trio, mens & womens pieces, piano, piano 4-hands, organ, cello, violin, oboe, ensemble of tuned water glasses and crystal bowls, bell choir & percussion

12 rehearsals: Sep 18, 25   Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, 30   Nov 6, 13, 20, 27  Dec 1

This program is full of drama and dazzling, resonant, shimmering sounds that will challenge the singers and fill the audience with awe and wonder.


  • Dramatic selections from Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and Mendelssohn’s “Christus,”  
  • Classic favorites by Brahms and Thompson
  • Cutting-edge sonorities by modern masters Biebl, Pärt and Raminsh
  • Eric Whitacre’s treasured soundscape “Sleep”
  • The ethereal sonorities of Esenvald’s choral clusters with tuned water glasses and crystal bowls and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer grandiosity of Wilberg, with all possible bells on!

Part 1 _ Called by the Light of the Stars _ 17’

  • Selections from AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS, Menotti  (piano, violin, cello, oboe) 6’
    • Opening  (2 soloists: Amahl and his Mother)   1’20”
    • From Far Away We Come (TBB trio of kings and mens choir) 2’
    • Shepherds Chorus 2’40”
  • BOGORODITSE DEVO, Pärt (2007) (sung in Russian) 1’30”
  • AVE MARIA, Franz Biebl (2011) (sung in Latin) 3’30”
  • Selections from CHRISTUS, Felix Mendelssohn (organ, vln, cello, oboe) 6’
    • When Jesus our Lord was born in Bethlehem (soprano solo)
    • Say, where is he born, the king of Judaea? (TBB trio)
    • There Shall A Star From Jacob Come Forth (2011)

Part 2 The Stars Are Singing 18’

  • SONG OF THE STARS, Imant Raminsh (womens choir, piano, cello, violin) 3’30”
  • SLEEP, Eric Whitacre (2009) 5’30”
  • VINCENT (Starry, Starry Night), McLean, arr. Emerson 3’30”
  • STARS, Erik Esenvalds (tuned water glasses and crystal bowls) 5’30”


Part 3 Choose Something Like A Star 19’  or  22’

  • O SCHÖNE NACHT, Brahms (2005) (piano) (sung in German) 3’
  • CHOOSE SOMETHING LIKE A STAR, Randall Thompson (2013) (organ, vln, cello, oboe) 5’30”
  • Optional piece by bell choir alone (3’)
  • THREE BY WILBERG, Mack Wilberg, piano 4-Hands, organ, vln, cello, oboe, bell choir, percussion 10’30”
    • Angels We Have Heard On High 5:00
    • Fum, Fum, Fum 2:00
    • I Saw Three Ships 3:00


Between Heaven and Earth

7:30pm, Saturday, March 3, 2018, First Congregational Church, Bellingham, WA
3pm, Sunday, March 4, 2018, Salem Lutheran Church, Mt Vernon

Featuring double choir, SATB quartet, A & T solos, piano, cello

10 rehearsals: Dec 11, Jan 8, 15, 22, 29   Feb 5, 12, 19, 26   Mar 2  

This program invokes ethereal sounds of sacred and secular love, then bridges the two realms with a musical rainbow.


  • Vaughan Williams a cappella cathedral classic for double choir and solo quartet “MASS IN G MINOR”
  • Passionate Renaissance madrigals
  • Soulful masterpieces by Faure, Barber and Raminsh
  • The electrifying Chanticleer a cappella pop phenomenon: “Cells Planets”

Part 1 _ Heavenly Love   _ 27’30”

  • KYRIE (Pavane), Gabriel Faure (piano and cello) 3’30”
    MASS IN G MINOR, Ralph Vaughan Williams (double choir, SATB quartet) (sung in Latin) 24’


Part 2 _ Earthly Love 22’

  • SI CH’IO VORREI MORIRE, Monteverdi (sung in Italian) 3’30”
  • FYER, FYER MY HEART, Morley (2005) 2’30”
  • IN THE NIGHT WE SHALL GO IN, Raminsh (piano, cello, alto and tenor solos) 5’30”
    REINCARNATIONS, Samuel Barber (2007) 4’30”

    • Mary Hynes (excerpt) 1’
    • Anthony O’Daly 3’30”
  • CELLS PLANETS, Erika Lloyd, arr. Peterson (male and/or female solo) 6’

Part 3 _ Between Heaven and Earth 3’30”   (surrounding the audience)

  • SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW, Israel Kamakawiwo Ole’ (tenor solo) 3’30”


Across the Sea

3pm and 7:30pm, Saturday, May 19, 2018, First Congregational Church, Bellingham

Featuring 8-part Octet, solos, Sikh Liturgical Chanters, African percussion, Celtic instruments

10 rehearsals: Mar 12, 19, 26, Apr 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 18

This program celebrates the peopling of Whatcom County: of the sea (the original Native Lhaq’temish people) and from across the sea (the wide diversity of immigrant groups) through music and projected slides. The flow of the songs will take listeners on a personal journey through Whatcom time, giving a sense of strength through diversity, survival through hardship, and ultimate hope.

Part 1 (Choir) 30’

  • HARK I HEAR THE HARPS ETERNAL, Alice Parker (2004, 2007, 2016) 2’ –American anthem of yearning for the “farther shore” (processional)
  • PILGRIM SONG, Ryan Murphy 4’30” -“and as I pass along, I’ll sing the Pilgrim song . . .”
  • HORIZONS, Peter Louis Van Dijk 6’ -profound portrayal of the genocide of African indigenous people
  • DRY YOUR TEARS, AFRICA, by John WIlliams (sung in Mende and English, w/ African percussion) 4’ -from the film “Amistad” about forced African slave ship immigration
  • OVER HAVET, Dan Forrest (sung in Norwegian and English) 9’30” -Norwegian poetry with projected slides of historical Whatcom County immigrant scenes
  • ALL TOO SOON, Stephen Hatfield (w/ Celtic flute, fiddle, bass and bodhrán) 4’ -Canadian Maritime song medley about the cultural assimilation of young Scandinavian immigrants


Part 2  (Octet) 6’

  • GUANTANAMERA, arr. Gene Glickman (sung in Spanish) 3’  -a Cuban song expressing universal aspirations for freedom
  • GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, Berlin/Ringwald 3’ -Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty

Part 3 (Choir) 36’  (32’ for choir + 4’ for Sikhs)

  • REQUIEM, Eliza Gilkyson   4’ -haunting anthem memorializing the 2004 Tsunami and death at sea
  • CHILDREN OF THE EARTH, Allen-Schmid 3’30” -a setting of Chief Seattle’s epic speech, to celebrate Lhaq’temish “The People of the Sea”
  • YONDER, YONDER, Gaines 6’ -Epic Russian longing for the homeland
  • SIKH CHANT 4’ – a high-octane liturgical excerpt from Gurdwara services, performed by guest Ragis
  • WE’RE NOT STRANGERS, Allen-Schmid 7’ -I may compose this piece combining traditional Sikh chanting in Punjabi with SATB choir parts in English, commemorating the 110th anniversary of the 1907 anti-Sikh riots in Bellingham.
  • SOMEWHERE (west Side Story), Bernstein arr. Edgerton (2011, 2012) 4’ – “There’s a place for us” in lush, a cappella, 8-part harmony
  • MAKE OUR GARDEN GROW (Candide), Bernstein 4’ – Bernstein’s paean to building a future on the land, complete with soprano high Cs
  • WE RISE AGAIN, arr. Stephen Smith (use as an encore) 3’30” -a Canadian inspirational song about rising like waves from the sea, 2 solos

Further notes on our May, 2018 program “Across The Sea”

The songs of this concert are arranged in sets.

Old American Hymn Set
This set of establishes the immigration theme of water crossing and pilgrimage, to build a future through faith and optimism.

  • PILGRIM SONG, Ryan Murphy

African Set
This set addresses immigration from the African perspective of genocide and slavery, and yet the second song, with African percussion, exudes a joyful, forward-moving drive.

  • HORIZONS, Peter Louis Van Dijk
  • DRY YOUR TEARS, AFRICA, by John WIlliams

Northern European/Celtic Set
These songs show the Northern European perspective, first the separation from the old country, then the headlong embrace of the new.

  • OVER HAVET, Dan Forrest
  • ALL TOO SOON, Stephen Hatfield


Aspirations for Freedom Set
These songs will be sung by the BCC Octet, to be formed from leading voices of each section. The Octet will be encouraged to modernize these songs with movement and improvisation

  • GUANTANAMERA, arr. Gene Glickman (sung in Spanish)

Longing for What is Lost set
In the concert so far, European, African and Hispanic cultures have been highlighted, as well as the general theme of immigration over water. To complete our celebration of the demographic diversity of Whatcom County, this set include Asian, Native American and Russian points of view.

  • REQUIEM, Eliza Gilkyson  
  • YONDER, YONDER, Gaines

Collaborative set with Sikhs
When Sikh Ragis (liturgical singers) from the Lynden temple performed at the 2017 Bellingham Interfaith choir festival it was the first time they had ever sung for a public, community event.  For the BCC to perform with the Sikhs would be another first.

Two trademarks of the BCC are to explore the limits of choral music and to premiere new works. To that end, I hope to compose a suitable piece for BCC to perform together with the Sikhs, in which they sing their liturgical texts in their traditional, vocally acrobatic style while we meld in SATB choral parts.

  • WE’RE NOT STRANGERS, Allen-Schmid

Bernstein set
These Bernstein masterpieces will show off BCC’s finely tuned harmonies, mellifluous tone quality and extended range, in pieces that beg for a better future.

  • SOMEWHERE (West Side Story), Bernstein arr. Edgerton
  • MAKE OUR GARDEN GROW (Candide), Bernstein

Encore (if called for)

This inspirational piece wraps up the story of strength through diversity,  survival through hardship, and ultimate hope

  • WE RISE AGAIN, arr. Stephen Smith
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