History of the Everett Chorale
The Everett Chorale was founded by Dr. David André in the fall of 1965 with approximately 30 singers from the Everett area. It was set up originally as a community service class partially funded by student fees and partially subsidized by Everett Community College. The membership of the Chorale consisted of volunteer singers of all ages and occupations, as well as retired people and a few students from the college.
Rehearsals were held weekly on Monday evenings in a college portable and eventually, as the group grew, moved to Baker Hall on the EvCC campus. Three concerts were scheduled each year to coincide with the completion of the college quarters, and were held initially in the Student Union/Cafeteria and later in what is now the Jackson Conference Center.
Notable performances during the Andre' years were Menotti's "The Unicorn, The Gorgon and the Manticore" and, in his third and final year, Brahm's "Requiem" with the Everett Symphony. For the Brahms performance, the Chorale was enhanced with the addition of area high school choirs for a chorus of about 200 voices.
In 1968 the Chorale came under the direction of Ted Wahlstrom who had recently been added to the college music staff from Everett's Cascade High School. In the early seventies Ted Walstrom prepared the Chorale for an ambitious and favorably received performance of Mendelssohn's "Elijah," with the Everett Symphony, bringing together the current director and founding director, as the symphony was now under the direction of Dr. David Andre. A forte of Mr. Wahlstrom's during the twenty years he led the Everett Chorale were the Christmas performances of the "Messiah" which helped to attract new singers to the group and slowly increase its membership.
Pat Castro of Snohomish took over the baton from his former vocal teacher when Ted Wahlstrom retired from the Chorale in 1988. Pat directed for five years. These were years of more rapid growth and brought significant changes to the group. By far, the most important of these was the creation of a board of directors to handle the business of the Chorale. This helped the Chorale become autonomous in determining its direction and operation.
Several highlights from the Pat Castro years included the commissioning of a composition by Everett musician, teacher and administrator, Ken Kraints, well known for his vocal jazz arrangements and compositions. The tradition of singing with the Everett Symphony continued with the performance of Mozart's Requiem in April, 1992 under the direction of Dr. Paul Cobbs.
The Castro years ended with the future looking bright, a large enrollment and well attended concerts with the possibility of the Chorale being a tenant in the almost complete Everett Performing Arts Center (then Everett Community Theater) beginning with the December, 1993 concert.
Lee Mathews, the current Music Director and Conductor of the Everett Chorale, develops a series of concerts each year to delight and entertain audiences. A graduate of the University of Montana, Mr. Mathews has advanced work towards the DMA at the University of Northern Colorado. During his fourteen years of college teaching, he founded the Montana Youth Choir and has made six European tours with this fine ensemble. He is a retired Snohomish School District music teacher. Lee is currently the Choral Director at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Everett.
Notable events under Lee's tenure as director include the first "International Choral Festival" hosted by the Everett Chorale in 2002 with five choirs from the Puget Sound and Canada providing three days of free concerts throughout the community. In July 2007 the Everett Chorale represented the State of Washington and performed at the 2007 International Choral Festival in Beijing, China. The Chorale has participated in the Advent Sing in Vienna, Austria, sent an ensemble to perform at Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter on two occasions, as well as performing on a regular basis such pieces as Orff's "Carmina Burana," "A German Requiem" by Brahms and Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony" with the Everett Symphony.