- CURRICULUM & REPERTOIRE
- Our HISTORY
- WHO WE ARE
We offer a music performance and education program for children and youth, emphasizing the development of musical skills and understanding. The choir endeavors to enrich the lives of children from all religious, racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
Pacifica Choirs rehearse at the Maple Leaf Lutheran Church in northeast Seattle’s Maple Leaf neighborhood.
Pacifica has three primary objectives:
To foster the personal and social growth of choir members and promote their sense of self-esteem, accomplishment and pride
To enhance the overall music education experience by providing an organization which emphasizes quality music instruction
To attain the highest level of excellence in choral music performance
All levels are treble choirs except the Chamber Singers, which is a soprano, alto, tenor, bass choir, offering boys with changed voices the opportunity to continue singing and learning in the Pacifica environment. All performing levels emphasize note reading, vocal training and performance skills and meet once per week.
Our main focus for repertoire is folk music from all parts of the world, at times focusing on a region or country. We round out the concert repertoire with classical, jazz, pop and contemporary pieces. On several occasions, Pacifica has commissioned local composers to write new pieces for the choir. While our main focus is in secular music, we do perform some sacred music, especially in the Chamber Singers, our most advanced choir, always striving to keep our repertoire inclusive and balanced.
Concepts about music—melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre, dynamics, form, style, performance and musical skills,singing, theory, and sight reading—are taught throughout the rehearsals. Musical concepts are highlighted through singing, listening, and analysis. Students take home a musical theory curriculum that supports what they are learning within their choir.
Philosophy of Singing
Singing is the major focus of the musical experience in Pacifica. We believe that singing is a powerfully personal means of musical expression and we hope this experience will form the foundation of a lifelong relationship with music for the singers and their families.
Children are taught the use of their vocal instruments through exercises, posture, breath and tone production. The essence of musical experience is based on pitch and movement as it is felt and heard. Because the body is the instrument in singing, musical relationships are internally experienced and are likely to be “felt” and heard by the young child.
We feel that musical re-creation through vocal performance is a way of experiencing and expressing music unlike any other activity. The ability to hear music, to conceptualize music, to perceive and respond musically develops naturally from the human voice. Singing skill and musical understanding are essential components of the creative process and a fundamental resource basic to music education.
Pacifica believes that through singing children can experience the “inner life” of the music in a way that transcends the surface of notation and words. Singing is a way of “touching” the music and a way of being “touched” by the music.
Inspiration from the Kodály Method
We base our education on the approach of Zoltan Kodály, a Hungarian composer and educator from the early 20th century.
Further information about the Kodály Method
•The Kodály Institute of Music in Hungary.
•The Kodály concept of music education.
•The Organization of American Kodály Educators organizes an Honor Choir to perform at its yearly convention.
Founded in 1993 by Susan Senft, the Pacifica Choirs have grown to include four performing levels. Enrollment has grown from the original 38 to over 70 singers.
The choir presents a magical blend of music, poetry and prose in at least 3 concerts during our 8-month season, performing all types of music (folk, classical, jazz and contemporary), while remaining chiefly devoted to a repertoire of world folk music. Regions represented in past concerts include Brazil, Eastern Europe (Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria), Canada, Hawai’i, Hungary, Israel, France, Mexico, Newfoundland, Sweden, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Germany, Africa, the United States, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Greece, England and more.
Past musical guest teachers have included Mary Sherhart with music of the Balkans, Jen Morris with music from the country of Georgia, Eduardo Mendonca with music from Brazil (both can be heard on our CDs), Deneen Grant, who introduced gospel music to the choir, and Dave Clellan of Dave and the Dalmatians, teaching the music of Croatia. The Ensemble and Chamber Singers have also performed traditional Javanese with Gamelan Pacifica an Indonesian orchestra in residence at Cornish College of the Arts.
May 16, 2014 Pacifica Chamber Singers performed Georgian music with Jen Morris at the concert of Choral Arts, a choral company based in Seattle. Susan Senft, Pacifica’s founder, chose “Deep River” arranged by Paul Ayres as the final combined piece. This was a stunningly good concert. We recommend Choral Arts to all music lovers.
April 5, 2014 at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church. Pacifica Chamber Singers offered two sets of songs from the country of Georgia, under the direction of Jen Morris, who conducts her own Georgian choir, onefourfive, and is also a singer in Dunava, both Seattle-based choirs.
December 7, 2013 at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church, Seattle. The Pacifica Chamber Singers performed Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” with harpist Charlene Chin. Soloists: Rachel Warwick, Camille Jonlin, Chloe Fasoldt and Wilder Law.
June 1, 2013: Sid Law, a local solo artist and father of two Pacifica singers, opened the concert to a wildly enthusiastic audience. Look for Sid on the local Seattle music scene. He is one of the most talented musicians in Seattle with a vast repertoire of classic pop and jazz tunes that he accompanies on his one-man-band instruments.
March 1, 2013 at Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church. Pacifica Chamber Singers joined the Edmonds and North Lake Unitarian Universalist Choirs on five songs, including Steve Dobrogosz’s “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei”. Pacifica performed two pieces from Sid Rabinovitch’s “Canciones Por las Americas”, an Argentinean Chaya song and the “Alleluia”, from Randall Thompson’s “Place of the Blest”.
April 30, 2011 at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church. The Pacifica Chamber Singers proudly presented the Fauré Requiem, under the direction of Susan Senft. An expanded choir of 10 youth and 11 adults were joined by Sheila Bristow on the organ with Wil Sederholm, bass, and Katherine Stuber, soprano, as soloists. Dave Clellan of “Dave and the Dalmatians” taught us some wonderful Eastern European music for performance at this concert and the Dalmatians also performed. The Treble Choir, directed by Alina Gibitz and the Ensemble, directed by Melyssa Stone also performed.
December 3, 2010 at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church. The Pacifica Chamber Singers performed 3 “Christmas Motets” by Francis Poulenc.
May 15, 2010 at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church: The Pacifica Chamber Singers performed Benjamin Britten’s “Missa Brevis in D”. This was the first presentation of “Noche de LLuvia” and “Sensemaya” by Sid Rabinovitch. These two intricate songs ultimately became part of the ongoing repertoire of the Chamber Singers. Dave and the Dalmatians joined the concert with music from Croatia, Georgia, Russia and Serbia.
The Pacifica program consists of four groups: the Children’s Chorus, Interludes-A, Interludes-B, and Chamber Singers. The choir program is supported by an invaluable group of staff, volunteers, and board members.
Susan Senft founded Pacifica Children’s Chorus in 1993 and has served as its Artistic Director for the last 21 years. She also conducts the Chamber Singers. Read more here.
Pacifica Choirs are privileged to work with two fantastic accompanists, Casie Dietrich and Thomas Hecker.
Board and Volunteers
Pacifica Choirs is guided by a board of directors:
- Natalya Yudkovsky
- Susan Senft
- Desiree Tabares
A large part of Pacifica’s success as a choir lies in the active community of volunteers that support its programs. Parents of all singers volunteer in some capacity during the course of the year, and a few committees support specific initiatives of the choir. A partial list of volunteers opportunities include these functions:
- Auction committee
- Event staffing
- Graphic design for programs and posters
- Website upkeep
- Communication outreach
Pacifica Choirs partners with local and national music leaders and performers in order to enrich the education and exposure that our participants receive to world music. Recent partners include:
- Jen Morris is the director of onefourfive, one of the few choral groups in the United States devoted to the music of the country of Georgia.
- Mary Sherhart is one of America’s leading teachers and performers of traditional Balkan vocal music.
- Eduardo Mendonca worked with our Children’s Choir on music from Brazil.
- Dave and the Dalmations have partnered with the Chamber choir on music from Croatia and beyond.
Pacifica also welcomes collaboration with guest choirs. Past guest choir appearances have included the Eckstein Middle School Jazz Choir, Oregon Repertory Singers, and the Tuscon Boys Chorus.
The Indianapolis Children’s Choir is one of Pacifica’s organizational models and The Puget Sound Revels provided inspiration in the founding of the Pacifica Choirs. Special mention also goes to The Balkan Cabaret who generously donated their talents for a benefit concert and the Gamelan Pacifica , a Javanese gong-chime percussion orchestra.