Canticus Vocal Ensemble

Canticus Vocal Ensemble, Central Washington’s premier chamber choir.

Canticus Vocal Ensemble will shine a spotlight on its talented singers when Central Washington’s premier chamber choir performs “Return Renew and Revive!” at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at the Englewood Christian Church, 511 N. 44th Ave.

For this latest installment of the 2022-23 concert season, Artistic Director Scott Peterson will share the podium with five guest conductors, who are all members of the ensemble. The pieces selected by the five conductors highlight their wide range of interests.

Stephen Slusher is director of choral students at Yakima Valley College. He has selected “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Matt Podd, a pianist, composer and arranger based in Brooklyn, N.Y. The arrangement comes from the iconic poem written by Sara Teasdale in 1918 in response to the horrors of the First World War.

Laurel Kaschmitter serves as director of choirs at Eisenhower High School. She is conducting “Measure Me, Sky!” by Elaine Hagenburg. The composer says the song, based on a poem by Leonora Speyer, “encourages singers to take hold of their limitless potential.”

As director of choirs at West Valley High School, Peter Krum will conduct Swedish-born Sten Källman’s “Papa Loko.” The composition has its roots in Haiti, where Källman studied and toured. Papa Loko refers to the spirit of the very first Vodou priest, a master magician and healer.

Bart Roderick, a popular performer in the Yakima Valley, is choir director at Central Lutheran Church. He will conduct his own arrangement of “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” an anti-war song protesting the Vietnam War composed by famed folk singer Pete Seeger.

Tony Rosetti, choir director at Grandview High School, will conduct “Set A Seal Upon My Heart” by René Clausen, professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and conductor of the acclaimed Concordia Choir. “Set Me as A Seal” comes from the cantata “A New Creation,” and has become one of the composer’s most performed works.

For his portion of the concert, Peterson will conduct five compositions, including “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel, acclaimed singer and pianist. Joel wrote this song about a doomed relationship in 1983 when he was briefly dating supermodel Elle McPherson.

The chamber choir will also perform an original composition by Peterson — “Sing And The Hills Will Answer.” The choral piece is based on the memorable poem “Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, which begins with: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone.”

As founder of Canticus, Peterson has been a dominant presence in choral music for several decades as former director of choral activities at Yakima Valley College and former chorus master of the Yakima Symphony Chorus. He is currently lecturer of choral studies at CWU.

Darin Kaschmitter will be guest piano accompanist for the concert. Kaschmitter is a member of Canticus along with his wife, Laurel. He is on the music faculty at Yakima Valley College and performs often at Central Washington University.

Members of Canticus are lifetime choral musicians who represent many walks of life — music teachers, managers, college professors and students. They come from a wide area covering Central Washington, from Ellensburg to the Tri-Cities.

Canticus will conclude its 2022-23 season on May 7 at Englewood Christian Church with a concert featuring the CWU Wildcat Chorus.

Spencer Hatton is the secretary for Canticus Vocal Ensemble and is a former city editor, editorial page editor and columnist at the Yakima Herald-Republic.

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