Master Chorus Eastside sings of ‘Cathedral Glory’
May 11, 2010
By David Hayes
Jody Warren hadn’t sung since graduating from high school in 1976. When the ’90s rolled around, she got that itch to sing again.
“I found this class the city’s Park and Recreation Department was doing that gave me the courage to try it,” Warren said.
The class was Issaquah Chorale, created by Linda Gingrich, who herself had been out of conducting and figured it was the best route to get back in.
“I had a desire to start a community chorus,” said Gingrich, a longtime Issaquah resident, now 58. “It’s a wonderful way to make music with its communal structure.”
Now in its 19th season, and as of four years ago a new name, Master Chorus Eastside has been attracting people of all sorts and stripes, Gingrich said. What started with just 20 members, all but two being women, now has about 50 singers, with Warren still counting herself among its members.
“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I immediately decided it was exactly what I needed in my life. It’s been a joy to sing with this group. I call it my weekly therapy session.”
While most of its four concerts a year take place at the Eastlake Performing Arts Center, in Sammamish, the Master Chorus Eastside kicks off its 2010 season May 16 at the First Presbyterian Church in Bellevue. Gingrich has planned a lineup of songs to take advantage of the church’s pipe organ.
“It has a magnificent organ,” she said. “There will actually be two organ solos at the concert. So, be ready for it to shake the walls. That organ provides a wonderful accompaniment.”
The concert explores the choral and organ music of Gounod, Vaughan Williams, Howells, Mathias and Gabrieli, culminating in Leonard Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms,” one of the featured works in the Seattle Celebrates Bernstein festival.
It’s this variety of the classics and today’s popular music that keeps the choral experienced fresh, Gingrich said. It happened to be exactly what newer member Dave Sperling was seeking.
A veteran of several other choruses, the tenor singer from North Bend hadn’t even heard of Master Chorus Eastside until a few years ago upon a voice referral by his voice talent coach.
“I attended their Fourth of July concert and loved it,” Sperling said.
He was given an audition and found he was a good fit.
“The quality of music is very high. In addition to having a good mix of classical and pop, there are a good variety of themes and presentations,” he added.
One of the choir’s more popular themed events in the past four years has been the All American Independence Celebration, held usually the last weekend in June before July 4 at Pickering Barn.
“It’s been really popular and has sold out the last couple of years,” Gingrich said. “Plus, the ambiance of the barn gives it a more historic, Americana feel.”
Warren attributes the chorus’ success to Gingrich’s dedication to her craft as artistic director and conductor.
“Its longevity has a lot to do with Linda,” said Warren, who has served on the choir’s board of directors for several years. “She’s created and maintained her vision, while not being a prima donna, and caring for the people who sing for her. She stretches us musically, getting more and more out us professionally.
“She is devoted to this choir like it’s her child.”
David Hayes: email@example.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.
If you go
Master Chorus Eastside presents ‘Cathedral Glory’
- 3 p.m. May 16
- First Presbyterian Church
- 1717 Bellevue Way N.E., Bellevue
- $10 – $38
- 392-8446 or