Calling all students and community members. Marylhurst University welcomes singers and instrumentalists of all ages and experience levels to join our numerous performance ensembles. Participation is not limited to students enrolled within the university’s music degree programs.
Ensembles are directed by Marylhurst’s renowned faculty. In recent years, each ensemble has worked with visiting choral luminaries like Morten Lauridsen, Roomful of Teeth and Gwyneth Walker.
Numerous local and international performance opportunities await you. Marylhurst ensembles have collaborated on concerts with groups from Portland, Vancouver and Boise, in notable venues including The Grotto Festival of Lights, the Portland Audubon Society and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. The Jazz Ensemble tours locally each spring, and the Marylhurst Chamber Choir has toured both to Carnegie Hall and to Cork, Ireland, to compete in the Cork International Choral Festival.
Hailed as an “accomplished, powerful, slick and tonally precise choir” by European jurors, the internationally award-winning Marylhurst Chamber Choir is the premiere choral ensemble at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. A highly selective, 32-voice mixed choir, it was founded in the fall of 2014 by Dr. Justin Smith, Director of Choral Activities. The group is already rapidly gaining a reputation for excellence throughout the Northwestern United States and the world.
In 2014-2015, in addition to numerous concerts throughout Oregon and Washington state, the Chamber Choir performed by invitation at the Oregon Music Educators Association’s All-State Conference. They also performed at Old North Church and First Parish Brookline in Boston, MA, and by invitation at Carnegie Hall, New York City, where they performed Randall Thompson’s Testament of Freedom under Dr. Smith’s direction.
In 2015-16, they continued their busy schedule of concerts in the Pacific Northwest. They also travelled to Cork, Ireland to participate as the only invited American choir in the Cork International Choral Festival, one of Europe’s most prestigious choral competitions. At Cork, they were the only choir to take home two trophies, winning both Third Prize in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition and the Peace Award for the choir that best embodied the spirit of the festival. The international jury cited the Chamber Choir for its “fantastic energy and quality of sound,” writing that their performance was a “real highlight” of the festival. They also collaborated with the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and the composer Caroline Shaw, on performances of her Pulitzer Prize-winning Partita for Eight Voices.
The Marylhurst Chorale is intended primarily for the university’s music majors and experienced singers from the university community. The chorale provides rigorous vocal training, working to develop both secure vocal foundation and outstanding musicianship that will enable you to succeed in your future musical careers.
The Chorale frequently receives invitations to sing in and around the Marylhurst community. In the past, the Chorale has performed at Reunion Weekend, the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit, the Marylhurst Symphony’s holiday concert, and many other venues.
In recent years, Marylhurst singers have worked with visiting choral luminaries like Gwyneth Walker and Morten Lauridsen, and, each spring tread the boards in full productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, directed by world renowned expert Alistair Donkin from England. Marylhurst choirs have collaborated on concerts with choirs from Portland, Vancouver and Boise in numerous venues including The Grotto’s Festival of Lights and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
Spring Opera Program
Each spring term, Marylhurst’s choruses join together to perform a fully staged operatic production.
All lead roles are cast from chorus membership whenever possible and performances occur in early June at the end of Marylhurst’s spring term.
Participating students enjoy the opportunity to work under opera program director Alistair Donkin of England, a world-renowned expert in British comic opera.
The Marylhurst Choral Union is a non-auditioned community choir. Founded in 2012 by Dr. Justin Smith, Director of Choral Activities, the choir is a seventy-singer strong mixed choir open to all singers regardless of experience level. Matching pitch accurately is the only requisite for admission. The Choral Union frequently combines with the Marylhurst Chorale for large-scale choral works.
The Choral Union regularly performs at Marylhurst, in the community and in recent years has performed both nationally and internationally.
For more information, or to schedule a voice-placement session (NOT an audition), please contact Dr. Justin Smith.
Marylhurst’s auditioned jazz ensemble is intended primarily for music majors, although qualified non-majors are also admitted. The group provides training for jazz instrumentalists where you will develop the skills necessary to thrive in a professional jazz combo.
Improvisation, group arranging, and composition are all explored through regular rehearsals and performances. All periods of jazz are explored, from early jazz, through be-bop, to the present day. As a student, you are encouraged to bring your own compositions and arrangements for the ensemble to perform at Marylhurst and in the local community.
Auditions are held by appointment. Contact Thomas Sandahl, director, Marylhurst Jazz Ensemble.
Marylhurst Guitar Ensemble
Marylhurst’s auditioned Guitar Ensemble is intended primarily for music majors and experienced guitarists from the university community. The group provides in-depth training for guitarists, working to develop the technical, musical and collaborative skills demanded by the teaching and performing professions.
The Marylhurst Guitar Ensemble focuses on the public performance of a varied repertoire and regularly performs at Marylhurst and throughout the community.
Marylhurst University connects with the local community through music in many ways:
- Preparatory Music Program: Through our preparatory music program, Marylhurst proudly offers preschool through high school aged students on-campus instruction from highly qualified, experienced teachers. Quality instruction is offered in both group and private settings.
- Summer Choir Camp: Our teen summer camp, situated on the beautiful Marylhurst campus, is an excellent, concentrated musical experience designed specifically for enthusiastic, committed musicians. Registration is open to students entering 9th through 12th grade in high school and community singers. Learn more.
Let’s get started.