The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble at Pacific Lutheran University.
The choir was founded in 1925, and is considered one of the most outstanding collegiate choral ensembles in the United States. The Choir of the West was the third Lutheran college choir to tour extensively throughout the United States, and has toured to Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China.
The Choir of the West is comprised of undergraduate majors from a wide variety of academic disciplines. The choir rehearses four days each week, ninety minutes per day. The choir performs several concerts each year, including shared concerts with other PLU ensembles, the annual series of Christmas concerts, campus ministry events, and campus celebratory events. Choir of the West tours annually, and every four years travels abroad, most recently touring with the University Symphony Orchestra to Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary in the summer of 2007, and to France and Germany in 2011. The choir has been selected on numerous occasions to perform for regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and National Association for Music Education, and received two gold and one silver certificate in competition with choirs from several countries at the 2011 Harmonie Festival, held in Lindenholzhausen, Germany. "Phoenix," a compact disc released by the Choir of the West in 2010, was awarded second place in the college/university division of the American Prize Competition.
University Chorale (Brian Galante, Conductor): This is a mixed choir comprised of primarily freshmen and sophomore singers, traditionally numbering forty to fifty members that come from a variety of academic disciplines. The choir meets four days each week for a ninety-minute rehearsal, and sings many times each year in concerts, tours, and campus ministry events. The choir tours regionally, and appears on PLU Christmas compact discs. The Chorale has performed for regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association.
Instrumental Music began at PLU in 1898 with a trip up nearby Mt. Rainier, instruments in hand. The climbers played a chorale from the summit to celebrate the opening of the new Lutheran academy.
Music has continued to be at the center of campus life since that time. The University Symphony Orchestra has long been one of the most important centerpieces of a stunningly rich musical calendar. With the addition of some community members for major concerts, the USO has effectively become the symphony orchestra of Tacoma's south suburbs.
The USO today provides a valuable training ground for orchestral musicians, preparing students for all aspects of orchestral performance. Through more than a dozen performances each season, it helps celebrate important campus events, preserves and perpetuates the rich cultural tradition of our university and region, and enlivens the campus-wide pursuit of the larger questions that face our students and members of our community.