University Singers, Treble Choir, and Glee Club present their Fall 2023 concert, conducted by UW School of Music graduate Choral Conducting students Cee Adamson, Heidi Blythe, Tatiana Boggs, David Ferguson, Scott Fikse, Michael McKenzie, Evan Norberg, Egija Ungure, and Larke Witten.
Directors: Cee Adamson, Egija Ungure, Tatiana Boggs
O Magnum Mysterium: Evan Ramos
Greensleeves: Arr. Philip Lawson
Hymn to Freedom: Oscar Peterson, arr. Seppo Hovi
Bring Me Little Water: Sylvie Arr. Robert Jones
Winter Night: Audrey Snyder
Directors: Evan Norberg, Michael McKenzie, David Ferguson
Omnia Sol: Z. Randall Stroope
I Am Light: Darita
Hope Lingers On: Ramsey
Sieze the Day: Emerson
Star Spangled: Traditional
Directors: Larke Witten, Heidi Blythe
What Happens When a Woman: Alexandra Olsavsky
Warrior: Kim Baryluk
II. Failure is Impossible from Suffrage Cantata: Andrea Ramsey
Closer to Fine: Amy Ray and Emily Saliers
Cee E. Adamson (she/they/Mx.), mezzo-soprano, is pursuing the DMA in Vocal Performance at the University of Washington, where she is studying with Dr. Carrie Shaw. Prior to the University of Washington, Cee studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, based in London, where she received the Master of Music and the Master of Performance degrees and was designated a Guildhall Artist. Other education includes the Advanced Artist Diploma and Master of Music from Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University, and undergraduate degrees in music, accounting, and management from Franklin Pierce University.
Mx. Adamson occupies a fluid place as an operatic talent, capable of treading the beguiling and liminal space between the countertenor and mezzo-soprano. Cee’s vocal versatility has been well showcased in roles as Oberon in Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Giulio Cesare in Handel's Giulio Cesare, The Sorceress in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and tragic and comic roles from Mercedes in Carmen to Florence Pike in Albert Herring. Cee was also requested to appear as a featured supernumerary in Glimmerglass Opera’s production of Philip Glass’s Orphée.
Before turning her full attention to performing, Mx. Adamson served as an arts administrator and educator with several organizations such as Bel Cantanti Opera, Washington Revels, and Glimmerglass Opera. Cee is an avid performer in opera and recitals and has an affinity for the music of Buxtehude, Handel, Schumann, Poulenc, and Wagner. Additionally, Cee enjoys early jazz, music from the Roaring Twenties, Cole Porter, Sarah Vaughan, and contemporary classical music.
Outside of music, Mx. Adamson is passionate about social justice, higher education administration, fashion, travel, and just about all things pertaining to the United Kingdom.
Heidi Blythe (she/they) has sung professionally with SoundCity Singers, Radiance, Byrd Ensemble, and the St. James Cathedral Cantorei. Heidi appeared as alto soloist for Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, and Considering Matthew Shepard.
An experienced choral director, Heidi is the assistant conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, a nationally recognized ensemble which won the Margaret Hillis award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP Choral Award for Adventurous Programming. Heidi currently works with SPM's Chroma and Orpheon ensembles.
Heidi spent thirteen years as the Director of Music at University Congregational United Church of Christ, leading a music program that encompassed seven ensembles and as many as 180 participants a year. A passionate advocate of congregational music-making, Heidi presented a workshop on multi-generational music at the national convention of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association. She twice served as music director for the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC.
Heidi provided rehearsal direction for the Seattle Symphony Chorale at the behest of associate conductor Christian Knapp. She was the Gregg Smith Singers’ first choral fellow at the Adirondack Festival of American music, singing with the ensemble under Gregg’s direction, as well as that of Margaret Hillis, Vance George, and Dave Brubeck. She was a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution, working on a joint project on American musicals with the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History.
Heidi received a Masters in Choral Music Education from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance, where she studied voice with John Gillas and John Charles Pierce, and studied conducting with Sandra Snow and Jerry Blackstone. She was the recipient of the Margaret V. Hood prize and appeared on the Classical GRAMMY-winning album “Songs of Innocence and Experience”. While at Smith College, she studied voice with Jane Bryden and organ with Grant Moss, and was the recipient of the Harriet Dey Barnum and Sarah H. Hamilton prizes in music, and the Imogene Mahony Memorial and Constance Kambour Edwards prizes for organ.
Heidi lives in Seattle with her spouse, Owen, and her children, Felix and Oscar.
Photo credit: Danielle Barnum Photography
Scott is a second-year MM in choral conducting student at the University of Washington, as well as a vocal coach, conductor, and choral scholar with various organizations in the greater Seattle area. Scott moved to Seattle from Honolulu in 2022, where he directed the music program at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and created the church’s popular “First Mondays” and “Jazz Journey” concert series. Under his direction the LCH choirs prepared over 200 works each year, ranging from chant, Renaissance polyphony, and Baroque works to modern masters. He also served as director of the Honolulu Chorale and artistic director of Early Music Hawai’i.
Scott has a degree in musical arts from Pacific Lutheran University, where he was a founding member of the university’s student-run ensemble PLUtonic. After his studies at PLU, Scott worked as a judge with Varsity Vocals and as a quartet vocalist and arranger with Celebrity Cruises. He still performs with his cruise ship quartet when the group’s schedule allows, recently celebrating their 11th anniversary this past summer. In his free time Scott enjoys travel, hiking, fishing, and practicing yoga and meditation.
Egija’s first musical memory is being on the stage as a three-year-old kid in a small town in Latvia, called Aloja, singing “Vār, māmiņa, piena putru” in front of an audience, wearing her nicest dress and fanciest shoes. That is where her musical story began.
As a child, she pursued this passion. As she started to sing at such a young age, she really enjoyed being on the stage, performing. After lots of solo singing competitions and concerts with the kids' music group, at the age of seven, she decided to attend Music School, specializing in Choir. The School showed her the other opportunities that music can give - she started to learn how to play piano and attended her first choir.
Latvia has a huge choir culture - choral singing has been part of music education in schools for generations. Every five years, Latvians come together to celebrate the culture by attending a Song and Dance festival called “Dziesmu svētki,” a show that is so strong that it is included in the UNESCO List of Masterpieces of the Oral and Heritage and Humanity. Egija’s first experience in this festival was in 2013, as a choir singer of Jazeps Medins Riga 1st Music School Girls' choir “VIVACE.”
She has always been very interested in different cultures and traditions. The 8th World Choir Games in 2014, which happened in Riga, Latvia, was an event that gave her a first chance to learn more about choirs all around the world, not only nationally.
After graduating from Music School at age 14, Egija joined the Chamber Choir “Tonika,” and they received many awards - Gold medalist of the International Youth Choir Festival and Competition in Bratislava, Slovakia (2015), participant in the Choir Festival in Aveyron, France (2016) and winner of the Gold Diploma in the International Choir Competition “Silver Bells 2017” in Daugavpils, Latvia. This expanded her experience internationally, as she heard other choir performances and met singers from all around Europe.
Egija’s hunger for music education and learning something new all the time led her to study in Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music. She was deeply inspired and motivated by her professor Romans Vanags, who is a well-known choir conductor and the Artistic Director of Interkultur (Germany) organization.
With individual conducting lessons twice a week, piano, solo singing, guitar, solfeggio, music composition, and others, she got the confidence that she needed to teach music. A month after she started her studies, she got her first job as a choir conductor at Riga Teika Secondary School, with high school-aged kids. Later she started to lead Girls and Boys choirs too, while still in the Academy and singing in one of the best youth choirs in Latvia - “Balsis.” In 2018, Egija had her first experience with Latvians in the United States when she participated in a summer camp with the New York Latvian choir singers. At the end of the camp, they had a choir concert with Latvian music and folk songs.
As the pandemic started, and all the choirs shut down, Egija decided to use the time to try something new and different. She came to the USA as an Au Pair, where she spent almost two years working with kids, living in an American host family, and having an adventure of a lifetime. She really enjoyed this experience and was happy to share her knowledge about music with her host kids by teaching piano and singing. Egija also joined the Northwest Chamber Chorus in Seattle and spent two years singing in it, as she was passionate about learning new composers and music that she had not heard while singing or leading choirs in Latvia. Last year, Egija performed “My Song” by Eriks Esenvalds in Seattle as a guest conductor and shared her story with the choir singers.
She has also shared and developed her passion for music in other ways. One of the truly inspirational personalities that she has met in Seattle is Heather MacLaughlin Garbes. Last year she joined The Magi Ensemble – a professional SA vocal ensemble that specializes in music from the Baltic region of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, led by her. Their values of cultural understanding, community, and quality, and their philosophy to show people how music can empower them inspired her.
One of the things that Egija is most proud of is re-establishing and conducting the Seattle Latvian Choir. In the summer of 2023 choir went to Riga, Latvia to participate in the Song and Dance festival. Egija has worked hard and patiently to make sure that she shows the singers the values and philosophy that she has as a choir conductor.
Starting Fall 2023, Egija is a Graduate student at the University of Washington, in the Choral Conducting program, as well as an Assistant Conductor of the University Singers.
Larke Witten, mezzo soprano, music educator, voice teacher, choral conductor, and mother has intentionally kept one foot in the world of music and the other in the lives of her family members. She returns to academia to pursue a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting.
Larke received a Bachelor’s of Music from Brigham Young University in Vocal Performance. There she studied voice with Dr. Lila Stuart-Bachelder. After graduating, she maintained a private voice studio teaching students ranging from young children to adults, but mostly working with high school students in the choral programs of the North East Independent School District of San Antonio, Texas. She maintained an in-demand studio regularly guiding students to the Texas All-State, Area, and Region Choirs, and to Superior ratings at Regional and State Solo and Ensemble Contests. One of her greatest joys is continued association with her former students seeing them succeed in all areas of life, including, but not limited to their musical endeavors. She believes every music student can play a role in the future success of the arts. Her students have gone on to sing in professional choirs, participate in television and stage work, perform folk rock, sing in cover bands, lead religious music, and serve as arts organization board members. Her current vocal coach is Professor Darrell Babidge, Vocal Department Chair, Juilliard School of Music.
Her previous professional choral appearances have been with the San Antonio Chamber Choir (as a charter member) and the South Dakota Chorale-performing with both at National ACDA Conventions. With SACC, she sang on the roster for eleven seasons under Scott MacPherson and Richard Bjella. Other choral projects were sung under the batons of Brian Schmidt, Robert Bode, Ronald Staheli, Mack Wilberg, Craig Hella Johnson, Ryan Murphy, Markdavin Obenza, Joseph Adam, Fred McIlroy, Steve Danielson, and Tim Westerhaus.
Recently in Washington, she was choral director of the program Peace in Christ for the Bellevue Nativity. She served as the Seattle North Stake Choir Director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and worked as Music Director of A Christmas Carol: A New Musical. She has sung as a soloist in oratorio, concert, recital and church settings in the state.
In Texas, she led the Texas San Antonio North Stake Choir, Texas San Antonio East Stake Choir, Texas San Antonio Temple Devotional Choir at the Alamodome, and the Stone Oak, Eden, Alamo, and Encino Park Ward Choirs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She also had various soloist roles in her time in Texas.
Discography projects in which she appears: Unfrozen: Christmas in the Baltics (featured soloist), Spanish & Mexican Cathedral Music, The Choral Works of Andrew Rindfleisch, Eric Whitacre: The Complete a Cappella Works, 1991-2001, Songs of Praise and Remembrance, and The Redeemer: A Sacred Service of Music.
Her collaborations include the San Antonio Choral Society, San Antonio Messiah, San Antonio Mastersingers, the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Choral Arts Northwest, Vox 16, St. James Cathedral Cantorei, Emmanuel Episcopal Church Mercer Island, and the Seattle Ensign Symphony and Chorus.
In her leisure time she enjoys traveling, floral arranging, glass fusing, hiking, gentle kayaking, attempting yoga, trying new restaurants, and being with her family and pets. She is passionate about refugee resettlement and assistance, human kindness, all things Brene Brown and/or Jane Austen, and blue and white pottery.