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UW Sings

Saturday, March 9, 2024 - 7:30pm
University Congregational UCC, 4515 16th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105 - Google Map
Voice Division Recital
University Singers, UW Glee Club, and Treble Choir perform under the direction of Egija Ungure, Cee Adamson, Michael McKenzie, Evan Norberg, David Ferguson, Larke Witten and Heidi Blythe, accompanied by Steve Swanson.



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, Choral Conducting

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

Michael McKenzie

Michael McKenzie is a national award-winning conductor and music educator, whose work centers around the power that choral music has to affect social change. They serve as a Managing Director of Voices for Social Justice, a national nonprofit organization whose work combines social activism with justice-centered artistic expression through performance, resources, and community collaboration. Outside of VFSJ, Michael serves as the Director of Music at Magnolia United Church of Christ. 

Michael is currently pursuing their DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Washington School of Music. Prior to this, they graduated with an MM in Choral Conducting, with honors, from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University – Long Beach. There, Michael served as the director of ConChord, a student community chorus, and as a teaching assistant for the University Choir and Bob Cole Chamber Choir.

Michael was the Founder and Director of two Social Justice Choirs at Gustavus Adolphus College, and their performances earned them 2nd place in The American Prize for Choral Conducting - Community Division and an invitation to present a concert at The 2020 Nobel Conference. Michael graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, summa cum laude, in 2019 with a BA in Music Education and certification in K-12 Vocal, Instrumental, and Classroom music. Michael is a member of the Music Honors Society Pi Kappa Lambda and the Education Honors Society Kappa Delta Pi, and holds professional affiliations with the American Choral Director’s Association, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the National Associate for Music Education.

Evan Norberg, grad student in Choral Conducting
Evan Norberg has been a prominent conductor and clinician in the Pacific Northwest. Quoted as “unstoppable” and having “a clear and precise style”, Evan has been steadily building his reputation as a clinician, private instructor, and conductor having worked with many local groups, and adjudications at regional and state levels. He holds a voice studio based out of Seattle.

Evan has extensive knowledge in both classical and jazz styles, having been part of top notch ensembles in both community and school groups; Edmonds Community College’s Soundsation, Seattle Children’s Choir, Central Washington University’s Chamber Choir, Vocal Jazz 1, and Seattle based Choral Arts Northwest just to name a few. In the professional arena, Evan is a sought after bass/baritone soloist and has performed as a guest for many local community and school groups for major works, such as René Clausen’s Memorial, Handel’s Messiah, Faure’s Requiem, Mozart’s Vespers, and more.

Through inspiration and guidance by the great arrangers of the Pacific Northwest such as Vijay Singh, Kirk Marcy, and Kelly Kunz, Evan has been arranging his own jazz standards and compositions since 2003 with a steady stream of charts for his own ensembles. More notably, his arrangement of Love You Madly was premiered at the National American Choral Directors Association Conference in Chicago in 2011.

During the pandemic, Evan formed his own LLC called Envision Studios with business partner Daniel Schreiner. The goal was to help build virtual content for music teachers throughout the US to support their regular online rehearsals, projects, and virtual performances. Envision supported upwards of 40 school teachers in over 100 projects throughout the pandemic, bringing quality music programs to people's homes, enriching 'classroom' learning, and instilling confidence, recording, and musical skills to students across the country.

Evan holds degrees from Edmonds Community College, and Central Washington University, which includes a Masters from CWU in both Choral Conducting and Vocal Performance. Evan is excited to be a part of the Seattle Choir scene as a singing member of Choral Arts Northwest, local jazz group Last Call, director of choirs, jazz studies, theory and voice at Shoreline Community College, and Artistic Director of his passion project, Wellspring Ensemble.
Egija Ungure

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.