The acclaimed, 70-member Palouse Choral Society will perform music inspired by Native American culture in the chapel on Sunday, April 22, at 3:00 p.m.
The centerpiece of the concert is “Song of the Salish Chief,” a piece commissioned for the Vancouver, BC, centennial, that vividly describes the life of the Salish people through the eyes of an aging chief. The program will also feature pieces in Lakota and Cree, a piece based on text from Chief Seattle, and a “Native American Prayer for Peace” from the United Nations Year of Peace. There will also be a Nez Perce welcome.
Artistic and Music Director Dr. Sarah J. Graham was inspired to create this concert by her long-time friend and mentor, Dr. Paul Schultz. “I heard his choir perform ‘Song of the Salish Chief,’ and then I sang it with him in the Tacoma Symphony Chorus. Through Paul I also met Reverend Roy Wilson, chief of the Cowlitz Tribe (a Salish tribe) and narrator of the piece. He helped me understand and interpret the text. I believe it is a very important work, both musically and textually.
“I chose to make this concert a tribute to Native culture because it’s not music that we hear often. Most Native music is not intended to be performed. It is part of ritual and is a sacred part of everyday life.” Dr. Graham explains that some tribal groups have shared music that they have allowed to be arranged and performed, others are much more protective. Sunday’s program includes one Lakota piece, arranged by a composer from Tacoma, Washington, that she was gifted and given permission to share. The second piece is Cree. Other pieces include “This We Know,” a setting of a text that is attributed to Chief Seattle. The “Native American Prayer for Peace” was composed by Paul Aitken, who is the director of music at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise. The narrator will be James Walker, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe.
The performance will also include a variety of instrumentalists including a battery of percussion instruments: timpani, bass drum, gong, chimes, xylophone, marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone, triangle, snare, and tambourine.
In addition to directing the Palouse Choral Society, Dr. Sarah J. Graham is Assistant Professor of Music in the Humanities Division at Lewis-Clark State College. At LCSC, Dr. Graham conducts the Concert Choir and teaches Survey of Music, Introduction to the Arts, Early Childhood Music, Conducting, and Private Applied Voice. She is active as a guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator for solo and ensemble, as well as large group choral contests and festivals. Dr. Graham also serves as the choral director at Nativity Episcopal Church in Lewiston.
The Palouse Choral Society (PCS) is comprised of the PCS Chorale and Lewis-Clark State College Concert Choir. A non-profit choral organization serving the quad–city region, Palouse Choral Society is an auditioned body of community choirs celebrating choral music through masterful performances, educational outreach, and cultural enrichment with singers from the Palouse, Valley, Prairie, and Clearwater regions.
“A Tribute to Native American Culture” takes place on Sunday, April 22, at 3 p.m. at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho. General Admission: $10 for adults, kids and students free. Tickets at the door and online. Reception to follow. For more information, call 208-962-5065.