Sing to your heart's content with auditioning choirs

It's back to school time, not just for the kids, but for many adults who want to polish up some old skills or discover a new talent. Whether your thing is singing or dancing, several opportunities exist to start a new artistic endeavor.

Many local choirs audition new singers in September for their current year or for holiday shows. While most would like auditioning singers to have some musical experience (the ability to read music is often mentioned), they aren't expecting new members to have opera-level vocal training.

If you sang in the choir at church or school and are willing to commit to weekly rehearsals, think about lending your vocal talents to one of these groups, who are auditioning now:

z A Cappella Joy Chorus is auditioning female singers (790-3536).

z Choral Sounds Northwest seeks all voice parts for a December show (367-5667).

z Metropolitan Glee Club wants singers in all voice parts, and Seattle Women's Glee Club wants female singers. Off Beats Vocal Jazz Ensemble needs tenors and bass/baritones. All are part of the Seattle Glee Club organization under the direction of Bert Gulhaugen (367-3410), who also offers vocal training through the In Good Voice school in the North End.

Northwest Chorale is seeking all voice parts for a benefit performance of Handel's "Messiah" (362-5731).

z Northwest Girlchoir is auditioning female singers age 8 to 18 for its ensemble (985-3969).

Norwegian Male Chorus of Seattle seeks male singers and will hold an open house Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m., at Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 N.W. 67th St.

Seattle Choral Company auditions new members this month (365-8765).

UW Extension courses

University of Washington isn't just for UW students. UW also draws on its extensive resources to offer a variety of "extension" courses for adults.

UW Extension began in 1912 as the branch of the university offering correspondence courses, but it now offers a variety of in-person classes around Seattle and at the UW campus. These range from a one-time class to certificate programs.

For music lovers, there are choir and symphony classes currently registering students for the fall quarter, which begins Sept. 30. University Singers and Symphonic Band do not require auditions. University Symphony Orchestra will require an audition. There are tuition fees for these programs.

For more information, see

Westlake Dance Center

Sheri Lewis, owner of Westlake Dance Center, celebrated the center's first decade of operation in August.

"When we opened our doors 10 years ago, I didn't know what to expect," Lewis said. "I pictured a place specifically for adults who wanted to train in various styles of jazz, jazz technique and hip hop. Nothing really existed like this at the time. With the support of a handful of dance instructors, students and my family, I took the plunge."

Today, the studio operates out of a space in the Olympic Sports Plaza, across from Northgate Mall, and offers approximately 40 classes. More than 450 students train in various styles of jazz, jazz technique, hip hop, ballet, breakdancing, salsa and tap.

The studio also offers conditioning classes such as cardiofunk, yoga and Pilates.

Lewis said that all talent levels are made welcome at the studio and that each person is appreciated and respected for their efforts. "Everyone is important here, whether the person is just discovering dance or dreaming of making it big," she said.

For more information about the studio and its classes, contact Westlake Dance Center, at 621-7378, or check out

Rosemary Jones writes about entertainment and the arts for the North Seattle Herald-Outlook. Her column appears the first and third weeks of each month. E-mail her at

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