Ploeger helps students prepare for Spokane Symphony Chorale

By Erin Rebar, A&E and Features Editor

Erin Rebar
Professor Kristina Ploeger teaches in the piano lab

Early this past fall, EWU Professor Kristina Ploeger was named the new director of the Spokane Symphony Chorale.

The Chorale has been an official part of the Spokane Symphony since 1978 and is currently made up of more than 80 singers, according to the Spokane Symphony website.

According to Ploeger, working with the Chorale is a different experience from working with students. Currently the Director of Choral Activities at EWU, Ploeger said she finds joy and fulfillment in working with students and being a part of their lives.

“While it is true that I hope students learn the fundamental content of the courses I teach,” said Ploeger, “it is more important to me that from fully engaging with that content they continue a journey of lifelong learning through music making.  Because I remain focused on maintaining integrity, passion and versatility in my teaching and because I know that the opportunity to be a part of a student’s educational process is not only a joyful happening, but also a sacred responsibility, I am continually driven to provide experiences for students.”

On the other hand, Ploeger said she loves working for the Symphony because it provides her with the opportunity to work with talented musicians, including Symphony Music Director Eckart Preu.

Erin Rebar
Students practice their parts

“I think one of the most rewarding things about working with the Symphony Chorale is that it allows me to work on pieces of truly great repertoire — masterworks that would require too many resources for EWU to mount,” Ploeger said.

On the other hand, working with the Chorale is challenging because many of the vocalists already have prior or similar experience with the pieces they perform. This can be a challenge, Ploeger said, because singers come into rehearsal with the notion that they already know what to do and expect.

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The Vocal Jazz Choir gathers around the piano in the choir room to practice their parts

“It can be very difficult to make fresh, inspiring and truly artistic music if anyone in the group is just reproducing a former experience without engaging fully to find something new in it,” Ploeger said.

The EWU choirs and the Spokane Symphony Chorale have performed together on multiple occasions. Working with the Chorale provides students with the opportunity to perform pieces that they could not do by themselves because of the size of choir and symphony needed, Ploeger said.

Now that Ploeger works for both choirs, organization for coordinated events is a lot easier. This year, EWU Symphonic Choir will be singing Verdi’s “Requiem” and Vaughan Williams’ “Serenade to Music” with the Spokane Symphony, the Symphony Chorale and Gonzaga University’s Chamber Choir.

Above all, Ploeger said that she considers the ability to be a university level educator a great gift.

“This opportunity is one that I value above all else,” said Ploeger. “I intend, with optimism and resourcefulness, to continue to grow and be an asset to students’ growth into capable, reflective, empathetic and productive human beings.”