Meet Fran Maas - Board Member
I joined the Chorus 21 years ago. I have always sung informally and I used to also lead my elementary school students in song, almost daily, when I was a teacher. Before I joined the chorus, I realized that I missed having choral music in my life. My husband Matt was walking to Roger’s house to pick up clock movements and I walked with him. On the spot, Roger asked both of us to rehearse for the Chorus. Amid the try-out there was a cacophony of sound, with all the clocks showing off with their unique voices. I knew then we were in for an interesting ride.
It is hard to describe how it feels to sing with 100+ voices on stage. We are all finally attuned to the Director and to each other. We sing with more passion than we have at any rehearsal. My heart tingles with joy. This feeling especially resonates when we sing the African Freedom songs.
A year after I joined the chorus we were invited to sing on the Mount Baker stage with Judy Collins for her holiday special. During the concert, for at least two songs she turned her back to the audience and came close the Kulshan Chorus and sang directly to us. As a child of the 60’s it was a dream come true.
The Kulshan Chorus was invited by Darrell Hilaire, Chairman of the Lummi Nation, to participate in an Honoring Ceremony in the Long House at Lummi Nation. In the first few months of the year, the Lummis had lost many people to drugs, alcohol and suicides. The Ceremony was to honor all the people who helped facilitate their dignified partings – casket makers, food preparators, flower arrangers, etc. We were invited to sing songs of peace and were also invited to participate in a communal meal. Before we took to the stage we were ushered to a back room where each of us were draped in a native blanket which was pinned to our left side, over our hearts. We sang in between native testimonials about each person who had had departed, rather than a concert. It was one of the most inclusive and touching moments I have ever experienced.
The Kulshan Chorus is a lively chorus that is fun to sing with. Sometimes music is very challenging, but rewarding. As a chorus we have grown musically under Dustin Willett’s direction, In our concerts, we sing with very talented musicians who enhance the musical experience for the audience,
Over the years, the Chorus has embarked on many international tours. In addition to singing and sightseeing we have interacted with native residents, either in song or in philanthropic endeavors. While in Ecuador, we took boats to visit and spend the night with a tribe who lived in the Amazon. They didn’t speak English or Spanish, but an evening of song and dance didn’t need any translation.