The Pacific Collegium aims to bring exceptional vocalists together with period instrumentalists in adventurous exploration of the marriage of text and music—the meeting of the natural instrument with the artful. Specializing in 16th- through 18th-century vocal chamber music and choral music, as well as the occasional foray into the modern repertory, we are committed to the presentation of virtuosic literature in both concert and liturgical settings. We are Artists-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Oakland and provide music for the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church, Oakland.
Read reviews of past concerts in San Francisco Classical Voice:
Our founding performance was on the Feast of St. Cecilia—November 22, 2004—where we participated in the Compline service at St. Joseph of Arimathea Chapel in Berkeley, offering Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia as the prelude. We have sung the Hymn every November 22nd since then at church services, garden parties, and in 2006 at a very memorable wedding. In January of 2005, we mounted our first concert set, pairing Britten’s ambitious A Boy Was Born with Advent motets from the Geistliche Chormusik of Heinrich Schütz.
That combination of modern and early music informed many subsequent concerts: an Eton Choirbook program (2005); French Baroque motets (2005 and 2008); a concert combining Britten with Paul Hindemith, Sandro Gorli, and Carlo Gesualdo (2006); our heartfelt Duruflé Requiem benefit concert for the 5th anniversary of 9/11; and most recently a tour-de-force performance of all six Bach motets (2009).
In line with our commitment to authentic historical performance practice, we continually seek opportunities to present sacred works in liturgical context. We became Artists-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 2005, and the following year we began participating in the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church. In 2008, we established Chapel College Men and Boys Ensemble, a choir in the English cathedral tradition where men of the Pacific Collegium join exceptionally talented boy trebles and changed-voice teenage singers for repertoire-specific projects. Chapel College regularly sings Evensong at St. Paul’s and presents one or two concerts a season.
Most recently, we have founded the Pacific Collegium Conservatory to provide Chapel College boys with intensive vocal training. The Conservatory also offers after-school orchestral string ensemble classes (for boys and girls) to complement the choir program and is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of thoughtful, talented chamber and choral musicians.
A native of the Bay Area, Christopher Kula recently returned to California from Portland, Oregon, where he has been praised for his leadership of such ensembles as Portland Pro Musica, the choir of St. Mark’s Parish, the Portland Symphonic Boychoir, the Portland State University Women’s Chorus and others. He is regarded as a trendsetter in thematic and adventurous concert programming, and enjoys presenting musicians and audiences with unfamiliar and challenging literature. He has sung extensively as a choral professional, with Cantores in Ecclesia, Cappella Romana, Choral Cross-Ties and other ensembles. Kula holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Mary’s College, Moraga, and studied music at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Southern California, San Jose State University and Portland State University. He has extensive experience training young singers, including several years at the Pacific Boychoir Academy directing the Intermezzi, Cantori and Changed Voice choirs and teaching music and foreign languages in their Day School program.