Composer. (b. 1977) Laurie Betts Hughes's music is influenced by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ruth Crawford Seeger, and Joni Mitchell. With an emphasis on the craft of counterpoint, a cultural sensitivity to the intersection of content and medium, and often infused with a certain lightness, her music is both timely and unique. Realizing the richness of instrumental music, she enjoys "giving voice" to instrumental idioms and utilizing extended vocal techniques to mimic instrumental textures. She has been commissioned by The Colorado Chorale, Cora Voce, Casper Children's Chorale, North Seattle College Choir, The City of Redmond (WA), The Music Barn, Orchestra Unlimited, Bellevue Presbyterian Church, and Indian Head Camp Drama Department’s production of Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s “Le Petit Prince." She was a national finalist in the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Her publications are offered through Walton, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and self-published through Dandelion Music Press. Laurie has an abiding interest in choral arrangements of American folk music and contributes her own works and significant scholarship into this rich material. As a woman, and especially as a mother of young children, she seeks to highlight undersung female themes. She often finds texts, lyricists, and genres that highlight women's experience. Her choral and orchestral compositions were semi-finalists for the American Prize in both divisions, and her work is included in Project: Encore's list of new, vetted choral compositions.
Conductor. An experienced conductor and musician, Laurie has directed a full spectrum of choirs; adults and children, sacred and secular, academic and community groups. She earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Colorado State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano and Musicology from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She is the first recipient of the Robert Fountain Memorial Scholarship in Choral Conducting from Oberlin.
Choir Builder. Laurie is a spirited conductor of creative connection in the Pacific Northwest who fosters community through choral singing; both community within the choir as well as between the choir and the greater community. To this end, she loves to build choirs and is the founding artistic director of the Redmond Chorale and formed the G# Choir of Google in Kirkland for Play At Work. In the spirit of continuing education, she directs the Women's University Club Chorus of Seattle and teaches music courses at Northwest University. She is president of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium “Seattle Sings,” the initial conductor of project-based Summer Fling Vocal Ensemble, and a founding vocalist of Seattle's Emerald Ensemble.
Choral Arrangements of American Folk Songs. In the relatively young United States, singing the nation’s folk music is timely and relative in our burgeoning "choral nation.” Choral singing and folk music share much in common: it develops its collective song through shared singing. American folk music is a vital resource not only for the people of our nation, but specifically for its choristers. "It is my fondest wish that choral directors will regularly program quality arrangements of this rich material with their ensembles and add to this body of repertoire. In doing so, may we realize the important work that choral musicians are doing in our home countries. May we further connect our communities separated by history, time, age, and national heritage. In our connecting, may we realize how singing together unites us in our shared humanity."