Newcastle composer Bob Ingalls up for international award

April 30, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Bob Ingalls

Bob Ingalls

Newcastle composer Bob Ingalls describes his version of “Ave Maria” as an experience.

The eight-minute piece, written for choir and strings, brings the music to its listeners, as three sopranos stand embedded in the audience.

After singing a verse, the musicians then move to a different spot, keeping audiences guessing.

“The concept is that the people who are listening, by the middle of the piece, will really be wondering, where is the music going to come from next?” Ingalls said. “That causes you to, some extent, suspend your sense of belief and awe as you listen and truly get into the piece itself.”

Ingalls’ “Ave Maria for Choir & Strings” is one of 12 finalists in the 2015 Sacrarium International Composer’s Competition. He’ll travel to Ukraine in May, where the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra and Galician Academic Chamber Choir will perform his and the other finalists’ compositions at a concert.

He will also present a paper as part of the accompanying International Composers’ Forum. Ingalls, who directs the choir at West Seattle’s Holy Rosary Catholic Church, wrote about a topic he knows well — using sacred spaces to enhance sacred music.

“The actual piece that I wrote for the competition makes use of space within a cathedral or a concert hall to enhance the music itself,” Ingalls said. “So the music is really putting into practice what I discussed in my paper.”

The graduate of the Julliard School of Music has spent more than 40 years conducting, playing and composing music, most recently as the artistic director of his own Musica Sacra Chamber Chorale.

That group is currently on hiatus, Ingalls said, while he focuses on other projects.

The longtime Newcastle resident and his wife Cathy leave for Ukraine on May 4, taking a 22-hour flight through Amsterdam. Lviv, Ukraine, musicians will play his piece at a May 10 concert.

Ingalls will compete against composers from across the world. Musicians hailing from Spain, Italy and China are among the finalists. Ingalls is one of just three finalists from the United States.

“I don’t really expect to win, but I think it was such an honor to be asked,” Ingalls said.

Ingalls has received numerous awards for his work as a conductor, but this is the first time one of his written pieces has received such distinction, he said.

His work’s intent is to make people spiritually rise up a little higher than they would normally, he added.

“The ‘Ave Maria’ or the ‘Hail Mary’ is a prayer that is very close to the hearts of many, many, many people,” Ingalls said. “There’s a spiritual sense that you can get from the prayer itself, and what I’m attempting to do musically is to enhance that experience.”

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One Response to “Newcastle composer Bob Ingalls up for international award”

  1. kathy VonDerLinn on May 2nd, 2015 10:46 pm

    Article should have mentioned that Bob directed the choir at St. Madeleine Church for 35 years – right here in this community.

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