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Benedict Sixteen Choir

our choir

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Richard Sparks

Richard Sparks is the principal conductor of “The Benedict Sixteen,” the Benedict XVI Institute’s sixteen-voice professional choir. 

Richard Sparks distinguished career includes:

  • Founding Seattle Pro Musica in 1973 and in seven seasons conducted over 70 different programs with three ensembles.
  • Principal Conductor of the Pacific Northwest Bach Festival.
  • Director of Choral Activities at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and led the Choir of the West from 1983-2001
  • Conducting Seattle Symphony Chorale for four years.
  • Conducting the Seattle Symphony Chorale for nine recordings on the Delos label including a Grammy-nominated recording of Hanson’s Lament of Beowulf.
  • Founder andartistic director of Choral Arts Northwest for 11 years, making three CDs on the Loft/Gothic label.
  • Artistic Director of Pro Coro Canada, a professional chamber choir in Edmonton, Alberta, from 1999-2011.
  • Professor of Music and Chair of the Division of Conducting & Ensembles at the University of North Texas for 10 years. Many of his performances can be found on YouTube, including a Vivaldi Gloria with over two million views, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, and the 1725 version of the St. John Passion.
  • Experience with both traditional Gregorian Chant and Anglican Chant

Richard’s latest book, The Conductor’s Toolbox: Transforming Yourself as Musician and Conductor, can be found at GIA Music.

Sparks is one of the few Americans invited to work with the famed Swedish Radio Choir in 2002, 2007, and 2008, including preparing the Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem for a performance with Valery Gergiev and the Rotterdam Philharmonic,which is on DVD with BIS Records. He has also guest conducted the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, and the Anchorage Music Festival among many others.

Archbishop Cordileone and the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship are honored that Richard Sparks brings his distinguished talents to the B16 mission of offering great and elevating works of sacred music, both old and new, in the context in which they were made to be heard: as prayer, not performance.

Choir Administrator

Rebekah Wu

Rebekah Wu is a soprano, known in the music community to be an instigator of innovative sacred music projects. From Choralis in 2007 with Richard Sparks as Artistic Director, to Chalice Consort in 2008 to 2015, that drew Directors from all over the world including Davitt Maroney, Ragnar Bohlin, and Jeremy Summerly. She also produced the first ever Early Music Mining Conference in 2010 where Chalice world- premiered newly resurrected Renaissance sacred choral music, that were transcribed into modern notation by global scholars, that had never been published or publicly performed before. There, the world for the first time, heard stunning sacred choral music composed by Simone Molinaro. Dr. Peter Poulos, who discovered Molinaro’s choral music, won the competition that year. Rebekah has a special love for singing Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and compositions by St. Hildegarde von Bingen. She is currently the Music Director and Soprano at the Benedict XVI Schola (a.k.a The Archbishop’s Choir).