PRESS RELEASE Feb. 2023
PORTLAND, Ore. - Students from more than 100 schools will welcome their new Pacific Youth Choir Artistic Director, Chris Maunu, on April 16. While Chris’ formal start date with Pacific Youth Choir (PYC) is July 1- he will be involved with singers and partners for months beforehand. On July 9, PYC treble singers will collaborate with the Oregon Bach Festival for a performance of Penderecki’s Credo. Singers will need to be well-rehearsed as they prepare for this once-in-a-life-time performance. Chris will also spend time in Portland meeting artistic partners, engaging PYC singers, meeting symphony directors and finding a home.
Chris spent the previous 17 years as the Director of Choral Activities at Arvada West High School in Colorado and 7 years as Co-Artistic Director of the professional Anima Chamber Ensemble. A 4-time Finalist for the GRAMMY® Music Educator of the Year Award and 2-time winner of the Country Music Awards (CMA) National Music Teacher of Excellence Award, Chris is a passionate advocate for music education. Choirs under Maunu’s direction have appeared at 13 national, regional and state music conferences of America Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and Colorado Music Educators Association (MEA). His choirs have won the American Prize® in Choral Performance and the Gold Diploma at the Rimini International Choir Competition. Ensembles under his direction have presented solo concerts at Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Minneapolis, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has conducted High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome and St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
Maunu has enjoyed serving as a guest clinician for many state and festival choirs from Hawaii to England. He is a contributing author to “The Choral Conductor’s Companion,” published by GIA, as well as having had numerous articles appear in the Choral Journal and other publications. Chris has served several years on ACDA and MEA boards. He has enjoyed lecturing on the topics of choir recruitment, repertoire, and establishing community and culture in the classroom. Presentations include National ACDA and many other platforms. Maunu maintains an active composing career. His compositions have received American Prize Finalist honors and he has been hired for numerous commissions. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern State University, where he was also honored as Commencement Speaker. He was also a recipient of a Commendation from the 71st House of Representatives for his work as an educator.
Chris holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Bachelor of Music Education from Northern State University. Most importantly, Mr. Maunu shares his life with his beautiful wife Aleisha, and their children Bodhi and Astraea.