Kevin Allen-Schmid

Meet Our Artistic Director

In 2019 Artistic Director, Kevin Allen-Schmid founded the Choir of the Salish Sea, a tenor and bass group dedicated to sharing love and beauty at the highest level of musical artistry. The group aims to broaden the appeal of choral singing, attracting audience members who have not been to choir concerts before, and who discover that choral music is a feast for the ears, relevant and moving.

Kevin and his wife Genia moved to Bellingham, Washington in 2015 where Kevin currently serves as music director at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship (BUF) and Genia is Director of Life-Long Learning. In addition to his work with BUF, Kevin has directed the Bellingham Chamber Chorale, the Ferndale High School choirs, and the Interfaith Music Festival. He enjoys working as an occasional substitute teacher at Lummi Nation School.

A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and Central Washington University, Kevin Allen-Schmid taught music and choir for a dozen years in international schools in Tanzania, Malaysia, Germany, and the Canary Islands. For twenty years he directed the acclaimed Flathead High School choirs in Kalispell, Montana, bringing them national recognition for choral excellence and innovative programming.

The Choir of the Salish Sea hopes their music will express poetry and wisdom that is timely and inspiring and that songs and programs resonate with themes and issues that people care about.

What inspired you to start the Choir of the Salish Sea?

Whatcom County already has a number of mixed and womens’ groups. There isn’t another classically oriented Tenor-Bass choir here, so in that way, we’re filling a need. I use the words “tenor-bass” deliberately instead of saying a “Men’s Choir,” because we’re not specific to gender. We don’t feel that gender identity should be inherent in our name.

When did the choir begin performing?

June 2019. It was really reassuring for me and for the singers because we got a good crowd. We performed our concert twice and got great feedback. People were already saying they would be our fans, that they would come to any concerts we might present.

How would you like to see the Choir of the Salish Sea grow in the coming years?

The singers and I treasure how close we feel with each other. There’s a sense of ownership, connection, and value. I like to feature each voice alone at least once within a concert, so that the audience gets to hear, see, and connect with each singer. It becomes very personal for the audience, and the singers feel like “Everybody’s hearing me, I’m important.”

For me, choral music is about sharing and receiving love. It’s about connecting with art and humanity, and opening ourselves to a spiritual power which leads the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts. It’s a magical realm, an addictive pleasure, and a calling. I would like the Choir of the Salish Sea to embrace and embody the beauty in the world.