Dustin Willetts is one of the most in-demand artistic directors of the Pacific Northwest. Willetts currently directs Kulshan Chorus (Bellingham, WA), Cantabile Chamber Choir (Skagit Valley, WA), and the Sno-King Community Chorale (Edmonds, WA)
Willetts has received critical praise from around the world as he takes his audience and singers to a place that may elicit a wide range of emotions: anger, grief, sorrow, compassion, pain, and hope. He was recently awarded the Whatcom Peace Builder Award and the Ken Gass Community Building award for his “Breaking Silence” project, “about the abuse, indignities, and harm done to women. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s a concert that must be heard.” Outside of his work in the PNW, Willetts has conducted in over 20 countries, some favorites being – Norway, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria.
Willetts was awarded a Master of Music from Western Oregon University. In addition to his artistic direction throughout the state of Washington, he started the Kulshan Youth Choir in Whatcom County, serves on the board of directors for the Seattle Children’s Chorus (since 2012), is an adjudicator and clinician, and performs as an instrumentalist (primarily on saxophone) for various events and sessions. Dustin and his wife, Lauren, live on Camano Island with their three fluffy-children.
I believe the art of singing choral music is intrinsically beautiful and good. Yes, perhaps this is an overly-simplified statement, but it is one that keeps me on terra firma as I strive to do so much more. Often, artists can become singularly focused on the message of our current presentation, and lose sight of the fact that our art is beautiful on its own; the message of a particular project may augment the beauty but good art is beautiful and stands tall on its own. If we as conductors, composers, painters and dancers can keep this mantra at the forefront of our efforts, the world will experience better art.
I believe in speaking out and using my platform to advocate for social justice and peace throughout the world. I believe people are good and circumstances (privilege and poverty) heavily influence our actions and shape our communities which influence the type of people we set out to be.
I believe music to be an incredible equalizer.
I believe I create because God created me to do so. I feel His joy when I spend time working on choral music with my communities.
I believe many of us are losing sight of the truth that good art takes time and dedication over many years, and does not provide instant gratification.
I believe music is the only remaining instrument of unity. It has the power to mend the crack in the sky. I believe that I can make a difference in the lives of my choir members, my community, and the world if I continue to work on my craft to be the best I can be at it, and share it with others.
I believe in people, love, and hope.