Federal Way Chorale





Laird received his Bachelor of Music in Performance from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon and did his graduate work in vocal studies at the University of Southern California.

He earned his teaching certificate at the University of Washington where he studied choral conducting under Abraham Kaplan. He has conducted many major choral works including Fanshawe’s African Sanctus.

In addition to his duties with the Federal Way Chorale, Laird has maintained an active performance career in the Seattle area, singing with Seattle Opera and Tacoma Opera, as well as smaller regional opera companies. He has also appeared in musical theater productions with Civic Light Opera, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, and Puget Sound Musical Theatre. He has performed as a soloist with the Northwest Chorale, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra and Choir of the Sound, among others.

Laird is currently Director of Choral Music at Grace Lutheran Church in Des Moines. He recently retired from a long distinguishing career as the Director of Vocal Music at Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way. His high school ensembles and musical theater productions have a long record of regional and national awards.

Laird M. Thornton Artistic Director

Brian Soushek Associate Director

Brian Soushek is a local musician who is very active in the music community. He is the worship leader at Federal Way United Methodist Church where he directs a vibrant music program. He also works with Laird Thornton at Thomas Jefferson High School in the music program and has been the music director for the spring musical production for the last three years. Brian not only teaches private piano and saxophone lessons, but also composes and arranges his own music. Currently he has completed four CD projects with the men’s trio OneVoyc. Brian has been with the chorale since 2006.

Phil Wilkinson 

Accompanist/Chorale Orchestra Manager

Philip Wilkinson was born in Auburn, studied piano privately for fifteen years, played violin in public schools and was active as soloist, recitalist, and accompanist. Presently he is Organist at Grace Lutheran Church in Des Moines. Philip teaches, accompanies other musicians, and plays for ballet classes, tango and ballroom dancing, and musical theater. He was most recently heard in the Auburn Mountain View High School production of “Grease.” He has performed as Principal Viola with the Rainier Symphony, Northwest Mahler Festival, and Bellevue Opera. He also plays fiddle with the Kilmany Scottish Band and Scandinavian music on the Hardanger fiddle.

Philip is a graduate of the University of Washington and is retired from a career as lead technician for the UW Quaternary Isotope Laboratory. Phil has been with the chorale for the last 12 years! He produces an annual Vintage Band Concert in November and Sancta Lucia Pageant in December.

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