"Of all the spring 2010 contests of The American Prize, the most exciting may be the competition for The American Prize in Choral Performance in the community chorus category. Just to select the twelve finalists from the original twenty-two was a challenge. Here is everything any judge could wish for—committed, exciting, vibrant and beautifully sung recordings in a broad repertoire, presenting a level of technical skill and bravura that is truly astonishing.
"If there is any area of music-making in this country that is too often overlooked by the broader national media, it may be our community choruses, and to that end, The American Prize hopes to help by offering regional, national and international visibility. Each ensemble is worthy of praise on its merits, worthy of our admiration, and our heartfelt thanks. We must pick a winner from among them all, but happily, the decision-making is shared. It will not be easy. Ultimately, in this company, there can be no loser. "
In no order, the finalists for The American Prize in Choral Performance community chorus division (and their applicant conductors in Choral Conducting) are listed below. Winners will be announced in mid-June.
Atlanta Sacred Chorale and conductor Eric Nelson—Atlanta, GA
Choral Arts and conductor Robert Bode—Seattle, WA for Mornings Like This
Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and conductor Donald Kendrick—Sacramento, CA for Carmina Burana
Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, Reuben Reynolds, conductor—Boston, MA in music by Brunner, Hoiby, Eakin and more.
International Orange Chorale and conductors Jeremy Faust and Zane Fiala—San Francisco, CA in music by Ades, Distler, Heggie, Stephens, Paulus and more.
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and conductor Kathleen McGuire—San Francisco, CA in music by Rutter, Bizet, Puccini and more.
Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra and conductor Edward Markward—Providence, RI in music by Bach, Mozart, Rutter and Handel.
Seattle Pro Musica and conductor Karen Thomas—Seattle, WA in music by Bach, Mozart, Frank Martin and Vaughan Williams.
Cathedral Choral Society and conductor J. Reilly Lewis—Washington, DC in Argento’s Evensong: Of Love and Angels.
Harmonium Choral Society, Anne Matlack, conductor—Morristown, NJ, for Waitin' for the Dawn of Peace
Baltimore Choral Arts Society and conductor Tom Hall—Baltimore, MD, for Christmas with Choral Arts.
Calvin College Alumni Choir and conductor Pearl Shangkuan—Grand Rapids, MI in music by Paulus, Ives, Hovland and more.
For those NOT chosen as finalists, the competition is not yet over. Different from many competitions where contestants who do not reach the semi-finals or finals are eliminated without further consideration or communication, each contestant, including those not advanced to the finals, whether an ensemble or individual, will receive an evaluation and may receive other awards.
Evaluations will be emailed after the winners are finally tabulated and announced in June. In this way, The American Prize seeks to provide encouragement to every one of its contestants, regardless of location, category or stature.
Thanks and best wishes to all contestants.