Friday, August 31, 2012


The American Prize is pleased to announce the WINNERS and runners-up in many divisions of The American Prize in Choral Performance.

Please make us aware of any misprints by emailing:

The American Prize in Choral Performance
—Community Division

The American Prize winner: 
Joseph Gregorio, conductor
West Chester, PA
Formed in 2011, Ensemble Companio comprises 24 accomplished choral singers from the northeast United States.  The ensemble rehearses once a month and held its debut concert in March 2012.  The group's name derives from a Latin form of the word "companion," whose etymological meaning is "one with whom one shares bread."  Its name reflects its members' belief that partaking in choral music is an essential, nourishing, and healing endeavor, akin to the sharing of food.  Ensemble Companio's mission is to build interpersonal bridges through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music.  

Richard Hynson, director
Milwaukee, WI

Consistent artistic excellence, innovative programming, and powerful community impact are the earned hallmarks of Bel Canto Chorus; Southeastern Wisconsin’s oldest continually performing arts organization. Bel Canto’s mission of enriching the lives of its audiences, singers, and the wider community propels an annual season of four subscription concerts, vital special events, and two significant outreach programs on both ends of the demographic spectrum; Bel Canto Senior Singers and Bel Canto Boy Choirs. Founded in 1931, most of Bel Canto’s one hundred singers are volunteer community members, ranging in age from 20 to 80 and representing all walks of life and professions.

Mark Shapiro, music director
New York, NY

Cantori New York, praised by The New York Times for its “spirit of exploration” and “virtuosity and assurance,” celebrates its 28th season of programming featuring new and neglected works that deserve to be performed and heard.

A three-time winner of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Cantori has built a strong reputation for artistic excellence and innovative programming, including an evening of theatrical choral music with Tony Award winner Maryann Plunkett. Cantori’s collaborators have included the Cassatt String Quartet, Prism Saxophone Quartet, and the Gregg Smith Singers; appearances have included the opening season of Zankel Hall with Michael Tilson Thomas, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, and World Financial Center Arts & Events.
Cantori’s recordings include The Metamorphoses of Paul Crabtree, Echoes and Shadows (contemporary American choral works), and the first CD recording of Frank Martin’s Le Vin HerbĂ©, which was an Opera News Editors’ Choice.

The American Prize in Choral Performance—Special Citation for Unique Collaborative Programming & Performance

Tracia Barbieri, director
Davis, CA 

THE VOCAL ART ENSEMBLE (VAE) is an a capella adult chorus of 20-24 trained musicians, dedicated to presenting varied repertoire meticulously prepared and lovingly performed. Founded in February 2008, VAE regularly performs in Northern CA and has toured abroad in Ireland. Richly themed programs typically include motets and masses composed during the Renaissance, music from diverse cultures, and choral masterworks by living composers. Rehearsing weekly in director Tracia Barbieri's living room, VAE relies entirely upon on community donations to defray costs.

The American Prize in Choral Performance—College/University Division

The American Prize winner:
Andrew Crane, conductor
Greenville, NC

The Chamber Singers is the select choral ensemble at ECU. Comprised of 34-40 auditioned singers, many of whom are voice majors from within the School of Music, the group tours annually and has performed by invitation at regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.  They maintain a rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule, and focus predominantly on unaccompanied choral literature suitable for advanced chamber choir.

Nancy Menk*, conductor
Notre Dame, IN

THE SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE WOMEN'S CHOIR *regularly commissions and performs new works for women's voices.  An outgrowth of this emphasis is the publication of the /Saint Mary's College Choral Series/, a collection of new works for women's voices, published by /earthsongs/ of Corvallis, Oregon.  The Choir has performed throughout the United States and has appeared before state and division conventions of the Music Educators National Conference and the American Choral Directors Association.  In February 2005, the Choir appeared before the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Los Angeles, CA.  Each November the Choir hosts the annual Saint Mary's College High School Women's Choir Festival, in which 20 choirs from neighboring states perform for each other and a panel of commentators.  The Choir tours nationally every other year, and regularly performs with the University of Notre Dame Glee Club in joint performances of major works with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.  They have been invited to perform for the ACDA Symposium on American Choral Music in Washington, DC in June, 2012. 

*Dr. Menk is on leave-of-absence from The American Prize judging panel in 2012.

Giselle Wyers, conductor
Seattle, WA

University of Washington Chorale, directed by Giselle Wyers, is an auditioned undergraduate ensemble of 60 music and non-music majors from the Seattle campus.  UW Chorale was recently selected to perform at the 2011 MENC Regional Conference in Seattle, and has appeared as guest ensemble with the Seattle Symphony ("The University Chorale was brilliant," 2008 Seattle Times review) and in joint concerts with Revalia Male Chamber Choir in Estonia, and for the Princess of Sweden. UW Chorale has been invited to appear as the only American choir in the Latvian Song Festival in Riga, Latvia, during the summer of 2013.


The American Prize in Choral Performance—Youth & High School Division

The American Prize winner:
Timothy Powell, conductor
Augusta, GA

The Davidson Chorale, conducted by Dr. Timothy M. Powell, performs regularly at prestigious events and venues in their home state of Georgia, nationally, and internationally. The Chorale most recently performed with two-time Grammy winner Joseph Jennings, Tim Sharp, and Mack Wilberg. The Chorale has been honored with invitations to perform at Lincoln Center as well as GMEA, ACDA, and MENC conventions. In 2010, the Chorale travelled to Germany and the Czech Republic, a tour highlighted by an exclusive invitation to perform on Easter Sunday at the famed St. Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, the home church of J. S. Bach.

Karen Bruno, conductor
Appleton, WI

Bel Canto is the high school component of the Lawrence Academy of Music’s 330-member Girl Choir program.  The Girl Choir program seeks to provide quality choral opportunities for girls in private, public, parochial, and home schools throughout the Fox Valley region.  Through the study and performance of the highest quality music, girls develop vocal technique, musical skills, creativity, expressive artistry, and an awareness of various cultures.  The Girl Choir program strives to create an atmosphere that encourages girls to respect the uniqueness of others, to take risks that foster individual growth, and to continue their development into self-assured young women.

Tatiana Kats, conductor
Columbus, OH

The Columbus International Children's Choir (CICC) offers professional quality singing education and remarkable performance experience for children and youth from Columbus, Ohio, and other Central Ohio communities. It was formed in 1998 by Tatiana Kats, currently artistic director and principal conductor of the choir. CICC consists of over 150 students ages 4-18 and 6 choral groups. The repertoire includes classical, contemporary, sacred and folk, music as well as musicals. The choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, in Beijing, Toronto, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Ohio Capitol Statehouse, and in many other venues.

Congratulations to all winners, runners-up and citation recipients.

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