Monday, December 22, 2014


Two college/university choruses are the first ensembles to be selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize by the national nonprofit competitions. "Honored Artists" are individuals or organizations who have proven themselves to be of “sustained excellence" over a number of seasons as contestants in the competitions.

Earlier this fall, Maestro David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, expressed a hope for the competitions "to do more" to advance the art. The creation of the Honored Artist designation is one way the contest seeks to bring additional recognition to laureates it deems especially worthy.

The two choruses selected as Honored Artists of The American Prize for 2014 are:

University of South Dakota Chamber Singers
David Holdhusen, director
Vermillion, SD
"Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir of Linn-Benton Community College
James Reddan, director
Albany, OR

“In many ways, these two choral groups epitomize the mission of The American Prize to recognize and reward excellence in the performing arts, wherever and whenever in America it is found,” said Katz. “The University of South Dakota Chamber Singers and Linn-Benton "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir have displayed continuing artistry in the contests over several seasons.

"The lesson is obvious: gifted students, lead by an inspiring teacher, supported by an enlightened administration and an enthusiastic community, equates to excellence, whether in Albany, Oregon and Vermillion, South Dakota. As The American Prize has shown time and again, it is clearly who you are and what you do that matters. We are delighted to bring added attention to these fine ensembles, and congratulate their members and directors on a continuing job well done."

Linn-Benton "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir, James Reddan, director
The “Re-Choired Element” Chamber Choir is the vocal chamber ensemble at Linn-Benton Community College.  These 32 singers are selected based on audition and perform works from across the choral repertoire.

This ensemble has represented LBCC in several festivals—locally, domestically, and internationally—with many invitations to perform around the state including the Oregon State Senate, the Oregon School Boards Association Conference, Northwest Music Educators Convention, and the Oregon Music Educators Convention.  In 2010, the ensemble received 2nd place in The American Prize for Choral Performance.  In 2012,  the ensemble performed as part of the 2012 Summer Olympic festivities in London, UK. In 2014, the ensemble toured Finland, Estonia, and Latvia performing for full houses in Helsinki, Tallinn, and Riga. In Riga, the ensemble won 1st Place in the Open Competition – Mixed Chamber Choir Category and 2nd place in the Musica Sacra A cappella division at the 8th World Choir Games. They have performed under the batons of noted conductors Eric Whitacre and Eric Dale Knapp. The ensemble has been featured on two CD's including "Music is My Refuge" and "Ear Candy."

The "Re-choired Element" Chamber Choir won second place and a received a special citation in the 2010 competition of The American Prize and has been a finalist in the college/university choral division each of the last three years.

Honored Artists will be highlighted in a separate section on The American Prize website and on the competition’s Facebook pages, will receive expanded listings on The American Prize blog, will be featured in individualized press releases sent to local, regional and national media, and receive a special, framed certificate. Honored Artists also receive an application fee waiver for a future competition.

CRITERIA for SELECTION: The American Prize Honored Artists must meet these criteria:

    •    May be nominated by any member of The American Prize national judging panel.
    •    Will have reached finalist status or higher and/or received an Honorable Mention or Special Judge's Certificate in at least three different competition years, which need not be consecutive.
    •    Will have won The American Prize (first place) no more than one time.
    •    Will have consistently received exceptional evaluations in their chosen area of endeavor.
    •    Will be honored during a season in which they are an active participant.
    •    Accept the designation.
    •    There is no minimum or maximum number that will be awarded each season.

Abraham R. Katz

"Honored Artists of The American Prize" are given in memory of David Katz’s father, Abraham R. Katz, a gifted amateur musician, who died in 1999.

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