Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WINNING CHORUSES, 2016-17

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in CHORAL PERFORMANCE, 2016-17, in all divisions. Congratulations!

All applicants finalist or higher receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel; the competitions reserve the right to award additional citations for merit up until the final announcement of results for 2016-17 has been made.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Choral Performance—professional division

The American Prize winner:
South Dakota Chorale
    Brian A. Schmidt Sioux Falls SD
South Dakota Chorale
Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the South Dakota Chorale is a collaborative network of musicians combining the talents of singers locally, regionally, and across the nation. “Bringing people together to produce inspirational world-class performances of choral arts that embrace professional artistry and enrich the cultural life of South Dakotans” is their mission, and they strive to reach this in all of their work.

In their five-year history they have developed educational collaborations with high school choirs, led master classes with pre-professional/collegiate singers, partnered with local arts series’ to build support and awareness for the arts, initiated a guest conductor residency, and released three commercial recordings in collaborations with Grammy award-winning producer, Blanton Alspaugh. In 2014, they joined PENTATONE, a Dutch classical music label specializing in high-end, surround sound recordings. www.southdakotachorale.com


2nd Place:
Chorosynthesis Singers
    Wendy K. Moy, Jeremiah Selvey   Seattle WA
Chorosynthesis Singers
CHOROSYNTHESIS SINGERS, a state-of-the-art project-based ensemble, exists to collaborate with professional-level musicians and composers in the creation and performance of music that connects the art with community. Their most recent concert featured a collaboration with 10 composers in performances of 10 premiere works on the theme of social justice. Based in Seattle, the personnel embody the best professional choral singers from the Pacific Northwest and across the country. Co-Artistic Directors Wendy K. Moy and Jeremiah D. Selvey, who received their Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington, lead the ensemble. Prior concerts include a collaborative benefit concert of Brahms’s Requiem in collaboration with two academic institutions and two religious organizations. As part of the greater vision of Chorosynthesis, the ensemble serves as a practical example of applying the ideals of the organization, which are collaboration, innovation, sustainability, and excellence.  www.chorosynthesis.org/singers


3rd Place:
 Saint Louis Chamber Chorus
    Philip Barnes    St. Louis MO
 Saint Louis Chamber Chorus
The Saint Louis Chamber Chorus was founded and nurtured for its first twenty years by a recent import from Great Britain, Ronald Arnatt, now recognized as one of the Episcopal Church’s most influential musicians. During his tenure the SLCC introduced St. Louis audiences to numerous masterworks by Delius, Stravinsky, and Vaughan Williams. After Dr. Arnatt took up a position in Boston, the choir’s pioneering spirit was continued by two local academics, Allen Carl Larson and Stephen Curtis. In 1989, Philip Barnes was appointed the fourth artistic director in the choir’s history, and under his guidance the focus has shifted to a cappella literature, recordings, and the commissioning of new music. Over the past 25 years the SLCC has premiered numerous works from some of the leading choral composers around the world which includes R R Bennett, Judith Bingham, Bob Chilcott, Sydney Guillaume, Howard Helvey, Gabriel Jackson, and Ned Rorem. St. Louis Chamber Chorus website:  www.chamberchorus.org.



The American Prize in Choral Performance—community chorus division
 

The American Prize winner: 
Tallahassee Community Chorus
    Andre Thomas   Tallahassee FL
Tallahassee Community Chorus
The Tallahassee Community Chorus began in 1988 as a collaborative effort between the Florida State University School of Music and 37 community singers. The group has grown to more than 200 singers and has become one of the leading non-auditioned community choruses in the country. Much of the momentum for this growth and development has been the genius of the Artistic Director, Dr. André J. Thomas, whose energy, skill and musical talents are known and respected throughout the choral world. In addition, the Chorus continues to enjoy an excellent relationship with the Florida State University College of Music. The Chorus includes singers from all walks of life. Age is no restriction, as the Chorus boasts a range of members from high school students through senior citizens. The mission of the Chorus is to enjoy promoting choral music through excellence in performance, and to reach out into the schools and community.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Pasadena Master Chorale
    Jeffrey Bernstein   Pasadena CA
Pasadena Master Chorale
Founded in 2009 by artistic and executive director Jeffrey Bernstein, the Pasadena Master Chorale is one of Pasadena's most vibrant arts organizations. An auditioned community choir with professional standards, PMC presents well-loved and affordable concerts of the highest quality to the greater Pasadena community. Recently acclaimed concerts by the chorale include "A Portrait of Benjamin Britten", and "The Voice of California", a program of music by local composers including two newly-commissioned works. The chorale has thrilled audiences with performances of Orff's Carmina Burana, Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, a folksong program entitled "Songs of the World", and a Renaissance program entitled "The Golden Age". PMC also offers a robust education program, committed to engaging Pasadena's young choral singers and fostering their love of the choral art. PMC is the proud recipient of support from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Pasadena Community Foundation, the Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts and the City of Pasadena. www.pasadenamasterchorale.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
eVoco Mixed Ensemble
    David Fryling   Lynbrook NY
eVoco Mixed Ensemble
eVoco* Voice Collective (www.evoco.vc) summons singers of the highest musical, technical, and expressive abilities and invites listeners to experience the extraordinary power of the voice. Through the power of the empathetic imagination, we remind each other of our shared human experiences.

Passionate advocates for excellence in the vocal art, we present inspirational performances of the highest caliber through projects that include the Mixed Ensemble, the Women’s Ensemble, our Voice Recitals, and the Young Vocal Artist Award.

We firmly believe in the transformative and educational power of music, and we welcome everyone to observe our work together. All of our rehearsals are open to the public, and our hope is that our weekly work together will not only prepare us for each concert series, but also–and just as importantly–will serve as a continual learning space for students, educators, and music enthusiasts alike. *From the Latin evocare: to lure, to summon; to evoke


3rd Place
Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland
    David DeLyser   Portland OR
Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland
As one of the region's premiere choral ensembles beginning its 48th season, the Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland seeks to educate, enrich and entertain its audiences with exceptional performances of familiar and rarely heard music.  As Portland’s Choir, we exemplify everything that makes Portland great: fun and a little geeky, accessible and approachable, passionate about our art form, collaborative, friendly and welcoming.  We are singers who represent a variety of professional occupations and diverse singing experiences, but we have all joined for a simple reason – passion – for music, for our fellow singers and for our audiences. Through artistic excellence and creative collaboration, we are committed to creating inspiring concert experiences performed at the highest artistic level.  Find out more at http://www.portlandschoir.org/



The American Prize in Choral Performance—college/university chorus division

The American Prize winner:
The Wartburg Choir
    Lee Nelson   Waverly IA
The Wartburg Choir
Founded in 1937, The Wartburg Choir has received critical international acclaim for their versatility of sound and innovative programming. The Wartburg Choir has received invitations for special appearances in the United States and abroad, including the White House Holiday Concert Series and the National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Prayer Service, which was simulcast worldwide. Over the past 20 years, the choir has appeared in many prestigious concert halls including the Kennedy Center; Avery Fisher Hall of Lincoln Center; Carnegie Hall; Chicago’s Symphony Hall; and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. The Wartburg Choir has performed at two national and four divisional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association. Renowned composer Morten Lauridsen lauded the choir’s performance of his O Magnum Mysterium as being “in the top echelon of any performance of that piece by any choir that I have ever heard.” The choir has collaborated with numerous composers including Morten Lauridsen, Eriks Esenvalds, Ola Gjeilo, Jake Runestad, Stacey Gibbs and René Clausen.


2nd Place:
University of AZ Symphonic Choir
    Elizabeth Schauer   Tucson AZ
University of AZ Symphonic Choir
Symphonic Choir is the premier undergraduate ensemble at the University of Arizona, carrying on a sixty-five-year tradition of excellence in choral music and education. In addition to performing formal concerts on campus, on Tucson-area concert series, and on tours throughout the Southwest, the choir collaborates with university and professional ensembles, including on recent performances of Faure’s Requiem with University Community Chorus & Orchestra, Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms with Arizona Choir, Mendelssohn A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Arizona Symphony, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater with the City of Prague Philharmonic, and Mahler Symphony No. 2 with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.  Symphonic Choir has been invited to perform on the concert programs of the 2014 and 2010 Western Divisional ACDA Conferences, the 2012 Pacific-Southwest Regional Conference of College Music Society, and the 2011 Annual Conference of Arizona Music Educators Association.  Students represent a broad variety of disciplines and hail from throughout the United States.


3rd Place:
University of Denver Lamont Chorale
    Catherine Sailer   Denver CO
University of Denver Lamont Chorale
Catherine Sailer is Director of Choral Studies at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, and Associate Conductor of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.  Conducting credits include the Santa Fe Symphony, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Beijing Symphony, National Opera of China, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Orchestra, Central City Opera, Bravo! Vail Valley Festival, Oregon Bach Festival Chorus and Orchestra, Madrigal Vocale (Brazil), Rheinpfalz International Choir, and the Shanghai International Choral League.  She has collaborated as conductor or chorus master with singers William Warfield and Marilyn Horne and conductors Bramwell Tovey, Robert Spano, Ed Spanjaard, Eric Whitacre, Victor Yampolsky, Marius Szmolij, Stephen Alltop, David Amram, Tan Dun, David Fanshawe, Marin Alsop, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Aspen Festival Orchestra, and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra.
Sailer was awarded Chorus America’s Robert Shaw Fellowship, First Place in ACDA’s conducting competition, and serves as state president for ACDA.


JUDGES CITATION: "Exceptional Programming and Distinctive Repertoire"
Rutgers University Voorhees Choir
    Elian Kujawinski   New Brunswick NJ
Rutgers University Voorhees Choir
The Voorhees Choir maintains a membership of 55 voices, representing all women of the university. The choir presents two major concerts each year and serves as the official college choir at Douglass Residential College events, such as the Yule Log, Sacred Path and commencement ceremonies. The Voorhees Choir has a long tradition of representing Rutgers University, from its beginnings as the choir of the New Jersey College for Women (NJC) to its years as the official choir of Douglass College to its important dual role as an ensemble in the Mason Gross School of the Arts and its continuing work as an institution of pride representing the Douglass Residential College (DRC). The Voorhees Choir is extremely appreciative of the support of the Dean of the Douglass Residential College and Douglass Campus, Jacquelyn Litt.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
Wichita State University Concert Chorale
    Michael Hanawalt   Wichita KS
Wichita State University Concert Chorale
The Wichita State University Concert Chorale is the premiere choral ensemble at Wichita State University.  The Chorale is a highly-selective, auditioned choir open to all WSU students, specializing in the performance of a wide variety of significant choral literature from the Renaissance through the twenty-first century. The Chorale combines annually with other WSU choirs to present the annual Candlelight Christmas Concert.  It also performs with the WSU Symphony Orchestra for the spring choral/orchestral work, past performances of which have included Durufle's Requiem and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, under the direction of Robert Shaw.  The Chorale and other WSU choirs performed with internationally-acclaimed operatic artist and WSU alumnus Samuel Ramey in his appearance in Wichita in 2001.   The Chorale has a rich history of notable conductors, including Harold Decker, Harrison Boughton, René Clausen, Robert Glasmann, and currently, Michael Hanawalt.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West
    Richard Nance   Tacoma WA
Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West
The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington. The choir has toured to Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China, and has appeared at several professional regional and national conferences. Most recently, the choir performed as one of the featured choirs at the 2016 National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, under the direction of headline clinician Simon Carrington. The choir gave a highly acclaimed performance at the 2013 ACDA National Conference in Dallas, Texas. Choir of the West has won gold awards at prestigious international competitions, including the 2011 Harmonie Festival in Lindenholzhausen, Germany and the 2015 Anton Bruckner Choir Competition held in Linz, Austria, where the choir was awarded the Anton Bruckner Prize. Choir of the West is comprised of undergraduate students from a variety of academic disciplines. For more information please visit the choir’s website: www.plu.edu/choir.


HONORABLE MENTION:  
Wheaton College Concert Choir
    John William Trotter   Wheaton IL
Wheaton College Concert Choir
The Wheaton College Concert Choir is made up of approximately fifty young women and men with a passion for choral music. Led by Dr. John William Trotter, the ensemble provides an ideal performance venue for experienced and motivated choral singers whose goal is to make music at a high level. It also provides an experience of great value for those intending to make music their career. The Wheaton College Concert Choir has frequently been honored with invitations to perform on concert series and at regional and national conventions, to lead worship in churches, and to perform with professional ensembles. They also perform in more unconventional situations, ranging from soup kitchens and furniture stores to public lectures and prisons. Taken together, these varied experiences enrich students’ understanding of the vocation of the musician. Recently, the Choir has also enjoyed exploring interdisciplinary collaborations and engaging in musical improvisation with audiences.


HONORABLE MENTION: 
The College of Wooster Chorus
    Lisa Wong   Wooster OH
The College of Wooster Chorus
Founded in 1964, the Wooster Chorus is comprised of students representing all academic areas within the College of Wooster’s liberal arts program. A finalist for The American Prize in Choral Performance in 2015 and 2016, the Chorus has been praised for its beautiful sound, high level of artistry, and engaging performances.  The Wooster Chorus presents several concerts both on and off-campus throughout the academic year, and embarks each spring on a weeklong domestic tour. Members of the chorus collaborate annually with The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus at Severance Hall.  The Chorus was selected to perform at the 2016 Central Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, and also at the 2014 and 2016 statewide Professional Development Conferences of the Ohio Music Education Association. In recent years, the Chorus has premiered thirteen new works, including Jake Runestad’s Ner Ner.  (2015)   



The American Prize in Choral Performance—youth and high school chorus division

The American Prize winner:
Sprague High Concert Choir
    David Brown    Salem OR 
Sprague High Concert Choir
Charles A. Sprague High School, located in southwest Salem, is a four-year high school with an enrollment of 1,800 students.  The school is named for Charles A. Sprague, a former governor of Oregon and editor of the Oregon Statesman Newspaper in Salem.  The school opened in the fall of 1972 and is now one of six public high schools in the Salem-Keizer School District.  Oregon’s second largest school district, Salem-Keizer has long been recognized for its tradition of outstanding music programs.  The Sprague Concert Choir is made up of the most advanced sophomore, junior, and senior vocalists at the school.  Since its inception over 30 years ago, the choir has won numerous titles at state and regional festivals and has made multiple appearances at regional and national ACDA conventions.


2nd Place:
Bexley HS Vocal Ensemble
    Amy Johnston Blosser    Bexley OH 
Bexley HS Vocal Ensemble
Vocal Ensemble, the advanced choir at Bexley High School, is one of four choirs in the Choral Department. Since 2003, Vocal Ensemble has toured throughout the United States and Canada including major cities such as New York, Toronto, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. They performed in Carnegie Hall in 2010, and will perform again in 2017.  They have travelled overseas to perform in the cathedrals of Venice, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow, London, Paris, and throughout Ireland.  Vocal Ensemble has been invited to perform for OCDA Professional Conferences in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014 as well as OMEA Professional Conferences in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2016. They performed for the ACDA Central Division Conference in 2012 and 2016. Members have worked with numerous conductors and composers including Hilary Apfelstadt, Eric W. Barnum, David Childs, Rollo Dilworth, James Gallagher, Sydney Guillaume, Lynda Hasseler, Ronald Jenkins, Kristina MacMullen, James Mulholland and Timothy Takach.


3rd Place:
Delphian Choir
    Patrick Ryan    Great Falls MT 
Delphian Choir
The Delphian Choir is the most select of seven choirs at Great Falls High School, located in north central Montana.  The choir consists of 44 sophomores through seniors, who strive to create and share passion, creativity, integrity, and empathy with their audiences through unique programming of choral music.  Delphian has performed on more than a dozen regional and national conference programs since the choir's inception in 1959. Recent highlights of the Delphian Choir include the commissioning and world premiere of John Muehleisen's Consolation: Requiem for Newtown; performing at the Northwest NAfME Conference in 2015; frequent performances with the Great Falls Symphony; and being part of a commission consortium and premiere of Timothy Takach's seven-movement work, The Longest Nights. 


JUDGES CITATION: "Excellence in the Performance of Music Before 1800"
Brookline HS Camerata & Chamber Orchestra
    Michael Driscoll    Brookline MA 
Brookline HS Camerata & Chamber Orchestra
The Brookline High School Camerata is made up of 48 students, all of whom are enrolled at Brookline High School. The singers are selected by audition and rehearse two days per week before school and one evening per week. Each member of the Camerata is required to sing in Concert Choir or A Cappella Choir for two years. Sight-singing ability is a major requirement for entry into the Camerata. Repertoire for the group spans all areas of choral literature including works of master composers, spirituals, gospel, music from world cultures and contemporary popular music. The group frequently performs with the instrumental ensembles at Brookline High School. Michael Driscoll is in his thirteen year directing the choirs at Brookline High School. He has a Masters in choral conducting from New England Conservatory and a doctorate in choral conducting from Boston University.


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Congratulations!

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