Monday, July 27, 2020

Winners: CHORUSES, 2020

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.


The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, honorable mentions and citation recipient of The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2019-20, in all divisions. Congratulations!

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.

REMINDER—COVID EXTENSIONS: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21, In addition, we will accept applications from COMPOSERS, CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new Covid-extended deadline date of Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Applications from CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS ADMINISTRATORS (arts marketing, arts education) and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Further extensions may be granted pending the most current information about he virus. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.

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


The American Prize in Choral Performance, professional division, 2019-20
(There were co-winners in the division this season.)

The American Prize co-winner:
Dallas Chamber Choir  
Jon L. Culpepper    
Dallas TX

Dallas Chamber Choir  
Founded in 2014 by its artistic director and conductor, Jon L. Culpepper, The Dallas Chamber Choir delivers choral programs of stylistic, linguistic, and cultural significance with interest in works of contemporary and emerging composers whose music and texts explore a decidedly humanistic perspective. The professional ensemble of 24-30 singers, comprised of exceptional vocal talent with diverse careers, skills, and interests in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has collaborated with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Hans Zimmer, and Ramin Djawadi, score composer for the Grammy-nominated 2008 Marvel film, Iron Man, and the TV series, Game of Thrones and Prison Break, among others. DCC has released its debut album, Love Manifested (2018), and has recorded the Mozart Requiem with chamber orchestra at Moody Performance Hall in Dallas, Texas, due to release in 2019. https://dallaschamberchoir.org


The American Prize co-winner:
mirabai    
Sandra Snow, artistic director  
East Lansing MI 

mirabai  
mirabai aims to enhance the artistic expectations of women's choral singing by connecting powerful music of women, past and present; and performing, commissioning, and recording new and innovative musics that express the rich emotional terrain of a woman's life. A resident ensemble in the College of Music at Michigan State University, mirabai's artists are professionals in a variety of music-related careers including music educators in schools, universities, and professional singers. Inspired by the spirit of our namesake, the 16th century mystic singer and poet who created her own destiny amid societal expectations to the contrary, each artist values the opportunity to share not only singing but mentorship and connectivity with women engaged in their own communities as agents of change for young women and the arts. For more, visit www.singmirabai.org.


2nd Place:
Madison Choral Project 
Albert Pinsonneault 
Madison  WI   

Madison Choral Project 
What is the "project"
in the madison choral project?
Our project is to enrich lives in our community
 by giving voice to the great music of our diverse world;
 to express, to inspire, to heal; 
to garner joy in the experience of live music;
 and to educate and strengthen the next generation of singers and listeners. The madison choral project is not just a choir, 
it's a movement to improve our human experience through music.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, college/university division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Baylor A Cappella Choir
Dr. Brian A. Schmidt
Waco  TX

Baylor A Cappella Choir
The Baylor A Cappella Choir is the flagship choral ensemble at Baylor University. Selected by competitive audition, the choir combines some of the most advanced singers at Baylor, both music majors and non-music majors, and focuses on cultivating meaningful fellowship and rich, artistic singing. The A Cappella Choir performs a wide variety of musical styles, both solo performances and collaborative projects with other areas of the School of Music. Additionally, the choir is involved with performances for Family Weekend in the Fall, the annual televised “A Baylor Christmas” production, the Baylor Choral Invitational, and is active in the community, throughout the state, and across the country. The Baylor A Cappella Choir has performed by invitation for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the Texoma Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the prestigious National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association.


2nd Place:
East Carolina University Chamber Singers  
James Franklin     
Greenville   NC 


East Carolina University Chamber Singers  
The Chamber Singers are the select choral ensemble at East Carolina University. The ensemble is typically comprised of 36-40 auditioned singers, most of whom are voice majors from within the School of Music. The vast majority of the singers are undergraduate students working towards a BM in Music Education, Performance, Therapy, and/or Composition. The Chamber Singers have performed by invitation at regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and international choral competitions, including the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, and tour North Carolina annually. The group is quite diverse, containing singers of various races and socio-economic groups from across the state.  More information about the Chamber Singers and East Carolina University made be found at https://music.ecu.edu/vocal-studies/choral/


3rd Place:
Western IL University Singers     
Brian J. Winnie 
Macomb IL  
 
Western IL University Singers     
The Western Illinois University Singers is the “flagship,” auditioned choral ensemble at Western Illinois University. University Singers performs diverse repertoire from Renaissance to Contemporary Commercial Music with special focus on versatility and authenticity of vocal quality. Though primarily music majors, membership is open to all university students, most of who receive talent grant awards. This nationally recognized ensemble of highly motivated singers presents two major concerts per semester, including the student choral conductor concert; performs in the annual Holiday Festival of Music; an annual recruiting tour; and yearly major works with the WIU Symphony Orchestra & Concert Choir. The University Singers have performed at regional and national conventions for the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association. They have also appeared on professional venues with the Kansas City Symphony, the Dallas Brass, the Peoria Symphony, and the Phoenix Symphony. http://www.wiu.edu/cofac/choirs/


The American Prize in Choral Performance, community division, 2019-20 

The American Prize winner:
San Francisco Choral Artists 
Magen Solomon, conductor  
San Francisco  CA 
San Francisco Choral Artists 
www.sfca.org Acclaimed as “...amongst the foremost unaccompanied singing groups...on this or any other coast” (artssf.com), San Francisco Choral Artists is a chamber ensemble specializing in innovative programming, performance excellence, and fostering the work of living composers. Affirming our reputation for eclectic programming and stunning performances of music spanning 600 years, SFCA has premiered over 300 works and is winner of the 2012 and 2015 ASCAP/Chorus America Award for Adventurous Programming. Through our Roger Nixon Living Music Initiative, SFCA supports living composers and the creation of new music in programs such as our New Voices Project for composers under 30, Composer-in-Residence and Not-In-Residence programs, Composers Invitational, and SFCA+1 Artist Project. We also actively seek to encourage and develop young student composers through student-composer outreach programs. We offer audiences three concert sets per season in locations across the San Francisco Bay Area, showcasing new works by living composers programmed alongside masterworks and favorites from the choral repertoire.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Baltimore Choral Arts Society   
Anthony Blake Clark, conductor  
Baltimore   MD

Baltimore Choral Arts Society   
The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, now in its 54th season, is one of Maryland's premier cultural institutions. The Symphonic Chorus, Chorus, and Chamber Singers perform throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as in Washington, D.C., New York, and Europe. Choral Arts’ international profile rises with a tour to England in January 2020, following previous tours to France and Spain. Choral Arts provides a number of thoughtful and impactful music education programs that serve Baltimore-area youth.

Choral Arts enjoys artistic partnerships with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Maryland Institute College of Art, Peabody Youth Orchestra, and others. Baltimore Choral Arts’ innovative programs often feature both choral and orchestral music, stage and theater works.

For 24 years, ABC’s WMAR-TV has featured Choral Arts in a broadcast special on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This Emmy Award-winning program, called Christmas with Choral Arts, is also broadcast on WBJC-FM and WYPR-FM.


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Susquehanna Chorale
Mitchell Sensenig     
Mechanicsburg PA 
Linda Tedford, conductor

Susquehanna Chorale
Called “a treasure in central Pennsylvania” by the late choral and conducting icon Robert Page, the Susquehanna Chorale is a nationally acclaimed adult chamber ensemble of 36 auditioned singers. Founded in 1981 by Artistic Director and Conductor Linda L. Tedford, the group is known for its commitment to artistic and expressive performance of a wide range of repertoire. Audiences have consistently cited the Chorale’s “ethereal blend,” “unparalleled tone,” and emotional connection to the music.

In addition to its subscription concerts, the Chorale frequently performs major works with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, and has performed by invitation or audition at American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conventions, The Chautauqua Institution in New York, and at venues throughout Europe.

The Chorale’s eight nationally-distributed professional recordings include three that were considered for Grammy® nomination.The group works to inspire future generations of choral enthusiasts through its highly successful educational choirs for children and youth.
Learn more at www.susquehannachorale.org.

3rd Place:
Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble   
Tony Thornton     
Amherst  MA

Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble   
Founded in 2013 by Dr. Tony Thornton, Director of Choral Studies at the  University of Massachusetts Amherst, Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble is an auditioned group of 32-36
skilled singers, carefully selected for musicianship, vocal color, and commitment to beautiful, communicative performance. Our mission is to deepen and enrich the artistic/emotional life of our community. Over seven seasons, performing  3-5 concerts a year, we have offered programs of choral miniatures, masterworks, and new music by local composers, and collaborated with the
UMass Bach Festival, the Hampshire Young People’s Chorus, Arcadia Players baroque orchestra, and the Springfield Symphony.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, youth division, 2019-20 

The American Prize winner:
Angelica Cantanti Treble Singers
Philip Brown  
Bloomington  MN   

Angelica Cantanti Treble Singers
The Treble Singers is made up of soprano and alto voices in grades 9-12 with members that come from 29 high schools and communities from all over the Twin Cities. The group rehearses once a week, September-May at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington, Minnesota. Through the intense study and performance of our art, our primary goal is to share our hearts and minds with each other and our audience, ultimately making a positive impact on the world in which we live. The organization provides a premiere musical experience through consistent, high quality choral music education and artistic excellence in performance.
angelicacantanti.org


2nd Place:
Parker Elementary School Chorus  
Marianna Parnas-Simpson   
Houston  TX 

Parker Elementary School Chorus  
Since 1975, Parker Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District (HISD) has been a magnet school for music dedicated to the development of musical talent and skill. Over 700 children are involved in Music Program at Parker Elementary.  Suzuki Violin, Cello, Guitar, Piano, Band and Chorus instructions are offered to the students. Its excellence has been recognized by the National GRAMMY® Foundation which named it a Signature Elementary School of the Year in 2002.
Under the direction of Marianna Parnas-Simpson, Parker’s Chorus grew from 30 to 250 students.
The Parker Advanced Chorus performs extensively for community events in the city of Houston and in Texas and USA.

Parker Chorus was the only one elementary school chorus ever selected to perform at the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA)Convention, and it happened three times-New York 2003, Miami 2007& Dallas, 2013.

Other Parker Chorus performance highlights include:
Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention -2003, 2005, 2012 & 2017
Houston Chamber Choir Invitational Choral Festival-2001, 2002, 2009, 2013 & 2019
Mahler 3rd Symphony with the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Andres Orozko-Estrada, 2015

Here is one of many testimonies about Parker Chorus.  This one is from Dr. Anton Armstrong, Professor of Choral Studies at St. Olaf College: "The concert presented by the Parker Elementary School Chorus was THE HIGHLIGHT of the ACDA National convention for me.  Your young choristers sang with incredible beauty of vocal technique and an exceptional maturity of musical expression.  Your impressive pedagogy reminded us that GREAT music and artistry CAN happen in our public elementary schools."


3rd Place:
Notre Dame Children's Choir  
Dr. Mark Doerries     
Notre Dame   IN 


Notre Dame Children's Choir  
Founded in 2013, the Notre Dame Children's Choir Chamber Choir has toured from Los Angeles to New York City, performed for the Hymn Society, the Organ Historical Society, National Pastoral Musicians’ Association, the Indiana Music Education Association, and led the TEDx Talk What If Children Were More Than Cute?. O Emmanuel, a commissioned cantata, debuted at #1 on Billboards’ Chart of Traditional Classical Music. In 2018 the choir released Arturo Sandoval’s Christmas at Notre Dame with ten-time Grammy winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. The ensemble toured England and performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas in 2019. The choir publishes through the Notre Dame Children’s Choir Choral Series and records on Universal, Arsis, and Dynamic Catholic labels. Their album, Magnificat: Evening Prayer with the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, includes commissioned music for Evensong and Vespers. Dr. Mark Doerries is the Artistic Director; sma.nd.edu.


The American Prize in Choral Performance, high school division, 2019-20

The American Prize winner:  
Urbandale Singers
Ted Brimeyer     
Urbandale    IA
  
Urbandale Singers
Urbandale Singers is the premier Urbandale High School choir of students who exhibit developed musical skill, are young people of high integrity, and are committed to excellence in choral music. Membership is earned through an audition comprised solo singing, sight-reading, and tonal memory exercises. Work in this choir emphasizes healthy singing technique, musical independence, advanced literacy, and precision with a deliberate emphasis on unaccompanied singing. Students in this ensemble volunteer for frequent performances throughout the community. Urbandale Singers performs a wide variety of choral repertoire in multiple concerts throughout the school year, often sharing concerts with renowned collegiate choirs. Each singer participates in the department’s solo contest. The choir’s success has recently been recognized with invitations to present solo programs for the 2016 North Central Division ACDA Conference, 2017 Iowa Choral Showcase in Pella, 2018 Dorian Vocal Festival at Luther College, and the 2019 American Choral Directors Association Conference.

2nd Place: 
Connetquot HS Concert Choir  
Brad Drinkwater   
Bohemia  NY    

Connetquot HS Concert Choir  
Connetquot High School is a large, suburban high school in Suffolk County, NY. The CHS Concert Choir is an eight-part choral ensemble comprised of tenth- through twelfth-grade students. The choir and its director are proud of its reputation for quality performances of sophisticated choral music, particularly newer works by American composers. The choir regularly tours the United States with director Brad Drinkwater, often collaborating with collegiate and other high school choirs. Most importantly, the choir serves as a means for students, alumni, and our community to engage with each other through the arts.


3rd Place:
Centennial HS A Cappella Choir   
Francis Vu 
Frisco TX
 
Centennial HS A Cappella Choir   
The Centennial High School A Cappella Choir is a 20-voice treble choir comprised of the finest singers and musicians at Centennial High School in Frisco, TX. Under the direction of Mr. Francis Vu, the CHS A Cappella has performed at state and regional competitions throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Known for their “beautiful concept of tone,” “masterful vocal technique,” and their “beautiful attention to style and musicianship,” the CHS A Cappella has received consistent Superior ratings in Concert and Sight Reading at the Texas UIL Contests. The singers in this premier ensemble also have the experience of singing in All-Region and All-State Choirs. This ensemble of voices strongly believes that music can change lives, and sings to inspire their audiences through their remarkable choral performances.


*** 
Congratulations!

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