Chamber Choir Wins Gold in Atlanta

Steven Wetterholm, Staff Writer

The Chamber Choir recently returned with three awards after competing in the 2012 Heritage Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.  This national music festival is an annual event, featuring competitions among the premier student choirs, bands, and orchestras in the nation.

Choral Director Mark Roberts explained that the purpose of the trip was “to provide the choir with a multi-faceted educational experience — musical, cultural, educational, and entertainment– providing a balance of all of these experiences in an area of the country where they may have never been before.”

The choir competed on April 27th at the Ferst Arts Center on the Georgia Tech. University campus.   Earning the Gold, Outstanding Choral Group, and Adjudicators awards, the choir received the highest Gold ranking, along with the outstanding choral group honors as the highest performing choral group, and the Adjudicators award for achieving the highest score of all performing groups, which included all bands, orchestras, and choirs.

Junior Marie Martin explained that the awards were for their group performance of three songs, “Haec dies a 6”, “There Will be Rest,” and “Daemon Irrepit Callidus.”  Roberts explained that three adjudicators provided constructive verbal feedback on stage, as well as written feedback regarding their performance.

The choir also visited Emory University where they performed their pieces and attended a clinic with nationally recognized conductor Dr. Eric Nelson.  Roberts described the experience as “a fantastic experience in a wonderful concert hall with terrific acoustics.” He considered Nelson to be an excellent clinician who gave the students good insight into their music and a fresh opinion of their work.

Senior Parker Hasler said, “From the beginning, it was obvious that Dr. Nelson knew what he was talking about. He had us first sing our competition set of music, and then he began to work his magic. He helped us understand the text of one of our pieces, which is composed entirely in Latin. He also helped us create balance with one another in the choir, so as to make one voice rather than 30 solo voices.”

The  trip also included visits to The World of Coca Cola; CNN headquarters; the Georgia Aquarium, which houses the largest tank in the nation; the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Park, which includes his church and birth home; the Emory University campus; and riding the roller coasters at Six Flags, where a dinner and awards ceremony also took place.

For Hasler, the World of Coca Cola was especially interesting and tasty:  “We were able to learn some history about Coca Cola, since it has been around for over 100 years. We saw exhibits and a bottling factory for Coca Cola. The highlight was being able to try 64 different Coca Cola flavors from around the world. Coca Cola had special sodas for everywhere, from Germany to Peru.”

Senior Anna Magidson said, “It was a great time to bond with the choir members and Mr. Roberts.”  Martin enjoyed the group experience at Six Flags the most and commented that “we went for a competition, but it was also a great experience traveling and sightseeing as a choir.”

Roberts summed up the trip as a “fantastic success with a good balance of music, education, culture, history, and entertainment,” and he looks forward to doing it again.