UD Chorale takes top prize at international competition
UD Chorale
Photo by Duane Perry
2:15 p.m., April 24, 2007--The UD Chorale over the weekend won the grand prix round of the 10th International Choir Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, the first time since 1994 that an American choir has won the competition. Under the direction of Paul Head, associate professor of music, and accompanied by Betsy Kent, UD Chorale piano accompanist, the 57-member Chorale competed against more than 40 choirs from around the world for selection to the grand prix round, in which the Chorale beat five other choirs and emerged in first place.

“It felt like winning the Tour de France or the Olympics because it had the international flavor,” Head said of the victory. “The camaraderie had the most profound effect on us. There was incredible enthusiasm and support from the other choirs. We went up last for the grand prix and the roar that went up after the final performance was truly amazing.

“If you asked me, the chorale has never felt more impassioned or such adrenaline rush. They really nailed it!” Head said, “There are parallels to athletics, where a team is really in sync and playing intelligently, and that's pretty extraordinary when you have 57 players on the stage. That is what the judges saw, that this is a really committed group.”

The Chorale first traveled to Sweden, Finland and Denmark, performing mini concerts along the way, before going to Estonia for the festival, where the group performed during the opening ceremony in Tallinn. The festival and competition, which drew choirs from 10 countries representing several regions, including the Baltic states, South Africa, Poland, Slovenia, Australia and the United Kingdom, was held from Thursday-Sunday, April 19-22. The festival, which was first held in 1972, was organized by the Estonian Choral Association.

“The Chorale competed in three categories organized by the style of repertoire: mixed choir, contemporary music and renaissance and baroque,” Head said. “Most of the 41 choirs were eliminated at this point as the Chorale took second place, missing first place by a very narrow point margin, in each of their respective categories of mixed chorus, renaissance/baroque music and contemporary choral music. More importantly, the Chorale went forward as one of only six choirs selected to compete again in the grand prix round.”

The Chorale received prolonged applause after closing the grand prix contest with Moses Hogan's “The Battle of Jericho.”

The Chorale's trip and participation in the competition was made possible through generous support from the Office of the President, the Office of the Executive Vice President and the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Chorale will perform a homecoming concert at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 28, in the Loudis Recital Hall of the Amy E. duPont Music Building. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at the Trabant University Center or Bob Carpenter Center box offices. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and $3 for students. For more information, call (302) 831-2577.

Article by Martin Mbugua