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18. Grand Prix Evrope za zborovsko petje University of Utah Singers zmagali v španski Tolosi na evropskem tekmovanju za zborovsko petje

Mešani zbor The University of Utah School of Music je 17. junija 2006 zmagal na 18. Grand Prix Evrope za zborovsko glasbo v španski Tolosi.

Sledi ekskluzivno poročilo, za katerega so nam potrebni material prijazno poslali zmagovalni pevci in njihov zborovodja Dr. Brady R. Allred.



Tekmovali so zmagovalci drugih evropskih mednarodnih zborovskih tekmovanj: Arezzo (Italija), Debrecen (Madžarska), Tours (Francija), Gorica (Italija), Varna (Bolgarija) in Tolosa (Španija). Turški predstavnik Bilkent University Choir, ki je bil zmagovalec lanskega tekmovanja v Varni, se tekmovanja ni udeležil, in tako se je med seboj pomerilo 5 zborov:

Victoria Chamber Choir, Madžarska (Gorica, Italija)

Cantemus Children’s Choir, Madžarska (Arezzo, Italija)

Schola Cantorum, Norveška (Tolosa, Španija)

zmagovalni zbor iz Debrecena, Madžarska

University of Utah Singers, ZDA (Tours, Francija)

Letošnji zmagovalni zbor se je kvalificiral na prestižno tekmovanje z zmago na lanskoletnem mednarodnem zborovskem tekmovanju 34. Florile'ge Vocal de Tours International Choral Competition v Franciji.


Seznam zmagovalcev European Grand Prix for Choral Singing pa sedaj izgleda takole:


  Leto Mesto (Država) Zbor, mesto (država); zborovodja
I. 1989 Arezzo (Italija) Kammerkoret Hymnia, Copenhagen (Danska); P. Emborg in F. Windekilde
II. 1990 Debrecen (Madžarska) odpovedano
III. 1991 Tours (Francija) Academy Choir, Vilnius (Litvanija); Tadas Sumskas
IV. 1992 Gorizia (Italija) S:t Jacobs Kammarkör, Stockholm (Švedska); Gary Graden
V. 1993 Varna (Bolgarija) Jauna Muzika, Vilnius (Litvanija); Vaclovas Augustinas in R. Skapas
VI. 1994 Tolosa (Španija) The Mats Nilsson Vocal Ensemble, Stockholm (Švedska); Mats Nilsson
VII. 1995 Arezzo (Italija) Choir Kallos, Tokio (Japonska); Fumiaki Kuriyama
VIII. 1996 Debrecen (Madžarska) Pro Musica Leanykar, Nyiregyhaza (Madžarska); Denes Szabo
IX. 1997 Tours (Francija) The Philippines Madrigal Singers, Quezon City (Filipini); A. Veneracion
X. 1998 Gorizia (Italija) University of Mississippi Concert Singers, Oxford, MS (ZDA); Jerry Jordan
XI. 1999 Varna (Bolgarija) Lunds Vokalensemble, Lunds (Švedska); Ingemar Mansson
XII. 2000 Tolosa (Španija) Vesna Children Choir, Moscow (Rusija); Alexander Ponomariov
XIII. 2001 Debrecen (Madžarska) Magnificat Children Choir, Budapest (Madžarska); Valeria Szebelledi
XIV. 2002 Arezzo (Italija) APZ Tone Tomšič, Ljubljana (Slovenija); Stojan Kuret
XV. 2003 Tours (Francija) Brevis, Vilnius (Litvanija); Gintautas Venislovas
XVI. 2004 Gorizia (Italija) Rīgas jauniešu koris “Kamēr…” , Riga (Latvija), Maris Sirmais
XVII. 2005 Varna (Bolgarija) Allmänna Sången, Uppsala (Švedska); Cecilia Rydinger Alin
XVIII. 2006 Tolosa (Španija) The University of Utah Singers, Salt Lake City, UT (ZDA); Brady R. Allred



nadaljevanje članka pa si lahko preberete v angleškem originalu:



Victory in Spain!

By: Kerrin Gates & Mitchell Sturges



Four weeks in France and Spain may sound like a dream vacation for most, but for the University of Utah Singers, it has become much, much more. On May 25, 2006, the Singers embarked on a rigorous concert tour of Europe, beginning in Paris and continuing southward through France to Barcelona, Spain. After some well deserved rest and relaxation, the Singers headed to Tolosa, Spain to participate in the 18th European Grand Prix Contest for Choral Singing. The Singers qualified to participate in this contest with their May 2005 victory at the 34th Florilege Vocal de Tours International Choral Competition, where they won six prizes including the Grand Prize. This year’s contest was open only to the winners of the six other European International Choral Competitions. The other participants included the Victoria Chamber Choir from Hungary, representing the competition in Gorizia, Italy; Cantemus Children’s Choir from Hungary, representing the Arezzo, Italy competition; and the Schola Cantorum from Norway, representing the Tolosa, Spain competition.

The twenty-two days before the competition were spent giving fifteen performances and rehearsing the competition repertoire, polishing the technical requirements of the songs as well as striving to effectively convey the meaning of the text. Finally, Saturday June 17th arrived – the day of the competition! Spirits were very high among the Singers as they warmed up, changed into their concert attire and boarded the bus to travel to the competition venue. They had only twenty-five minutes of rehearsal time in the hall before their performance. After that period, they had to wait for an hour before they could perform their program. The University of Utah Singers were the first of the four choirs to perform in the competition. In the twenty-three minutes maximum that were given to the choir – the choir utilized twenty-one – they are required to adequately represent the Renaissance, Romantic and Contemporary periods of music. The music that was programmed for the competition was beautiful, diverse and very moving. Watching the choir perform, one could see that the Singers truly meant and also, importantly, understood what they were singing about. The joy on their faces made it evident that they really love to sing.

Gerald Finzi: My spirit sang all day
Hans Leo Hassler: Verbum caro factus est
Felix Mendelssohn-Barthody: Kyrie
Felix Mendelssohn-Barthody: Heilig
Javier Busto: Ave Maria
György Orbán: Daemon irrepit callidus
Eric Whitacre: Cloudburst
Merrill Bradshaw: Psalm XCVI


The jury of the European Grand Prix included a representative from each of the festivals and a chairperson appointed by the host of the competition. This year’s jury included Jordi Casas, Mauro Chiocci, Marin Chonev, Roberto Gabbiani, Richard Safir, Javier Busto, Máté Szabó Sípos. These members listened attentively, assigning numeric scores to different aspects of the performance. Not always looking at the music, some of the jury panel just sat in their chairs and absorbed themselves in the sound of the choir.


After the three other choirs performed their programs, they jury left the room to deliberate. Approximately twenty minutes later, they re-entered the hall and gave their results to the announcer.


 It is nearly impossible to describe the feelings experienced by the Singers as they watched Dr. Brady Allred join the other directors on stage and waited to hear the results, particularly as they were being given in Spanish! But there was no mistaking their feelings as the announcer read the score and the name of the University of Utah Singers as the winners of the 18th European Grand Prix of Choral Singing! There were screams of joy, jumping up and down, clapping and many, many tears and hugs as the Singers congratulated each other. Dr. Allred blew kisses to them from the stage. The Singers were invited to take the stage one more time and perform one more song. It was a very poignant moment as they joined hands and sang If Music Be the Food of Love by David Dickau. The last words, “Sing on, Sing on, Sing on” simultaneously recognizing and communicating the beauty and power of music that had brought each participant, audience member, jury member and performer alike together at this point in time.


 “The amazing part of winning for me,” says member Kerrin Gates “is the attitude among the members of the choir about the contest. We worked so hard at getting all the notes, rhythms, phrasing and dynamics, adding facial expression and personal intent to our performance of every song so that we could give a gift of ourselves and of music to everyone we perform for.”


 The weeks of performing before the competition were invaluable in molding the choir into an ensemble of professional proportions and ability that they would not have otherwise attained.


 “In the end, our joy was that we performed so well that the jury and the audience were touched by the beauty and power of our music, and it changed all of us in a way we cannot ignore and will never forget,” says Ms. Gates.


Dream vacation? The hours and hours of traveling, rehearsal and performance belie any semblance of vacation, but for the University of Utah Singers, definitely a dream true.


And here some tour quotes from the UoU's members:



"... The directors were called up to the stage. They were given awards for making it this far. At first, we thought we had lost. As time got closer to the announcement of the winner, the MC got more excited and spoke even faster! Those who spoke Spanish could barely keep up with the translating. Then our name was called!!! I was in so much shock that all I could do was scream. Then we started laughing and crying, at the same time. We hugged each other, applauded Dr. Allred on stage. And we were still crying and laughing for joy. Dr. Allred was in as much shock as we were and he just kept patting his heart and mouthing “I love you guys!!” We went back up on the stage to sing If Music Be the Food of Love. Never before had such words been a delight to my soul! “If music be the food of love, sing on, sing on, sing on until I am filled with joy. Sing on, Sing on!” We won!! All we could do is hug, scream, laugh and cry in joy for music.
Thank you Dr. Allred!"
Erica "Crica" Collins


"In the end, our joy was that the jury and audience were touched by the beauty and power of our music, and it changed all of us in a way that we cannot ignore and will never forget."
Kerrin Gates


'After the competition, a guy form the Norwegian choir said, "I have no words to describe how I felt when you sang.  It was one of the most special moments in my life!"'
Jessica Lee


"These types of experiences are what make our lives valuable.  Being an active part of something greater than yourself makes life extraordinary."
Lara Kimball


"My favorite musical moment was singing 'If Music Be the Food of Love' after we had won the competition.  The words in the song about being 'filled with joy' and 'singing on' took on new meaning. The exquisite feeling of being rewarded for our hard work by winning the European Grand Prix was truly a joyful feeling that I didn't want to end.  I didn't want to stop singing.  I wanted to 'sing on' forever!"
Daniel Young


"I will always be honored to have been not only among those who sang, but also to have rubbed shoulders with those cheered, those who hosted and those who helped in many, many ways.   The spirit of what we sang about all year was manifest in the works and hearts of all of these."
Cameron Rose



And here are some El Diario Vasco reviews:


A US Choir Champion in Tolosa

The ensemble of mixed voices beat three other groups in a round of high level and intense competition.  The Turk choir Bilkent University Choir of Ankara didn’t show up at the last minute and may be penalized.

Tolosa. DV.  The North American ensemble, University of Utah Singers, from Salt Lake City, was designated yesterday as the best choir of European competitions when they won the Grand Prize of Choral Singing.  The Polideportivo Usabal of Tolosa was the stage of this competition of competitions in which this mixed ensemble went head to head with three other European choirs, two from Hungary and one from Norway.  Because the Turkish ensemble Bilkent University Choir of Ankara that represented the Varna competition did not attend at the last minute, only 4 were the contestants of this competition.

As the president of the jury for the competition of Choral Mases of Tolosa, Enrique Azurza, pointed out “we don’t know what has happened.  They allegedly had travel problems, but that is no excuse.  If they had told us we could have assigned a substitute, but in this case it wasn’t possible and the competition of Varna remained unrepresented. Unless they justify their behavior they will not be allowed to participate in any choral competition in the European Circuit for two years.”

Winners in Tours

The absence of the Turkish choir didn’t change the fact that the Grand European Prize, which is celebrated every six years in the host cities of the international choral competitions –Gorizia, Debrecen, Tours, Arezzo, Varna and Tolosa--, and where all their respective winners attend, was a great success.

The American choir that won at the Tours Competition and that yesterday obtained the victory with 673 points over a total of 700, was in charge of placing the very first sounds at a warm Usabal that was practically full.  Created recently and comprised of 25 women and 20 men the American group interpreted a varied program, in which they included an expressive Ave Maria by Javier Busto, who was part of the jury yesterday.  The composer himself, conductor of Hondarribitarra, pointed out at the end of the competition that the choir won him over.  “To me it was clearly the winning choir.  At least it was the one that I enjoyed the most.  They worked very well, were very well prepared and had a great spirit.  Their expression, the work of their conductor that knows how and when to squeeze the best out of the choir, and the concentration of each choir member has marveled me.  It’s a young choir, very fresh, vocally amazing and with a very good balance between men and women.

Two Hungarians

The next ensemble to participate in the European Grand Prize of Choral Singing was the Hungarian of mixed voices Victoria Chamber Choir.  The group came to Tolosa representing the competition of Gorizia (Italy).  With a smaller number of ten men and ten women, it opened its performance with a piece, Dum Competerur, by the composer that the choir is named after, the Spaniard Tomás Luis de Victoria.  The choir interpreted a varied program that included two impressive works by their conductor Adam Cser.

After them, their countrywomen, Cantemus Children’s Choir, took the stage, 46 young women that attended as the winners of Arezzo (Italy).  For their performance they chose a varied program that featured the very sweet Ave Maria by Franz Biebl, however they also included pieces in other styles such as the renaissance piece Una Hora by Victoria, and Pange Lingua by György Orbán.  Their musicality compelled the Tolosa audience to give them a great ovation.

The last choir to compete in the European grand prize was the one who won the Choral Masses Competition of Tolosa, the Norwegian Schola Cantorum.  The mixed voice ensemble comprised of 30 singers offered an irregular performance in which they interpreted works by Nystedt, Brahms, Hermann Schein and Martin.

The jury, integrated by the conductor of the Community Choir of Madrid, Jordi Casas as president, the Italians Mauro Chiocci and Roberto Gabbiani, the French Richard Safir, the Bulgarian Martin Chonev, the Hungarian Máté Szabó Sípos, and Javier Busto, recognized the high quality of the participating choirs. “In general the level has been high”, declared Javier Busto at the end of the competition. “All the groups are of magnificent quality and even though the Norwegian choir wasn’t as outstanding as in the Choral Masses Competition of Tolosa, they have performed good music.  Furthermore, the programs the choirs chose have been very interesting and not at all heavy for the audiences, with entertaining pieces and some gorgeous.

The stage of the Polideportivo Usabal received the congressman for Social and Institutional Relations Fernando Tapia, the vice-chairman of INAEM Antonio Garde, the Cultural Advisor of the Vasco Government Miren Azkarate, and the mayor of Tolosa Jokin Bildarratz, to bestow the finalists’ trophies to the 4 participants.  After the reading of the jury’s decision members of the American choir went up, full of emotion, to receive their title as winners of the Great European Prize of Choral Singing.


Izdano: 8:00, 20.07.2006  

VIRI SLIKOVNEGA GRADIVA (od zgoraj navzdol):
University of Utah Singers v Tolosi (Španija)  [Foto: 2006 © UoU. Used by permission.]
2. Dr. Brady R. Allred in University of Utah Singers v Tolosi (Španija)  [Foto: 2006 © UoU. Used by permission.]



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