Concert Choir wins international competition
Published June 11, 2012
On a Saturday evening in May, circles of people sang spontaneously in the city squares of Zadar, Croatia. The choirs convened in the European city for the 8th International Choir Competition, which is held every other year.
Earlier that day, the NDSU Concert Choir, under the direction of University Distinguished Professor Jo Ann Miller, won the mixed choir division where they competed with 12 other mixed choirs from Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
“The city was teeming with choirs that weekend,” Miller said.
Performing in a formal competition with strict requirements was a new experience for NDSU’s choir. Miller explained that being selected to perform at an American Choral Director’s Association conference is the closest thing to a choir competition in the United States.
During the competition, the choir performed “Chanson on ‘Dessus le marché d’Arras’ ” by Orlando di Lasso, “When Music Sounds” by Nancy Hill Cobb and “Magnificat” by Arvo Pärt in addition to a piece by a Croatian composer and an American spiritual. “When Music Sounds,” which the choir performed as its contemporary piece from its home country, was the 2011 winner of the Edwin Fissinger Composition Prize that NDSU awards every year.
After being judged on required pieces, each choir sang in the city square for 20 minutes. In the more relaxed outdoor setting, “Everyone was doing their fun repertoire,” Miller said.
As winner of the mixed division, the NDSU choir performed at St. Anastasia’s Cathedral on Sunday. During their time in Zadar, the NDSU choir also performed joint concerts with three Croatian choirs. “All in all, it was a thrilling experience and so different from anything we’ve done,” Miller said.
The choir has been invited to perform at regional and national American Choral Director’s Association and Music Educators National Conference conventions – a total of nine since 1990. They have produced more than 30 recordings and premiered several new works, including “Leaves” by Dale Warland and “When Music Sounds.” The choir tours regionally every spring and overseas every three years.
The choir spent 12 days in Croatia and Italy during May.