Area singers compete in ‘Olympics of choral music’
Northwest Choral Society President Penny Perles, of Mount Prospect, and Artistic Director Alan Wellman, of Chicago, accept a participation certificate from Dr. Earl Rivers, professor of music and director of choral studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, on July 14 during the closing ceremonies of the 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati, Ohio. | Contributed photo
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:02AM
DES PLAINES — Twenty-seven members of the Northwest Choral Society traveled July 10-14 to Cincinnati, Ohio to participate in the seventh biannual “World Choir Games” — the Olympics of choral music, according to a news release.
“We had a terrific performance at the World Choir Games,” said NWCS Artistic Director Alan Wellman, in the release. “They sang beautifully, with nuance and elegance.
“The clinicians were impressed and provided useful evaluation. I could not be more proud of the music we made.”
The World Choir Games are the largest international choral competition in the world held every two years, the release stated. About 15,000 participants in 360 choirs from 48 countries participated in Cincinnati for the two-week choral festival. That includes about 80 regional choirs, representing 22 of the U.S. states. NWCS was one of three participating from Illinois. Previous games have been in Austria, China, Germany and South Korea, and the 2014 Games are scheduled for Riga, Latvia.
Though the seventh World Choir Games provided for international competition in 23 musical categories, ranging from children’s choirs to show choirs and jazz to barbershop, the NWCS performed for a non-competitive evaluation and coaching.
The group performed three pieces for a panel of international experts, who offered coaching suggestions at the conclusion. Their adjudicators included choir directors from Indonesia and Sweden, and a music professor from Gustus Adolphus College in Minnesota.
During a separate session Ronald Smart, retired principal of the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Australia, rehearsed one of the NWCS’s pieces in order to provide new artistic ideas.
“Vocal music instills in us not only a love of music, but also a passion for life itself. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to perform on a world stage,” said NWCS member David Hitch, of Des Plaines.
The Umoja Men’s Chorus, a group of 16 inmates from the Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio, competed from behind the prison’s barbed-wire fences for a panel of adjudicators that traveled to Lebanon to hear them perform a day before the official opening of the 2012 World Choir Games.
“The theme of the Games was, ‘Singing together brings nations together.’ We certainly saw that happen in Cincinnati,” said NWCS President Penny Perles of Mount Prospect.
Founded in 1965 the Northwest Choral Society is a nonprofit organization that promotes and encourages the appreciation, understanding and performance of a wide variety of outstanding choral literature. Its adult membership resides in the greater Chicago area.
The Northwest Choral Society performs concerts in suburban venues in December, March and June. It invites experienced singers to audition to join the organization. Bass, tenor, alto and soprano singers with previous choral experience and who are 17 years of age can obtain additional information about the Northwest Choral Society at www.nwchoralsociety.org.