The University of Houston Choral Department

Concert Chorale Ties for First Place at Marktoberdorf International Choral Competition

The Moores School Concert Chorale at the opening concert of the 2013 Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition
The Moores School Concert Chorale at the opening concert of the 2013 Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition

May 21, 2013
Marktoberdorf, Germany

The University of Houston Moores School of Music Concert Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, tied for first place at the 2013 Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition. It shares this honor with the KammerChor Saarbrücken, a choir from Germany.

Concert Chorale was also awarded "Best Interpretation for a Religious Work" for their performance of Splendid Jewel.

Chorale members immediately took to social media to announce their win after the results were announced:

"This was the most spectacularly amazing experience of my life," said soprano Katie Hunter. "I love my chorale family so much :)"

Soprano Siobhán Thompson shared similar feelings. "Needless to say, we are on cloud nine right now!" she posted.

Tenor Laz Estrada kept it simple: "Well, we won," he said.

Even in the days leading up to the awards ceremony, Chorale members said that they were pleased with their own performances and impressed with the quality of the other choirs. Unlike other competitions, Marktoberdorf choirs perform joint concerts with each other, allowing for a level of international collaboration unique to this event.

"France doesn't play games. They are intense!" said bass Fredy Bonilla.

Tenor Austin Dean posted, "We all gave 150% and I couldn't be prouder. Go. Coogs."

Though the competition proper is over, Chorale still has a few things left on their itinerary. Next up for the group is a prize winners concert and party. Many members have also chosen to stay for a few more days to sightsee the town and other places around Europe.

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The Moores School Concert Chorale is the University of Houston’s premiere large choral ensemble. The group has been under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber since 2002. Since that time the group has appeared as an invited choir before the 2004 national convention of the American Musicological Society, the 2005 and 2008 Texas Music Educators Association conventions, and the 2007 American Choral Directors Association national convention in Miami. The choralnet.org blog described their Miami performances as “absolutely outstanding” and “stunning.” Chorale members traveled to compete at the Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales in 2009, and were invited to represent the United States at the prestigious festival's opening night concert. There, Chorale won or placed in every category in which they entered, including a first price in the most coveted category of all, Chamber Choir.

In 2011, Chorale again garnered international attention when they traveled to Tours, France, to compete in the Florilege Vocal de Tours international chorale competition. There, Chorale earned a second place prize in the Mixed Choir category, an honor the choir shared with The Spiritus Chamber Choir from Calgary, Canada. It also garnered an award in the Best New Creation category for its rendition of David Ashley White’s “I Cannot Live with You.” White, a world-renown American classical composer, is the director of the Moores School of Music.

More information on Concert Chorale can be found at http://uhchoirs.org/choirs/concert-chorale.

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The Moores School of Music's commitment to academic excellence and the highest performance standards has made the institution a vital resource in the educational and cultural life of this city. With its 80-member faculty and more than 600 music majors, the Moores School of Music's thriving programs place it in the forefront of music schools today.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees through the doctoral level are offered in theory, performance, composition, music history, pedagogy, conducting, and music education. Through the excellence of its curriculum, the distinction of its faculty, the success of its graduates, and its alliances with the city's esteemed arts organizations - the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Society for the Performing Arts, and others - the school enjoys a reputation which brings students to Houston from throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, South and Central America, and the Far East.

More information on the Moores School of Music can be found at http://www.uh.edu/class/music.

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The International Chamber Choir Competition Marktoberdorf is intended to bring together the world’s best choirs in order to provide them with the opportunity, not only to compare with each other but also to discuss choral literature from the individual countries, interpretation, styles, voice-training and techniques. The competition provides international collaboration with music as the central theme. The competition takes place every two years.

More information on the competition can be found at http://www.chorverbaende.de/en/modfestivals/international-chamber-choir-competition-marktoberdorf.html.