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Georgia Southern University

University Choirs Take Second Place at International Competition

VaticanGeorgia Southern University’s choral groups Southern Chorale and Fermata the Blue returned Tuesday from the International Anton Bruckner Choral Competition and Festival in Linz, Austria. The Chorale received gold diplomas in the compulsory and sacred divisions, Fermata the Blue was honored with one gold diploma and both groups earned second-place finishes.

Southern Chorale, the University’s premier choral ensemble, took second place in the “Mixed Choirs Compulsory” category, finishing less than one point behind winning choir Coro Siamo, from Austria. Fermata the Blue, the 12-member contemporary ensemble comprised of Chorale members, finished second in the “Vocal Ensemble” category to the grand prize winning five-voice male ensemble from Germany.

Twenty-two choirs from 14 nations participated in the competition, and Southern Chorale was among only six invited to compete for the Anton Bruckner Prize, the competition’s highest honor. Interkultur, the competition sponsor, scores choirs on intonation, sound quality, fidelity to the score and overall artistic impression. A choir’s numerical score determines whether it receives a gold, silver or bronze diploma, and only ensembles that receive gold diplomas are eligible for the grand prize. Georgia Southern received a special invitation to compete in the final round.

“The competition in Linz provided Georgia Southern and the Department of Music an opportunity to be showcased on the international stage,” said Shannon Jeffreys, D.M., conductor of Southern Chorale and Fermata the Blue, and director of choral activities. “The visibility we have and will continue to receive from this experience will greatly benefit our recruitment and retention of both undergraduate and graduate students. This is the first step in putting the Georgia Southern choirs on the world rankings list.”

After the competition, Southern Chorale went on an eight-day tour of Italy. The trip began with a celebration on Mt. Lussari in the Julian Alps and continued to Florence. The Chorale performed with the Corale Puccini in Camigliano, Italy, and shared in a homemade dinner and sing-along following the concert. The group also visited Pisa and Lucca and sang in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.  The tour culminated with mass at the Vatican, where Southern Chorale sang in service. Many American visitors greeted the Chorale after the mass, and the music director of St. Peter’s Basilica said that Southern Chorale was one of the best choirs he had ever heard.

Chorale members hailed the experience as an eye-opening international tour and said they enjoyed the opportunity to engage with students and singers from different countries. “This trip was definitely the highlight of my undergraduate career,” said Natasha Martin, who graduated in May after majoring in music and international trade and minoring in French. “It was a cultural plunge as we found ourselves sitting next to a person from Hungary and on the other side a person from Singapore. This trip really proved to me as a student and devotee of music, that music itself eradicates boundaries and allows people to understand each other regardless of their differences in language and backgrounds. As a result of the hard work and dedication of both our choral director, Dr. Jeffreys, and our tour manager, Dr. Carolyn Bryan, Southern Chorale truly roamed throughout Europe as ambassadors of our University and came home with unforgettable memories and new friendships.”

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

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