The Hodgson Singers, the flagship choral ensemble of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, won both first prize and the Grand Prix Ave Verum at the International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria, in May.
The four-day event featured performances by choirs from the U.S., Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Austria and the Philippines, each evaluated by an international panel of judges.
“I am overwhelmed by the success of this choir on this tour of beautiful cathedrals in the Czech Republic and Austria, at the American Choral Directors Association convention in Florida in March and in this international competition,” said Daniel Bara, director of choral activities in the Hodgson School and choir conductor. “In addition to singing beautifully, the choir has been singled out for its earnest delivery and performances that have heart.”
The 45-member choir, led by Bara, advanced to the competition’s second round on May 23 after performing in concert with 10 other choral groups invited to compete. The five finalists performed the following day, with the Hodgson Singers officially named first place winners and top-performing ensemble at the May 24 awards ceremony.
The international panel of judges included choral specialists from Austria, Finland, Germany, Spain and the U.S.
“Some things are just magical,” said Dale Monson, director of the Hodgson School of Music. “The combination of outstanding young voices, their sincere and earnest delivery, the leadership of one of the country’s top choral conductors, a university that understands and encourages the arts and the idyllic settings of their performances inspired all who heard them. We are so very proud of all they have accomplished.”
The Hodgson Singers structured an entire European tour around the competition. During the course of a week, the choir sang in cathedrals in Prague and Salzburg as well as Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace.
“Being a member of the Hodgson Singers for the past four years has no doubt been the most wonderful and rewarding experience of my entire life,” said Emily Skilling, a senior vocal performance major who contributed to a blog documenting the trip. “I could not have asked for a better way to end my senior year than with this incredible journey we have been on for the past 10 days. This tour has provided me with so many memories that I will truly cherish forever.”
To hear firsthand impressions from students in the choir, including videos of the performances, see the “Adventures in Europe with the UGA Hodgson Singers” blog at http://hodgsonsingers.wordpress.com/.