The Official Press Release
Posted on June 2, 2005 at 10:48 a.m.
BIRMINGHAM, AL — The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Concert Choir won two awards at the 34th annual Tours Festival in France in May.
The choir competed in two categories and made it to the finals in both. The choir won the Prix Du Ministère de La Culture, an award given for best interpretation of a French choral work, and shared the top award in the Mixed Choirs Category.
“The UAB Concert Choir’s participation in this prestigious festival is continued evidence of the Department of Music’s world-class quality instruction and of the exceptional talent in the students it attracts,” said Jeff. W Reynolds, D.M.A., chairman of the UAB Department of Music. “These recognitions, together with many other national and international appearances by UAB faculty and students, confirm our commitment to being a leader in music education.”
The Florilège Vocal de Tours is held in Tours, France. The UAB Choir was one of two university choirs from the United States invited to participate; five university choirs from the U.S. applied. Seventeen choirs from 12 countries participated.
Nearly half of the 36 competing members of the UAB Concert Choir are in their first year of choir, said UAB Choir Director Philip Copeland, D.M.A.
“For a young choir to do this well in an international competition is quite an accomplishment,” Copeland said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our students and I am glad to have won this recognition for UAB.”
Delia Charest, a senior at UAB, said the choir sang their best performance ever on the competition’s opening night. The audience response was “amazing,” she said.
“People who could not speak any English came up to us to tell us how much we moved them. One French man told us that the spirit was with us, all around us, and I truly believe that,” she said. The trip also featured two concerts in Paris churches, including a special honor — a concert at the historic Cathedral of Notre Dame. Choirs are selected to perform there only after a recording and program are evaluated.
“Singing there was an incredible experience for our students,” Copeland said. “Many students remarked on how meaningful the concert was in historic Notre Dame.”
Plans for the UAB Concert Choir’s 2005-06 season include a Christmas performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers” in New York’s Carnegie Hall.