Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fullerton College Choir wins first place at International Choral Competition in Austria

Joanna Lem reports back from Austria about the 2011 Fullerton College Choir Performance Tour and has great news to share:
Yesterday was first day of the 48. Singkreis Porcia Choral Competition also known as "Fest der Stimmen" - der Internationale Chorwettbewerb", which entailed the choirs to sing three folk songs to an international jury to determine the winners among groups traveling from as far as Indonesia to the small town of Spittal an der Drau in Austria.
The competition started at 7:30pm, but the Fullerton College Concert Choir arrived early to observe the other competing groups. The singers from California under the direction of Mr. John Tebay were assigned the fifth spot among ten choirs and were scheduled to take the stage around an hour into the Chorbewerb, the official name of the compeition in Austrian German. As the Fullerton Choir member anxiously awaited their turn, they were able to listen to the performances of some of the competition. Many of the groups did very well and the Fullerton College students enjoyed listening to a diverse repertoire and they very much appreciated the other talent.
As the third choir was wrapping up, the American students assembled in preparation to take the stage for their performance. The choir's folk song selections were "Unclouded Day", "I Am Going Away", and "Way Over In Beulah Lan'". Especially the last selection, an African-American spititual had already impressed audiences in Germany and Asutria during the first few days of their Incantato Tour.
And their performance at Schloss Porcia in Austria surely lacked nothing, the Californians sang their hearts out and took the audience by storm! After the choir performed, the singers headed back to the audience to listen to the remaining five groups. Now that the pressure was off and they had given their best, the Californian students had fun listening to the other singers; especially the Indonesian group impressed Fullerton and they were fast known as the choir to beat!
Once all the groups performed their folk songs they were told to wait for an hour and a half, while the judges determined the scores. To pass the time, many choirs sang pieces they were not using in the competition for everyone to enjoy. Fullerton College was asked time and time again to perform various songs.
Finally, around 11:30pm, everyone gathered around the stage to hear the results and the comments from the judges. The judges were quite upfront with ther choir in their critic and some of the comments to the lower ranking groups seemed harsh to the students from California. And then, the winners were announced in reverse order: The judges started with the 10th place choir and kept going on to 9th, 8th, 7th...5th. Then they announced that there
would be no 4th place choir, as there was a tie for 3rd place. When Fullerton College was not announced as either of the 3rd place choirs, the group got even more anxious as the judges commented on the 3rd place choirs. After the jury had shared their thoughts on the two remaining groups the anticipation was too much; the entire audience was no
longer patiently waiting to hear if Fullerton College or the Indonesian choir would take first place. But after what seemed like an enterinity, the jury announced that the choir who would take second place was the Indonesian group; thereby giving first place to Fullerton College!!!
The Californian students were beyond thrilled; some even started crying in joy. They
were all smiling, hugging one another, and just soaking in the idea that their performance was so spectacular that they had taken first in the folk song category. This was surely the perfect way to end the second night of the Singkreis Choral Competition!
Way to go Fullerton College!!! Congrats from all of us at Incantato Tours.

Singkreis Porcia Folk Song Rankings by country:
1st USA (Fullerton College) - 91 points
2nd Indonesia - 87 points
3rd Austria (Perg) - 84 points, Czech Republic - 84 points ...TIE, no 4th place
5th Germany - 83 points
6th Lithuania - 82 points
7th Latvia - 74 points, Slovenia - 74 points ...TIE, no 8th place
9th Denmark - 67 points
10th Austria (Vienna) - 62 points

And these are the participants:
Sjölund Kammerkor, Denmark
Ars Antiqua Aschaffenburg, Germany
Brawijaya University Student Choir, Indonesia
Chor "Daugava", Daugavpils, Lettland
Gemischter Chor "Kamertonas", Kaunas, Lituania
Akademski pevski zbor Maribor, Slovenia
Piccolo coro, Prag, Czech Republic
Fullerton College Choir, USA
"die lautmaler" Kammerchor Perg, Austria
Unisono Chor Wien, Austria

The events take place at the local palace Schloss Porcia, for pictures and information, here is a link.

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